Friday, May 29, 2009

New Favourite Site of the Week 290509

I know that I go on about Duke Carvell's a lot - mostly on Twitter - but anyone who supplies me with amazing coffee should always be held up in a light that is brighter than the rest. If I had been on Twitter prior to my trip to the UK, there would have been MANY a mention of the amazing Matt from Fidels. I used to get a coffee off Matt every morning at about 7.30 on the way to work. Matt and his amazing long blacks were the perfect start to my mornings, and sometimes I would even get special messages on the top of my coffee cup:Right, large tangent. At any rate, Matt was to coffee what Google is to the Internet. They just worked together. However, things happen, Matt moved to Melbourne and Fidels just isn't the same.

So, since coming back from the UK, my new favourite place to get coffee is Duke Carvell's on Swan Lane. It is so nice and close to work, and I only had to explain how I like my long black once (for the record, it's a short-long black) and don't have to say anything now when I walk in. They just know. And that is how you get repeat business people - care about your customers, take the time to talk to them (asking their name is a great way to build rapport).  

At any rate, they have had a holding page site for quite some time, but they now have a beautiful new site up, which you can check out here. There are a few things I like about this site:
  1. It is so in keeping with the look and feel of the actual place
  2. It has their full menu for leisurely perusal all laid out with very nice flash transitions
  3. It has been lovingly (I'm assuming) put together from VERY local designers Catch Design, so close they probably look straight into Duke's.
I think there should be more restaurants (especially in Wellington where there is so many choices when it comes to eating out) should do this sort of thing. People rely on the internet more and more these days for making all sorts of decisions, including where to eat out.

Going back to Fidel's just quickly, while this two places cannot be compared side by side - they have very different offerings, Fidels website is quite clunky and when you Google Fidels they are certainly the first site listed, however you are presented with this:
"This site may harm your computer"?? Not the best way to get someone to visit your site. 

So, well done Dukes, on a beautiful, user-friendly website, which is also kudos to Catch Design. Keep the coffee coming! Additional kudos for the mention in Vouge Australia, full page pic, awesome.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

On the other side - Westpac

Following a Tweet from @kenfreer this morning, I checked out Westpac's takeover of today. After the BNZ post earlier this week, now lets talk about doing online well.

Today, Thursday 28th May, the National Government are announcing their first Budget. It is kinda a big deal because 
  1. It is National's first Budget where they get to tell us specifically that all the nice promises they made, like tax cuts, to get the country's vote, are not going to happen
  2. We all recognise that the world is not in the best financial state at the moment, so we're looking to the Government to ensure we are heading down a safe and (hopefully) right path
  3. In one way or another (even if not everyone realises it) this Budget will effect us all
So Westpac have made the most of this opportunity. Coverage of the Budget - specifically online since it is pretty much live - is going to be high and people are going to want to know what is going down as it happens. 

What (I think) they have done very well:
  • Selected a site which will have great access and coverage to information - and not just written, I would anticipate video as well.
  • Have worked their brand as strongly as possible - including wallpaper on the homepage and complete display buyout on Budget coverage. They are owning this space on TVNZ, there would be no confusion as to who is advertising
  • They have made their advertising relevant. As per the visual below, the banner advertising refers to the Budget (and the showcase later on talks about 'budgeting for all New Zealanders') this was planned and creatively executed together, it wasn't a matter of 'lets just put something there' which seems to happen a little bit in NZ.
So, well done Westpac, nice to see some serious thought being put into online campaigns (I am well aware that other organisations also plan,time and execute campaigns very well, but this is the nicest one which works the branding well) and I hope it works really hard for you - and I hope tvnz did you guys a seriously good deal. 

Monday, May 25, 2009

Ouch - that could hurt - BNZ, what were you thinking?

So a keen co-worker today said "man, that's brave of BNZ" to which I looked over her shoulder to see what she was talking about. It was this:
This is what you're looking at a little closer. 

