Taking brand partnerships to a whole new level: Android KitKat

How about this for a joined up campaign.

Originally called Key Lime Pie, employees at Google soon realised that a) people don’t really know what Key Lime Pie tastes like and b) it didn’t resonate with a global, mass audience. So the jury was out, what to call the new 4.4 Android OS. Then they struck gold.

Let’s call it Android KitKat, and we’ll partner with KitKat themselves to make it happen. (I’m evidently massively oversimplifying this.)

2013-09-03kitkatintl_verge_super_wide

No money is changing hands, the ideas was to do something “fun and unexpected”. But this isn’t something that Google just came up with overnight and went ahead. They’ve been talking with Nestle about the idea since November 2012, with some 11 months of planning having gone in to it. It only got finalised in February 2013 when Nestle executive vice president of marketing Patrice Bula, decided within an hour to go ahead.

It used to be Apple that would announce a new product without anyone previously knowing about it, shrouded under secrecy and mystery. Now even they get leaked sometimes months in advance. So this partnership will have come as a surprise to even most Googlers i’d imagine.

Here’s where you can start to understand the scale of the partnership: 50 million KitKat bars in 19 countries will have Android branding and consumers will have the opportunity to win a Nexus 7 tablet and Google Play gift cards. That’s incredible scale, Google have just tapped in to creating awareness about 1) Android 2) Nexus 7 and 3) Google Play.

Production of the wrappers started 2 months ago – it’s just amazing that it hasn’t come out until now.

KitKat-Android-edition-001

Nestle is also producing a small run of 500 limited edition KitKats in the shape of the Android logo and have been sending them out to influencers. Here’s The Verge proudly showing theirs off. Clever influencer tactic too, getting the big hitters creating even more interest and demand.

Screen Shot 2013-09-04 at 12.01.37

All of this talk is making me hungry for a Kit Kat now…

How search engine market shares look around the world

Google dominates globally but Yahoo isn’t far behind.

Apple vs Google: The Same, But Different

The story behind the story of the new Google Chrome TV spots

Great video and story of the making of new Google Chrome spots from BBH. Ben Malbon opens the video and you can find more on the BBH blog. (Linked above) These guys are on fire right now and deserve to be. We live in an age where it’s harder and harder for brands to tell their own stories; social media, word of mouth, consumer influence have taken over. So if you are going to create something as traditional as a TV spot, best to make it so wonderful that people not only want to hear the story, they want to know the story behind the story.

via edwardboches.posterous.com

Google’s 87 Cool Things from Advertising Week

Andy Berndt, MD of Google Creative Lab and Tom Uglow, Creative Lead presented this recently on Day 1 of Advertising Week 2009. Well worth your time.

You can grab the PDF and the PPT versions of the presentation here. The podcast is here also.

During, Andy asked them to obviously think about Google when creating experiences.  For me, what resonated most was that he reminded everyone to experiment often, be creative, try new things, and don’t be afraid to fail.

I don’t think that happens enough. Trying, innovating and sometimes failing. It’s easier to stick to what’s known rather than taking risks to potentially produce truly innovative stuff. Creativity and ideas generation is still alive and well but execution is being stifled by budgets and ignorance to enter new and unchartered territory. Budgets will always to some extent stifle what can and can’t be done. Also, understandably, it’s difficult from a large client perspective when there’s a lack of knowledge about all things digital and a hesistancy to try something that bit different. But that’s what the agency is there for, to bring them in to this new age of brilliance. I commend the one’s that make it out there in the wild and receive award after award but for every one stand out idea, there’s a thousand that get binned. It’s a shame.

Many of the experiments in 87 cool things highlighted mashups, interactivity, unique data usage, and the fusion of virtual worlds and reality.

From Google Maps and YouTube Annotations, to Insights for Search and a wide array of APIs, it’s easier than ever to play with inventive marketing ideas, using Google of course. We’re told to think of these tools and platforms as our blank canvas, and just have fun.

These innovative campaigns, projects, and even accidents can encourage us to expand our imaginations, think beyond our expectations and consider the impossible. Did you ever think Ohio could be a piano? Or that you would analyze your daily food consumption, and catalog it by cuisine? Or that an engaging and informative website could live entirely on YouTube? I didn’t!

Via Adwords Agency Blog

Enjoy!

The hierarchy of digital distractions..

hierarchy_distractions_960

This is brilliant.

Click for the full size version.

Your phone is going, you’ve got a direct message from someone on Twitter, and a new Facebook message also. Which do you look at first? Never fear! The above will take you through the hierarchy of digital distractions.

Via Information is Beautiful

A Five Year View of PR and Social Media..

5 Year View

By Bastien Beauchamp

Where will we be when the grid is revisited to compare 2009 to 2014?

