April 2011


For the uninitiated, Wes Brown is Manchester United´s much maligned defender; even for Man United aficionados, he is hardly likely to set the pulse racing. The mere mention of his name on the team sheet is more likely to strike fear amongst his own team than the opposition; Wes Brown has scored more goals against Manchester United (5) than for them (3) – a net deficit you may say. There is even a Facebook dedicated to Wes Brown’s unusual prowess, entitled “Wes Brown is the most boring and rubbish footballer EVER”.

Probably not a good idea to associate with him you may think. Well, to date, most companies appear to agree . . . .Brown currently enjoys only one personal endorsement contract, with the sports footwear manufacturer Concave. A deal which he shares with John O’Shea strangely enough; or “O Shit” as one Facebook group would prefer to call him. A far cry from the $7 million worth of endorsements enjoyed by team mates Wayne Rooney (Nike, Nokia, Ford, Asda, and (until recently) Coca-Cola), or the $6 million man and ex-England captain Rio Ferdinand (complete with his 688,000 Twitter followers and 430,000 Facebook fans).

Well, here’s a thought . . . . given Manchester United’s training, playing and travelling schedule Wes Brown probably spends more time with Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs etc. than with his own wife. Wes joined Manchester United in 1999 and has played for them all his life; I think it is fair to say that he and his teammates know each other inside out, the good, the bad and the ugly.

But here’s the point. Take a look at who global icon Rio Ferdinand sits next to in the dressing room. Yes, it´s our hero, the “most boring and rubbish footballer EVER” Wesley Michael “Wes” Brown!

Twice a week + training and travel, Wes Brown sits and chews the fat with one of the most influential people in the UK, and (judging by the recent media coverage surrounding his loss of the England captaincy), Europe and even the World.

And here is the other thing . . . . Wes Brown is not very good at football, he does not command celebrity endorsement fees, but he is more accessible and approachable than those more famous (i.e. “better”) players who do.

As a means to reach those key influencers – who themselves will be inaccessible and beyond the means of most organizations, who will be difficult to work with and – ultimately – will steal the limelight for themselves – Wes Brown could be a great option.

Endorsers are unlikely to be queuing up to sign up a “one club” Manchester United player who has scored more goals against them than for them, and this means that Brown’s endorsement would be more exclusive (as opposed to simply another brand name on a retainer) and, potentially, more powerful.

Particularly given his proximity to Rio Ferdinand at least twice a week. Most importantly – with all due respect – he is no Rio Ferdinand and unlikely to steal the limelight for himself either. In fact, he’d probably be flattered to be approached in the first place!

Beyond the world of football, these are the types of relationships and influences that organizations should consider when recruiting endorsers to start ideas and amplify their messages. The most popular blogger or most visible online community may not be the most effective place to start; there may be an even smarter way to reach them in a way that generates real benefit for both the organization and the influencer being approached.

Back to the football analogy . . . do players still share hotel rooms? If so, taking the Wes Brown dressing room logic to its natural conclusion, who shares with Wayne Rooney, that would be powerful information to have . . .

@RogerDara

Another week, another round of DERTy Talk. Sorry it’s late.  It’s been that kind of week.

So what has been happening in the Digital Entertainment, Rights and Technology space this week? Well…

Digital Entertainment

clip_image002Pixar sneak peaks

We’d actually made a note to include this last week, but for some unfathomable reason we forgot about it. We might be Derty, but we are fallible. Anyway, as it’s Pixar we thought it warranted a second attempt. Last week Pixar released a sneak peak of the new Cars 2 (incidentally Cars 1 is my least favourite of the Pixar canon, but I think that’s because as a Brit the whole talking Nascar thing doesn’t float my boat, or drive my car to extend the metaphor. Toys, bugs, superheroes, balloons and robots are more my thing. Make of that what you will). I digress. So the ‘sneak’ peak was actually a faux car salesman video, that was reported on Mashable. Eagle eyes spotted a hidden frame and by pausing the video at the correct time you discovered a hidden link, which then took you through to the Gamsesmaster-esque video of Lasseter (no, not that Lasseters. The Pixar founder). He introduced the exclusive scene, which incidentally looks ace. Better than that, when I first watched it, it only had 500 odd views. Within a couple of hours it had jumped to the thousands. A week later it’s at 57,000. And that’s just the hidden video. The official trailer,released this week, already has 400k+ views. We applaud Pixar for going the extra mile in terms of treating fans (the code for the secret link was a geeky reference). Their video teaser strategy has something for everyone, which is the way forward when home entertainment audiences are fragmented, we reckon.

