Monday, May 31, 2010

We are moving

Finally I have gotten round to a proper domain hosting thingummy. You will find the new posts (and these old ones, so you can tootle off now) at 

Friday, May 14, 2010

Rory Sutherland at IAPI on Behavioural Economics

Wonderful insights (I am going to minimise my use of the word insights soon, I promise. It's the internet thief's way of saying I'm gonna steal your routine.) from Ogilvy UK veepee Rory Sutherland. This is the TED version of the same talk he delivered in the National Gallery last Wednesday for IAPI's AdFx 2010 series.

Marketing needn't be big and expensive to make a lasting impression, and he gives some inspiring and funny examples of how to do it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Portfolio Night at Ogilvy

Portfolio Night 8 is on in Ogilvy's offices in Ely Place on Thurs May 20th. A chance for junior creatives stroke aspiring copywriters and art directors to browntrouser in front of Dublin agencies. Such a simple idea, based on the wonderfully evolving concept of crowdsourcing (this time the crowd being a speed-date lineup of Dublin's best creative directors). Tickets cost €20 and make sure you're up for it before you sign up. All the essential FAQs are here. Ideas like these piss me off because I missed them by about fifteen years. :(

Get your new boots and panties shipshape and be ready to pitch at

Ian Brower | Creative Partner | Ogilvy & Mather
Jon Milne | Creative Partner | Ogilvy & Mather
Mel O’Rourke | Creative Director | Creative Inc.
David Connor | Partner | eightytwenty/interactive
Shay Madden | Creative Director | McCann-Erickson
David Quinn | Creative Director | Bloom
Dylan Cotter | Deputy Creative Director | Irish International BBDO
Mike Garner | Creative Director | Chemistry
Emmet Wright | Creative Director | Chemistry
Michael Walsh | Creative Director | Leo Burnett
Ian Doherty | Creative Director | Bonfire
Martin Wright | Creative Director | Gospel™
Stephen Quinn | Creative Director | Atomic
Nick Kelly | Senior Copywriter
Laurence Keogh | Creative Director | McConnells
Judy O’Broin | Senior Copywriter | Young Euro RSCG
Alexis Bouckaert | Digital Creative Director | Rothco
Mike Mesbur | Creative Director | Young & Rubicam
Martin Cowman | Creative Director | Cawley Nea TBWA
Rory Hamilton | Creative Director | Boys and Girls
Eoghan Nolan | Freelance Creative Director
David Joyce | Creative Director | Language

Martin Busch | Creative Director | Cybercom

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A brand apart: Inishturkbeg

Thanks to The Persuaders for introducing me to the story of Inishturkbeg island a couple of weeks back. It's in Clew Bay in Mayo, not far from Westport, and it's the passion and dream of Nadim Sadek, who has built the entire island experience as a brand. That definition makes it sound far too small though. It's an artists' retreat, a stud farm, a purveyor of high-end quality foods and products and a weekend getaway (handy if you've got the €10k overnight asking price, but you can at least bring 39 of your fave friends with you).

It's a brand catering very much to the upper end of the market. Sadek comes from a research background but has very firmly gone against the research grain in many ways. Simple little things, like not actually showing their smoked salmon in its pack but instead designing packaging to show rich island photography, reiterating the brand essence at every turn. He's done a huge amount of thinking about the project, knows the essence of what he's created inside out yet readily admits that he is far from certain about where it will end up.

I'm not aware of any other luxury brands that are pushing the boat out anywhere in TRT,  let alone in the West of Ireland, but Sadek has charisma and vision, and the effort that's gone into this brand is huge. You won't see it easily because it is talking exclusively to the corporate and First 10,000 market of London and beyond, and it's not doing so with any traditional marketing. Lean Mean Fighting Machine have recently been tasked with taking Inishturkbeg into the world, and they've got the online nous to do it.

The sprawl of the Inishturkbeg brand is a wonderful experiment in marketing, certainly not like anything else I've seen. The commercial nature of it, while essential, certainly doesn't take over from the artistic endeavour of what the place is about. Not sure I'll have the sponds to stay anytime soon though.

Thanks to Alex Gibson for the evening, and all at the v snazzy dylan.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Losing your Big Job in Advertising

It’s not nice for anyone, but if you’re a parent with young kids (ie me) the primal thought that floods the mind when you hear that awful ‘We’re sorry…’ from upper management is How am I going to make sure the kids have shelter? Big picture stuff.
So for what it’s worth, if you’re living under the fear of that, or maybe already in the reality of it, here are my Guaranteed Tips to Surviving the Apocalypse™.

1. Be scared. 
Absolutely, for now. You are disrupting the ingrained patterns of a career, possibly a professional lifetime, and that doesn’t happen any animal without a natural degree of terror. The panic is the adjustment period. It is intense, but it will pass, and while it is present know that it is not wrong or counter-productive. It will be followed by a sense of shame, by the way, with a dollop of inadequacy and a sprinkling of hundreds and thousands of humiliations. Ignore all those. Trust me, there is life after the R word.

2. There was no safety net. 
I woke up and stared with sickening dread into the maw of blackness, I will admit, where once no darkness had been. But enough of the poetics. Just because you had it good for a while, and got lulled by the consistency of a rather nice monthly pay cheque, don’t assume that that is a norm for anyone in this line of work. It actually never was. For a while I pined after that security, the blank-minded ability to trust in someone higher up the food chain. There is no security, not in an advertising agency. And once you get used to that idea (it happens sooner than you’d think) it can feel quite liberating. This is you and your wits, and soon enough it will make you see opportunities that you didn’t even consider before.

3. Use the raw materials around you at this moment.
When you've been made redundant you'll usually still have a couple of weeks or even a month with the support system of an office. Use every second to plan what happens next. Use the backup of having a photocopier, free broadband, a list of email contacts, production facilities, paper clips. Within reason, your soon-to-be ex boss will be pliable on these issues. My entire company folded. I had no idea what I would do next for work, but I used the opportunity and a precious chunk of redundancy money to make them an offer for furniture. I got kitting the home office out with some great desks, lockers, storage cabinets and chairs for a tenth of the price it would otherwise have cost. It felt odd. But only for three seconds. After that it felt like the beginnings of a plan.

