Amusing branded Halloween video from Axe

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T-Mobile Parking Ticket

T-Mobile have done it again with another highly entertaining piece of video!

I came across this within an expandable super-banner on the front page of I launched it and wanted to share it with the world which is where this campaign fell down a bit for me, because although it was in a YouTube player and on (albeit within an ad-unit) I couldn’t find a way to share it directly out of the advert.

I went to the trouble of searching for it afterwards because I work in online & mobile video, but how many sharing opportunities were lost from the casual viewer? I’d say a fair few, and it’s ironic really consider T-Mobile tell us that ‘Life’s for sharing’

Great video though, really enjoyed it!

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Very clever video/social campaign from Peugeot

To win a week with their favourite Peugeot car, users were asked to click and hold onto the car for longer than anybody else. Video meets social meets the human need to compete!

Users could see how other people were doing, and while they ‘held on’ they were subjected to a plethora of facts, figures and sales story from Peugeot.

Very clever, and succesful campaign – love it!

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Ian Carrington from Google, talking about mobile growth (video)

14% of all Google searches are from mobile devices and other cool stuff, including Google Translate.

Ian Carrington gave this presentation at IAB Engage for Mobile earlier this year.

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Video increases engagement, which can improve your sites Google search ranking

Online video is the fastest growing advertising medium right now, and the time spent watching video online by consumers has never been higher.

Publishers have known for a while that having premium video content on their site has enabled them to make more revenue through advertising, but what many publishers maybe don’t realise is that having engaging video content on your site can actually improve your Google page ranking.

Rather than me tell you, listen to SEO expert, Bruce Clay in this video.

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Great branded content video from Nike – old, but worth another look

Nike have a great knack of producing great video stories, with their brand at the center, and this video is no different.

I love the Rooney misplaced pass in the final minute that leads to his thoughts of being vilified, before putting in the extra effort to win it back and his thoughts then immediately starts leaning towards his expected hero status!

I am only surprised that the YouTube views don’t seem to have climbed into the millions!

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Online video advertising research missing the point?

TubeMogul Finds That Most Viewers Never See Pre-Roll Video Ads

The above headline from Reel SEO, and the research it introduces from Tube Mogul, is of almost no value to anybody as far as I can see. It seems to be judging a sites video performance based on the homepage alone, and as I will explain below this is rarely the page where most of the video views occur.

I spent three years working with online video on one of the biggest UK newspaper websites, and we realised fairly soon after launching video that placing it on the homepage is not the answer to generating significant video views. As a result, video rarely featured on the homepage thereafter, and so the percentage of viewers watching video on that one page will of course be low. Apart from that, the percentage is of little interest to any advertiser because they would be buying video advertising on a cost per thousand video plays basis, not on the number of unique users that visited any given page.

The homepage is often a more fleeting stepping-stone to multiple article pages. It contains the top news of the day in brief, with links to the in-depth stories elsewhere. So the user lands on the homepage, decides which stories they wish to read, and then clicks to an article page containing that story. From experience, I know that video will get many more plays if it is relevant, and embedded into an article than it ever will on the homepage. It is also worth noting that a fairly small percentage of the newspaper sites overall traffic comes to the site via the homepage, and that Google often takes users directly to the article the user is interested in.

The newspaper site I worked on achieved many millions of video views with this ‘article page’ strategy, and very few of them relied on a home page position, so I would suggest that knowing the percentage of homepage visitors that watched video is of little or no use to advertisers and their agents.

The Take Away on Reel SEO reads:

“… So you blow loads of cash on video creative and trying to get your pre-roll ads into the pre-roll mix on the site that has the full-length episodes whether it be a broadcaster or whatever. You put all your money into that campaign and get a really low ROI and can’t figure out what happened. It’s simple. Not as many people saw those videos as you were hoping even though you pushed out perhaps millions of impressions.”

The line that reads ‘…not as many people saw those videos as you were hoping’ demonstrates to me that the author doesn’t understand how pre-roll advertising is traded.

A buyer will buy a number of video plays, and pay a cost per thousand plays to achieve that goal. They will then often third-party track their campaign to ensure that the booked number of impressions is delivered.

No buyer that I have encountered in the many years I have been working in online video advertising has ever paid based on the number of unique users on the site/ homepage, and so this statement appears to be wholly incorrect.

I’d love to hear your views, using the comments on this blog!

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Funny ‘doggy dentures’ video ad from Pedigree

This ad made me laugh the first time I saw it, and still does! Very good.

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My favourite video advert of the year so far by far!

