Branded Content: LG vs Sony

I like LG. I like Sony. But which one is better? FIGHT!

LG vs Sony

UPDATE 1: the LG video has been removed. You can still see images from it however, here, here, and here. Hat tip: Dan.

UPDATE 2: the video is still viewable over on Creativity Online.

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to present to you two brand videos. One from LG Mobile, for the new LG G Flex (actually quite a good phone) and the other from Sony Mobile, for the QX100 lens/camera mobile accessory (a fantastic, if little bulky, hardware add-on).

One of them is the worst piece of branded content I’ve ever seen and the other is quite possibly the best piece of branded content I’ve ever seen.

Can you guess which one is which?

First LG –

And now, Sony –

Your comments, as ever, are welcome.



How to opt-out of auto-play videos in Facebook

If you hadn’t heard, Auto-play ads videos in the Facebook mobile app (and desktop) are on their way.

Facebook Videos - DEATH

Good? Bad? Annoying? All three? Yeah, maybe. But look, here’s the bad news: on mobile, you can’t actually switch them off. What you can do however is prevent them from playing over your mobile network. In other words, make the videos only download over Wi-Fi only, and ostensibly opt-out of letting them auto-play on your handset.

Here’s how that works.

  • On iOS
    Go to Settings -> Facebook -> Facebook Settings -> ‘Auto-Play videos on WiFi only’
  • On Android
    Go to Facebook -> swipe right to the options pane -> App Settings -> ‘Auto-play videos on WiFi only’

Switch off auto-play videos in Facebook mobile

The benefits of this are two fold:

  1. If you’re hardly ever connected to wi-fi, you can pretty much ‘opt out’ of this auto-play media completely.
  2. If you’re not on any kind of unlimited data plan with your network provider, this will prevent Facebook eating into that precious data.


Hat tip to he who spotted this, Charles Arthur.
Go give him a follow.


How to improve your outdoor campaign with Virgin Media WiFi on the Underground

Example one (real)

The Look for Longer campaign is a neat little competition from CBS Outdoor to encourage interaction with outdoor advertising. The game itself is quite cute, there’s 75 different tube stations hidden on a poster and you have to guess them all. Simple, right? Perfect brain fodder for London’s challenge-hungry commuters.

You can see the full poster on the campaign website, the version that I’m showing above however highlights quite a nice piece of joined-up thinking from the chaps behind the activity. Conversations around this sort of thing would normally go like this:

‘OK, so we’ve got our posters’


‘Do they have a clear call to action? Something like, ‘Text us on this number now!’ or similar?’


‘OK, so where are these posters going again?’

‘On the Underground.’

‘OK. Then make sure we add a QR code too…’

‘Straight away!’

—- I’m not kidding.

But not this time ’round, oh no. This time the copywriters and creatives have actually applied context to their work and seeing this kind of relevant and in situ call to action actually put a smile on my face. Smart thinking tends to have that affect on me.

More of this please.

Example two (not real)

Walking onto the platform at Maida Vale back in July earlier this year, I was greeted with this fairly awesome poster for The Amazing Spider-Man. Now while the film wasn’t exactly awesome, the outdoor campaign really could’ve been.

Literally the first thing I thought when I saw this poster was ‘How cool would it be if this was an augmented reality (AR) execution?’. I walk onto the platform and the poster is exactly how you see it now except there’s no Spider-Man in it.

Instead, you download the AR app, hold up your cameraphone and voila, there’s Spidey, crawling around the other side of the platform on the underground.

Wouldn’t be ace if the call to action was something like ‘Seen The Amazing Spider-Man yet? Connect to Virgin Wifi and download app X to see him on this poster right now’ or, better yet, have the app on the Virgin Wi-Fi splash page.

I know a little bit about a little bit when it comes to AR markers (and marker-less markers too) and I’ve always thought you could do something cool with the actual tracks themselves (health and safety, what?) but now there’s internet down there, a whole new world of integrated marketing is wide open.

WiFi on the Underground is free until the end of this year.

Who’s going to innovate next?


Five things on Friday #43

Things of note for the week ending October 26th, 2012

1. Worlds above the clouds
The above image is taken from a gorgeous photoset entitled ‘Magical Worlds Exist Just Above the Clouds’. And the whole set made me smile. So I hope you like it.

