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March 1, 2009

Brands go Social

Two sites launched last week for two brands that could not be more opposite. XXXX and Air NZ both releached sites that had previously been promotional focused and both had been full flash. Now they both go the HTML rouite and more importantly both have refocussed to become more "social" with content shared from Youtube and Flickr and AirNZ touting a forum.


Home Sweet As is the 3rd reinvention of the site. The original and Show Us Your Sweet spot both winning many awards and driving up a member database with interesting promotions. This version is more focussed on content or the social aspects with a forum for Expats.

Here's what Bob from HOST had to say;

In HSA #1 that was messages from home. In #2 (Sweet spot) it was about places/locations back home. Now it's more about content.

The first two promos were about building an audience through promotions (really high opt-in rates). Now we have an audience, we need to create a 'channel' to speak to them regularly. There are some classic vids on there which should resonate with kiwis.

A key bit of content (and only selly bit) is 'grabaseat' which has been live in NZ for a while now and is quite well known and popular. They're basically super cheap fares from unsold inventory. This'll be live on the site every few weeks and although anyone can get them ex-pats sorta get first dibs if they're part of home sweet as.

On the opposite side we have XXXX. Rebuilt by Holler Sydney the site


For those that don't know XXXX would be one of the lower end beers in Australia. However the work they are doing online and offline you'd hardly know this.

Between the Beach Cricket series, the boat making comp, the XXXX angels, and their V8 promotions you'd be hard pressed to say they aren't promoting theur brand than any other beer out there.

The Youtube Channel is well stocked, the tumblr blog is regularly updated, the Flickr account is a little barren and the Facebook fan page isn't rocking yet but it's much better than the other beer brands are doing online in Australia.

I wonder how many other brands will ditch their full flash site and start focussing more on content and the social aspects. They both have pros and cons, especially when your brand doesnt produce any content or there is no real plan to stoke the fires of the community and engage them.


I personally am working on sites for two major video game releases for Activision, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine Official Video Game. While it was tempting to create a big flash bang flash website the focus was definitely on the community and the fans. And compared to an airline or a brand of beer a video game has a much stronger and more vocal fan base. Which is seen by the 30,000 posts in the first month on this forum.

Activision are also looking beyond the single promotion for a game and looking at it as long term solution. HeroHQ is the official forum for the two releases and many more to come. So rather than setting up a promotion site for a game which dies 2 months after the release HeroHQ will allow the sites to snowball for each new release.

While I don't think we should get rid of the full flash site I think brands need to start thinking longer term about their marketing initiatives online. And it's not all about going social it's about fwd thinking 1-2 years in advance and maximizing your spend for longevity rather than a tiny spike that requires you to spend again.

I saw Mark Pollard talk about viral marketing as "Crack Marketing". You get a quick hit, it feels good but then a month later you need to get that buzz again. You end up in this vicious cycle of spending for short spikes of attention that in the end leaves you at ground level each time.

So get off the crack and start doing some low GI thinking with online marketing.

February 28, 2009

Web Overlay Sites: So hot right now

Two new sites launched today and both utilize the browser in a unique way.

skilltes.gif takes a nod from Modernista and Girl Smiles and goes site less. The site uses Youtube, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter search and Wikipedia for its content. All navigated by an interface that floats over the top. It might not be the best fit for the brand but it's different for such a big brand to take this route.

Note than when you click to Girl Smiles it takes you back and loads the site over the top. Genius

Adrants talks about Skittles site and how Modernista had to alter theirs when news of layoffs made it to the homepage. Will Skittles stick with this idea or change it up once the novalty wears off?


To promote the latest Ps3 game Killzone 2 (which looks awesome) Sony has taken the fight to the browser with the cleverly titled Killzone 2 Web Game

Battles triger randomly based on the sites you visit (, both had attacks) and it's a simple shooter game which lets the sites take damage. If another friend logs in you play multi-player although this didn't seem to have the same enemies viewable. It's an interesting idea and the Firefox plugin was tiny (45k) and installed easily.

I do feel that a few more community or social elements to this could have made it more of a winner. And while the gameplay and vosual polish doesn't do the game justice the idea of a browser game is an interesting one.

Our squad is called "TRUFFLES" FTW ya bastards!

Browser Based Games (Passive Multi-player Online Games
There are actually two companies with Browser Based games. That is games that inhabit your browser and play across the web.

Rocket On and PMOG have both been around for a year or so and both in BETA. Check them out they are an interesting twist to how you normally work with games and social networks.

Rather than read a bunch of stuff just watch these videos

I look forward to seeing these develop. If they only put Twitter in there as part of it you'd see many more people talking about them.