Now, this seems as though it is a slightly dangerous move on BNZ's behalf. It is certainly NOT something I would have recommended. Let's look at what's wrong with this:
  1. Underlining writing generally encourages people to click - this is an action that we have been trained up with using the internet - why would you underline your competitors?
  2. Eyeline typically goes top to bottom - why would you place your competitors at the top?
  3. WHY DO THE LINKS GO TO YOUR COMPETITORS SITES?? What? No. If you're going to do something like this, don't link to their sites! That would be 'driving potential customers away from your website'. If you're going to put your competition on your banner, for the love of all things good on online, create a temporary page which says "don't be silly - BNZ will look after you better" otherwise, you're using your advertising budget to help the competition
  4. I didn't even see the BNZ logo. Took me ages - might just be me... The bold blue colour is the only thing that draws my attention, I didn't think the bottom, what, 50 pixels (?) even belonged to that ad. It was completely lost into the background of the NBR website. Is this a case of creative vs. brand guidelines?
  5. This is not the medium to be clever with wording. Online is an instant medium, people look at a page online much quicker than they would if it were a physical newspaper. They are not going to spend the time actually taking in the fact that the point of the advertising is 'banking' vs. 'business'. People will see 'banking' then a list of 'banks' and then choose at will, not keep reading.
If there is anyone out there who happens to find out what kind of results this banner receives, I would be SO interested. I hope BNZ are at least tracking each possible click, see how much business they are driving to each of the other banks, perhaps they could invoice them? Advertising services rendered?

Friday, May 22, 2009

No Favourite Site of the Week 220509

Way too busy for this, this week. Sorry. Plus I'm kinda sick, and I have Creative Commons things to do. This means that I will try to do one next week.

In the meantime, I am a little obsessed with this guy:
And would quite like this coat:(Photos from Sartorialist and Facehunter respectively)

If that's not enough for you check out Song of the Day my friend Ryan told me about this site when we were walking down to Okkervil River (which was amazing) and I am liking a lot, just don't have the energy to explain. Other things to do don't you know.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Can't control competitors advertising...

Sucks huh? Here is GeekZone reporting on Vodafone's announcement of the Google HTC Magic - by the way, Vodafone, if you're listening (I mean reading) and want someone to you test this bad boy out on, my hand is up - and there is freaking XT advertising all the way around it. Nice try Telecom, but I think Vodafone is still the winner on the day here.

I can't wait for the HTC.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sunday you have not impressed me

I seem to be the only one who is not impressed with Sunday’s feature story about the pigs. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think the way that those poor pigs are treated is in no way acceptable, but to be honest, I think the way TVNZ presented this piece is not acceptable either.

You can check out the piece here.

I have 2 major issues with this piece of reporting.

  1. How DARE TVNZ take Mike King, who was the front of the NZ Pork campaign, to such a horrific place and basically tell him that it is thanks to him and the campaign that pigs are treated like this. I thought that that was absolutely disgusting reporting. Mike handled himself so well, but what was TVNZ thinking? It is unfair to expect someone who fronts such a campaign to be aware of this sort of thing, or even to have asked the question. I wouldn’t imagine Tiger Woods asks Nike about sweat shops, but I don’t see him being taken to such places. As an aside – I wonder what the agency that put together the NZ Pork campaign thought of this piece, and I wonder how much share TVNZ is going to be getting of their tv budgets over the next while.
  2. The grilling that the Minister of Agriculture (David Carter) received was totally unfair. For a start, isn’t he a new Minister? I’m guessing that back in 05 (I think) when that legislation was put through, it was under a different Government. The Minister handled himself very well, when asked about what he thought, he didn’t bullshit, he answered honestly; He was being presented with information he had never seen before, and would have to talk to his advisors about how to go forward. He agreed that it was not acceptable, but wanted to know if there was a reason behind why this was happening. When the interviewer pointed out that he was the Minister of Agriculture, he should know about these things, he very openly stated that he was a Cattle and Sheep farmer, and would have to ask the experts about this as it was not something he knew well.

I want to point out again, that I do not agree with animals being treated in such a manner, but I also do not agree with this kind of journalism.

The blurb on tvnzondemand says that Mike King now accuses the industry of legalized cruelty to pigs, I doubt he drove this piece. Sunday’s tagline is “where there’s a story, we’ll find it” I think it should be “where there’s possibly a story, we’ll make it happen”.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Favourite Site of the Week 150509

Right, something a little different for this week’s site of the week.

Soot – such a small thing in the grand scheme of the universe, but this sucker is doing some serious damage to our world. Just ask our friend the polar bear. That’s right, this week site of the week is

The whole point of the site is to build support around reducing black carbon – the second leading cause of global warming after carbon dioxide.

I like that this site is trying to do right by the world, and are using nice rich media to express why we should be pushing their message.