4. Think short term solutions. 
Not what happens next month, or next year. Baby steps now. Strategise. See point 2 above? Sign on the dole, and set yourself an early exit date. Redundancy money in an ad agency will net you a pathetic max of €1,200 for each year of your employment. You'll whizz through that pretty quickly.
Meanwhile, have you put your portfolio together? If you’re a creative you absolutely have no excuse. Get it together, and when you're at it knock up a few creative ways to get your foot in the next door, stud. You are now your own next brief. The Clio Award is dinner. If you’re in Client Service or Planning or Media, get your CV together. Got case studies you’re proud of? Awards that you can even tangentially lay claim to? Keep notes of all your advantages and write, and rewrite, your CV until you are happy. Then tear it up and write it again in a way that would make an interviewer happy. Give it to recruitment agencies. Don’t bullshit. That worked once upon a time, but our industry is much more picky now.

5. Network your sweet ass off.
There will be a small window when there is a reservoir of good will amongst people towards you and your plight. This will pass because everyone is in the firing line in trad media just now, and also because people can only remember tragedy for so long and then there’s lunch. Use the moment well, let as many people as possible know that you are ‘entering the workforce of the employable’ and ask them to keep eyes, ears and email open for you. Do not be fussy. If someone needs cover for a receptionist or if there’s an art director on holiday for a fortnight, jump in there if you’re lucky enough. Make the biggest impression you can while there. No, that doesn’t include sleeping with the boss.
Everything is networking. Are you on Linkedin? Get there if you're not, and if you are don't just sit there.There are several excellent groups with advertising/marketing content, free networking events and potential short-term contract work. Meet-ups, tweet-ups, web awards, happenings… they are all being attended by adventurers in new media, and like it or lump it, this is where you should be heading. Are you using Twitter to keep an eye on the industry? Does every email you send have your contact points all over the bottom of it? Have you printed your business card? It’ll take €15 or less to design your own and you will need them. I spent a month fooling myself that I worked mainly online now and didn’t - pschaw! – need a business card. I was a fucking idiot.

6. Professional bodies. Join them.
IAPI, the Marketing Institute, ICAD etc etc. This is also networking, and being seen is much more important for you when you don’t have the umbrella of a large organisation to stand under.

7. What is your core talent and how can you show that expertise to the world?
There are a lot of ways to get yourself positive media attention. Set up a YouTube channel offering free advice on direct marketing. Show someone the process of making a radio ad. Set up a blog (you’re reading the one that I set up to cope with redundancy right now) that offers some content that’s relevant to the people you are targetting. Write for business journals that are relevant to your area of smarts. Speak at open events like Ignite. Organise an event of your own if there’s a dearth of happenings in Planning or Media or Copywriting or whatever. Spice it with fun. Fun matters. It also makes you more memorable. Do not expect to get paid for any of these activities.

8. What about the company’s clients?
Have you approached them? Obviously, if you’ve been made redundant and your company is a going concern this is not an option. But if your company is going glug glug don’t waste the opportunity. There might be a continuity gap that needs plugging amongst some of those clients, and your experience may well gain you a critical few weeks of contract work there. Another trick I missed, and it took me quite a while to forgive myself, but that’s a different story.

9. Shyness. Get over it quickly.
Throughout much of my working life I sat at the end of the production line and did what I was told. Suddenly one day there was nobody to tell me. Except me. All the things that I had shied away from, all the awkward ‘I’ll have to justify this’ moments with clients were suddenly either going to have to involve me or not happen. And my kids still needed a roof, so they were going to have to happen.

10. Consider a new departure.
(Breathe in deeply. This is a biggie.) The model of advertising is in a state of flux. Despite the diehard opinion of a few in our old school, change is inevitable. Online communications are growing. Trad media budgets and options are shrinking. A few will be able to continue in the outdated fashion, in the same way that a few manufacturers will still produce those thermal fax paper rolls. Just not very many.

I looked long and hard at advertising and at my role within it when my company went down. I had 18 years of copywriting by that stage, and more big brand experience than I knew what to do with. I wasn’t a leading light in the firmament, I worked a lot of retail trench warfare, but I was steady hands. Given the recession, and the pinch that every agency was starting to feel, I was frankly unemployable and I knew it. If I was about to become a freelancer, in a city with more than enough tradvertising freelancers, I knew I’d need to start learning what was required for me to write to a new audience.

For a copywriter it’s different in some respects, but ultimately it’s the same. Good communication is the same in a banner ad, in a blog post, in online video, on a home page, as it is on a tv or radio ad or a 48 sheet or a DM piece. The gatekeepers happen to be younger agencies, and the topography of the possible is significantly wider, but it is eminently learnable, even by a dino like me. The only enemy is stasis. Let me repeat: THE ONLY ENEMY IS STASIS. 

If you’re overwhelmed about where to start, particularly if you’ve had little or no exposure to online marketing, do not worry. We’re all learning. Pick a spot and begin. Get online. Start cruising relevant industry websites. Follow some local blogs. There is an army of them running down the right hand side of this post, all of them carrying info relevant to what’s going on in the Irish online marketing community. Refine these to what’s most relevant to your own skills base, because you will never keep up with all the content that’s coming at you. Learn to filter it. Find out what Google Reader is. Discover the joys of RSS. Start to discern between the myriad logos out there. It is important in advertising now, for instance, to know what the truly schizophrenic Facebook is up to at any given moment. No, not because of your skiing photos. Because your former clients will want to know how to advertise on it.

Here’s the secret I have been telling everyone for a couple of years now. I learned it by observation of both old and new ad agencies. There is a gap between the models. It is not the chasm it once was. There is a bridge over that gap. It is a one-way bridge. Oddly, digital agency people don’t want to cross from their side to the one where you just lost your job. But you can cross to theirs. And if you know enough to know that you have much to learn about their world, and if you can package all the experience that you now have in a way that allows the digital marketing community to use that precious knowledge, then you aren’t just a makeweight but a very valuable resource. Brand info is always valuable, whether you work as a suit or a creative. But you need to restructure your lego set if you want to continue in marketing.
Don't be scared by any of this for more than two, max three sleepless nights. Frankly, our shallow little world has never been more full of excitement and possibility. And because it's worth repeating twice, stasis is the only enemy. 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The BBC Digital Discussion

Popped along to the 2010 BBC Digital Discussion yesterday at the Westbury. Very glad I did too. It wasn't all the well clipped RP tones of the Home Service, and the BBC speaker had an unmistakably German accent, but the rest of the event was as calm, insightful and well organised as you'd expect from Auntie.

