Archive for the Digital Category

Go Teddy!

Posted in Digital on October 2, 2009 by Something for the Weekend

Teddy On The Go is a quirky Kuwait-based photoblog showing the daily antics of a stuffed bear as he spends a year travelling around the country. Garden gnomes and Barbie dolls might have been taken round the world before, but we’re still fascinated by the life of Teddy B, who is fired out of canon one day, and befriending the police the next. Fans have adopted the bear as a “blank slate,” using it to ponder their own lives and as a reflection of local issues. The blog casts a new light on Kuwait, with Teddy travelling across ethnic, social, and spatial boundaries. The project also proves that there is an active audience in a region deemed to have low Internet involvement. Follow Teddy here.

Go Teddy!

Thanks to Matt Hardisty and Ellie for this story. Ellie’s favourite bear doesn’t have a nose anymore because she loved him too much.


How Kids see Technology

Posted in Digital on September 25, 2009 by Something for the Weekend

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Children are growing up with a different understanding of everyday technology and innocently renaming devices. Laptops are referred to as ‘phones’ by many kids who have never known a world without Skype (which has 246million users). A TV was called ‘music’ by one child because his Mum plays music to him through an Apple TV box (as observed by trend bigwig Piers Fawkes). Other anecdotal evidence we have collected includes a 5-year-old girl who, having grown accustomed to Sky+ when watching the football at home, asked her Dad if they could pause a live match so she could go to the loo. Perhaps the next generation won’t refer to mobiles as ‘phones’, but as computers or MP3 players, because that’s how they are generally used. And in that case, might iPods become the new TVs as they become a more common way of broadcasting? The convergence of technology and digital divide might mean different ways of marketing and naming the same product to different audiences.


Thanks to Sara Tate for this story. Sara’s mum still doesn’t understand what a strategist does. She thinks Sara does the voiceovers.

Cross-platform Storytelling

Posted in Digital on September 18, 2009 by Something for the Weekend

Level 26, the new crime novel from CSI creator Anthony E. Zuiker is a really great example of cross-platform storytelling, merging the book with TV. The reader can leap from paper to cyberspace as they reach each of the 20 ‘cyber bridges’ developed by Zuiker to be consumed alongside each novel. These give the reader the option to go online for exclusive cinematic content, such as FBI personnel files, audio clips of phone conversations, and other back-story material. As the series progresses, storylines and characters will be come to life in the digital world, spinning in and out of the novels. “Level 26 takes the best features of books, film, and interactive digital technologies and rolls them all into a unique storytelling experience we’re calling the world’s first ‘Digi-Novel’”, says Zuiker. The authors of the future will probably not be writing paperbacks, but instead creating narratives that work across TV, film and video games, inviting the user to channel-hop to experience the full story.

The TV series, Lost, with its complex narrative that features a whopping 71 characters in total, has been a huge driver to people consuming non-linear storylines. JJ Abrams took this further with Fringe. Fringe is a bit of an experiment for a ‘series’ as you don’t have to watch episodes one, two, and three to tune into four. Each episode can be viewed and understood consecutively and on its own. In other words, rethinking the traditional linear narrative.

Steven Johnson, author of Everything Bad is Good For You, has said, “Over the last half century, television has steadily increased the demands it put on mental facilities through: multi-threaded narratives, increased subtlety, multiple external references, and complex social networks.” The shift to cross-platform seems the inevitable place for storytelling to go.

The idea of a story or content being available in only one format will soon seem ridiculous. As Level 26 shows, new media becomes a complimentary, rather than replacement medium.

Linda stone, the former Apple and Microsoft visionary has a theory about ‘continuous partial attention’ which helps explain how technology has made our attention and consumption habits more suited to simultaneous multi-channels.

Reference: Contagious magazine

Thanks to Neil Bennett for this story. Neil keeps having a repetitive dream about a silver racing bike, but just can’t find the one he’s looking for anywhere. If you spot one, drop a tweet to him here.


Posted in Digital on September 11, 2009 by Something for the Weekend


A welding machine has been transformed into a political robot that transmits the real-time views of young people into Parliament. For the next 6 weeks, the Voicebot will transcribe messages submitted via the Voicebox website, putting youth issues into the official political forum. As the Voicebot writes out messages they will be tweeted, incorporated into a tag cloud, and a photo of each message will be uploaded to Flickr and sent to its author. The project, set up by youth charity V, aims to encourage young people to engage with the political process. A study by Pizco found that 67% of 13-18-year-olds said that government policy was biased against their age group and 63% would not vote if the legal age was lowered.


