Posts Tagged ‘social’

This week, I have been mostly playing…

Thursday, May 13th, 2010


I didn’t really do the Farmville thing. Loved the game structure and concept, just found the idea of town-based digital types ‘playing’ at being a farmer rather lame. Clearly I’m in the minority but my farming family background just won’t let me do it.

I’m also not that keen of football. And it’s probably the only genre of game that I can’t play either. Never really got past the first few seconds of any console football game. Kinda surprised in Bola though. It has all the hallmarks of something I should hate. Football, management game and a mini-football game to play too. Yet it’s brilliant. It’s very Farming in feel but clearly is trying to tap into the world’s most popular ‘real-world’ game.

Why is this interesting? Well all the people who have been addicted to Farmville just aren’t picking this up. They’re ‘Farmvilled out’. They’ve reached that cliff where they suddenly realise “Hang on, this is absolutely pointless!”… and they go about their normal lives actually talking to real people and who knows, doing real gardening. All the people that stood, dazed at the side line of Farmville tutting seem to welcome Bola. It’s like a ‘Thank god, a game that doesn’t make me look lame” moment. Ding, ding, social gaming round two…

I also notice they are now the 3rd most popular app this month on Facebook. Now there’s your business model…

PLAY IT here.

Split/Second on Facebook

This is the Split/Second Facebook app to help promote the console game. First up I have to confess, I helped make this but what struck me was the simplicity of the game and the power of several robust game principles when they come together in the right mix:

1) Game trailer are the best thing to sell games. Why not use the trailer AS the game.

2) Keep it simple, it’s Facebook!

3) Make the scoring mechanism granular enough to generate varied scores

4) Show your friends in a leader board – this REALLY hikes the replay factor

5) Create a game where YOU fail because of YOUR skills. You are compelled to prove yourself.

6) Stick it on Facebook, the biggest community on the web.

Several people have figured out a way of boosting your scores by gambling everything on guessing the next sequence. It’s infuriating simple but has so many ways to go from hero to zero.

PLAY IT here… my current high score is 8268 btw

Panfu virtual world

I only mention Panfu as it was the first site my daughter (9) actively recommended to me. Her friend had mentioned it at school and she’s seen a few adverts on TV. So I took a sneak peek to see what it was all about. In a nutshell, Club Penguin with Pandas… but not quite so good. The clincher for my daughter was the panda factor, nothing more.

Curious to see what becomes of it. Whether it gains traction and gets better or becomes abandoned. I only met 2 other pandas when I roamed around for 10 minutes or so. Watch this space kids!

Social Influence Marketing Trends by Razorfish

Friday, February 19th, 2010

View more presentations from shivsingh.

Nice, short and insightful presentation by Shiv Sing from Razorfish about the marketing benefits of social influencers.

How NOT to ‘have a go’ at social media

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

With reference to my last post, sometimes the old-boy ways are not the best ways, and social media is the bear trap that many ‘traditional’,  ‘general’ or ‘full service’ marketing agencies lose their legs in.

I’ve been following this little story with interest. In a nutshell, ‘traditional’ advertising agency has a go at social media, gets it a little bit wrong, fumbles the recovery and ends up getting it very wrong. The agency in question is Saachi & Saachi, the client is Toyota (like they needed any more bad publicity) and the project was a simple (but terribly over-done) competition to come up with a home made advert for the Toyota Yaris.

I could try to paraphrase the entire scenario here but I found this article my Mumbrella in Australia which explains in painful detail how this came to be, the resulting fall-out and more importantly, the learnings. I found myself reading it through my fingers at one point.

As Tim Burrowes tactfully summarises;

“It’s now obvious that PR expertise is not an optional extra that ad agencies having a bit of a dabble in social media can do without. Although advertising has always had the potential to be controversial, for social media that possibility grows exponentially and that risk needs to be controlled.”

If you haven’t seen the ‘winning entry’, I suggest you read the article before watching the clip below, the lead-up makes it even more remarkable.

Tip: Kids don’t do UGC

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

About a year ago, we had a tricky brief. Make a website for kids without a brand, any content or characters… but make it promote a show coming up soon… which you can’t mention. Hmmm… easy peasy.

Turns out the show in question was the new Famous 5 On the Case, a new take on the Enid Blyton series of books. Our solution was to ‘live the values’ of the Famous 5 but creating a site for kids to share their survival skills, whether country or city based. It was also aimed at grown ups with the intention of them passing down their hard-earned knowledge to the next generation. How to shine a coin with a lemon? How do you chain your bike up properly? How do you make a boomerang from lolly sticks? The answer to these questions would be be answered. Everyone knew it was a tough brief and were actually rather amazed that there was a solution at all. All go so far.

We set about scoping, considered a big tech build but found a number of off-the-peg content sharing and UGC (user generated content) products. We hired a company, created “Secret”, got all the people we know to make some initial videos, upload them, sat back… and waited.

And waited. The avalanche of video entries never really materialised. A year on, the site has eventually made way for the official Famous 5 microsite and the lessons have been filed under “Great idea, just didn’t work”.


  • The lack of a cool brand meant there was no kudos in being seen on this site
  • There was no real reward for uploading, therefore no incentive to upload
  • Kids don’t really have access to all the kit and equipment to make the videos
  • Kids don’t really upload videos. It’s just not really allowed. And parents can’t be bothered
  • The ‘off-the-shelf’ product was actually fairly expensive once monthly charges were added
  • We should have tested the broad concept WAY earlier on real kids
  • If there’s a glaring ‘untapped niche’, there’s probably a reason. Kids UCG is one of them

What WAS important is that without taking a risk now and again, the web would be a very dull place. Ok, so this one may not have worked quite as everyone hoped, but the next solution will be much better for it. We were open and honest at all times and it’s just one of those things. Learn, move on. At least we tried and at least it wasn’t a dull, safe banner campaign. And some of the videos made it onto the new Famous 5 site, so it wasn’t all wasted. Here’s me cutting an apple without an knife and making a Monkey Fist rope ball. I clearly have no shame…