Google goes transmedia with new ARG:: #Ingress

Google have just launched there first ARG (Alternate Reality game) called Ingress to be played on Android Smartphones. You have to request an invite to play. It’s a global mind control battle that pits you against others around the world, all via your smartphone. It’s about mind hacking, something called Niantic. Looks super cool and another example of how Google are leading the way when it comes to creating immersive brand experiences that involve consumers across all screens. An amazing participation branding example showcasing the strengths of the Android platform and I can’t wait to get involved

Smart gets #urbanyouth with #FourTwo skateboarder content

A piece of content I wish I’d created. Great piece of youth marketing by Smart, for their FourTwo. Awesome inspiring use of skateboarders Kilian Martin and Alfredo Urbon to get urban Gen Y’ers to desire their wheels. Simple message, powerfully delivered & totally shareable. Goes to show you don’t need to bombard with features to engage. Thanks to my old colleague @aj_lockhart for the shout.

Adidas 2012 Olympics anthem for British youth #takethestage

Awesome anthem for British youth in the lead up to the London 2012 Olympics by Adidas. Captures the spirit of British youth perfectly and the Adidas values of authenticity and  energy. I have to disclose that although my agency Iris Worldwide didn’t do this work, Adidas are a client I work on, so I am a little biased :) Well done Adidas and Sid Lee.

Step Inside the Circuit: with Lewis and Jenson

Our latest work for global client Johnnie Walker’s sponsorship of the Vodafone McLaren F1 team.  ‘Step Inside the Circuit’ is a branded content platform following Lewis and Hamilton as they give us a glimpse into the amazing world of F1 and the rockstar lifestyle attached. What I’m really proud of is the fact that we release this content within 24hrs of the actual race – ensuring it’s contextually relevant and exciting. Well done Grant Hunter, Paul Gage and team at Iris Worldwide, Singapore. Onwards and upwards

Tupac hologram at Coachella: bringing a new dimension to live events

Doing the rounds on Twitter and Facebook. Pretty cool stuff at Coachella. Rendered 3D hologram of Tupac rapping with Snoop. Amazingly life like. Is this type of real time creativity going to be the first of a long list of stars being brought back onto stage during live events?

How to use YouTubers to launch a product: Nike+ Fuelband meets Casey

Nike are all over it when it comes to using the right people to help launch their products. The launch of Nike + Fuelband  is another perfect example. They paid prominent YouTuber Casey Neistat (h’es got over 12,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel)  to make a video about his experience with the Nike + Fuel band under the launch theme of #makeitcount. It’s a great piece of content that’s racked up almost 500,000 views in a few days. Great example of using the right influencers to help create content for you and spread the message. Notice the very subtle branding.

#GagaMarketing: Lessons from a brand phenom

Last week my colleague Karen and I were looking at Lady Gaga and the lessons marketers can learn from her. As a master marketer, she has cleverly cultivated a following of die hard fans. There are numerous presentations on slideshare covering her as a marketing phenom, so we thought we’d add our POV on what brands can learn from Lady Gaga:

  • BE PROVOCATIVE– don’t be scared to have a unique point of view on the world and stick to it
    • I’m obsessively opposed to the typical’ Lady Gaga
  • BE TIMELY – pick the optimum moment to connect and the right context
  • BE INCLUSIVE– leverage social media so your fans feel as though they’re genuinely part of your brand
    • Gaga has branded her followers as ‘Little Monsters’ making them feel connected to her and each other
  • BE GENEROUS– acknowledge and reward loyalists with real value
    • Lady Gaga gives her Little Monsters exclusive first release access to content, songs
  • BE DISTINCTIVE – take risks to get noticed
  • BE OPEN – your fans’ WOM is the best marketing tool you have, but you can’t control it
  • BE FRIENDLY– they can open doors to new audiences you’d never reach alone
    • Lady Gaga’s association with Google has broadened her reach and given her fans even more of a voice
    • Hooking up with Oprah and Perez Hilton has broadened her reach beyond teens
    • Limit idea distribution to the best of your content
  • BE A CULTURE CREATOR – infuse your belief system across other aspects of culture your fans are into eg: fashion, activism, gay rights
  • BE REAL – let your fans feel like they are having a real conversation


Ten learnings on how #coolyouthbrands behave

I am well aware that writing a post about ‘cool’ is fraught with danger as it is such a subjective topic and is the topic of annual contemplation amongst cool hunters, psychologists and people way cooler than myself (that’s not that hard by the way :). Firstly, I’m no cool hunter, just an interested observer of youth culture and how brands are trying to stay relevant and meaningful in todays social world.