The Force: Volkswagen Commercial

Really emotive, beautifully shot advert from VW, with the Star Wars score… absolutely love it!

When you make adverts this good, you don’t have to spend as much on media … this beauty has been watched nearly 40m times on YouTube already, at no cost!

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What is stopping brands from producing shorter pre-roll lengths?

For me the conversation about pre-roll lengths started in September 2007, when I joined Telegraph Media Group to launch Telegraph TV. Previously I had worked at a TV production company, and it was the norm for advertisers to run 30’ creative on the giant Blink TV screens that we managed at music gigs and festivals across the world.

In the digital space though, shorter lengths are important. As well as working with video as a medium I also shoot and edit it, and while I am no Spielberg I am capable enough to know that making a 10 second version of a 30 second advert is not rocket science.

I also know that the view through rate of 10 second adverts compares very favourably when compared with 30 second creative, and I know that video advertising investment is growing significantly, so why are so many brands relying on their 30 second TV spot to do a job online?

The mind-set of a consumer online is very different from that of somebody watching TV or Cinema. The lean-forward, active, fact-finding state of mind displayed in somebody online can be a very powerful proposition for brands, but I think in order to maximise that opportunity advertising has to be tailored to the environment.

I also believe that there is an unscientific, yet direct correlation between the size of the screen and the acceptable length of video advertising. Sat in a dark cinema, with no distractions and no chance of you getting up to make the tea or to put the washing on (my wife would tell you there is no chance of me doing this at home either) then a 90 second advert is likely to be acceptable. As the screen gets smaller the attention span decreases with it as the possible distractions increase. So in order to still engage these people, the creative length has to reduce as well. Maybe to a 30 on TV for example. Online you are one twitch of your finger away from leaving an advert if it is deemed too long, so once again the length of the pre-roll should reduce. The IAB Video Council recommendation is 15 seconds for online video pre-roll advertising; I would go one step further and recommend a 10 second creative length online. On mobile I think it should be shorter still, but that is another conversation.

If the creative agency are briefed at the very start that the creative needs to be adaptable to online, then there should be no reason why a shortened version of the TV/ Cinema advert could not be planned and created. At the moment, too many consumers are watching a smaller proportion of a longer message, and surely that is worse than them watching all of a shorter message?

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Bruce Daisley talk at IAB Engage (video)

Great talk from Bruce Daisley of YouTube at the IAB Engage conference.

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The growth of mobile stats [video]

Some interesting fact and figures on the growth of mobile from Sybase, a SAP company.

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Video advertising on mobile up 492% year on year!

The IAB and PwC have released a report on mobile advertising in 2010, and it looks as if pre and post roll advertising is the fasted growing ad-format of all, albeit from a low base.

Mobile video advertising still has many barriers, most notably inconsistent user experienced when streamed over a 3G connection; a lack of measurement and therefore accountability and many publishers are still struggling with the technical aspects of serving mobile pre-roll advertising.

I think that mobile video has the potential to be bigger than fixed-internet video before too long, and it is encouraging to see the signs of that happening in this IAB/ PwC 2010 report.

It would be interesting to see how much Apple’s iPad and other tablet devices have driven this growth in pre-roll advertising.

Snapsot from the report:

Expenditure on Mobile advertising formats. This category is broken down into:

• Banners and text links were up 62% year-on-year to £23.7 million (£14.6m in 2009).
• Tenancies were up 18% year-on-year to £1.7m (£1.4m in 2009) and a market share of 2% (3.8% in 2009).
• Pre- and Post-roll advertising was up 492% year-on-year to £1.1 million, (£0.2m in 2009) and a market share of 1.3% (0.5% in 2009).
• Other formats – including display advertising within SMS / MMS – £1.6 million, up from £1.2 million in 2009, a growth of 32% year-on-year.

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Collective acquires premium online video ad network Web TV Enterprise

Integration expected to speed shift of broadcast ad revenue to online video.

Collective, a full service provider of media and technology solutions for display and video advertising, announced today that it has acquired premium online video advertising network, Web TV Enterprise. The deal, which follows only six months after the Company’s expansion into the UK and just weeks after acquiring video advertising platform Oggifinogi, furthers Collective’s position as a leader in delivering audiences to brand advertisers utilising unified in-banner and in-stream video ad formats.

Web TV Enterprise is the UK’s largest premium online video ad network, representing many of the UK’s leading web publishers and content owners. A pioneer of the VOD (video on-demand) advertising space since 2006, Web TV presents advertisers with the widest range of premium video channels on the web, reaching more than 25 million UK viewers a month.