Updated: I love it when brands keep an eye out for their brand online. Thanks for having a conversation with the people that are talking about your brand stopsoot! Got an email the same day I posted from the campaign director thanking me for choosing their site for my favourite site of the week. I love it.

Separating the IB from the IAB

In AdMedia’s Fastline - May 14, 2009

‘The internet advertising bureau is holding a free acquisition marketing online event on Tuesday 19th May at [details details] “Fine tune your acquisition advertising and achieve ROI using online marketing tools,” says the IAB release. The speakers at the MSN-sponsored function are IAB md Deborah Davenport [more details].

The IAB says previous events have been standing room only, “so make sure you RSVP” [more details...]’

I’m going to hope like anything that this is not the actual release that the Internet Bureau sent out, as if they are trying to boost off the back of the Interactive Advertising Bureau – the actual IAB – then for SHAME! However, I am picking that this is a typical Fastline mix up. Either way, I wouldn’t be too impressed if I was the IAB.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Thank you AdRant

Big ups to AdRants for bringing this little gem to my attention.

I'm so confused.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Trade Me loves Mothers

Nice to see that at least one publisher loves their mum. Trade Me seems to be the only publisher (yeah - I didn't look very hard) who have done a bit of an 'ode to mothers day' with their logo.Or, at least I'm guessing that is why the kiwi is pink??

In other news, there is 4 hours left until our film has to be in for the 48hour furious film-making competition. Our editor and I finished partying at 5.30 this morning, so today hasn't been a huge amount of fun.
It is certainly easier to produce something when you know the subject from the get go, have weeks of planning, and a budget of a few hundred $k. I kinda miss being on Suit side... sometimes.
If we get it in on time and manage to do ok in the heats, keep an eye out for us. Team B Cool with "Cold Calling".

Updated: Google loves mum too. Of course Google loves mum. How could I have missed that. Damn 3 hours sleep!

Updated again: 48 Hours FAIL! Sucks. We finished editing at 5-5.30ish, but for some reason couldn't print to tape, so had to transfer movie to another laptop to burn to DVD. DVD wouldn't eject. Handed it in at 7.02pm. So tired. So unfair. At least we didn't kill each other.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Favourite Site of the Week 080509

Ok, so as promised, this is not a fashion/photography orientated favourite site of the week. It is however, very cool and amazingly well developed. Site this week is: and it is just be bees knees!
So the basic idea behind it, is that it is a shopping site for 'interns' from around the world (there is even a kiwi listed - she is the chick that everyone is looking at below):I guess what gets me the most about this site is:
  • It has been beautifully put together
  • It is a lot of fun to play with, the visuals so far are simply from the home page, and as you mouse over all the people check out who you are checking out
  • It's a nice idea, shopping for an intern, and you can sort these people by name, date, how many views they've had and what they specialise in
  • Once you delve deeper into each 'inter' you can get more information about these people, such as below:
Granted, these are the details for Dough, who seems to be a 7 year old fish from Greece, but sometimes, beggars can't be choosers. Bet you don't have to pay him much.

I guess, more than anything, it is just a beautifully crafted site. So well done.

In the same sort of vein, @Designpimp put up a link to FOXTEL's I am Unique which seems like the same sort of idea, but I am not sure that it has been quite as well executed, there seem to be a number of glitches in this site, but it is still pretty cool, plus anyone can add their own profile. I'm in there... somewhere.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Check your 'Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007' kids

Ok, so I wasn't going to say anything about this, and then I decided, you know what, this is called 'Opinion Added' because I have opinions, and if I hold them back, then surely it negates the whole point of my blog, right?

So to bring it down a little I am not going to name names, anyone with half a brain could probably work it out, but you know...

I think it's about time we checked the 'Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007' - that fun act that came in 1 day after my birthday (going to a government briefing about it was exactly how I wanted to spend my birthday - I remember it well) in 07. The basics behind it, is that we're not really allowed to send out emails to a 'database' of people unless they have given their consent to receive such correspondence.

This week I recieved an email, as did someone else in my office which is why I know that it was a bulk emailout, from a speaker I saw recently. Now, the person who sent the email was not the organiser of this event, which means that my details were passed on from the company that I RSVP'ed to, to this person. I'm afraid that my RSVP could in no way be considered implied consent to a) recieve bulk email information or b) have my personal details passed on to a third party.

Now, I like the company that passed on my details, and the email wasn't horrendous (although, before you invite me to the next presentation you're doing, you might want to note that I am in Wellington, and therefore may not make it to Auckland for this...) so it's not the biggest deal, but to be fair, I would have thought all involved would have known better.

