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« September 2008 | Main | Archives | November 2008 »

October 23, 2008

B&T Magazine Redesign


I'm shocked that one of the weekly advertising mags here in Australia B&T has redesigned and refocused. It's not fortnightly and it's new format is much better. It's actually got articles worth reading not just rehashed PR. The covers are actually creative and the layout and photography of features is spot on. I did feel B&T was slipping (as it became lighter each week) but this feels much more of a worthy read now.

Keep up the good work. The website didn't receive as much of an overhaul but maybe that's in the works?

October 22, 2008

Fary Cry 2 Experience.

The Far Cry 2 Experience site has more in game footage than you can poke a stick at. The game looks pretty solid too.

Im not a fan of the 12 hr delay on the multiplayer Jackal Hunt game though.

Here's my Far Cry 2 profile below. I had to enter my email address to get this which is a bit cheeky.

October 21, 2008

Return of Terry Tate

Remember Terry Tate? No he didn't drive a BMW he was the Office Linebacker that solved problems.

Great to see that you can introduce an old fav with a fresh twist.

Political Hot Air Balloon Race

Tequila Sydney obviously need more work as they have had time to put together a Political Hot Air Balloon race :) Good to see agencies being proactive and having some fun on their own backs and not waiting for clients.

Here's Tequila's words on the project;

"Taking live feeds from Google news quotes service, the balloons rise and fall graphically showing who's generating the most virtual column inches each day. You also get the chance to stick a pin in the balloon of a candidate acting as a sort of opinion poll."

I would have liked to have seen it an actual race over the days. Not just rise and fall based on the most recent mentions in the news. They missed a big opportunity with some sexy data visualisation but they definitely got in at the right time for a "presidential viral" piece. I like the Google News mentions metric but it's hard to know if the news is positive or negative (which would be impossible to tell).

They were also responsible for the Slap the Candidate viral a few years back.

Another take on this is Avenue Fighter which takes Twitter mentions of either candidate checks whether they are positive or negative and then uses that to form an attack to either fighter.


Which viral will reign supreme? Both subscribe the to the "viral = ugly" doctrine of design but they are funny enough not to need much polish.

October 20, 2008

Obama and the tubes

Update - Obama has actually been named AdAge's Marketer of the Year.

One of the most interesting things in following the US Election is the distinct advantage Barack Obama has been given by his campaign's understanding of the web and social networking.

At the start of this whole 18 month long schebang, Obama and the Democrats announced they would opt-out of the traditional public financing model of election fundraising. This surprised some, but meant they were free to attract unlimited personal donations via their website and a constant barrage of email requests.

Its working. Today, the Democrats announced yet another record month in donations raised - $150 million. To give you an idea how much this is, in 2000, the two candidates raised in total "just" $350 million. Over the entire campaign.

And if you take a look at the efforts Obama has got going online, its not surprising:

On the front page of Obama's website buttons to allow donations can't be missed. McCain's website has the same, but every single one of the videos on Obama's YouTube channel links to a Google Donate button:

Picture 12.png

Not a difficult thing to implement. But when you see the kind of views Obama's channel has (almost 100 million so far, compared to McCain's with around 22 million) - that is some serious, potentially game-changing interface design. Why wouldn't McCain have the same button on their videos?

On Obama's website, folks can get involved, and campaign on his behalf, with drag and drop code that allows people to fund raise on their own site:

Picture 11.png

This effectively makes Democrat supporters agents of Obama's campaign, spreading it on his behalf. Which is good for them, and good for Obama.

Whilst McCain during his campaign has used banners that have gone for a bit more of a negative approach (not to mention the design):


...Obama's banners on the other hand offers some utility - a tax cut widget that allows people to see how much their tax bill would be under the Democrats:

Picture 10.png

Of course, Obama even has his own iPhone app

Picture 13.png

Not to mention the many probama memes all across the web. This is of course not the direct doing of the Obama campaign, but more proof they are connecting with people online:

Sarah Palin still uses Hotmail, Barack Obama is your new Bicycle, When Obama Wins, Palin as President, McCain free whitehouse, The Great Schlep, Things Younger than John McCain, Spelling Change and 30 Reasons to vote for Barack Obama.

McCain, for his side of the equation, has a game of space invaders and McCainSpace, which gave me the exact same feeling I had when my dad did an impromptu "rap" in front of my friends when I was 12. It looks awkward and probably won't draw much of a crowd.

Its no surprise that McCain might have difficulty connecting with younger voters. His appeal is with conservative, traditionally older Americans. And he's admitted on a number of occasions he doesn't use email (due to war injuries I believe). But it just seems that the attempts he does make, are simply not as smart, from a media or engagement point of view. And the more we find out about who uses the web, the more we are surprised at the wide demographic that actually gets involved (retirees, housewives, etc). So there's no excuse for both parties to be all over new media as a way of engaging with people.

Obama has hit a wide range of voters from every angle possible, and allowed people to feel like they're actually involved in the campaign. The Democrats seems to be more acutely aware of how fragmented the voter audience has become over the past few years:

Picture 31.png

Here's a few numbers also:

Barack Obama
YouTube Subscribers - 101,318
Friends – 23,817
MySpace friends – 711,524
Twitter followers – 99, 121

John McCain
YouTube Subscribers – 25, 322
Friends – Not stated
MySpace friends - 172,953
No official Twitter account

Will this all matter come November 4th? Who knows. US Elections involve countless factors and hundreds of much bigger, knife-edge topics that could prove decisive for one candidate one way or the other. We haven't seen so far how big a role the web will play in swaying a campaign one way or the other (remember a short three elections ago where e-mail use was far from widespread). And TV campaigning is an area that still involves big media spends that will end up determining a lot of people's vote. But if Obama does win, his campaign's approach to the web certainly won't have hurt. And will probably come to be a textbook approach to fighting an election online.

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