“Collective is committed to accelerating the shift of broadcast advertising spend online,” said Joe Apprendi, CEO, Collective. “Unlike most video networks, Web TV’s revenues come largely from broadcast media budgets versus smaller digital plans. Our acquisition of Web TV will allow us to tap video’s incredible potential and further strengthen our rapidly expanding capabilities.”

In its Online Video Advertising Market Report based on a survey of UK media buyers, Web TV Enterprise revealed that more than seventy percent expected online video advertising to increase by twenty five percent over the next six months. The research also suggested digital buyers are responding to improvements in audience measurement techniques, which has long been an obstacle for many, as noted by eMarketer which reported 31 percent of UK advertisers said online video ads need better measurement.

Collective also makes available Internet Gross Rating Point (iGRP) reporting for all Collective video, rich media and display campaigns, making the integration a natural extension of Collective’s product suite as the company continues to align its business with meeting brand advertising objectives.
“The promise of online video advertising lies in its ability to allow brand advertisers to engage with their audiences within the most appropriate content environments, where the most impact and opportunity exist,” said Jamie Estrin, Managing Director, Web TV Enterprise. “Collective’s success in combining data, targeting and analytics with the most engaging advertising format available makes this a natural fit for us. Our combined efforts will drive the advancement of online video advertising.”

The deal closed at an undisclosed amount.

About Collective

Founded in 2005, Collective is a full service provider of media and technology solutions for display and video advertising. We help brand advertisers and leading publishers monetize trusted audience data and brand safe ad inventory. Collective’s industry expertise provides a strategic advantage to its clients by leveraging proprietary audience modeling, insights and ad effectiveness metrics. Our flagship products, Collective Display and Collective Video®, are powered by AMP®, our market-tested data and media management platform. Collective is headquartered in New York with offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Francisco and London. Collective’s investors include Accel Partners®, Greycroft Partners and iNovia Capital. For more information, please visit

About Web TV Enterprise

Web TV Enterprise ( is the UK’s largest premium online video ad network, representing many of the UK’s leading web publishers and content owners. As a pioneer of the VOD (video on-demand) advertising space since 2006, the company presents advertisers with the widest range of high quality premium video channels on the web, where it places audio-visual advertising. Web TV Enterprise exclusively represents premium content from partners including Sony Music, iVillage, The Independent, E! Online and IPC Media. Over 250 leading advertising brands have run pre-roll campaigns on Web TV Enterprise’s premium video channels including Sony Playstation, COI, Vodafone, L’Oreal, Renault and Unilever.
Founded in 2006 by Jamie Estrin, Web TV Enterprise’s premium video ad network reaches over twenty five million online viewers.

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U.S. mobile usage by activity

Found this on ComScore’s Data Mine.

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Five years of video advertising (US)

Found this nice, easy to read infographic on, and although it reports on the US market it is still interesting I think.

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Cisco say in 20 years time you will be able to smell, feel and interact with your TV

Scott Puopolo, Vice President and Global Head of Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group has set out his thoughts on how TV will evolve during his keynote speech at the Over-the-Top TV Conference 2011 in San Jose, California.

I found myself baulking at the claims that within 20 years we will be able to smell the cooking taking place in the cooking shows we watch, or feel the breeze in our face when watching a show set on a beach. I think it will take ten years from internet connected TV’s to be fully adopted and used, so this sorcery that Mr Puopolo speaks off sounds fanciful at best. Who am I to argue with Cisco though, it could happen I suppose although the programming production process would be infinitely more complicated if you had to match smells and feelings with sight, sound and motion.

Here is Scott Puopolo being interviewed:

I can totally see the gesstural controls, video calling and interaction taking off more quickly than smellyvsion and breeze-TV, but whatever unfolds it is surely an exciting time for the TV industry!

Imagine the advertising potential? Wake up and smell the coffee, quite literally! Imagine a travel advert for Saint Lucia if you could actually feel the warmth of the sun and the sea breeze while seeing dreamy images? For decades fragrance houses have pumped millions of pounds into TV advertising, when the one sense that really counts for a fragrance (smell) is missing … imagine those fragrance houses being able to get their signature smell out to millions, alongside the branding?

The technology to make this happen is way beyond my understanding, but I’ll take Scott’s word for it because it sounds like the most creative advertising medium that you could possibly imagine!

