Anyone for Layer Tennis?


I think Adobe are definitely onto something with their ‘Layer Tennis‘ championship.

Originally conceived by Coudal Partners, the idea is simple, but very cool:

Two artists or designers battle out their skills by swapping a Photoshop file back a forth, adding to each other’s work in real time. Each competitor gets fifteen minutes to “volley” the file, and each volley is posted on the site.

The matches last for ten volleys and when it’s complete, everyone with an opinion sounds off in the Forums and then they declare a winner.

A third participant, a writer, provides play-by-play commentary on the action, as it happens.

Seems as though they have some high calibre creatives going head to head. This week’s battle was Skinnycorp’s Jeffrey Kalmikoff up against interactive designer Brendan Dawes – and special comments by daringfireball’s John Gruber.

What a great campaign – Artists inspired by other artists, in a format that you can easily digest. And spread to other artists.

It reminds me of a simple thought that Andy Sernovitz spoke about recently – If you want your marketing to get spread by word-of-mouth, it can’t be about You. It’s about them. It’s not your company, your product, or your message. It’s about theirs.

That’s why this campaign has already proven to be a word-of-mouth winner.

What I also love about this type of marketing is that it doesn’t smell like a marketing campaign. It’s fun, not corporate. It’s like something you’d expect from Crumpler. It’s great. And it doesn’t leave you feeling as though you’ve been marketed to.

Where do you find the best online marketing blog posts for 2007?

Techipedia, that’s where.

Tamar Weinberg has put together a phenomenal list of over 250 blog posts from 2007, covering everything you need to know about marketing online. Blogging, social networking, viral strategies, social media – you name it.

Here it is – Truly a great list that will have you reading for hours.

2007 has been rather quiet here at my blog, and posting has been scarce. It’s been a busy year for me, changing jobs (on 2 occasions), getting married, buying a house and starting a business. Not sure if 2008 will be any calmer, but I hope to blog more in the new year. Thanks for reading!

Radiohead does honesty pricing

radiohead.jpgRadiohead are the latest to jump onto the concept of honesty pricing, something that I talked about a little while ago.

Their new album, In Rainbows, is bound to be a big seller. But not for the record companies. The band are selling it through their website for any price you like.

That’s right … You can buy their new album for any price you specify. It’s a strategy that will create massive word-of-mouth, while giving back to their fans. Almost everyone who even remotely likes the band will consider buying the album. And it might even turn a few 20 cent cheapskates into loyal Radiohead converts.

The other wonderful thing is that when you visit the site, it isn’t immediately clear that the chooser chooses the price. That is, you need to delve deeper into the site to find this out. Which makes it secretive. A discovery. Which in turn fuels the viral-ness (if there is such a word) of the exercise.
This, in my opinion, is a beautiful piece of marketing.

What Everybody Ought to Know About Viral Marketing

This weeks’ Viral Marketing phenomenon is the Cadbury Gorilla. Except that it isn’t.cadbury.jpg

It’s a funny video of a gorilla playing the drums along to Phil Collins. Who wouldn’t want to pass it on? It’s been posted to YouTube as well. So Cadbury and their agency can expect plenty of people to view it.

But does it sell Chocolate bars? I doubt it. As funny as it is, there is no correlation between forwarding this video on to your friends to buying chocolate bars. So we can’t really call this viral marketing, can we?

Let’s make the distinction between “viral” and “viral marketing”.

“Viral” is easy. A teenager can videotape themselves singing in their bedroom and it can go viral. A Facebook group about Pluto can go viral. And a chocolate bar company can film a funny gorilla, and it can “go viral”. Just make something funny, quirky, and easy to spread.

Viral Marketing is, well, something else.

The term ‘Viral Marketing’ was made popular by Steve Jurvetson, a venture captalist, when describing Hotmail’s practice of adding the phrase “Get Your Private, Free Email from Hotmail at”. By making the product part a strong part of the message, and intertwining the product benefit (free, private email in this case), you could assume that this was a viral marketing success.

The days of a free email address being an exciting proposition are long gone. And this example of viral marketing is cliched. So let’s move into the naughties.

Nowadays, marketing philosophers (myself included) will annoy the pants off you by saying, “You have to remarkable to be remarked about” and “You can’t be a viral marketing success with having a product or service that’s truly viralworthy”. Or some similar schtick. But I’m afraid it’s true. As Seth Godin defined it:

Viral marketing is a special case of an ideavirus. Viral marketing is an ideavirus in which the medium of the virus is the product. It’s an idea where the idea is the amplifier.

That said, let’s look at some more recent examples to explain Viral Marketing.

  • Threshers wine chain in the UK offered a 40% off discount voucher online last Christmas … it started small but in the end was downloaded by millions of people.
  • Movember – now there’s a clever viral campaign. The annual “Grow a moustache in November for charity” campaign is classic is viral marketing, because every willing participant is sporting a ridiculous (yet charitable) set of handlebars for an entire month.

The three above are all valid examples of viral marketing. The spreadworthy nature of the blendtec videos was the blender. The spreadworthy deal at Threshers was Threshers. And the message that the mo’ spreads is Movember.

As people spread the message, they spread it about thing that was originally intended to spread. That, my friends, it viral marketing.

And I’m reluctant to mention Facebook. But Facebook has been an example of Viral marketing too. Because the benefit of being on Facebook (“I keep in touch with my friends”) is linked to the sign-up effect of Facebook (Hooly-dooly, look how many of my friends are already on facebook”).

Now, I’m not suggesting that Viral Marketing is easy. The internet has made it soooo much easier to spread a message. But still, Viral marketing isn’t easy. Far from it.

But if the product (or at least the offer linked to the product) is talkworthy, and you link it to a medium that it easy to spread, it just might spread.

The million dollar question? How could Cadbury have made their online gorilla viral campaign a VIRAL MARKETING campaign?

That’s the subject of another post. Stay tuned.

Carlsberg and Mentos

You know what happens when you mix Diet Coke and Mentos

Check out what happens with Mentos and Carlsberg!

Nice idea (via

The number 1 way to create viral marketing …

… Is to create a product (or service) that’s actually worthy of going viral.

Blendtec are the latest whiz-kids to work this out. Their product is a blender that blends anything (You’ll see). Blendtec posted their “Will it Blend?” videos on YouTube, resulting in over 5 million views. The golf ball video alone has been watched over 1.6 million times. Voluntarily, I might add.

It’s not about YouTube though. It’s about the blender. The blender is responsible for the millions of page views and blogosphere chatter, not YouTube.

You’ll never go viral if your product isn’t worthy. You can’t make something that’s lame, then expect millions of people to watch your video. It’s the other way around.