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New luxury toys

September 30, 2008
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I thought Serendipity 3’s $25,000 edible gold dessert was outrageous. Or Virgin Galatic’s sub-orbital space filghts, starting at $200,000. But then in 2006 we saw the birth of the Phoenix 1000, the ultra luxe private submarine going for a whopping $78 mil.

This sub is the single largest private undersea vehicle ever built. It comes fully loaded with two floors of lavish living space, aquariums (if the surround-view of the open sea wasn’t enough), theaters, mini subs for side trips, and anything else you can dream up. Since then private submarines have become the new toy of choice for the rich and famous.

Where can modern extravagance go next?

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Posted in Travel
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Form follows function. Wait, make that multifunction

September 29, 2008
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In the Netherlands a bike stand doubles as a tire pump. At Harrods, the convenience store takes care of your dry cleaning. Cell phones turn into price scanners. iPods into DVD players, TV’s into computers, sneakers into pedometers. Pretty soon, everything is going to have to double as something to stay competitive. Who wants an iPod anymore that just plays music?

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New web browsers as life portals

September 29, 2008
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I was a little skeptical when I first heard about Flock, the new social web browser. “Social” is one of those buzz words that gets thrown in front of everything to make it sound new or different. But, curious as I am, I downloaded Flock and tested it out for a week. I have not looked back since.

Flock is a bloggers best friend. It is also my new favorite resource. The people at Flock have finally achieved what so many companies are racing to develop: a social aggregator on steroids. This browser connects to all of your accounts, from Facebook to Flickr to twitter to your blog, creating a customizable¬† experience that spans across one’s entire life online.

The sidebars allow you to easily drag and drop media into a clipboard, blog post, friend’s profile, Flickr stream, email or away status. Bloggers can publish posts without ever having to navigate off a page. Very cool. Not perfect, and I am sure it will be improved upon. But it represents a good evolution and redefinition of the web browser. Sorry Firefox, I’m sold.

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Online advertising: thinking outside the unit

September 29, 2008
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Nintendo’s Experience Wii youtube channel proves creative doesn’t have to be constrained by a banner or video unit. It makes use of the entire page to create a really interesting product demo. As people watch what appears to be a typical promo video, the background of the page shakes, text falls, sidebars get unhinged. It’s pretty cool. I wish I had worked on it.

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Five low-cost ways to drive traffic to your site

September 27, 2008
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So much amazing creative content is produced for the web. But no matter how powerful your website, video or application is, it’s meaningless if your audience doesn’t see it. Here are some low-cost ways to ensure that the people who matter will find what you’re putting out there.

  1. Make it portable. Addthis is a social bookmarking and sharing button that allows people to share your content easily. It gives people the option to send to Digg, Del.icio.us, StumbleUpon, Facebook, Myspace, or basically any social bookmarking site they could possibly want. This button not only spreads content and gets more eyeballs on it, it also improves your search engine ranking. So write, it down, take a picture, add it to all your content.
  2. Add a contact importer. General rule of thumb, the easier you make it for people, the more likely they are to do what you ask. SocialEngineMods offers a great “friend inviter.” It gives people instant access to their address book, allowing them to invite their friends from LinkedIn, gmail, AIM, .mac, Facebook, Myspace and many more to view or join your site without having to navigate off the page. This is a really solid way to grow your user base through your existing customers.
  3. Add Facebook Beacon. This is an opt-in application that allows you to track your users engagement on your site and publish it to their Facebook account as social stories in their news feeds. If they register, make a purchase, download an application, etc it will post to their news feeds for all of their friends to see.
  4. Use pay-per-click promotion. Facebook, StumbleUpon and Google adwords are great. It’s no-waste, hyper-targeted marketing in places that matter.
  5. Engage bloggers + advocates. Make them a part of the campaign, not an after thought. Make it worth their while to promote your website or film. Can you give them traffic in exchange? Exclusive content? Link exchange programs are great. But you can usually beat that. Getting top bloggers to talk about you gives credibility and optimizes your SERPs with quality referrals.

Mobile gaming theaters

September 25, 2008
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Games2U launched their Mobile Video Game Theaters last January. These climate-controlled trailers pack 50-inch flat screens, surround sound speakers, multiple gaming systems, laser tag guns, coaches and just about everything you need to turn your backyard into an immersive World of Warcraft.

The theaters are currently popular for kids birthday party’s. Makes sense. It’s another attempt to inject activity and the outdoors in our increasingly technology-crazed culture. But could this be the future of TV and interactive as well? Kids aren’t the only tech-hungry crowd who could use a dose of fresh air and human interaction with their iPhone. I could imagine this type of technology in certain hotels, city parks, concerts, retail extensions. While these trailers are a great idea, the future applications and opportunities they present are more interesting. Just something to chew on.

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Posted in Gaming
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What is communications planning?

September 8, 2008
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Also known as comms planning, communication channel planning, connection planning, touchpoint planning, channel planning, integrated media planning, other.

Well, it is one of the most political departments in the marketing industry. That might be the only definitive answer to this question. Comms planning was born in response to the rise of new technologies, audience fragmentation, consumer malaise toward traditional advertising and consequent revival of below-the-line marketing. And all those other fancy jargony phrases marketers toss around now.

In an ideal world, the overall goal is to build a comprehensive vision of how a brand should go to market before any media is bought or work is executed. To determine how, where and when to bring creative ideas to life in a way that is relevant to a specific culture. This doesn’t always happen easily. There are logistical issues, politics between clients and all their agency partners, sensitive egos, dogma and procedures so entrenched in the industry they are almost impenetrable. All of these factors makes communications planning difficult at times. But that is also what keeps it interesting.

This blog chronicles the interests, resources, cheats and inspiration of one such planner.