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Social Eyes allows video chat within Facebook

Video chat is nothing new. The Real Player, Google Talk, Chat Roulette, Face Time on the iPhone 4 and even the very first 3 mobile phones allowed video chat. None of these services have exactly set the world on fire, so at first glance it is easy to see why the naysayers are declaring that Social Eyes will not amount too much.

Social Eyes is a new company, founded by Rob Glaser, the founder of Real Networks, and it allows a very simple integration with your Facebook profile. There is no software download, and signing up literally takes 20 seconds. Simply go to and press ‘connect with Facebook’
As with all video chat services, Social Eyes requires that friends are on the same platform at the same time in order for the opportunity to chat to present itself. That is where this service will have the biggest advantage for me, because millions of people spend hours a week on Facebook, and so the chance of friends being online at the same time is considerable. You only have to look at how many opportunities there are to text chat with friends online in Facebook to realise that the opportunity is considerable.

The biggest problem with video chat, is that you couldn’t really use it at work. Talking to your PC is probably frowned upon in the workplace, but evening chat at home over a wireless network could well take off. It’s a bit like merging Skype into the huge dwell time platform that is Facebook.

I think it has a really good chance of being the first main stream chat service. All Social Eyes need to do now is work out how to monetise it! If they could build scale, maybe a 10 second pre-roll before each chat session might work. Or maybe in stream banners similar to YouTube.

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Can mobile networks become broadcasters?

I absolutely believe that one day in the next 20 years, mobile video will be far bigger than online video.

Once the user experience allows consumers to stream video with no lag, and a perfect experience every time, the morning commute or other periods of downtime will suddenly be filled with rich, entertaining video content.

The question I found myself asking recently though is who will make that content? The obvious answer is the production companies that are already making it. The obvious business model would be the networks acting as a vehicle, or dumb-pipe, and merely transporting other people’s content to their users.

However, when mobile video is accessible to the vast majority of consumers, would it not make more sense for mobile networks to create their own unique, fantastic content that can only be accessed on their network?

O2 have worked tirelessly to be the mobile network of choice to music fans, and have had significant success with that. Orange is the mobile network for film fans with Orange Wednesday’s a huge media hit. So what if in 20 years’ time these networks were offering a full programming schedule available only on their network?

Using modern day properties for examples sake, imagine if The Inbetweeners were only available to watch if you signed up with Orange? This would allow networks to differentiate in very real ways, and charge a premium for the pleasure of being a part of that brave new Orange world (other networks are available). The programme trailers could be available to all, on all networks and devices, but full episodes would only be available to watch on their parent mobile network.

What do you think, possible?

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Cameron Church on the whole Google H.264 thing

Google announced that Chrome would be dropping support for H.264 recently, and Cameron Church of Brightcove responds to the question “How will this affect the onlline video market” in this blog post.

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VW Academy video ad – brilliant!

This ad first aired during the Super Bowl, and is already has over 320,000 plays on YouTube.

A highly entertaining, and engaging way to get across quite dry product facts!

Love it, big tick from me.

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Is mobile video being stunted by data caps?

I remember when the mobile internet first launched, and I was on a Vodafone contract. The pricing wasn’t the clearest, and after using a painfully slow connection for a month was horrified to learn that I had racked up a huge bill! I stopped using the mobile internet for a while after that, and it took a fair period of abstinence before clearer, more affordable pricing tempted me back online.

That seems like an age ago now, but are we running the risk of having a similar situation now with mobile video?

As more people stream video across 3G, the networks are increasingly finding it hard to cope. I read somewhere that one person streaming one 30 second video on 3G was the equivalent of every single person in Newcastle sending a text message at the same time.

The reaction to this from the networks has been not to increase capacity, but to restrict consumers on how much data they are allowed before incurring additional charges. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to suggest that if you watch a lot of video, there could be a nasty surprise in your next bill. I have no idea if increasing capacity is even an option to be fair, but the net result of these data caps is surely going to be consumers will be more careful about what they watch, and probably chose not to watch snack video content?

What do you think? Is this a serious barrier for the mobile video business?

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Online video delivers Cadbury £2 in sales for every £1 spent

According to an article in Brand Republic (link below) Cadbury achieved £2 in short-term chocolate sales for every £1 spent on media.

The results were achieved by placing the Chocolate Charmer advert (below) online. This compared favourably to TV, which delivered a larger audience but only 60p in sales for every £1 spent.

On top of that, online video advertising delivered an additional reach of 19% and reached a higher proportion of younger viewers, when compared to television.

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Online video advertising market sees revenues triple in 2010

Press release from Web TV:

Online video advertising experienced substantial growth last year, seeing revenues more than triple, according to Web TV Enterprise.

