LAB’s Top 10 of 2010

Here’s a quick rundown of my own favourite marketing moments of 2010 spanning guerrilla, ambient, viral, social media and various other types of marketing. In no particular order;

1. Heineken

I said back in March this would feature on my end of year list, and it fully deserves to be here. It’s Candid Camera and Trigger Happy TV meets brand marketing. It’s elaborate without being convoluted and it still manages to make the hairs on the back of my neck stick up when the penny drops for the audience. Overall it’s been a good year for Heineken with several other memorable ads that included the walk in fridge.

2. IamAmIWhoAmI

Looking back over the year I have wrote about this music marketing effort several times, here, here, here and here. What I liked about the campaign I wrote in March (here) “an artist has harnessed the lack of her identity, and similarities between looks and music style to existing artists, to create a vacuum of information. This vacum has duly been filled with endless online chatter as to her identity thus making her one of the most talked about artists in the last few months, without anybody knowing who she is (yet). As I wrote in that piece last month, whoever it is she has somehow managed to get Christina Aquilera fans and die hard indie heads to listen to her music, two sets of fans that are fundamentally opposed, yet they are listening (so far) with open ears. If this makes the artist a hit with Christina fans and with the Indie set she has achieved something most marketers have failed to do in the past.

How Xtina fans (Christina Aguilera) thought this was her is beyond me. This thread has a staggering 567 pages on the subject matter. I wonder how many of those ‘this has to be Xtina’ fans went out and bought this after?

3. Crystal Swing ‘V’ Rubberbandits

In a year of much bad news here in Ireland we have had many funny moments. The slapstick moment when ‘man falls on ice‘ on the news , to the hilarious Rubberbandits and their Horse Outside. But one act edges it for Irish viral of the year and that’s Crystal Swing. They may lack the credibility of the highly acclaimed Rubberbandits, but it’s their unintentional success that edges them for me. For a few weeks you couldn’t move for Crystal Swing on Ellen, or with Lilly Allen, or on The Late Late Show (or on every radio station) or without hearing He Drinks Tequila. People loved or hated them, and the novelty might have worn off months ago, (their Youtube views peaked around Mid April and have grown much slower since), but the clip that ‘made’ them has still clocked up 800k in views so far. That may pale in comparison to the 4 million plus views The Rubberbandits have. But without Youtube and Twitter, Crystal Swing would still be nobodies in Cork and not plucked from small town Ireland obscurity by Ellen DeGeneres. They may return there, but they’ll have one hell of a story to tell.

4. PlaneMob

I really liked this. Clever, inventive and it really is Guerrilla marketing – taking marketing behind enemy lines as German Wings films an advert on an Easyjet flight. It’s in German but I’m sure you can get the jist of what the speech bubbles mean.

5. Samsung 3D

Remember before we were all “so over projection mapping”? Well this was the viral that really made me go ‘wow’, and it is wow. I still say its better than Ralph Lauren!

I also like the way they took the idea and added a little bit more to it on Youtube to become the first 3D takeover game.

6. ChatRoulette

2010 was also the year of Chat Roulette. When something bursts on the scene that manages to grab the zeitgeist in the way CR did earlier this year, you can be sure a marketing exec isn’t far behind looking for ways to cash in, I mean, erm, market something. I wrote about the service here and listed a bunch of marketing examples here. My own favourite example is this one from Dr. Pepper. What is the worst that could happen? Perhaps this is…

7. Old Spice

Wasn’t it good, oh so good? Wasn’t it…etc. This was great, but can I add more than whats already been said. It’s so over the top in so many ways, from the acting, to the production, to the Youtube video replies. Read about the full campaign here.

8. Tipp Ex / Val Sinestra / Arcade Fire

In this one post I summed up three excellent examples of video marketing  – Lost in Val Sinestra, Tipp Ex and Arcade Fire’s The Wilderness. All three are worthy of a mention on their own (and the latter two are below). What all three have in common, besides their ground breaking attributes, is that each of the examples allow a certain level of personalisation for the viewer. Val Sinestra pulls in your Facebook friends, Tipp Ex allows you to choose the next step in the story while the Arcade Fire pulls in bits of your life that are available on the web. Brilliant work that 2011 will bring plenty more of.