The event was scheduled for just the afternoon and has confirmed in my mind the benefits of non-full day seminars. I've no doubt that a massive amount of frantic behind-the-scenes work was done by Mark Tarbatt and the good folks at Generator to make it seem as effortless as it was for the crowd. Click On's Simon Cox chaired, Dörte Saltz outlined the new media opps that the Beeb (the non-commercial Beeb? I think not.) is introducing. There was an audible gasp inside everyone's imagination when she revealed that the oft-heard-of-but-never-actually-seen iPlayer for forreners would launch within 12 months. Sounds like we'll have to pay per view or subscribe. Gah. :(

After that, the business end of the talk, where short presentations were made by Ryan Keene at Audience Science and Richard Delevan, very newly former deputy MD of McConnells Integrated. The latter's in particular was more than timely, being an overview of online marketing in turbulent times. Kerplunk. I hope he puts it online, and if he does I will immediately pass it off as my own because it's an excellent Top Ten of things we ought to unlearn as online marketers. Deadpan funny deliverer of knowledge too. I was not the only one who thought so.

And then the panel. My overall impression from what was said by Mark Tarbatt, Mark Gilleran, Justin Cullen and the aforementioned Keene and Delevan was of a part of an industry that's been trying to validate itself for too long, and is now beginning to just get on with it. They kicked sand in my face, but boy when I sat down to play...

Cast of Oestrogen Ltd, shot entirely in iPhone OptiFuzz™

Experience, customer behaviour and the fact that the CEO's daughter tells dad that online is, like, waay important? are now moving the game along anyway. A very important - a very important - milestone in this process will be when the IAB sets up a proper analytical service for Ireland because, as Richard mythbusted, the truism that 'everything online is measurable' is a mega-untruism. The validation of numbers will help to convince quite a few cobwebby MDs and CEOs and various naysayers that this web thing might be around for a while.

The hashtag stream is here.
The goodie bag was.
Musicella: Running away to join the Google circus just to avoid meeting me is extreme.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Boring old banners

You've no doubt seen at least one of these. Same idea, and Pringles does it best of the two, but at least they're crediting viewer with some sort of brain.
Dunno why we can't explore some more energetic banner advertising in this neck of the woods. Some really good executions gathered at Bannerblog.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Brando and O2 shake the format up

Nice to see a bit of subversion going on. Well done to Brando and their client for fiddling about with things.

Link found via Paul

Thursday, April 15, 2010

57 channels? Oh you had no idea, boss...

Last year ad spend in Ireland, in broadcast and print, came to about €1.25 billion. Online estimates are between €80 and €100 million. (Still only estimates but, we're told, soon to be measurable when the Interactive Advertising Bureau hits Ireland with its analytical service.) Despite the fact that traditional ads dwarf online spend, what was spent on them contracted by 25% last year. I don't think anyone can tell you what the increase was online, but it was at least as dramatic and altogether more positive.

For the trad agency model, the elephant in the ointment of internet-based advertising has always been how to make it pay. When Bruce sang that he had 57 channels and nothing on, even though it all seemed out of control, that was only in a Brett Easton Ellis kinda way. Truth was, it was infinitely controllable, both in media and production terms. And there was a nice layer of fat in there too for operators in the space. But the radical difference between online and offline media has been the empowerment. A word beloved of new-age meeja gurus, but appropriate nonetheless. Control has simply been taken by the people via their handycams and their phones. No need for actual high walls and perimeter guards around tall masts at broadcasting stations any more. Result? An explosion of content, most of it utter tosh, but quantities far in excess of anything that traditional advertising production could hope to keep up with. Not that that'll stop em making a viral for you.

Meanwhile the steady erosion of market share for TV channels, the prevalence of the Sky record button and the decline of print has blah blah blah. McConnells Advertising, it was announced yesterday, has been bought and will in time be streamlined and possibly subsumed into its new owner DDFH&B. More of that can be expected and, dare I chance saying it, encouraged. Because the old model is broke, it does need fixing and there is a multiplicity of ways in which it can be done.

Oh yes, my financey senses are tingling like mad this last week with the huge developments that are finally beginning to happen. Twitter has figured out how to include advertising. Foursquare seems to be genuinely getting people to use it creatively for branding purposes. Massive news from Apple too with the OS4 launch of iAd that looks like it might worry the socks off the advertising guys at Google.

I'm off to the energy store but when I come back I'll be planning in-depth, thoughtful, erudite and analytical pieces on each of these, and other, forays into paid online advertising. Either that or I will steal, slash and reassemble useful content from smarter people into some Frankenstinian monster that I'll present as my own.

Much like this post.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Idea matters

A belting little ad for Natural Gas. Simplest of ideas, beautiful warmth.

With all respect to Vodafone, this one zings it right out of the camogie pitch.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Big Switch Part 2

A little bit of history

In February 2009 Bord Gais Energy started to talk directly with a few Irish bloggers. On the eve of their Big Switch launch they were interested in seeing how well that would play as part of their marketing push for the promotion. It wasn't anything too intense: an informal approach (via Damien Mulley) to tell the assembled (and mostly bemused) bloggers what they were planning. Just another promotional activity from a big Irish company is the gist of it. And pushing 160,000 conversions, the vast majority of them via the web, tells you fairly emphatically that it's been hugely successful.

A small part of that success has been the online engagement. They ran a nice chatty Twitter campaign to back up the activity of the promo, but with the amount of PR and ATL activity through solid work from DDFH&B, plus a no-brainer offer of a guaranteed minimum 10% saving over ESB prices, it was never going to fail. The question was, how well would it succeed?

That laptop theft

We know now, of course. But what wasn't foreseen was the bit of a PR disaster with customers and the online community that resulted from the theft of sensitive consumer data. With customers because it was their data, and with the online community because BGE's engagement, hitherto chummy, suddenly turned to static. The tweeting stopped and no real explanations were forthcoming for an extended period. When it came, it was through the usual channels, and not the direct, speedy interface of online engagement.
Companies have fires like this to contend with all the time, and BGE rode it out fairly well, all things considered. The arguably less important of the two issues, their nascent relationship with the online community (a complete misnomer of itself btw, but that's another day's discussion), was a little bruised, but in many respects that community is a self-regarding and quite small entity in marketing terms within Ireland. Each year it becomes more relevant and professional, but these are early days. Plenty of companies of BGE's stature and even more smaller ones wouldn't even deign to engage with bloggers, Tweeters and online types. But that's where BGE showed some foresight, I'd have to say. Knowing that this is part of the marketing mix, and at least attempting to converse, makes them the trendsetters and made everyone else with a promo since then ask their digital connections to 'do a Bord Gais for us'. Thus far, despite quite a few people doing different things to engage customers online, nobody's engaged at the level of BGE. So how have they followed it up?