2. Batman 16
I’m behind a bit on Batman at the moment, but it has to be said – this latest cover is CREEPY AS HELL, and hella awesome for it.


3. Piano
Bonus friend action this week with a surprise visit by two buddies from overseas, Rob Keyes from Screenrant and Ryan Penagos from Marvel. They were over doing some TOP SECRET reporting on [REDACTED] and I went and met them (and Ryan’s awesome colleague Marc) for a good few beers at the end of their day.

Our destination? Piano.

Man I forgot how good that place is. You should go.

4. The Lumia 920 on AT&T
I really really like this ad. Not because it’s AT&T and not really because it’s the first TVC for the Nokia 920 either. I just think, for a 30 second spot, it tells a story of our time in an excellent fashion. So, yeah –

5. The London Transmedia Fest 2012
Anyone following me on Twitter on Friday would’ve seen a whole bunch of tweets using the #LTF2012 hashtag. Well, the London Transmedia Fest 2012 was the reason why. Some highlights –

And finally, my favourite speaker of the day was Pat Cadigan. Pat told a wonderful story about how the times in her life when she had nearly died. It was brilliant, captivating and just… delightful.

Favourite quote?

“Children are magical… Where do all the mediocre adults come from?”

Bonuses this week comes in the form of just a bunch of other stuff I’m reading –

– I really enjoyed this Louis CK / SNL article

– The wrong election date is on some Spanish-language voting forms

– Ghostbusters 3 has finally been given the green light, here’s the timeline

– Italy’s most famous drowned town (is there a top ten?)

– What is Drop 7?

– a breathtaking poem, ‘Sheep

Whatley out.







Product Placement: Tomb Raider

Right, watch [the first 30secs of] this:

See that there? At around the 23second mark? Hang on, here’s a screen grab –

See that? That’ll be an iPhone 4 and, just to the right, a pair of Beats by Dre in-ear headphones. IN A VIDEO GAME TRAILER.

While in-game advertising is nothing new, in-game product placement is. However brazen, it does – in a weird way – kind of work. I spotted it, admittedly, as my marketing/advertising eyes and brains are trained to spot this stuff a mile away. However, it wasn’t exactly in your face per se, in fact it was quite subtle.

Best of all, if Lara Croft was a real person then I bet she probably would be an iPhone4 user (and would no doubt be rocking the Beats by Dre also).
So it kind of works. Ish.

The question I have is whether or not this placement is purely for payment/sponsorship purposes or will the game developers (completely blind-side us all and) make the handset itself integral to the progression of the game?

My money is obviously on the former. As I’ve already made clear, game development is costly and any kind of media partnership like this has to be sold in pretty quickly so as to capitalise on the opportunity to its full potential.

As a side thought, Apple ‘famously’ don’t pay for product placement*, but I wonder if Dre did? And if so, how much does eight seconds in a close-to-a-million views YouTube video cost?

The question doesn’t need to be asked – this is the start of a new trend and, as new home systems and games start rolling out to the masses, more and more placements will be occurring before our very eyes. Some subtle, some not. We could be verging into James Bond territory here, hell – we may even end up like The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.

Be certain of one thing, ever since Modern Warfare 2 had an ‘opening week’ bigger than Harry Potter, hunting season has been declared on this marketplace.

Watch closely, it’s coming.


*I can’t remember where I read it, but the word is ‘payment’ refers to an actual exchange of money. No mention at all of equipping every man, woman and child in the office with brand new iPods/iPhones/iPads/MacBook Pros etc…

Engagement: BRINK

A week or so ago, while en route to see X-Men: Class, I happened upon this piece of advertising for BRINK.


I don’t know what it is about this image that is so striking (or in fact what it actually says about my brain’s stimulus/response mechanism), but for some reason it makes me want to find out more. Of Brink, at the time, I knew nothing. Further exploration has uncovered that it’s a new first-person-shooter (FPS) and that actually, apparently, it’s not very good. Translated: I asked a fellow gamer and he said – “Well, it’s alright.”

The image above has stayed with me. If there was a demo, I’d download it -  as a hook, it got me.

However what has yet to happen to my nascent advocacy is any kind of pick up.