Having said that, I thought I’d put together some observations of brand behaviours I consider ‘cool’ in the youth marketing space. Here are 10 behaviours  in no particular order that brands I think are cool are displaying.  I’m sure there are others I’ve missed :)


  1. BELIEVE in something bigger than yourself, an ideal young people can belong to

Love her or loathe her, pop princess Lady Gaga is cool. She stands for something bigger than herself and has complete conviction in her beliefs, which young people gravitate towards. Her activism comes through in her lyrics/music videos giving her ‘little monsters’ something to belong to.

  1. Leverage MYTHOLOGY and MYSTIQUE in your brand narrative

One of my favourite Aussie brands is custom motorcycle brand Deus Ex Machina. They do a brilliant job of building an interesting, discoverable story around the brands origins. To me, they feel mysterious and never ever over market themselves. For youth brands, less is more in terms of the storytelling.

  1. Be ORIGINAL,  creating tales and crafted cult

It’s obvious, but originality is and always will be a key pillar of cool. A recent campaign by K Swiss really caught my attention. It’s polarising, but that’s what makes it cool.  To launch their Tubes shoe, they totally took the piss out of the corporate side of sport endorsement. They used Kenny Powers and crafted a highly engaging tale that’s generated a cult following in the US. Check it out here


Indie hipster brand, Converse do a great job of creating culture through their co-opting of hip hop music culture.  An oldie, but a goodie.

  1. Enable STIMULATION junkies to capture and share their lives

Make no mistake, Gen Y and Millenials are stimulation junkies. Boys and girls alike. They are hardwired for risk taking behaviour. So brands like Go Pro, have tapped into this behaviour and been the enabler for self expression. In the world of action sports, Go Pro cameras on your helmet are the must have item. They are becoming mainstream but still remain super cool. They are the perfect compliment to the Red Bull culture.

  1. Give youth genuine OWNERSHIP, appealing to the core and potential fans

 I think it’s such bullshit when people say cool brands have to be scarce. Brands like Modern Warfare 3 are perfect examples of a game which is appealing to both hardcore gamer and novice gamer like myself. Check out their recent epic spot here

  1. EMPOWER youth to do more, be more

 Youth movement,  One Young World is an annual summit where the leaders of tomorrow start leading, bring the best and brightest minds together to talk about stuff that really matters.

  1. Play a genuine role in making a SUBCULTURE better

 Many big brands try and co-opt a culture and piggy back on a trend. This is a major no no. Footlocker with their Sneakerpedia social wiki is genuinely making sneaker culture better by helping peeps keep on top of their sneaker game. Check it out here.

  1. AUTHENTICITY in being real and doing stuff, not preaching

It’s also noting, that I don’t believe ‘cool’ is reserved just for the fringe brands for the super early adopters. Thanks to social media ,cool is now diffused to mainstream so much quicker than say five years ago, so the incubation period for ‘cool’ is alot shorter. I also believe that it has and always will be typically the younger creative class that start cultural cool which brands then often co-opt.

  1. Help young people be more GENEROUS to their friends

In the social economy brands that help me do something of value for a friend are the brands are perceived as cool.


Would welcome thoughts on other brand behaviours people think cool brands are displaying.

#GoogleVoiceSearch speaks for itself in Aussie experiments

I’ve had the pleasure of working with the guys at Google Australia the past few months on an exciting project for Google Voice Search for mobile.

I’ll let the videos speak for themselves, but essentially we created two acoustic experiments with some rather unusual apparatus to test out the capabilities of Google Voice Search for mobile.

These are the two teaser videos

These are the actual longform experiments

During the filming of the two experiments we also reached out the the Tourism Australia Facebook community asking them what search questions they’d like to ask ‘underwater’ and in the ‘desert’.

So far we’ve got over 3.5m views all in and growing as well as a sizeable usage shift in peeps out there doing voice searches on their mobile, giving the technology a good old try.