The couple

Geert Desager, a colleague of mine in trade marketing is working on a great project that I think you should all check out:

“Together with our ad agency Openhere, I’m currently making a commercial for Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions. The film is called ‘The Couple’ and makes some statements about the relationship between today’s advertiser and today’s consumer. A quite risky project if you know that the commercial explicitly challenges the advertisers – our clients – to question themselves and the way they communicate with their target groups. In this blog, I will keep you posted about the making of the campaign. I have also given the agency access to this blog, so that they can vent their ideas as well. As should be in this format, there is only one rule: “their are no rules!”

I’ve had the chance to see some of the casting videos with the final actors before Geert left to LA (where he’s shooting the video this week). Don’t think of it as a classic TV commercial, this should be like a wake up call… hopefully it works.

Check out ‘The Making Of’ blog to follow the project.

Listening and learning from social conversation

Blogging4business, the day after. Yesterday I attended the B4B conference in London for which Simon had asked me to be on panel about “Next-generation market research: how companies are listening and learning from social conversation”. I’m not sure about that title (isn’t a conversation always social?), but basically it was about tracking social media.

Blogging 4 Business
(Photo by Stephanie Booth)

Also on the panel were Simon McDermott (CEO, Attentio), Scott Thomson (Analytics Director, Starcom) and Heather Hopkins (Head of Research, Hitwise) and we had a great moderator in the person of Mike Butcher. I enjoyed the panel, I hope the audience did as well, you can read some coverage here, here, here or here. As always conferences like these are also very good place to meet up with new people, or people that you know via email or other means, but that you never met in person. I finally got to meet Caroline Maerten (who has some great coverage on the event), Mike Butcher and Steve Clayton from Microsoft (the Blue Monster guy). I wanted to talk a bit more off stage with Heather (hope we can catch up later) and wanted to meet Darren Strange, another fellow Microsoft colleague who was on a panel before me but I guess time was to short.

Finally, I met up with Hugh again the night before and it looks like we might be doing something together later on as well, so all great stuff.

Thanks to Matthew and Bernhard for a great conference programme. See you next year.

I belong in London

My first thought when I saw this test was: please give me a city that I actually travel to already, don’t need more traveling just yet. So you can understand that I was happy to see that apparently London is my place to be, as I’m traveling to London already once or twice a month.

You Belong in London

A little old fashioned, and a little modern.
A little traditional, and a little bit punk rock.

A unique soul like you needs a city that offers everything.

No wonder you and London will get along so well.

What City Do You Belong In?

… and I guess Antwerp was just not in the list ;)

[Via Clo]

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A few weeks ago I was invited by Simon McDermott to be on a panel at the Blogging4Business event taking place in London on April 4th. The panel will be about:

Next Generation Market Research – How Companies are Listening and Learning from Social Conversation

Blog monitoring, blog auditing and brand social research are some of the real buzzwords that get companies excited. From PR to marketing to advertising to consumer brands, research directors and company executives are embracing the ability to listen to the global conversation and learn what real people are saying about goods and services without the need for focus groups or artificial surveys. Whether you need to know how your company is perceived or how your competitors’s new brand fared during that expensive US launch, next generation market research is the social tool every company can benefit from.

I’m very much looking forward to the event, to the discussion with the other panel members in specific, but also to hear some of the other speakers/keynotes like Bradley Horowitz for instance, the VP of product strategy from Yahoo!

If you’re planning on going there as well, let me know and we might meet up if you want. The event is not sold out completely just yet I think so get your ticket quick if you’re interested.

Exercise anywhere

Yes I know I should exercise some more, I took my sporting gear with me to Seattle this week and it didn’t come out of my luggage for the whole week. The ‘exercise anywhere’ is a really nice execution of an idea to get people to do more exercise. The campaign was for the Thai Health Promotion Foundation but could obviously work everywhere. Send me 2 goals please ;)

[Via ADpunch]

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Whenever I’m staying at a hotel for work, I need to use the phone for really only one thing and that is to get a wake up call. Now, these hotel phones always have a large range of buttons on them so you can easily get to several types of services: styling, 24 hour dining, valet, redial, emergency, … This means you have to go over all buttons to find the one you need. The W hotel in Seattle has a very interesting button, which I hadn’t seen before: the whatever/whenever button. Now I find that really interesting, especially since I don’t care what all the other ones are for. The whatever/whenever service offers:

“50 yard line seats to a sold out Seahawks game? A day with a personal shopper at the flagship Nordstrom? A romantic seaplane ride over Lake Union? We’re on it. Just push a button on your room’s phone to reach us.”

I only used it for my wake up call, but I think all hotels should get rid of all these separate buttons (15 on this phone) and just have one: the whatever/whenever button, that would make life easier for us guests. Don’t expect me to dial any other line anyway :)

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About cheese and beer

Last week Ewan McIntosh, the Scottish edublogger, was in town. Well he was in the country to be exact but I took him to Antwerp with me, filling up the few free hours he had before his flight back to Scotland.

Cheese with your beer
(Courtesy of Edublogger)

The reason why I wanted to bring this up is not so much the cheese & beer (although must have), but because I was fascinated with the work Ewan is doing. We met last year in Paris at LeWeb3 and it was good to get together again. Ewan is looking into social media & technology to find it how it can be used to provide powerful learning tools in Scottish schools. Just like myself, Ewan believes in the opportunity technology provides to achieve our goals better and not the technology itself. Interesting to hear how they’re doing tests with the Nintendo DS in classrooms for instance. He’s also the first to show me an interesting use of Twitter. I didn’t see what all the buzz was all about when I first checked it out, but I’ll take a look at it again now. Respect Ewan, I hope the Belgian education decision makers read your blog, they can learn from it.

Snow. This must be Oslo

You’re probably thinking: what’s so special about that? Well not that much, but it’s the first snow I witness this year. We had very little snow in Belgium this year, and every time I would be abroad so didn’t see any of it. Again, not all that special, but a winter without snow is not really a winter so I guess my winter is complete now. This is the only picture I could take so far, as I arrived quite late in the evening and just wanted to get to my hotel.

What I also found funny was that last time I checked my Vista weather gadget for Oslo it said -12°C and today it’s -1°C. I guess I’m hot :)

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