The UK’s largest premium video ad network has reported revenue growth of 244% for 2010 against 2009. The company has also announced record year-on-year growth in Q4 2010, with sales up 162% compared to the same period in 2009.

During 2010, Web TV Enterprise ran more than 400 campaigns on its network of premium video channels for 154 different advertisers. Of these, 118 ran online video campaigns for the first time.

Entertainment, telecoms and FMCG companies spent the most on VOD advertising in 2010, Web TV Enterprise found.

“2010 was a landmark year, not just for us but for the whole industry,” said Jamie Estrin, founder and Managing Director of Web TV Enterprise. “The campaigns running on our network now cover the full spectrum of TV advertising categories, from automotive to leisure, proving that online video is now a major media channel in the UK.”
In March, Web TV Enterprise is due to publish its fourth bi-annual report which reflects the views of the UK’s online video media buyers. Its third report, published in September last year found that growth in online video advertising spend was being driven by delivering incremental reach to advertisers’ TV campaigns.

“For the first half of 2010 alone, online video advertising spend grew rapidly to hit £21million in the UK (IAB / PwC AdSpend Study H1 2010),” said Jack Wallington, Head of Industry Programmes at the IAB. “Within the IAB Video Council – a committee of the UK’s leading senior online video experts – there are unparalleled levels of excitement as companies across the industry are reporting explosive investment in online video as advertisers are now seeing online’s incredible brand building abilities first hand.”

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VYou – new video chat website (in Beta) is an interesting new site which allows users to sign up for free and leave video chat messages for each other. The site is still in beta, but I like the concept of taking internet chat and turning it from text to video.

It looks like there are a mixture of consumer and business users, so I have registered as MikeTV and will be road-testing it in the next few weeks.

It has the potential to grow into a significant number of video streams though, and then the advertisers are sure to follow.

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Great branded content from National Geographic

I love this piece of branded content made by National Geographic.

I works by drawing you in and getting you really interested in the story surrounding the world’s population explosion, and then hits you with the message that National Geographic Magazine will be covering it in more detail.

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JWT’s 100 things to watch in 2011

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New rules for product placement; cars, tech and FMCG to benefit?

It seems to me that the motoring industry, along with FMCG’s and the Technology sector are perfectly placed to take advantage of the new Ofcom rules that allow products into films (inc. dramas and documentaries), soap-operas and sports programmes.

Why? Because they seem to be the categories of advertiser that fit into the following:

1.       Can be easily integrated into a wide range of programmes without harming editorial integrity

2.       They are the brands that already invest heavily in sponsorship in order to get TV exposure & positive brand connotation

3.       Most importantly, they are not excluded by the Ofcom rules

The Ofcom rules on who can place products in programming are pretty strict, and they make sense in the main, as they restrict alcohol, tobacco, food & drink high in fat or salt, medicines and baby milk. Baby milk? Anyway …

That means that brands such as Coca-Cola, Redbull, Burger King, Johnnie Walker, and Martini who currently invest heavily in F1 because of the TV exposure that garners couldn’t place products into shows. Some advertising professionals are surely going to question this logic though, as it  would allow Redbull, for example, to brand itself on a sports car, but be banned from allowing that driver to actually drink it.

Look at Football. Brands who seek to get maximum TV exposure and a positive brand connotation from their involvement in football include McDonalds, Carlsberg, and Mars; all banned from using product placement under Ofcom’s rules.

Cars are an exciting prospect in my eyes. There are already some good examples of cars being placed into shows, through advertiser-funded programming on TV and online. Toyota created Car Pool, a TV show on Dave that sees Robert Llewellyn interview different comedians in the Toyota Prius each week.

The 1960’s show, The Saint heavily incorporated the Jaguar XJS; The Sweeney, Starsky & Hutch; Dukes of Hazzard, The A Team and The Professionals all had a motor vehicle at their core, whether they were placed their by the brands or not. I think I’ll save Batman, Street Hawk and Airwolf for another post 😉

In the future I can see Stephen Fry’s guide to the British Isles, which sees the entertaining, quintessentially English comedian tearing up hill and down dale in a Land Rover or a Jack Bauer type in the New Audi Quattro while answering his Sony Ericsson Xperia a hundred times an episode.

I can see a loaf of Hovis Granary bread on the breakfast table of every resident in Emerdale or the cool dudes of Hollyoaks spraying Lynx deodorant all-over like there’s no tomorrow.

