Archive for May, 2009


Vertical Jump Bible – my new blog

In addition to trying to write original blog posts and busting my chops working for Microsoft, I also play competitive men’s basketball a couple of games a week. I’ve just started a new training regime to work on my vertical leap and sprint speed – the famous Vertical Leap Bible (VJB). I’ll be tracking my progress from the training through a new blog – Vertical Jump Bible: an Ongoing Review.


^^Thats me with my old ACBA (Australian Chinese Basketball Association) team. It was a weird competition – you could only ever have 2 ‘non-Asian’ people on court at once.

If you’re into basketball or athletics, I invite you to check the new blog out…the big risk with alot of these online training programs is that they take significant investments of time and effort to see the maximum effects, yet there are alot of tricksters out there who want to take your money and leave you with no results. I couldn’t find anyone who’d documented results online from the VJB program for any longer than 6 weeks or so since starting, so I think the blog will be a good resource in future for people who want to know if the VJB program actually works… I’m bearing the risk for you all 🙂


The Foundry’s banned anti-discrimination ad: a seminal moment in Australian ads

I wasn’t going to weigh in on the Foundry’s anti discrimination ad when I first read the post about it on mumbrella the other day, simply because I knew there’d be plenty of others commentating on it. However, I’m puzzled as to why there’s such a mixed reaction to the Foundry’s anti-discrimination pitch for the ABC’s show, the Gruen Transfer.

I’d like to take this opportunity to express my support for the Foundry, for Adam Hunt (the creator of the pitch), and for the ad itself. When we’re living in a world where Underbelly can show as much T&A as they want (not that I have a problem with that), coupled with copious amounts of bloodshed, it’s hard to believe that an ad about discrimination can cause such concern. The ad was intelligent, and extremely powerful, holding a mirror up to the ugliness that is prejudice. So props go out to The Foundry and Adam Hunt on this one… top notch job on creating a dialogue on a very important topic.


Engagement vs Advertising: the key decision in your viral marketing campaign

When planning a viral campaign, you’ve got to decide on a balance between your messaging being focused on what I see as ‘Advertising’ vs ‘Engaging’. Advertising vs Engagement are not necessarily mutually exclusive measures – they fit more on a sliding scale:

1 – the pure Advertising approach jams a marketing message down consumer throats. Marketers usually feel inclined to use this sort of messaging to ensure whatever attention their (hopefully) viral campaigns get leads directly to consumption of the marketing message they are communicating. The Advertising approach means that your brand message is clear, but it may limit the reach of your viral campaign, because let’s face it, ads have never been among any of the big time viral videos. People don’t usually spread content that is obviously advertising.

2 – the Engagement approach is different in that it focuses first and foremost on the content, making sure that whatever content is featured in your (hopefully) viral campaign is clever / inspiring / controversial enough to ensure a large number of people will pass it on to others. It is about engaging some sort of emotional response from a significant enough proportion of the public to reach that viral tipping point so that you start to get hundreds of thousands of views rather than thousands. However, the greater the viral ‘infectiousness’ (i just made that word up!) of your campaign, the lower the opportunity for brand messaging and the greater the potential for confusion.

To illustrate, let’s take 2 similar viral campaigns, both based on a similar idea of creating short films to attract people to consume campaign assets. The first campaign is the recent efforts by Google, and the second being one of my alltime favourite online campaigns, Zune Arts (about 2 years old now, still going strong). The difference between the Advertising vs Engagement approach is well illustrated by these two campaigns – Google seem to have gone the ‘Advertising’ route, whilst Zune have gone the ‘Engagement’ route. Looking at some of the Google videos, the ‘short films’ are not really short film, rather they are just a nifty little ad (see example below). This is fine, but I can’t see myself passing this around to friends (except of course to discuss here why the content is not necessarily suited to a viral campaign). The content’s just not interesting enough.

The Zune Arts campaign, however, had me browsing the site for 45 minutes the first time I visited –  the content is so rich and immediately engages the audience (see the second video below for example). I’ve also been back for multiple visits, and have shown a number of other people. However, I left the site none the wiser about Zune’s product features / value proposition (I wasn’t even shown a product shot in any of the short movies). The content was cute and I liked the Zune brand all the more for providing it, but I still own an iPod…

One of the Google Chrome ‘Chrome Shorts’ vids

One of the vids

I’m interested to hear if anyone has examples of viral campaigns that they feel have struck a really strong combination of Advertising vs. Engagement. I invite you to leave your comments below…


The Best Job in The World: Why the rest of the Reef Island campaign will flop now

First off, massive props to Tourism Queensland for their Best Job In the World campaign. I slagged it off a bit when they had the fake tattooing video incident, but this campaign is now a benchmark marketing / PR effort and the team in charge should be given a gold ticket to Willy Wonkas chocloate factory. But there’s one thing I’m tripping on – why’d they choose Ben Southall? I could go into the numerous reasons why I’d never have picked him, but I’ll let youtube do the talking for me. The first video, Ben Southall’s winning audition vid for the Best Job in the World. The second, Jeremy from PeepShow’s Big Brother audition. Can you tell the difference? Cos I’m struggling to… 🙂

EDIT: 12/5/09 – the dude/dudette who put the second video on youtube has just disabled embedding… how very prattish of him/her. So if you want to view Jeremy’s Big Brother audition tape, go to


The IAB released their ‘Social Media Ad Metrics’ report today. Being the IAB, you can bet this report and the metrics systems contained within will carry some clout for online marketers. Read the full ‘Social Media Ad Metrics’ report here.

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