Gisele's new TV commercial

It's called Airport Invasion and was made by Giovanni+DraftFCB - With a cast of 1,000, and directed by Nando Olival they were apparently working with a $4M budget, excluding Gisele's fee. Gosh.

I like it, not sure that it would make me want to get sky, but I also don't think I am the target market...

Source: Grazia Daily & Viral Blog

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Trade Me ... Tour

So I was invited to the The Trade Me Revolution Tour which hit Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch last week. I would have blogged about this earlier, but have been too busy to put proper thought into it. Quick rundown: John from Trade Me, Bernard from, Trent from Optimal Useability, Mike from Ad Protocol and Geoff from all talked. MG from Trade Me kind of chaired the whole thing.

As MG quite rightly pointed out, this wasn't revolutionary. Their angle was that we can't let the recession stop us from advertising... basically.

At any rate, I'm sorry, but I thought it was a little lacking. What it was lacking the most was an overarching theme. Everyone was very focused on what their field is/how they could sell themselves. I do understand why they were pushing themselves, but I thought it could have been more cohesive. To put all of this in context, I remember talking to MG about this months ago; his original concept was to try to talk to agencies about the reliability, measure-ability and cost efficiency of online advertising. Basically, he wanted to help agencies understand how easy it is to plan and book online, and how they didn't necessarily need to use the IB to do so.

There were definitely points which were interesting however. John talked us through where Trade Me had been (mostly design-wise) and where it will possibly go in 2010. I did find it interesting that on the day that video went live on the TM homepage John was talking about simplicity and respect for customers and the community they create within TM. It wasn't that long ago that you wouldn't find flash on TM, because apparently the consumers didn't like it. I know that people are probably more used to flash and accept it now, but I do wonder whether there has been compromise in the quest for the advertising dollar.

Bernard was up next, and while the information about how many people in NZ have mortgages etc. was interesting, I wasn't sure how it all fit into the equation. It wasn't particularly relevant to me.

Trent was very interesting, talking about how people use the internet, how they read it. I think the main points I got from him were:
  • You don't have time to capture peoples attention when advertising online
  • People are drawn to text over graphics
  • Avoid using all caps
  • Underlining reduces legibility
  • Italics reduce reading speed
And much more, that was what I noted down. I did find a lot of Trent's messages very relevant and I will be downloading the full report... when I have a chance.

Mike's presentation was nothing really new to me, simply because he taught me heaps when I worked with him back in the days that I worked on Sorted. Online ads that work, all made sense. Would have been interesting to get some really meaty data on the ads which were shown.

Geoff's presentation was good in the way he was the only person to recognise traditional media and its role to play in the support of online advertising. It was a shame that someone had not taught him how to read analytics, or at least the difference between visits and unique visitors. Also, I would imagine that site traffic trending up towards the end of March (and the cut off date) would have been something they would have expected.

I guess I had hoped that the over-riding theme for the whole thing would have been more than 'online'. Yet again I hear the usual '20% of media use is online, yet only 8% of the budget...' I think I have covered this already. Possibly when the online industry start playing the same game the rest of us are in, they'll start getting more budget.

Perhaps MG had the right idea when he first started planning this, maybe it's about educating the people that plan and buy media? Surely finding some nice willing clients who can produce case studies about CPA and ROI isn't that hard. We (agencies) have the research tools that tell us where and how our target audiences are consuming their media. We're capable of selling our recommendations, based on this research, to our clients. But everyone is cautious of things they don't know, if they can't give their clients real world examples of how a medium can work, its possible they are going to revert back to a more traditional schedule. Maybe publishers do need to step back and ask themselves, 'why am I not getting my share? How can I change this?' I'm don't have the answer, but complaining that their slice of the pie isn't big enough, isn't going to help.

Favourite site of the week 010509

Right, can't help myself. Should be working, but really wanted to get one of these suckers out each week on a Friday, so, let's do it.

Fav site of the week this week is One Photo a Day
found this one through a link from @Designpimp
Beautiful photos are the name of the game, in particular I do love 24 April 2009:

In other, photo related news...

How cute is this kid:
This little dude was snapped by the mighty Sartorialist in Sydney, and in the meantime, FaceHunter snapped this little gem in Soho, London:Is it just me, or could they totally be brothers?

Another week, another site... Next week may not be quite so image focused... maybe.