While I understand why alcohol brands are banned, I must admit I am still slightly disappointed. Eastenders, Coronation Street and Emerdale are all set around a local pub. It would add to the story no end, in my opinion, if the patrons of the Queen Vic, Rovers Return and Woolpack were allowed to ask for something other than just a pint. It seems that the nation can sit down every night to watch their favourite soap stars drink, but as long as it is a non-specific drink.

You can see the Ofcom press release about the new rules here:

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Jack Black stars in great Orange video advert

I took my daughter to see Gulliver’s Travels at the cinema today, and apart from being an excellent film that I would highly recommend to anybody, something really stood out for me on a professional level.

Before the main feature, Jack Black (the star of the film) appeared in a spoof Gulliver’s Travels trailer that turned into an advert for Orange.

I thought this was a great It was a great use of video on the silver screen, and although I am sure Orange have used this creative many times, and not just before Gulliver’s Travels, it really worked on this day.

My daughter said “Daddy has it started?” and she wasn’t the only one wondering if the film had skipped the titles and ploughed straight into the action!

The difference in impact between this Gulliver creative and every other advert on-screen was immense.

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T-Mobile Flash Mob video at Heathrow airport

Another great T-Mobile Flash Mob video, and I absolutely loved the reaction of the bloke when the bald-headed Indian chap jumps in front of him and starts singing “Oh my God, I can’t believe it, I’ve never been this far away from home” by the Kaiser Chiefs … brilliant!

Nearly 6m video views on YouTube already. which must be worth in excess of £150k in terms of media spend?


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More funny branded content!

After my last post about funny branded content, I was pulled up for missing this little beauty.

Rightly so as it turns out, because Sony Ericsson have managed to produce the TV music show that broadcasters would love to make. I think comments from the presenter that allude to the possibility of inadvertently wanking off a killer whale will keep this off of our TV for the foreseeable future though! :o)

Matt Edmondson, the presenter, is fresh and funny and the whole thing works really well. He’s a cross between Jimmy Carr and Ricky Gervais … good work Sony Ericsson!

If I have missed any other classic funnies from 2010, please do drop me a line and I’d be happy to include them.

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Facebook drives nearly 10% of all video referrals

According to a Q3 report by Brightcove and Tube Mogul Facebook is now the second-largest referer of video views with 9.6% of all video referrals measured coming from the social media giant. Google remains the largest.

The data measured came from an anonymous, cross-section sample of Brightcove customers representing media industry verticals.

Here are some other interesting snap-shots to come out of their report:

Wednesday is the peak day for video views when looking at all videos. The weekend, while lower in total number of plays, had a greater level of engagement per view. The weekend delivers less views, but those watching are doing so for longer.

Newspapers saw significant growth in the number of titles uploaded (51% growth) and surpassed broadcasters in total minutes for the first time this quarter with 313 million minutes streamed, compared to 290 million for broadcasters.

Brands experience higher rates of engagement when referrals come from Twitter, and Newspapers experienced a higher level of engagement when the referral came from Google.

You can download the report in full by clicking on the link above.

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More funny branded content in 2011 please!

I have dabbled in branded content for a few years now, but it seems to me that 2010 was the biggest year that branded content has seen.

Of all the branded content that’s out there I have particularly enjoyed the video content that makes us laugh, and I really hope that we see more if it in 2011. For me, if you can weave your brand into funny content then you have struck gold, because the viewers will share it and generate more users that cost you nothing!

The campaigns that stand out for me are the excellent campaigns that Foster’s ran with Alan Partridge, the Nigel & Victoria mini web series created by Phillips and the Tippex campaign on YouTube with the hunter and the bear.

They all tapped into our funny bone, and created views as a result, and a decent number of views in the case of the Foster’s & Tippex campaigns.  Last time I checked, each episode of the Alan Partridge series had 150,000 plays on YouTube alone, and the Tippex campaign had over 13.5m views!

So my Christmas wish for branded content is that more brands are bold enough to invest in content that makes us laugh.

May I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

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Alan Partridge & Fosters. Mid Morning Matters, Episode 6

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Alan Partridge & Fosters. Mid Morning Matters, Episode 5

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Alan Partridge & Fosters. Mid Morning Matters, Episode 4

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Alan Partridge & Fosters. Mid Morning Matters, Episode 3

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Web TV Enterprise appoints LiveRail as ad serving partner

Web TV Enterprise appoints LiveRail as ad serving partner as demand for online video grows

Web TV Enterprise, the UK’s largest premium advertising video network, has appointed LiveRail as its new ad serving partner. This will enable Web TV Enterprise to offer its advertisers advanced targeting across its network and a range of new video ad formats.