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Not something you would automatically expect from Becks, but they are launching a digitally led pub crawl campaign, with a twist, in order to celebrate its Arts Label campaign. The idea is that people will check in at pubs along the way and get a chance to win an exclusive limited edition print of the art work in the campaign, or free beer (which one would you choose?). Each of the eight pubs involved will represent one of the current Becks Art Labels. To go along side this Becks is calling for students from UK art colleges to submit designs for a new Beck’s Art Label via its Beck’s Vier Facebook page. So any one who is a student, get drawing. The six best designs will be displayed on a murial in East London.

clip_image006A quick one for any shoe lovers reading this, Dune has joined the Facebook retail bandwagon, so yet another excuse to buy shoes…. J HMV have joined them, we wonder who will be next.

Rights

clip_image008A frustrating week for the BBC 4 producers of Room at the Top; due to complicated rights issues over the film of the book – the production was pulled from schedules at the last minute. Hopefully the lawyers can come to an agreement as it looked like the dramatisation was going to be jolly good. Read more over at the Guardian.


Technologies

clip_image010Do you ever think ‘what will TV advertisers try next?’ Well Sky has come up with another method, launching video ads on mobile. Sky will use FreeWheel’s Monetisation Rights Management to bring the service to advertisers. The news comes as Sky has already upped its mobile offering with an exclusive iPad app for its Sky News channel. Do you think you would take more notice of a video ad on your mobile?

Tweets from the team

@LukeMackay - Impressive partner sites but it is wee bit too long and clunky. Magnum Pleasurehunt http://bit.ly/eUIm6h via @getdancey

@LukeMackay - Pixar does sex, science and previously war (well sort of). Looks awesome http://bit.ly/B92dv

@LukeMackay - How did I not realise last week that the new Death Cab video premiered on MTV. LIVE. Super cool. http://bit.ly/eJuJ47

@AJGriffiths – Devastated to hear the news that Joe McElderry has been dropped by Cowell. He had such promise… http://bit.ly/gmtr8w

@AJGriffiths – Love this from Converse – http://bit.ly/i8jthV – Paloma Faith, Graham Coxon & Bill Ryder-Jones collaborate to create ‘Desire’

@AJGriffiths – This is amazing RT @charlottemc: Oh Kinect and 3D printing… I like: http://bit.ly/fYE4Gw

@Gleney – Does this mean Kodak’s video cameras won the battle?http://on.mash.to/fkbHtl

This behavioural group began as an observation that a key segment of our conversations were not trying to create new ideas or amplify them but were bringing content together and adapting the idea. 

When we began to look at this behaviour in more detail the degree of adaption seemed less important than the act of gathering and sharing this information.  In many cases the content was not being changed greatly from the essential meme or idea, but was  being put into context and given greater definition and relevance.

Over time we began to refer to this group as ‘curators’ (rather than adaptors) as this seemed to explain the deeper motivation for this group.  There is a degree of ambiguity to this description as many curators were also adapting content; for instance taking quotes or references from other articles and by placing them in a new context and adding to the meaning of the original idea.  Indeed, a small minority of them were significantly adapting the original idea.  But we do feel that curators is the better description, and to explain why I want to refer to a post written by Steve Rubel several years ago when he gave a succinct explanation of curation:

The Internet has empowered billions of people and is distributing their creativity across millions of niches and dozens of formats. Quality and accuracy, of course, can vary. However, virtually every subject either is or will be addressed with excellence – by someone, somewhere.

“However, the glut of content as we all know also has a major downside. Our information and entertainment options greatly outweigh the time we have to consume it. Even if one were to only focus on micro-niche interests and snack on bite-sized content, demand could never ever scale to match the supply. Content is a commodity. The Attention Crash is real and – make no mistake – it will deepen.  Enter the Digital Curator.”

Steve outlines how important this digital curator is in the development of influence and authority on the Internet.  It is this motivation for sharing, giving meaning, and identifying where excellence resides that can help make sense of digital chaos.  This wonderful need for people online to help curate what is and what is not so important online is a key dynamic of the topology of influence.

In acknowledging this a digital curator is different from the traditionally defined cultural curator, who is a crucial guardian or overseer of tangible objects.  A digital curator is working with electronic material and where it is linked and interconnected and even by putting it into context, (because the digital curator is a part of authority ranking), this act alone adapts the content.  Additionally digital is a different world from online, as its democratic instinct means that few curators can resist a tweak or adaptation to content that would be completely taboo to the traditional definition. 

So our definition of digital curator is different from the traditional; it allows for adaptation of the idea in giving it context but importantly it does not mean the curator starts a new idea or meme.  If this was the case they would be an idea starter not a curator and it appears that few curators want to start new ideas afresh; they are largely satisfied and motivated by this role of creating context. 