The Big Switch Part 2

Lucy is back on TV, in another campaign from DDFH&B, this time mopping up what was missed last time out. There's been a display campaign, Google Adwords and all the rest. They've also stuck by the online community and gone a step further than last year's launch by creating an entire online campaign that doesn't feature Lucy at all, but is a much more format-friendly guerrilla style.

The Last Family, featuring the last man to want to switch to Bord Gais Energy, Sean Last, is a series of 'amateur' productions by the fictional family itself designed to highlight some of the issues that non-switchers might have, and the resolutions to them.

Bord Gais Energy launched this exclusively online campaign to selected bloggers on the last day of March this year. Most of the bloggers were following up on the teaser video by Young Kubrick (as the junior member of the Last family was called in a Twitter campaign). It involved the acting out of a live ad on a set in front of the assembled bloggers, who were encouraged to tweet about it as it happened.

It generated quite a bit of local interest online, as you can see if you follow the #livead hashtag on Twitter. As is the way of online, the comments include less than glowing ones. Some more fleshed-out coverage can be seen here at Mediacontact and at Channelship.

But does it all work?

The Big Question. For any company, but especially a larger one, social engagement must be a pain in the arse. It can consume horrible amounts of time to talk directly to consumers, and very often for what seems like little in return. Or maybe even less than that. There's a ton of slowly-being-written rules that you have to observe, and woe betide you if you piss off the wrong online influencers. And aside from time invested, engagement doesn't come for free. It's still cheaper than TV or press or a detailed mail drop, but it ain't cheap.

So why do it? Do you really have to? I mean, it hasn't done any favours for Nestlé, has it? And the point that Fianna Fail pretty much shoulder-jabbed into an ambushed and highly irate group of soc media and political bloggers in Feb of last year still holds. A front page in a national daily will reach tens of thousands more than most blogs would hope to attract.

Ultimately I don't believe big companies have a choice. And I'm being disingenuous with the two references in the previous paragraph. In fairness both of them handled their business at best opaquely, and at worst ineptly. The truth will set you free, and the truth is spelled out with statistics. The Big Switch didn't happen mostly on the phone or by post. It was an online initiative that recruited the vast majority of switchers via the website. What we hear about declining TV viewership and folding local newspaper titles is true, and while maybe not as dramatic as it's made out, it's still a slide that won't be reversed. The flipside is that more and more time is spent online, whether at home, at work or on mobiles. The realisation is slowly dawning: a company NOT interacting with its customers is girding itself today for hari kiri tomorrow. Even the exception that proves the rule is getting (oh so terribly slightly) involved with social media.

SWOT analysis time.

The pursuit of online marketing means a realignment of practices, and it represents a threat to any traditional advertising agency, particularly if they're wedded to their traditions. It also represents an opportunity, and one that's as available to yesterday's ad agencies as to any new ones. Look at the Big Switch promotion as an example of evolving thinking. They deal with a spectrum of agencies, each bringing different skills to the task of promoting The Big Switch. There are more than the ones I've outlined here, but I'm too lazy to check.

DDFH&B for TV, radio and press advertising
Web Factory for site design
Pembroke Communications for PR/event management
Mulley Communications for online PR/marketing
Eighty:Twenty and Radical for interactive advertising

I was even involved myself, in a small way, as one of the writers for the online videos and also for some of the site and display ad content.

I say this as a way of demonstrating a point. Where once there was one single agency, or possibly two, which looked after every cradle-to-grave aspect of a client's needs, the model is now redefined. Partly because of the number of disciplines now involved. Nobody can keep that much expertise inhouse. It's in every agency's best interests to be fully up to speed at all times with what's going on around them in terms of digital comms expertise. There's a lot of it out there, from apps development to site functionality to online video production etc etc. That's even before you think in terms of creativity. That will, in the long haul, be the constant. The agency that remains creatively excellent down any channel will still be the one that makes the biggest impact, in my humble.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

About the death of the blog

 Many thanks to snapper du soir Rymus for the pic.

A whole lot of Irish blogs have been celebrating, dissecting, bitching about and bitching about the Irish Blog Awards, held on Saturday last in Galway. Very nearly didn't happen, as the CPSU had staged a drunken sit-in in the spartan Marxist surroundings of the Radisson Blu the night before, but once the funeral march for The Death of Irish Blogging™ began there was no stopping the bloggernaut.

Every year the event gets bigger and more commercially relevant, as a glance at the sponsor list will confirm. Heads like WHPR, Microsoft Ireland, Bord Bia, and twice as many more get involved just to rub shoulders with a bunch of bedroom-dwelling dweebs, of course. Not for the fact that the world of Irish bloggers is just bloggers of the world in Ireland. If you get me.

Anyhoo, the catfighting about winners aside there's a full list of them here. Fantastic achievements from all. Many thanks to Fr Damien Mulley and the team for a sensitive and loving send-off to the lamented blogosphere. Not quite sure why it needs a bigger venue every year.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Remember when your info channels used to close down?

Found on Glue chap Andy Kinsella's blog, via a tweet from Digital Times. Kids today, don't know they're etc etc.

Monday, March 22, 2010

'Advertisers should fear Twitter and Facebook more than regulators'

Interesting viewpoint from the global head of comms giant Havas in the Guardian last Friday.
David Jones, the global chief executive of Havas Wordwide, has warned that advertisers who market their brands as socially responsible should fear "inherently negative" social media such as Twitter and Facebook more than getting ad campaigns banned by regulators.

Jones said that with the rise of social media, with which many companies are still grappling, brands should be more worried about consumers than trying to outmanouevre the regulator.

"Social media is inherently a more negative than a positive medium on many levels," he added. "Lots of stuff that is passed around is negative. If you are a brand or a company today you should be far less worried about broadcast regulations than digitally empowered consumers. What is an ASA sanction versus a [negative] sanction from a couple of million people if you are not authentic?"

'Surely he's being a bit melodramatic,' thought I to myself. 'It's not quite that vicious, is it?' Then, with consummate irony on the timing front, Néstle found itself in a whole Facebook of trouble over its supplier policies in Indonesia. That wasn't the touchpaper however. Having an idiot at the controls of the Facebook page was what provoked a storm of negative howls.