Advertising like this is crying out for integration. And by that I’m not just talking about having print, TV and outdoor all matching, I mean having a demo available, having monitoring tools in place picking to pick up any mention online, some kind of a social presence/activation/engagement strategy – something, anything that is there ready to spot that I have an interest.

As it stands, my gaming schedule(!) currently consists of re-visiting Modern Warfare 2, playing to the end of Red Dead Redemption and slowly getting drawn into the world of L.A. Noire. Room for another game in my life, there is not.

But Brink really does have me thinking; both about the advertising campaign around it and of course, the game itself.



Incidentally, sometimes it works the other way around – this piece of engagement for Bulletstorm for instance fell on deaf ears. I had no idea who or what Bulletstorm was or is and found myself googling it to try and find out more. Frustrating really; I loved the asset, but the whole thing lacked any kind of personalisation. It did actually drive me to download the demo mind, but still – it left me feeling somewhat empty.

Limitless: The Clear Pill

Creative print advertising on the tube shocker…

I spotted the above ad on the tube just over a week ago…
You may have seen one like it yourself.

Tweet Tweet

I knew exactly what it was for, instantly. But that’s me; I read film blogs, subscribe to Total Film magazine, I write about the films I’ve seen – basically, I’m into my film.

The other 2.6m people using the London Underground every day however might not all be self-confessed movie geeks and may not have jumped to the same immediate conclusion, and that’s no bad thing. Allow me to explain:

If you are one of those people then let’s quickly get this out of the way; that there above – believe it or not – is a rather awesome advert for the new Bradley Cooper film, LIMITLESS. The film is about what happens to a guy when he’s given the chance to become more than who he is. To become the best he could ever be. All achieved simply by using the full potential of his brain. A potential that’s unlocked thanks to the swallowing of a daily pill.

A clear pill.

It looks good right?

I thought so too when I first saw the trailer. However, what they’re doing with their marketing campaign is fantastic. This film could’ve easily just slipped out without anyone noticing and before you know it, it would’ve come and gone by Easter. But with this whole ‘NZT‘ drive, they [the studio, the agency behind the campaign, everyone involved etc] are onto a winner.

Reasons why this works:

  • Bradley Cooper’s most recent ‘hit’ was The A-Team, however he’s probably known to most for his leading turn in the epic post-bachelor party comedy, The Hangover. Those films aside, he’s only ever really played supporting roles which means for a very short time – to the public at least – he has one of those faces.
    You know he’s famous but you can’t quite place him. Just the sort of celebrity face you’d see adorned on a piece of two-bit above the line advertising. A point proven just yesterday when someone in my office held up the equivalent advertisement in her copy of Metro and asked “Hey, wasn’t he in The Hangover? He can’t be doing too well [if he’s doing ads like this].”
  • The advert itself is brilliantly written. It is just like one of those shoddy medical ads that you would see on the tube. The call to action, while completely nullified as it asks you to SEND AN SMS WHILE YOU ARE UNDER THE GROUND is AWESOME as it ASKS YOU TO TAKE A PHOTO OF THE AD TO REMEMBER and, that itself is actually quite compelling because the copy and the thought behind it keep you thinking long after you are outside and above ground – your interest is piqued enough to genuinely follow through on it.
  • It’s a word of mouth, dare I say it – ‘viral’ marketing campaign, that genuinely inspires conversation. How? By offering up a point of entry to a story that you don’t know exists yet. This is not your average movie poster, oh no. In fact the only clue that this might not actually be what you think it is is the URL ‘showfilmfirst‘ which is a site set up to offer early screening tickets to [from the looks of things] films that don’t have the traditionally large studio backing. However, what you take away is THE CLEAR PILL.

    Google that and what you get?

Google Clear Pill

That URL (or that call to action for that matter) isn’t anywhere on the ad, but still people are sharing it –

Ross Tweet Tweet

In fact, if I was writing the wrap up document for this campaign say in about a month or so from now (after the film has hit and the numbers have come in), I’d include that very screen grab.

Bam! Sale! Job done! Cheque please!

Go spend some time poking around the clear pill website, my favourite part so far is the epic ‘we don’t give a stuff about you’ small print.
I’m off to buy my ticket for Limitless. Like I said, it looks pretty good.

Minor addendum; the plot reminds me of the short story Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes. That’s worth a look too.