Ever heard of screen hopping?

What with moving house, xmas, panicking to get my tax return in on time and pandering to my newborn baby boy, I’ve rather neglected my blogging duties I’m afraid!¬† Not that you noticed ūüėČ Anyhow, I’m back on track now with this rather cool campaign.

Honda has just unveiled ‚ÄúThis Unpredictable Life‚ÄĚ – an interactive TV campaign to launch the new Honda Jazz which enables viewers to interact with the ad via a dedicated iphone app.¬† Whether you’re watching it on your TV, computer, or on another iPhone, you can basically grab the characters from the film using your iphone as they appear on screen.

‘Screen hopping’ is a new term for me but I believe it works by using sound recognition in the iphone app to register what’s being played on the ad. In doing so you can effectively present pre-defined elements on your iphone app to give¬† the impression they’ve hopped over from the TV screen. I think even David Blaine would be impressed with that trick!

But to me it feels like the technology is driving the idea here rather than the other way round. Whilst it’s definitely an neat innovative idea I’m not convinced consumers will go to the trouble to download the app as there’s little reward for their efforts apart from the obvious wow factor of experiencing the technology.¬† I’m also struggling to see the connection with the model positioning for the Honda Jazz.¬† That said, this is the first time I’ve seen a brand adopt screen hopping as a way to engage consumers, so it will be interesting to see if other brands will try to emulate this and take it to the next level.

via digitalbuzz

Could Google Goggles replace QR codes?

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I’m liking this new experiment by Google.¬† They’ve recently teamed up with Diageo, T-mobile and few other household brands to see if they can drive their consumers from¬† offline communications to mobile web environments via the visual search device Google Goggles. So if anyone has the Google Goggles app installed on their Android or iPhone they can effectively scan one of the ‘goggles-enabled’ print ads, posters or DM packs and have a more interactive and virtual experience on their mobile.

Could this ultimately replace QR codes? The mind goggles!

Via @iDMcD. More details here on the official Google Blog.

Turning the mundane into a positive brand experience

When it comes to website design we can get so preoccupied with website strategy, usability, IA, wire frames, copy and design that we sometimes forget to challenge some of the more functional, hygiene aspects of website development. However, with a little bit of effort one can turn the mundane into innovative brand experiences.


Everyone hates waiting for a website to load and yet many websites still default to a standard pre-loader.¬† Considering slow site speed is one of the biggest factors affecting bounce rates it’s probably money well spent investing in an engaging pre-loader to keep them entertained while they wait.

If you need some inspiration, there’s a fantastic site called Pretty Loaded which is dedicated to the wild and wonderful art of pre-loaders. I should warn you now it’s strangely hypnotic and addictive!

404 Not Found

When you think about it, the standard ‘404 Not Found’ message is such an anachronism – it’s not only out of sync with the rest of your carefully crafted, consumer friendly website but it also looks like it’s been written by some random technogeek. I came across this great list by Mashable recently which gives loads of examples of how some brands have tried to add their own personal twist to the standard 404 message. This one below happens to be one of my favourites:

Error prompts

Just because someone types in the incorrect email address doesn’t mean you have to chastise them for inputting incorrect data!¬† Why not inject your brand personality into the copy to turn their mistake into a slightly more positive experience?

Registration forms

Everyone hates filling in forms so it really makes sense to make it as inviting and effortless as possible.¬† When Unilever asked¬† TMW to drive handraiser traffic to their Lynx Lounge login area we decided to ‘sex up’ the registration form by including a rather attractive virtual assistant.¬† When you enter your details you’ll find the virtual assistant delivers a personalised response which was a nice touch I thought.

CAPTCHA advertising

Even if you’re not familiar with the phrase Captcha you would have come across it by now. It’s an acronym for ‚ÄúCompletely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart”¬† ie it invites the user to submit a code to determine whether they are human or a bot. But who would think to turn a Captcha into an ad? Solve Media, for one. The company have worked with the likes of Toyota, Microsoft and Dr. Pepper to create an ad message out of the text. For Dr Pepper, for instance, instead of typing in the usual gobbledegook, users were prompted to type in ‚ÄúThere‚Äôs nothing like a Pepper‚ÄĚ.¬†

Search box

So you want to help people find stuff quickly on your site?  Well, you can do the easy thing and plonk a standard search box in the top right hand corner of the website.  Or you can tinker with it a bit to add a bit of charm which might present the brand in a more favourable light.  

Tag clouds

I’m seeing more and more fancy tag clouds these days – it’s almost becoming an art form in itself. There are some rather cool 3D animated tag clouds like the example below or if you understand jQuery (which i don’t!)¬† there’s a plug in you can use here. Or why not follow the example of Nowness and give your audience a selection of interactive ways to navigate tagged content?