Thanks to Jon Miller for this story. Jon’s finally got a blog and it says really interesting stuff about politics and ethics. Have a peep.

Tween Galaxy

Posted in Digital on September 4, 2009 by Something for the Weekend


Teens and tweens are moving away from social networks and becoming fantasy avatars in virtual worlds instead. The latest figures from comScore show that only 11% of Twitterers fall into the 12-17 age camp, and whilst teens originally forged the way for social networking, there are now just 9% of them on Facebook. Second Life was a fad for adults, but for yutes, virtual worlds are a rapidly growing, here-to-stay market. There are now 112 virtual worlds designed for under-18s, with a further 81 in development. These are our top 3 new discoveries.

Planet Cazmo is an online world set inside an alien solar system which is inspired by ‘earth culture’, particularly hip hop. The site has 3m users, a virtual Pop Idol, merchandise you can buy in the real world, and recently announced a collaboration with music bigwig Tommy Mottola.

Lego Universe, which launches next year, is one of the most highly anticipated online worlds, driven by Lego’s cultural renaissance. Lego players will be able to virtually build whatever they can imagine and shown how to bring it to life in the real world. Users or ‘Minifigs’ will also be able to fight, dance Lego-style and meet ninjas and pirates.

GoSupermodel was originally designed for 20something women as a parody website of the modelling industry where you create a model avatar and the purpose is to get dressed and look hot. However, it actually took off amongst 12-year-old girls who approached it rather seriously. It’s now evolved into a Mean Girls-style virtual playground complete with cliques including the Posers, Celebrity Wannabes, Goody Two-Shoes, Emos, and those that seriously describe themselves as Hot Asian chicks. Unsurprisingly, it attracts a lot of perverts too.

Thanks to Ellie Osbourne for this story. Ellie’s fantasy is to be a part-time mermaid.

Paid to Queue

Posted in Digital on August 27, 2009 by Something for the Weekend


New consumer champion Paul McCrudden has charged over 50 companies for his time spent queuing in shops and waiting in restaurants only to receive rubbish customer service. The London-based blogger calculated that brands owe him £6,000 for time misspent. Pret A Manger coughed up a cheque for £62 to compensate for the time ‘wasted’ in their cafes, even taking the liberty of refunding the £22 he spent on food. Cranberry, the dried fruit confectioners, took a different tactic, calling him a “nut case” and sending him an invoice for the twelve minutes spent answering his letter. McCrudden is recording the findings on his blog 6Weeks and has 1,000 followers wishing to be equally compensated. Some are even charging ‘brand McCrudden’ for the time spent reading his blog, spreading the word and their correspondence with him.

We sort of like the reaction of Cranberry telling McCrudden where to go. If we accept that bad brands should be properly punished, then why not poorly behaved consumers too? Wagamama’s, which promotes the idea of positive eating + positive living, offers discretionary discounts to ‘good customers’, for example.

Following on from Complaints Choirs, we’re seeing consumers increasingly challenge brands about crappy service and shoddy brand experiences. What we once put up with, we now seek compensation for. To the point that this may become a new revenue stream for consumers and brands alike.

If a brand can’t eliminate say, queues, why not offer a service where someone can do it for the customer? Or offer appointments and callback services, which could feel really premium and at the same time, better manage human resources? Services like Everyday PA offer affordable personal assistance for the lifestyle admin we struggle to find the time or inclination to do.

If you enjoy rants about poor customer service (and general strategy stuff), read this Geordie chap’s blog.


Moving Magazines

Posted in Digital on August 21, 2009 by Something for the Weekend

The first-ever video in print ad will appear in a limited edition Entertainment Weekly next month. Created by TV network CBS and Pepsi, it will show telly previews and Pepsi Max adverts. The video is activated when the page is turned, similar to singing greeting cards. Meanwhile, deaf charity RNID is launching an interactive outdoor campaign that uses moving posters that react to sounds around them. The posters’ messages are coded to appear as visualisations of sound. If there is no sound the message does not appear. The campaign is based on the interesting finding that one in seven people are hearing impaired.


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