February 23, 2009

Tropfest 2009 = Online Fail

Last year I was lucky enough to win a VIP seat from Sony to watch Tropfest. This year I thought I'd just catch them online than face the crowds.

For those that don't know Tropfest it's the worlds biggest short film festival and is slowly taking over the world as it recently expanded to NY.

So what about everyone that doesn't live in Sydney and wants to watch the winner and finalists online. Surly in 2009 you can enjoy them just as much as anyone.

Nope sorry you have to contend with video that looks like it was designed in 1997 monitor sizes. Seriously WTF NineMSN!


The banner is bigger than the bloody video! Also the winners were announced 24 hrs ago and they haven't updated the page with the winner. At least the official site was able to. Although they could use an image or a bold tag to help make it easier to read. Hey even a link tag would have helped.

That aside I also think Tropfest has done a terrible job online promoting the finalists. I remeber seeing a rep from Tropfest talk about how in 2008 they will release the videos online (NineMSN) and they really do their best to help get the finalists and winners names out there.

Check the winners page. Not even a bio, not a link to their site not a contact for any of the 16 finalists. Shit not even an image or a link to see the bloody video.

Ahh I see all the effort went into the 100 sponsors pages. Luckily they all got linked up. Very important that QANTAS get that link traffic. As for the finalists well good luck with it all hopefully someone will google your name and you're not a Tim Dean, or Matt Wood. The winner Genevieve Clay might do OK with a unique name like that.

Tropfest is also on Flickr (last photo updated Oct 2008)
Tropfest is on Youtube but don't seem to grasp that last year's winner has reached 1M views in a month. Lets hope it doesn't take 9 months to update it again.
I hope all of Tropfest's 29 Myspace friends got VIP seats as they are true champions. Only about 9 of them look to be real people.
The Facebook page at least has some activity.

It's quite sad that such a headline event with so much money behind it has done such a poor job online. Also what happened to Sony as a sponsor did it run its course. It was a great fit for Sony.

Here's the trailer for Trop Fest 2009

And here is last year's winner.

And I look forward to getting my Tropfest DVD in the newspaper next week to actually enjoy the videos. The postage stamp size is not worth it. Oh I could watch on my Teslstra phone in super shit mobile quality. But again I'll pass. Not the least because I don't have a Telstra acocunt.

I wish Tropfest was more interested in sharing the videos of the people and less about extracting maximum dollars from them by bundling the content into DVD's. Showcasing the finalists would not have hurt the bottom line either.

February 21, 2009

The real Shaq is real


Ashley shared with me this fantastic story about Twitter. I've recently joined up (@majarich) and have turned from a doubter into a believer in less than a day. Like most people told me before I jumped in, you can't knock it until you try it.

The article tells the story of some random Twitterers who were wondering if the person pertaining to be Shaq on Twitter, was in fact the real Shaq. The story of how they worked out the truth is actually almost heart-warming. Check it out, it's a good example of how technology literally connects people. And not in a cliched way like on telecommunication ads.

If you're still wondering if you need another social network to suck up your time, yes - Twitter will be another fun toy you will want to play with all day. But it is also more enlightening rather than sapping. More connective than isolating. If you're still not convinced, here's some persuasive quotes from some Twitterati (look at me, I'm already using bad twitter-related puns):

From NYTimes Technology expert David Pogue-

Has there ever been a wittier, smarter bunch? This (twitter) was it: harnessing the power of the Web, the collective wisdom of strangers, in real time! The Twitterers of the world did not let me down.

And from Twitter-loving writer of Father Ted, Black Books, The Fast Show, Graham Linehan-

I'm having so much fun on Twitter, it's unreal. I signed up about two years ago, but I didn't really understand it until Jonathan Ross 'outed' me and my followers list went from 4 to 3000 in 24 hours. Suddenly, everything I wrote in that little box had an audience. An audience that responded! Instantly! Share a link on Twitter and within seconds someone will send you something back that casts it in a new and interesting light. Tell a joke and dozens of people are suddenly trying to better it. Ask a question and people trip over themselves trying to help. And that’s just scratching the surface. The manifold possibilities of Twitter are enough to make you giddy. This is a new world, people! We are officially in the future, not with jetpacks, but with something much cooler, the hive mind. Ignore those grumpy luddites in the broadsheets and elsewhere, who don't understand it, can't be bothered to learn how it works and are frightened at the prospect that people are entertaining themselves in a way that doesn't involve accepted media forms.

So jump in. The twater is fine (I'm sorry).

And say hello ...@majarich.

February 20, 2009

Secrets of the iPhone App Store

The skinny - human's attention spans are approaching that of a fish. Marketers, take note.

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