First off, a fairly cocky status statement greets you:

Ok, so far so not exactly shiniest practitioner of good community relationships. And pretty soon it gets called out on the attitude by Paul:

Ok, nobody's throwing stuff around so far. This is now the moment where a cool head will decide how things go from here.

Ouch! Way to show the customer who's always right, Nestlé. Firm, firm, firm hand at the controls. We like it! But Paul ain't going away.

Take that, you big multinational you, and rethink! Which they did!

Oh no they diint!
Oh yes they diid!! They just told him that he was as irrelevant as the on average eight insect legs per  bar that end up in the choccie vats, allegedly. With more pithiness than I can muster here, somebody later on in the thread said 'Well, the chocolate's hit the 93,000 fans now' or something similar. Sorry I can't find it now for proper attribution, but the thread is very, very, very long by this stage and will be having a massive impact on the company. I'm frankly amazed that there's no real sign of moderation from what is, after all, the world's biggest nyom conglom. I did find an apology of sorts in there too, but am curious as to why they bothered.

The floodgates are ripped off at the hinges long since, and the well meaning complaints and the cranks and everything in between are going full tilt through Nestlé like prune juice. Their nut clusters are in such a vice right now that it will have some sort of impact on share price, I don't doubt. And while obviously at the heart of this is a very sore point about how they go about their ingredients gathering in our super-connected world, it still got kick started with a rookie mistake. Control of the FB page was given to someone who should not have been entrusted with the brand's reputation on the two-way street.

This is what Havas head honcho Jones meant when he spoke about fearing the negativity of online interfaces like Twitter and Fb. Oh boy is it ever.

I wait with huge interest to see what Nestlé's next move will be. Last word with Paul, and this is still on the host's fan page. (Numbers of fans still growing, it is noted.)

The Last Advertising Agency on Earth

The last agency? Really? It seems flip and simplistic, but judging from the small handful of trad advertising agencies who take it seriously enough to try to do something about it, it isn't that unlikely. It happened to a me I know, but only once. Thanks to Damien Mulley for sifting it out.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Frito Lay Dips takes over the Vimeo page

A long time ago I worked with Pizza Hut and those guys knew how to obsess about food shots. I wouldn't normally ask animation to make food appealing, but when it uses the medium as well as Frito Lays do here it somehow scores above where it should've, adding an extra little ingredient of magic along the way.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The medium is not the message

There's an inherent danger to working online. I don't mean stalkers or trojans or ill-advised pics/comments on Facebook (that modern equivalent of the office party/photocopier/alcohol interface). I mean the danger of forgetting that the medium is not the message.

Watchfulness applies to people like me especially. More and more of what I write is specifically, if not exclusively, for online use. I'm surrounded by people who are in the same position. Journalists, media commentators, broadcasters, advertisers, marketers and entrepreneurs. Companies too. The net result is one constant information flow, a lovely jubbly Dow Jones ticker tape that never stops, and access to it is universal. We all rush to investigate the latest applications in social media. The local news rumours and stories fly quickly, get verified or scotched within minutes and it's all quite chummy, even when arguments break out. As they frequently do

It has its own heady and self-satisfying effect, I find. But like Gollum, you fondle the shiny things for too long at your peril. The marketing mantra remains the same: the medium is not the message.
I'm convinced that it's an age thing. I clearly remember when a fax machine was the absolute razor's edge of tech empowerment for the office. It's not really surprising, is it, that the wow factor of Chatroulette (or insert your own recent online thing discovery here), how it can start and what it ends up being used for, will never be lost on a guy of my vintage.

For an entire generation of kids however, the shiny toys were always there. They never didn't know mobile phones. If Foursquare (or insert your own recent online thing discovery here) is to have any relevance for them, the marketing department needs to allow it to continue the conversation they're having around it, without the tool itself being a distraction. It reminds me of something Martin Scorsese said years ago. Once you've drawn the viewer's attention to what you just did as the director, you've ruined the magic.

Paul Dervan recently wrote about a book that analyses the teen market and how it operates online. One of the subcategories the authors break it down to is Geeking. But as Paul says,
'Geeking' should not be confused with 'geeks'. The authors explain that these are not 'geeks' as we might know the term - but rather kids very enthusiastic about a particular hobby. For example, they could even be sports nuts. And this is not really about digital for the sake of it. It just happens to be their way to get into their hobby and the online communities around it.
I keep a few geeks, real geeks, in view at all times. I can tell that they are because nineteen tweets out of twenty I have no earthly idea what they're talking about. But they move through this online medium with the ease of talcum-powdered ferrets because it's what they've always done. They produce online games, platforms and applications and they're younger than me. Much. I keep them close to remind myself of the mantra. Medium not message. They have loads to teach an old dino like me. They don't care about Facebook per se. It's just allowing them to pass notes to each other.

Meanwhile, because it's ultra-multi-media and great fun, there's this from Heineken Iddly.

Heineken İtaly Activation from Kreatif360 on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Digital Misfitz and Digital Landscapes

March 2nd, and Digital Misfitz had their latest event in space@rothco. A very full room of (mostly young) advertisingy types to hear about digitality from the marketing/media perspective. In their own words, 'Digital Misfitz brings together artists, creative minds and industry specialists through events on topics surrounding digital technology specifically in relation to advertising.'

Declan Kennedy from Facebook app developers Betapond did the sales bit for the new Big Blue, Mark Little did the 'the world is changing faster than my presentation' bit and Suzanne Fitzgerald very ably pulled the entire thing together, with sponsors and helpers from advertisingland, including Smirnoff, who obviously had alco-response wifi receptors built into the skulls of the student hordes from DCU and DIT. 
Interesting to see the coalescence of disciplines around low-key but well
managed events like this. Great attendance, very relaxed and people do seem to be putting ideas into their own heads about taking a very malleable medium and shaping it to find new ways of communicating.
On the Digital Misfitz fanpage you'll find the entire evening's content (minus the alcohol. Pesky students.) I'd post some of the video here but Facebook doesn't do house calls. You must become a fan of.


At the five-course end of the spectrum, the students from the Smurfit Business School were only sipping orange juice at 7.40 am (AM!!) in UCD for the half day conference on how to apply the web to your business. The panels were top-tier stuff and the chair, Professor Damien McLoughlin, terrified the assembled audience of business types by telling them with great frequency that they should be terrified. If you wanted a complete overview of how Ireland must work as part of a world economy and concentrate on quality, not 'the biggest' anything, the speakers here were the people to be listening to.