Given the time it takes to curate even the smallest conversation there is a practical force behind this. However, there is also the point that they are two different acts; one more organisational and sharing, the other more inspirational and isolated.

Lets talk DERTy

Another week, another round of DERTy Talk, a day later but who’s counting.

So what has been happening in the Digital Entertainment, Rights and Technology space this week? Well…

Digital Entertainment

clip_image002Dirty Derty

If any of you have stumbled across this week’s edition of DERTy talk and are somewhat disappointed by the lack of actual dirt, then this one might be for you. And if you are just interested in regular digital entertainment this might be one of interest too. This week has seen the release of the world’s first 3D porn film. The film apparently cost £2m to make and has caused Chinese fans to flock to Hong Kong in the hope of seeing the uncut version. The first of many eye popping films? Who knows, as long as it doesn’t become 4D…

Cats own the interwebclip_image003?

Worried about how many people currently follow you on Twitter? Perhaps a lowly cat could help, or perhaps just add some amusement to your day. According to a recent list compiled by Shortlist, the animal with the most amount of followers is @sockington (not an Edelman client), with 1,482,735 followers. Sockington is owned by tech-historian Jason Scott. The domestic cat turned twitter legend was originally found as a stray but has since received fame on Twitter and has even had a spread in People Magazine. Others on the list include the Bronx Zoo Cobra which we featured last week and an array of animals ranging from ducks to parrots.

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Pirates on the high seas of Web Connected TV

YouTube’s senior director of content partnerships for EMEA has said that an increase in web connected TV’s will not result in “random ads running across the screen” and a lack of quality control. Piracy has been identified as the biggest threat as more people will be tempted to watch pirated material. BBC.com and global iPlayer MD Luke Bradley-Jones has said that video is the single most exciting area in terms of traction with 50-100% growth in use of video across BBC worldwide per month.

Rights

Do you know your data rights?

We wrote ages ago about the new dicdataship and how Data Brokers and the profit being made from digital data. This is a lovely infomercial video explaining how data brokers gather personal information and how they are using your information – whether you know it or not. Brought to you by the organisation Reputation.com – its thought provoking stuff.

 

 

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A working group headed by Ed Vaizey has suggested creating a body that will resemble website watchdog the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), however this has been slammed by digital rights campaigners, the Open Rights Group. In part the group has been proposed to find an alternative to website blocking, compromised ISPs and rights holders. Currently there are problems with clauses within the Digital Economy Act around how web site blocking would occur and who would be held responsible if illegal content were downloaded on free public Wi-Fi. The full article is published here and it is set to be an issue that will run and run. After all currently if your website gets blocked there is no one to complain to.

Technologies

Minority Shopping Report

A very impressive customer service/ technology initiative from the clever people at 3 (though almost certainly an April Fool). Basically Minority Report meets online shopping WITH customer service. In terms of how businesses offer content, software and technology as a service – this is an interesting hypothesis of how customer support *might* look in the future, practical joke or not.

Watch it here – http://vimeo.com/21968394

Tweets from the team

@LukeMackay: I might go to Legoland California JUST to see thesehttp://bzfd.it/g0fvA3 #starwars

@GLeney: All I want to do is check the weather! #bbcwebsiteisdown

@AJGriffiths: V nicely done video from Desperados RT @becksr: Wow – this is very cool. http://bit.ly/dJW7cf

@LukeMackay: The Governator. Utterly inspired RT @_mip_ Arnold#Schwarzenegger launches The Governator at #MIPTVhttp://bit.ly/hsluJ8

@AJGriffiths: The @FT refuses to give up subscriber data to Apple. A fair stake in the groundhttp://on.mash.to/h6vfvL

Many of you will be aware of how the above question applied to the Roman Empire during Monty Python’s Life of Brian

“alright –APART from sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order…”

 

I was reminded to apply the same question to Europeans in general as part of an investigation into the future of work being undertaken for a client. The findings to date predict a truly global and “frictionless” marketplace where, by 2020, skills and experience will be matched with job profiles and budgets through a sort of “global employment dashboard”, probably residing somewhere in the Cloud.

How will Europe compete in such a competitive environment? Well, it certainly won’t be on cost…

Europeans will have to find clear distinction; what they are good at, where their value lies in order to compete in an increasingly frictionless market.

To this end, my colleagues and I have been trying to compile a list of sectors, expertise, and markets where Europe really excels. These are areas where skills and heritage built up over centuries give Europe an unassailable competitive advantage.

First, we start with the serious list; by 2020, Europeans will still be in a position of competitive advantage in the following:

Next, the list of slightly less serious areas where the Europeans excel however:

I’d love to hear from you if you have any suggestions for either list.  So in 2020, when the question arises, “What have the Europeans ever done for us?” we’ll have our answers ready!

@RogerDara

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