Navigation bar

The navbar has obviously been around for years and is a vital way of signposting content on the site.¬† But for that very reason it’s easy to opt for the status quo and use a standard format. However by changing the aesthetics or functionality of the navbar can help to convey the brand personality as well as enhance general usability of the site.¬† ¬†

Domain name

Now I’m not suggesting you ditch your existing domain name starting from tomorrow but there are times when it pays to come up with something more inventive. I love the way Converse have done it where every page is literally hosted on a different domain. My particular favourite is this one http://www.icantbelievethisdomainwasntalreadytaken.com/


It’s all too easy to overlook these hygiene factors and either take them for granted or neglect them due to other priorities, especially when we’re all working at 100 miles an hour or to tight budgets. But as the above examples hopefully demonstrate, it’s possible to deliver a very positive brand experience from even the most mundane aspects of website design. I’m sure there are other examples I’ve missed so feel free to add them to the mix below.

Audi A1 Augmented Reality

The automotive industry were one of the first¬†industries¬†to embrace AR within marketing communications¬†so it’s probably not surprising¬†to see Audi now taking full advantage of this technology to promote the A1.

What’s interesting¬†for me, however, is that they’ve integrated AR within their main website so that it will remain a permanent feature for that model. In this example, you can add a panoramic sunroof, open¬†doors and explore the interior or even take it for a¬†virtual spin. Admittedly AR can be a bit gimmicky for some tastes but I like the fact that people have the option to interact with this¬†if they choose to do so, in much the same way that some prospects prefer video content whilst others devour technical specs. ¬† Also, now that it’s a permanent fixture on the site they should be able to include the AR code on other marketing collateral to help drive offline prospects online.

If Audi can demonstrate that AR is well received with some online personas and improves their conversion rates, I wouldn’t be surprised if they roll this out for¬†all future¬†product launches.

If you want to read my other posts on Augmented Reality click here.

Is social targeting the future?

I had an interesting meeting with a company called Tamtam Media this week who are the UK agents for Media6degrees, an ad serving company in the US who are pioneers in a new media targeting concept called social targeting.¬† I’m curious to see how this develops over the next 12 months or so as I imagine this will be the next big thing in digital media targeting.

Let me try to explain why.

For decades, demographic, psychographic, contextual and behavioural targeting have been the primary tools used by marketers and media buyers to reach specific audiences. But now there’s a new kid on the block called sociographics. By that I mean targeting criteria based on connections via social media sites.

What Media6 have done is build a sophisticated social graph which effectively maps the social connections of millions of people across a multitude of different social media sites, including flickr, facebook, bebo, myspace and any number of influential blogs.¬† Don’t ask me how they do it, let alone without contravening privacy issues – they just do!¬† All I know is that it involves placing 20 billion pixels across the web and tracking browser IDs. What this means though is that they can then serve banner ads via their ad network to anyone who may be socially associated or connected to one of your brand loyalists.

An example of how it works

So let’s say someone visits your website and orders a brochure or buys a product online.¬† Using pixels placed on your website and across the social web, Media6 can track the online behaviour of one of your brand loyalists to build up a picture of their social connections.¬† They also measure things like frequency and reciprocity to identify only the strongest connections.

Now the clever bit. If one of those close connections then visits one of the many media publishing sites within Media6’s ad servicing network – which includes the likes of MSN, Yahoo, Times Online, Facebook or Myspace – they bid for it and serve them one of your ads.¬† Not only that but if that person subsequently clicks on your banner to visit your website the cycle continues.

Clever stuff indeedy.

Why is this better than traditional targeting methods?

The reason this is such a powerful form of targeting is because it’s based on the simple premise that the people you know and regularly interact with are more likely to demonstrate similar brand affinities than those who simply share the same demographic or psychographic profile.¬† And according to Media6, the results appear to validate this theory, out-performing other traditional ad targeting methods by some considerable margin.

It’s a tricky one to get your head around I know, especially as I’m no media planner and probably haven’t explained it that well at all! But if I’ve whet your appetite, this interview with the CEO of Media6degrees might do it more justice!

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An easy mobile payment solution

Wouldn’t it be great if a consumer could visit your website (or potentially your mobile website), decide to purchase a particular product or service and then pay for it there and then using their mobile phone?

Well thanks to a new simple solution by ImpulsePay, now you can.¬† ImpulsePay’s solution works on any UK handset and effectively collects payment via the consumer’s available PAYG credit or by billing against the mobile phone bill.¬† Simple, quick and effective.

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