The round-up included Chris Horn, Google's John Herlihy, Colm Long of Facebook, HP's MD Martin Murphy, Kim Majerus of Cisco, Eamonn Fallon, co-founder of, Damien Mulley, Dylan Collins of Jolt Online Gaming and co-founder John Breslin. It was a wide-angled presentation, but a quick look at the Tweets from the morning has some terrific bite-sized zingers from the speakers.

What Mashable reported from John Herlihy's speech on the importance of mobiles here.
The big brain end of things here. Chris Horn on the similarities of feedback loops, positive and neg, for engineers or businesses.

    Thursday, February 25, 2010

    Old Spice. The old-fashioned way.

    I watched this a bajillion times and was pleased to an unhealthy degree to see the production techniques that were used. There's a breakdown of the making of below, with the team behind it, Craig Allen and Eric Kallman from Wieden + Kennedy. Well worth the 20 minutes.

    Friday, February 19, 2010

    Should your brand be on Twitter?

    The pace of soc media hasn't slowed down any over the last year, and while more brands are actively participating, there are still a lot of them pulling on the arm floats and belly-flopping into a Facebook page near you. That's fine. It's often appropriate.

    Likewise with Twitter. If by now you haven't paid it any respect, wake up. Willy O'Dea resigned yesterday as Minister of Defence because of the power of Twitter. One or two little tweets, in fact.

    That's politics however. What about brands?

    Reasons to be on the microsite

    1. Use Twitter to pull traffic to your site.
    You can link to online articles on your blog, slide presentations, your website, your YouTube page, a photosharing site, your Facebook page etc etc. If it's useful information that's a very good start.

    2. Use it to shout about special offers.
    You can pull people back to your website or your actual store by telling them about the fantastic deal you've got for them. Very often companies will give dedicated deals to their Twitter followers. It creates great word of mouth and while the community can be relatively small it is fiercely connected and spreadability factor is potentially astronomical if the offer is right.

    3. Gain new customers.
    So you sell robust teat feeder buckets for young goats? Did you know you can follow people who have previously mentioned any of your specific terms. Use to see if anyone out there has mentioned them on Twitter already. Don't be shy about it for God's sake! It's just business. I didn't ask you why you make goatboy teat buckets, did I?
    As an interesting exercise, the search results can also show you who else is selling perverse items like the ones you make. They're the competition. Don't follow them, but consider following whoever they follow.

    4. New product launches.
    As per special offers, Twitter can act as a great PR outreach. The critical issue here (and with pretty much all of these points) is that you need to be following the relevant people. There are a lot of automated robot accounts out there which are about as much use to your business as nipples are to a chicken. No, let me guess, you have a product for that too.

    5. Another way to get your logo out there.
    It's not a big space, but that little Twitter avatar, when used properly, can sear your logo into the minds of your followers. Bear in mind too that Twitter is increasingly first port of call for people searching online. It makes sense to have a presence there for many brands.
    Strong colours and simple icons work best, as they do in most visual communications, and if you're consistent and tweet with relevance you can become the opinion former amongst your competitors.

    6. Find out who's talking about you.

    You don't even need to run an account to see if your name's coming up or what people are saying about you. If it's good news it's nice to know about it. If it's bad, it becomes crucial. Use the Twitter search facility to find out.

    7. Keeping track of what interests your followers.

    Whenever you use Twitter to point your followers to a deal, you can track how many people click on your links and where they are from. A service like is free and offers excellent metrics. Set up your account, use it to shorten links down to manageable size and keep an eye on what works best for your followers. Then keep doing it.

    8. Upskilling

    No doubt there is a lot of waffle on Twitter, but if you use their lists tool you can be very selective and group people you follow into relevant categories. Follow the informative ones in your field (there must be hundreds of goat teat manuf sites out there) and you'll be up to your tonsils in rich and valuable content that's shared free in the great big givathon that is the web. Tutorials; presentations; videos: you could be the best marketer of synthetic goat teat products of all time by the end of the year, no kiddin'.

    9. Live news in real time.

    Obviously once a year the Goatworld Trade Show will loom large on your calendar. With your Twitter account in place, you can tell everybody what the goatiest trends are as they happen. Others on Twitter will be doing the same, and beautiful little thing that it is, Twitter can let you all tweet on the same topic. Just decide a name and put a hashtag in front of it, and by golly I'll be sure to check out what y'all are saying at #goatworld10 next whenever.
    (Remove all jocular reference to things hircine above and it should still be good information. Get baack to me if not.)

    10. One more way to build a database

    If you have an e-mail list Twitter can be an excellent way to get opt-ins. A careful cultivation of followers can yield favourable results and sales conversions. Targetted information will always be more valuable than scattergun stuff.

    As with most social media, you really ought to watch the space with your company hat on before you jump. Follow others first, watch what your competitors are doing if they're on Twitter, get a feel for how people act and react in the space. If you were to be patient about it, and wait for a crisis (say, like a government minister's resignation or a food health scare), there is an awful lot tha Twitter can teach about human behaviour that only an idiot would dismiss. Nobody knows what the average life span of new social media might be. Like Blade Runner's Roy Batty the light that burns half as long will burn twice as bright, and in the meantime you should at least, at the very least, know what your competitors are doing. It may not be for every company or every sector, but for the majority of companies there probably is a space for Twitter.

    Thursday, February 11, 2010

    Bloody Belgian sonsapitches

    Ruining it for everybody, they are. Everybody, I tell ya. They're just jealous of that Pringles banner clicky thing. Bloody Belgians. Making a cod of the whol- Eh?


    They are everybody? I never heard anything more anarchic in my life. Bloody Belgian anarchists. Next it'll be a union or some such. Buncha right wing commie anarchists.

    Grab it here for the next few days only. Then you'll never see it again probably, unless you go to YouTube. And who ever goes there?

    Bloody Belgians.

    Context is everything

    Hurrah! A non-webby post, speshly for all those people who want to click the poll button that says Do you secretly wish the whole internet thing would go away?* Not new, four years old in fact, but still contextual brilliance plus the word utter in the appropriate spot.

    * Poll idea suggested by a semi-fox that's anything but.

    Sunday, February 7, 2010

    Fighting bad news: Toyota v Vodafone

    It's been a nightmare lately for the builder of the best built cars in the world. It started with a US recall of 5.3 million Toyotas for repair to accelerator pedals that might, when worn, have stuck. The consequences for some were fatal. Toyota has had to face into the single biggest damage limitation action of its life.