“This solution will enable us to enhance our current offering with greater targeting capability across multiple publishers, audiences and against premium content,” said Jamie Estrin, managing director of Web TV Enterprise. “The partnership with LiveRail will also allow us to become VAST and VPAID compatible, enabling publishers to host new video ad formats.”

VAST (Video Ad Serving Template) and VPAID (Video Player-Ad Interface Definition) are a set of technical standards governed by the IAB to allow a cohesive online advertising industry. “The demand for video is growing at an exponential rate,” said Mark Trefgarne, CEO of LiveRail. “We’re confident that the partnership of the UK’s largest video network with the industry’s leading video ad technology will provide an unbeatable opportunity for both video publishers and advertisers.”

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Maani Safa on the ‘apps v mobile web’ debate

Maani Safa is the Product Director for Somo – Europe’s leading mobile advertising agency.

The mobile web vs Apps discussion has been heating up more and more over the past months – usually with polar arguments supporting each.

There is no doubt that the rise of “apps” was the major force behind smart phone usage becoming as high as it is today with Apple being the spearhead behind the craze with the iTunes app store. The idea of the “app” made it very simple for the mass market to recognise the ease of using a mobile device to achieve the exact same tasks on the go that users had been doing for years on the desktop.

Apps have fundamentally changed user interaction and user journeys online too – as it stands when user x wants to find a Chinese restaurant in the local area they are more inclined to dip into an app, whereas on the web, its nearly always through Google. So what is the answer to the app vs mobile web outcome? There isn’t one really. Both have a place.

As time passes, and the general mobile market leans further towards “smartphone functionality” as the norm the user base will begin to realise that the mobile web, html5 and faster browsers can provide more or less an exact experience as an app, except that the mobile web is multi platform – meaning whether you are on a Nokia N8, an iphone 4, a Blackberry Bold or Samsung Galaxy S, you are simply a click away from the chosen experience. No app store required.

On top of that – the likes of Google, both across the mobile web and Mobile OS’s such as Android are making searches both easier (Google goggles, Voice activation etc) and more useful. Google mobile search for restaurants is fantastic and beats the majority of app experiences.

Great examples of brands using mobile sites are, ASOS, Autotrader and M&S. M&S in fact made their single biggest web transaction across mobile – a £3000.00 sofa.

So does all this mean that apps will die a slow death? Not at all – for game apps and the like an app is a definite requirement, as the experience simply cannot be replicated on the web (for now). On top of that, the apps store marketing power is a force that is  hard to compete with – here at Somo we have clients that ask us make them an app and ensure it reaches the top 10 download charts. Why? It can ensure downloads of around 100k – 300k a day.

As time passes we will see more and more brands have a presence on the mobile web – it will become a simple hygiene factor for them, which is fantastic for consumers. Apps will always have their place but expect to see more and more mobile sites built first and then simply wrapped in an app shell to also place it on the mobile app stores.


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Mobile video research

Interesting, but not surprising results.

Mobile video is a huge opportunity for brands to connect with consumers, but the network speeds and reliability have to improve considerably before it can be properly utilised.

Until networks can offer this, I think app publishers should look at ways to offer the user the chance to download the video they want to the phones memory, while they have wireless coverage, or overnight when the network is less busy. That way the play back experience will be excellent, as will the advertising opportunity.

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Episode two of Alan Partridge funny with Foster’s

Foster’s funny.

Episode two of the Morning’s Matters branded video.

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John Lewis Christmas advert

Another fine video advert from John Lewis, and although this Christmas advert is beautiful (below) I still marginally prefer their previous advert

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Short film shot on a Nokia N8 phone, amazing!

I have just watched a short film which was directed by Thomas Hilland, and I can scarcely believe that it was shot on the new Nokia N8 mobile phone.

I’m amazed, have a look … be sure to set the player to HD though!


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Fosters video content with Alan Partridge (Ah ha!)

Alan Partridge is back thanks to a clever piece of video advertising by Foster’s.

The twelve part series of  Mid Morning Matters will be available for people to watch on or YouTube, oh and this very blog 🙂

I love the way that brands are starting to align themselves with bespoke online only video; it makes a lot of sense to me. Create some funny content, make it easy to find online and online consumers will spread the content through email and social media links, and the brands message clearly reaches a larger audience as a result.

Phillips recently commissioned the Nigel & Victoria series; the Royal Opera House produced Danny Knows Best and now Foster’s are getting involved with Alan Partridge.