9. Augmented Reality

AR was another biggie of 2010 and I wrote a couple of posts on it here and here. What will all this converged technology produce down the line? An augmented reality world, populated by artificial intelligence created from our online selves? Perhaps, but in the meantime it’ll be full of really cool ideas like this…

Looking back at that video, the attention to detail is incredible. Look at how the computer generated ‘bad guys’ actually stand between rows of chairs, and how shooting them close up leads to a blood splatter on the screen. Although if games like ‘Manhunt’ on the PS2 can be linked to murders, God only knows what this kind of alternative reality gaming will be linked to.

10. Email Marketing for Brazilian Waterpark

I only saw this recently, and it struck me as being something really cool. In two years of writing this blog, I have never featured an email campaign for any brand, but this is just something really clever. It’s just one image, it’s so large I’ll just link to it from the Digital Buzz blog here. There must be something in the water in Brazil, because countless times I’ve featured marketing examples from that country. It would seem Brazillians know how to communicate messages in clever ways, usually using an established form of marketing such as Guerrilla or Ambient, as opposed to something that might be more ground breaking like Augmented Reality. Thats not a bad thing, if anything it shows Brazilians can really mine older forms of marketing and still find incredibly clever ways of telling us something.

So thats it, my top 10 for 2010. Feel free to agree or disagree on the suggestions above or add to mine below.

Happy new year, and see you in 2011!

Schweppes Facebook App

There’s a few things I like about rules, thats taking them and twisting them to a within an inch of breaking. Your boundaries are set, but how far can you push the restraints until something clever or quirky comes up? Facebook has these rules in abundance, and one of the few I agree with is people cannot ‘pimp’ their profile ala the absolutely dreadful crimes against the internet that was (some) Myspace profiles (black background, grey text, took 24 hours to load etc.).

Photo hacks on the social network have been about for some time and it was inevitable that the new Facebook profile layout would give birth to a range of new hacks such as this one below (or these 10).

But creating these photo hacks required a knowledge of photoshop, not to mention time and effort. So step forward Scheppes and their new Profile App, which allows users to create a sophisticated looking profile in a matter of minutes. The end result is unbranded. It allows a certain amount of personalisation for Facebook users to alter the look of their profile, while remaining within the Facebook parameters. It’s a nice idea that provides value to users, while also a reason to return and use the app again and again. Be prepared to see plenty more of these hacks in the coming months.


Santa’s Bean Cam: Chat with Santa on Facebook

Disclosure: The Jelly Bean Factory are a client.

The Jelly Bean Factory are an Irish company who make 12 million gourmet jelly beans, mostly for export, to over 50 countries. This week over on the Jelly Bean Factory’s Facebook page we’re going to try something that has never been tried before. We’re going to be broadcasting Santa live on the page via webcam from 3pm on Wednesday. He’ll be chatting with fans, and playing clips that fans send in ( if you want to join in). And giving away loads of stuff.

The press release is below, if you want a read. Besides having him there, there’ll be a bunch of quizzes, games, competitions to get fans in the festive spirit. There’ll be loads of prizes, but two stick out for me. One is a year supply of beans, and the second, is for fans to suggest a flavour and the Factory will make it and release it as a special edition. Not only that the winner will also name it. It’s all a bit of a first, and should make for an absolutely crazy day behind the scenes. But it’s times like this that get the adrenaline rushing.

Tune in Wednesday from 3pm (UK/Ireland time) at

And there’s lots more info on the competition for you here;

Santas Bean Cam Tab

Ireland Strikes Secret Santa Deal

Out of the depths of all the doom and gloom there’s finally something sweet that Ireland can share with the world and what better man to deliver the news than Santa Claus himself!!! Yes, for one day only our jolly bearded buddy will be at the Jelly Bean Factory’s headquarters in Ireland on Wednesday 15th December, coming to you live via the Jelly Bean Factory’s Bean Cam on Facebook ( During this Six-hour Santathon, you’ll be able to talk to the Big Man himself, share your favourite Christmas moments, enter a host of fabulously festive competitions and get the chance to win loads and loads of juicy jelly beans.

And that’s not all! Santa needs your help! He’s asking you to create the Ultimate Jelly Bean Flavour! The lucky winner will work with the Jelly Bean Factory Bean Creators to bring their winning whacky flavour to life. They’ll also get the chance to christen it too with their own name… while the most Christmas Crackers fan will win a years’ supply of Jelly Bean Factory gourmet jelly beans!