    The recall rollout affects 350,000 cars in the UK and 18,000 in Ireland. They've been using traditional PR to get news stories out in the press and they also have used their local online presence to alert the public.

    But there's never a shit situation that can't be enworsened by a smartarse hacker. Indeed hacker is probably too lofty a term for what was needed to bypass Toyota's failsafe security. Here's what happened on Toyota Ireland's site early this weekend.

    We can confirm that your Toyota is absolutely fucked and is probably exploding in your face right now.
    Ouch. It stayed like that for two whole days, complete with a working link to major competitor Renault, before finally someone got it fixed. Now it's back to the boring old business of trying to minimise the damage that has already wiped $20 billion off Toyota's worldwide share value. But the recalled, repaired site makes no reference to the messing that went on.

    It even has last Friday's date on it. The Twitter account, updated today, Sunday, at around 3 in the afternoon, alludes to it once only and also seems to think that the hack had just happened minutes ago. It leaves us with a lukewarm Thanks for listening message.


    Just like in real life, jokers will mess with your shit on the web. In fact it's pretty much guaranteed, especially if you're in any kind of media spotlight. Ask Cheryl Cole. But there is a more serious point for all Irish advertisers to take on board. The web is a living place where your brand can grow or get bullied, or both. If you aren't on top of it, with online PR, advertising and active social engagement, you will suffer. This isn't an academic notion. It's a fact.

    More learned people than I can tell you the dos and dont's of building your site in order to avoid this kind of jackanapery, but you shouldn't need anyone to tell you that the web is open for business all the time. There is no weekend off, not for your PR company and not for you. Two crucial days were lost online for Toyota, and the level of engagement in the arena where they were lost has been absolutely minimal. Nothing on the site, and one lousy tweet that relayed no information.

    Compare this with a slightly smaller embarrassment that Vodafone UK suffered at pretty much the same time, Friday afternoon on Feb 5th. An offensive tweet on their account read

    "Vodafone UK is fed up of dirty homo's and is going after beaver." 

    It was taken down sharpish, and Vodafone's reaction demonstrates the difference between a client who understands how they have to behave online and one who clearly isn't there yet.

    Anyone who complained was responded to, and a complete disclosure (within reasonable limits) was made. Responsibility was assumed, quickly, and a full apology was made. No doubt some dick will rightly have every Monday off from now on, and it must have stung Vodafone like hell, but how often do you hear a big brand saying We're really sorry?

    And will Toyota Ireland (who have proven themselves quite clever online in some respects, particularly marketing) learn from this, I wonder? I hope so.

    For the record, every car I've ever owned has been a Toyota. I'm on No. 4. And if I'm ever lucky enough to change again, it'll most likely be to No. 5. I'm nowhere near as convinced that management has mastered CRM in the 21st century as well as it has production.

    Friday, January 29, 2010

    Ten things I hate about you, Facebook

    I'm not a listy fella, but you have earned this top ten, my dear. I'll try, as much as possible, to keep it professional rather than personal, not that you'd notice the subtle distinction, so no whines from me about white mystery eggs or bunches of flowers or hugs or pirate loot or vampires or zombies or any of the rest of that codswallop.

     1. Privacy

    It is mine. Not yours. In my admittedly simple little way of thinking, allow me to repeat: my stuff is mine, not yours.
    This is what you led me to believe when first I started with you. It was mid 2007, although it now feels like a decade or more (we'll get to that though). Back then your privacy policy seemed absolute (even though you still were hazy about hosting my pics).
    Founder (?) Mark Zuckerberg called privacy 'the vector around which Facebook is built' just two years ago. But today he says 'Doing a privacy change for 350 million users is not the kind of thing that a lot of companies would do. But we viewed that as a really important thing, to always keep a beginner's mind and what would we do if we were starting the company now and we decided that these would be the social norms now and we just went for it.'

    Anybody else smell horseshite? Most people have no idea how compromised their privacy is, because the format is so bubbly and new still, and they're too busy with white mystery eggs or bunches of flowers or hugs or pirate loot or vampires or zombies or fending off their mother as their friend or whatever. But when they do eventually wake up they'll be pissed off that it's still 1984. And as for companies? If you tell me one truth about my data today and a different truth tomorrow, I shall judge you to be inconsistent and therefore not a reliable partner or medium.

    2. Opt outs

    Does EVERY thing I do on here need to be relayed to everyone all the time?? My list of people (they're not all friends, you assumptive fool) does not need to be spammed about some pissy little app I downloaded to see how many words there are in my average update. And I think a little bit less of them when you tell me that 'Marty McGillacuddy is finding out what colour knickers her great great great grand aunt Mary wore in pre-Famine Ireland and thinks you should find out too!' Spam is spam, you info-hogging obsessive. Here's the deal: I will refrain from actually saying something important to someone I know as a friend on Facebook, wishing their kid nephew good luck with his chemo, for instance, and you will refrain from spamming my inbox 45 times with 45 comments from 45 other people I don't know wishing my friend's nephew the same thing. Yes I know there's a technical opt-out in Settings, but it's a bit of a nuke response isn't it? Let me opt in if I want to follow a thread, you voracious fucker, or do you honestly think we're just one big hillbilly family?

    3. Lack of clear-cut distinction between professional and personal use. 

    I've alluded to Profiles, Pages and Groups before.

    To sum it up neatly: if you're a person, set up a profile and your friends can join, whereas if you're a non-human (event, product, cyborg) set up a page and people can become fans. Or if you want to be a Group with lots of interaction then set one up and people can become Members. But don't ever set up a Profile and then decide you want to be a thing instead of a person because Facebook might delete all your contacts so what you should do is set up a Page instead unless you're going to be a real chatterbox and then a Group is better oh oh and too also you may be able to swop your old Profile for a Page if you use FBML and-

    SHADDAP! Shut. The. Fuck. Up. You big blue morass of uncertain-of-everything-except-we-know-we-want-all-your-dataz maniac! You want to be Linkedin. You want to be Twitter, and email, and Flickr and everything else too. A great big online Airbus for business and economy classes where everyone's giddier than Aunt Mabel going to Benidorm in 1967.

    Great. Just one problem.

    They all look the same.

