What do you usually do at the weekend?

Second weekend in August, head west. And see some of the finest machinery on two wheels being piloted by seriously quick riders.

If the leathers fit, you may very well see me on the back of one: a pro as the pilot, me as the pillion.

All going well, I’m going to do some Qik videos, and even a live stream from the back of a superbike.

Get into it: see you there?

Is everything fake?

Why strive for authenticity?

Because authentic stories tell themselves, over and over, without needing to be propped up.

Any agency worth its salt can make a viral-style campaign that’s really convincing.

  1. Make it rough, by using actual amateur DOPs, not expensive ones who just shake the camera.
  2. Take off smooth edges. Get rid of your expensive DSLR EXIF data, and replace it with bogus consumer info.
  3. Don’t export your video from the web straight from Final Cut Pro. The comp name will be in the file!
  4. Build, slowly, a small network of interrelated blogposts. Don’t be evil, just push for Googlejuice and connect up your idea to tastemakers and taste arbiters.
  5. Go find some raw talent, pay them a daily rate, and shoot them. No, wait: then they’ll just blab on their Myspace or Facebook. Get someone “in” the industry you are campaigning for to find real talent who can go off on holidays for a few weeks while you launch.
  6. Don’t get caught. Or, if you are crafty, build up the picture to make it seem as if someone else did it. Sigh. No, you should just build a great concept, slowly, which bursts out rapidly and has a verifiable “trail” behind it.
  7. Use digital media extensively. Build a profile of images, text, blog posts, stories, real-world/online mashup games, found objects, image-hosting pools, “cool kids only!”, invitation only, Facebook groups. Why not get your intern(s) to spend a day or three doing this, rather than making them pick up drycleaning, making them stuff direct-mail envelopes, or making them go to the store for “multi-coloured paint”.
  8. Be faithful to the client, brand, or business. Do a deal: we get caught in the first two weeks, you don’t pay. We miss our conversion targets, you pay 25% less. We exceed our targets, we get 20% more. You’ll soon realise whether you’re actually any good at what you do.
  9. Join the real world to the virtual one. Want to sell shiny green Converse? Is red a good contrast colour? So, why not…have them seen and photographed on a red carpet? Too simple? Why not get the online marketing manager for a complementary green (“eco”) brand to be seen wearing them to work, every day for a week? Then be “crude” and buy up the adwords for “green converse” for searches from your target locale and demographic. Still too simple? Well, then engage me, and I’ll show you how to go one-louder, for each of these points.
  10. Why hide? Why lie? Because you need to, because you didn’t hide your agency and agenda well enough. Try hiding it a layer deeper, and getting some white-hat hackers to try to unravel “the viral” 4 days before launch. Then use their findings to hide it more, just before launch.
  11. There is no eleven.

Naked was caught…well…naked. Because everything seemed a little not-quite-real from day 1 of it appearing in public. Hey, I don’t slag people off: but even they must realise that the negative backlash is not the outcome they wanted.

Let’s all end on a high note.

A Rock Band rock band?

If you were playing Rock band, but as an actual rock band, are you a Rock Band rock band or just a rock band?

Yes, it’s an obsequious sentence. But the meta-reality of the meta experience is actually very real.

Accompanied on fake guitars and drums by three Web programmers who drove in from the refinery-dotted coastal suburb of El Segundo, Hsuan launches in as a smoke machine puffs nearby.

Well, smoke machines are pretty hackneyed. But

Concert tracking magazine Pollstar said 2,900 fans paid $25 to $36 each to rock the Event Center at San Jose State University on Oct. 11, one stop on a 26-stop tour by four bands — Panic at the Disco, Dashboard Confessional, the Plain White Ts and The Cab — who performed between renditions of songs played by local “Rock Band” contest winners.

So it’s worth real actual money. Really?
More after the break. Continue reading

Over the top

Stacey Higginbotham has done a short writeup of Christos Lagomichos’ comments on standalone set top boxes.

Getting content from the web to your TV is driving the release of several new set-top boxes such as the Roku, Apple TV and ZeeVee. And yet one of the top chipmakers in the set-top box market doesn’t see those types of appliances winning out over the set-top boxes you get from video service providers (cable, telco, satellite, etc.) anytime soon.

I both agree and disagree with the comments, and the angle. No, it’s not fence-sitting, it’s a case of “different horses for different courses”.

A highly-evolved set top box needs to earn its place in the livingroom of today. Most consumers I talk with, from all walks of life, have a good understanding of what they want, and what might be possible, for a “converged TV” experience.

The carriers and TV companies want to you go into their very vertical, tightly-controlled product lineups: and stay there! The independents, or meta-TV operators, would like you to pick their particular flavour of vertical, tightly-controlled product range.

And the hackers have to stand alone, or find a provider for the in-between. “What if,” they say, “I could have a box that works with my chosen TV bouquet, yet can see and use all the media in my home, and can give me some options for having-it-my-way?”.

For your chance to win a CD, make a sensible, helpful, decent comment on this post, which might help a fellow reader with a tried-and-tested-and-not-made-of-Unobtanium answer. The subjectively-best/most creative answer before midnight AEDST wins two CDs. Continue reading