Best of Neworld November ’10

I also blog on a regular basis on the Neworld Associates blog. Its the day job. I don’t like to re-post content, but some of it I think is worth a read. It’s all social media over on that blog and here’s three best posts of November;

1. More Twitter Marketing Examples

A few more examples of how 140 characters can pack a punch when it comes to marketing.

2. The Beatles: Facebook More Important Than Google

In driving traffic to their iTunes collection

3. What Do Facebook Impressions Tell Us?

Facebook’s new metric for page posts is impression count and feedback percentage. This explains what you need to know.

There’s those and plenty more over on the Neworld blog.

Linked In: People You May Not Want To Know

Linked In is the social network for professionals to hook up, get back in touch with former colleagues or even be head hunted for a new role. According to recent statistics the highest penetration of Linked In users is in the Neatherlands, followed by Ireland, the USA, Denmark, Belgium and then the UK. There’s almost 330,000 Irish users on it (you can check your own countries stats here – just fill in the first page details and you get the info you need on page 2). All of the Fortune 500 companies have executives on Linked In, which isn’t surprising given how big these organisations are, but 50% of its users are decision makers at companies and 41% using Linked In for marketing have generated business out of it. There’s a lot more of those statistics here.

Personally, I quiet like Linked In, it lacks the waste of time aspect that Facebook has in abundance, and the (sometimes) arrogance of Twitter. It’s perfectly acceptable to say to someone their self promotional posts aren’t welcome, or they add nothing to the conversation. Try that on either of the aformentioned.

People You May Know.

Yet one feature does get to me ‘People You may Know’. How often has someone popped up in there that I have questioned, how Linked In knows, that I might know that person. Usually its a pleasant surprise, but a couple of times I have seriously questioned how they know. There’s no real link, or maybe a tenuous one at best. Then last week a work colleague asked the same question, about a person they had no contact with for over a decade, no exchange of any communication of any sorts. Giving Linked In access to your contacts should not make a connection to a person you knew before you had email, and even then you changed email address several times over a decade. In fact there was no logical link – no 2nd or 3rd connections, no shared work history, no shared locations, no shared anything. There should be no link.

So it got me wondering, how would Linked In know these people were connected?

Well at first I looked to what I knew about other social networks. I posted about Facebook on the Neworld blog and how to get your posts to be more popular and stalking on Facebook will make your profile more visible to other connections, not just to your stalker, because the more clicks your profile gets the more popular Facebook assumes you are. But your stalker will not be suggested more times than another person. So perhaps in Linked In the most logical answer is that you show up because that person has stalked you. Maybe thats what happened with my work colleague above.

Linked In Knows Us Better Than We Think.

Then I found this ‘Does Linked In know us better than we think?. From that post I’m quoting a Linked In representitive;

The algorithm for the “People You May Know” section is proprietary, and is a constant work in progress. However, I can tell you a few things: (1) If you import your contacts from any system then LinkedIn can make the logic connections between you and your imported contacts.  (2) There is an analytics person who scours LinkedIn data looking for correlations between connections to try to figure out why they connected. (3) Our goal is to not only be us useful with this feature, but deliver those “how did they know that” moments.”

The author of the piece Shawn Santos realised one day that all of his ‘people you may know’ were people he did in fact know. He knew them because all of them were people he had emailed the day before hand. Of 75 people he emailed, all of them were listed in his ‘people you may know’ the following day. His theory is that Linked In accessed his account and made the connections by scanning the email addresses as none of them were in his list the day before. I’ve had a similar situation this week, where I exchanged emails with people I had never connected with before, then connected to them via Linked In, only to have them suggested to me in Facebook a few days later. How did this suggestion on Facebook come about?

While this post refutes the claim Linked In is scanning our email contacts, I would suggest reading the comments. Not only are people accusing Linked In of scanning e-mail but also Facebook, Outlook, Google search history and other platforms to make these connections. It’s scary stuff. But is it to be expected? Or is this part and parcel of sharing our lives online.

I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but could all this be co-incidental? A mix of algorithmic architecture, serendipity and a host of other factors outside of our control?