    4. Designed by fascists

    God bless Bebo. I loved it for its unpredictability. Long before C4 it redefined skins. Long after Rizla, admittedly, but that is another discussion.
    Blogs, websites, MySpace... even a Twitter profile page ffs will let me do something to own it. Facebook has The Big Blue Book of Blue. Give you the blues, does it reader? It gives me the blue shits, frankly.
    Obviously the behind-the-curtain bit has given FB a superb functionality. People love how they can connect with each other online using it as a big Bebo. It sucks everybody else's capabilities and repackages them as its own. It is very good at what it does. But Christ Almighty does it have to be so geometrically boring and colour-adverse? It is banal with a capital anal. If ever a web application needed the Sony Bravia makeover, this monochromatic monster is first in line. When I googled Profiles, Pages and Groups guess how many results came up. Go on.
    That's right. Two hundred and seventy seven million. That to me smacks of nothing so much as indecisiveness. End of.

    5. Clunky target marketing

    Facebook has 350 million+ users. Sounds like a lot. And you only pay for the ads when they click on them! But spread it about all over the world and it gets diluted. Break your target down further, say to guys, and that cuts things by over 50%. But if you want guys who care about a six pack that's a smaller segment again. You absolutely need to be geographically accurate with your pitch or you are for sure wasting your money. You probably won't be able to buy relevant keywords you'd like. And even if you could? Nobody cares, in my humble opinion. They're there to send their friends white mystery eggs or bunches of flowers or hugs or pirate loot or vampires or zombies or fend off their mother as their friend. Or if they're a guy check out their girlfriend's girlfriends. They sure as hell have no interest in leaving the site and all the goss to go Build a City and Conquer Neighbouring Armies, buddy. Are you on the right page? Social media is not search, and people being social, porniness aside, are not searching for whatever those little ads are selling. Besides which...

    6. Are advertisers being shafted by click fraud?

    Techcrunch would suggest that you're fannying about, Facebook. Your 2009 revenue targets were $550 million, a bit of a steep jump from 2008's $280m. Some advertisers:

    • Facebook is still reporting 20% more clicks than I actually get. This is bullshit. If I were at least getting bot traffic or something that would be one thing, but right now Facebook is simply stealing 20% of clicks that I paid for, which adds up to thousands of dollars. Someone should threaten legal action, this is straight up fraud on Facebook’s part.
    • FB click fraud update: ratio is now EXACTLY 10:1. 10 clicks reported on FB, 1 click on prosper. No, this wasnt on a small scale either. Were talking 1000’s of clicks. Have fun facebook. Im checking out till you can fix this shit.
    • I’m targeting small, specific demos, Facebook reports exactly twice as many clicks as hit my LP. Facebook is stealing our money, fuck this shit.
    Techcrunch goes on to say
    These aren’t the standard click fraud complaints that advertisers have leveled against search engines for years. In those cases, bots are racking up the fake clicks, which obviously never convert to any sort of purchase or other action. But at least the advertisers see the clicks.

    In this case advertisers are saying that Facebook is recording and charging for clicks that don’t exist at all, even from bots. Their tracking software shows one set of numbers, which is 20% – 100% lower than what Facebook is recording.

    According to the WickedFire posts Facebook isn’t officially acknowledging the problem or giving any refunds so far. But they are asking some advertisers to send in logs to show the discrepancy. So far, advertisers who go to the trouble to do this aren’t getting the response they wanted: “I was asked to send in my logs so I spent over an hour compiling logs over the time period in question, and they replied with their fucking scripted bullshit. I was sooo fucking pissed, since I took the time to do that and they churn out a 2 second response.”

    Happy clickmas!

    7. News feed v Live feed

    Oh you what? Some months back when Facebook eventually noticed the twerrier nipping at its ankles it changed its feed from a small bore Wavin into a Russian transcontinental monster pipe inside which James Bond would be proud to take an Aston Martin. So that they could wash away the 140 character irrelevance of Twitter presumably. For this massive pointlessness and utter lack of understanding of who users wanted them to be I am just going to link you to two pages on the platform itself. Clueless Facebookers #1 and Clueless Facebookers #2.

    8. That fucking demented knock knock sound when someone wants to chat.

    This may seem petty but I am reminded that I HATE your chat function EVERY TIME somebody gives that hollowed-out marmoset skull sound. (On reflection no, this isn't petty at all.) Any other company in the world would listen, especially one as successful as you. They'd watch the competition, learn and apply those learnings. Their customers would love them more because of it.
    Do not get me wrong, I can be quite critical of a lot of what Google is about, but their gmail is a lesson in streamlined simplicity. Take just the chat function. It gives me settings that allow me to have a personal byline message, be invisible, say I'm busy etc etc. I can break the chat box out of the home page (functional brilliance), have my pic as part of it and save conversations. It will allow me to send a message even when the other person is not online. And most importantly it does not give me your marmoset skull sound effects. Such is my loathing of this feature of yours that I tend to forget that I know it exists at all. A kind of security cloaking device. Only reason it appears in this list is that I happened to have the dreaded page open just now and someone foolishly came a knock-knock marmoset knockin'.
    If I needed a kidney, and Facebook chat was the only way the donor could reach me, I'd probably take it, but the very next kidney that came along I'd swop that fucker right out. Even if it was only for a little marmoset substitute.

    9. The walled garden myth

    If you were a garden there might be something nice to see. You're a prison yard and I'm wearing that poxy blue jumpsuit. You're Hotel California. I'm Rapunzel. You're eTender reminders from the government. I wish I could quit you.
    But if I delete my account you'll keep my data, my private letters, my pictures and all the rest of it. If I migrate my content you'll delete my account. Have you never even heard of the majesty that is Sting?* If you love someone, set them free. If they come back to you they deserve everything they get, the triple-galvanised idiots. Wanna know where they get all the zombies for that stupid game? They're here, 40,000 of them almost, stumbling around trying to find an exit that doesn't lead back into Blue Hell.

    10. Don't pretend to care.

    I don't want to know how many friends I share with him.
    I don't want to help her find her friends.
    I don't care that I haven't spoken to him in that long.
    I don't want to find people from my phone book.
    I don't want to find friends from school or uni or the office.

    You don't care about any of that. Don't pretend you do. You just want my info, my stats and my behavioural graph for your master plan, whatever this year's business model is. Data is money, we're idiots and you're trying to double your numbers in 2010. 700 million users. The vast majority of us missing the point.

    Will it ever hit home for more than a few percent? I'm not at all sure that it will. This is no Bebo. As far as a success story business, you're pretty much perfect, Facebook.

    That's probably the most annoying thing of all.

    * A non-literal witticism