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Fabulous cinema stunt from Kelly Brook and Carlsberg


A  really clever way to promote 3DTV and Carlsberg in the cinema …

Love this!

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Royal Opera House; fantastic use of video!

This is such an unexpected and clever way to use video.

The Royal Opera House have commissioned a web series, shot in the style of Jerry Springer called Danny Knows Best.

The guests on the show have their usual sorry tales to tell, but when you are lured by the chance to watch the uncensored version it takes you to the Royal Opera House site, and explains that the theme tune from Danny Knows Best is actually La donna è mobile from Rigoletto and that the stories on the chat show spoof are actually the stories from Opera.

What a wonderful way to make the opera feel more relevant to a wider audience.

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New video advertising newspaper

I have created a daily, digital newspaper that basically scours Twitter for the hash tag ( #videoadvertising ) and then collates all of that news, at midday, in one easy place.

In order for this to be a useful resource, I would ask that everybody that Tweets anything about video advertising adds the tag #videoadvertising to the Tweet. That should then be enough for Paper li to pick up your link, and to re-publish is into the Video Advertising Newspaper each day at 12pm.

The newspaper link is

if you have an interest in online video advertising, I would urge you to save the link to your bookmarks now and also to follow me on Twitter if you are not already doing so –

I hope that in a few days the paper will be populated with interesting articles from many different sources.

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A brief guide to video advertising

Video is the most powerful advertising medium, bar none, because it is the medium that most closely resembles real life. It combines sight, sound and motion and can help brands create personality, emotion or excitement. If a picture paints a thousand words, then a video paints a million.

Before Channel 4 launched in 1982, advertisers could only use the power of video advertising on one TV channel which was ITV or in the cinema. Today, there are literally hundreds of TV channels but even they are dwarfed by the plethora of choice that the internet offers. A lot has changed in 19 years!

The internet of course enables broadcast companies to deliver their TV shows via a different platform, and catch-up TV is growing more popular but the majority of video being viewed on the internet is short-form (3-5 minute clips) rather than long-form.

YouTube is obviously the largest video site, and the BBC iPlayer is also huge but there is also a huge amount of viewership of professionally produced video on almost every major publisher site from newspaper sites, to football clubs, fashion portals to parenting advice.

Video content is everywhere online, and you can be sure that wherever there are engaged eyeballs, the advertising pound won’t be far behind.

In 2009, the video advertising market was worth around 30m.

The IAB and PwC have recently released figures that show H1 2010 is already up to over 20m, and with the expected uplift in spend for Q4, some are predicting that the video market could have doubled to be as much as £60 by December 2010.

Most advertising, whether it be newspaper ads, online display advertising, outdoor advertising or even TV advertising works by pacing advertising around the content that is commanding the users eyeballs.

A video pre-roll sits in front of the content, and plays where the users main focus is.

Also, many advertising medium are shared experiences, and advertising occurs while the user is also focussing on something else. Watching video online is not usually done while doing something else, so the user’s attention is 100% focussed on the screen.

The industry standard way to measure the success of video advertising has yet to be born, but it is clear that judging success on the click through rate is the wrong way.

99% of video ads are TV ads, and they don’t have a call to action. If they don’t ask a user to click, then how can they be measured on a click through rate? Also, I believe it is counter-intuitive to expect a consumer to click on a video because they are interested in watching it, and then click on a pre-roll to take them away from that content before they have even watched the content.

Video viewership and advertising is predicted to continue its stellar growth into 2011 and beyond. As more publishers make more professional content and more advertisers increase their investment in online video advertising, the future looks bright.

Video content is already available on mobile devices, but I believe that as the network speeds increase, and the UI becomes as good over the mobile network as it is today over a wireless network, then viewership and advertising will start to explode.


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Calling all police officers on duty at Hillsborough on 15.04.1989

the Hillsborough Disaster

There were a great many junior officers on duty that day that did a fantastic job, without senior supervision, to try and help those who were trapped and dying in the Leppings Lane terraces.

Recent documentaries, in the light of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, have seen PC’s come forward and tell their side of the story.

It seems that no matter what depths senior officers were willing to sink, that there are a great number of more junior officers who were, honest, who tried their best and who were horrified at the way their statements were amended to remove any criticism of the police.

I would be forever grateful, if one such hero of the day would step forward and help me tell the story about the real truth of Hillsborough?

The first part of the 3-part documentary is online here:

Please help me unravel this horrendous cover-up. My email…

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UK wet summer set to continue

UK wet summer set to continue.

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