The evolution of mobile

Kyle Bean - MobilesKudos to Kyle Bean for this.

Pretty interesting really, seeing the evolution and the miniaturisation from 1985 to the present day and how the rapid innovation, technology has allowed for size to no longer be a prohibitive issue when it comes to ‘real’ portability. Size is no longer the major challenge, nor is it about packing the phone with more hardware features, such as bigger and better cameras, or music, or screens. It’s more now about how the features are being used. I’ve noticed a shift over the last year or two where it’s now all about the software and the tight, seamless application of it as proved by Apple and the App Store, Google and Android. If it was a hardware race, no one would be buying the iPhone. 2MP these days is unbelievably poor (yes I don’t have a 3GS because I’m still locked in with my ‘old’ iPhone 3G for the duration of the contract.) My even older Nokia N95 had a better camera than that at 5MP. Clearly, my purchasing decision wasn’t based on the power of the camera. I was mesmerised by the potential of the App Store. The software then.

A present day example of this for me is the Nokia N97. Hardware wise, I think it’s actually highly impressive. The fold out keyboard really feels good to use on a regular and prolonged basis which is one thing that annoys and frustrates me about the iPhone. It’s quicker for me to write something down that it is to load up the ‘Notes’ application and hammer out the letters on the on screen keyboard. What lets down the N97 is the software. It’s simply nowhere near as intuitive, logical or easy to use than what has to be the benchmark for everyone now, the iPhone. The amount of times i’ve seen new handsets come out and the term ‘iPhone Killer’ being banded about is amazing.

Talking of iPhone Killers, the HTC Hero is one to watch which I’m keeping a keen eye on..

The models which Kyle selected to highlight above are:
1985 – motorola dynaTAC
1988 – nokia mobira cityman 1320
1991 – AEG teleport
1993 – ericsson GH198
1996 – motorola micro TAC 650
1998 – siemens C10
2001 – nokia 3210
2005 – motorola razr V3
2009 – samsung tocco

Borrowing a quote from the legendary Nigel Powers in the film Goldmember, perhaps better known as Michael Caine when he said:

“It’s not the size mate, it’s how you use it.”

You could say the same for the current state of mobile.

Track Swine Flu with Google Maps Mashup.

Via Shankrila

News channels have been completely taken over by the news on the H1N1 swine flu in the last few days. Swine flu is caused by a new flu virus strain, a mixture of various swine, bird and human viruses.

The US has declared a public health emergency on Sunday. Mexico where the virus seems to have first been found have their businesses, schools, etc shutdown for days together. The World Health Organization has activated its 24-hour war room command center.

With so many news outlets reporting various numbers, it is easy to get the wrong notion between the number of ’suspected cases’ vs ‘confirmed cases’.

It is important to stay informed with the right facts. At times like these misinformation can spread like a wildfire.

Swine Flu Google Maps Mashup

This Google Maps mashup shows the global swine flu cases with different colored markers.

swine-flu-google-map

  • Purple – Confirmed or probable
  • Pink – Suspected cases
  • Markers with no dots – Deaths
  • Yellow – negative

BBC Swine Flu Map

BBC also maintains a swine flu map showing the history of cases reported as the days progress. This is being updated everyday with number cases per country.

H1N1 Swine Flu FAQ

Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN has answered the most frequently asked questions on the h1n1 swine flu. And NDTV has a FAQ section as well.

In spite of it’s name, this virus now spreads among humans and eating pork doesn’t infect you. In fact, this virus spreads just like a common cold – when an infected person near you coughs or sneezes or if you come into contact with the virus via eyes, nose or mouth. Simple hygiene like washing hands could help protect yourself to a certain extent.

Stay informed. Stay healthy!

8 reasons why an iPhone Gmail app would rock.

via CNET

Tuesday’s release of a much-improved Web client for Gmail on the iPhone and Android handsets was nice, but it’s still got me salivating at the idea of a native application for the iPhone. Over the last year we’ve hounded the Gmail team on whether one was on the way, and the answer is–in typical Google fashion, that there will be no discussion of products that have not been announced.

But that doesn’t mean one isn’t in the works.

So let’s take a look at what a native Gmail application could give us over what Apple is currently offering and is set to release in the upcoming 3.0 firmware.

1. Push delivery/Push notifications
Gmail for Android does something no other client of Gmail does: push notifications. This means that the second you get a message it lets you know with a pop-up. The fastest you can set the iPhone’s Mail application to refresh Gmail is every 15 minutes. So could a native iPhone application do the same thing as Gmail for Android? Probably.

An official Google spokesperson told us that no other platform has this push service (including desktop clients), and the other official Gmail native apps simply auto-refresh every few minutes. With the upcoming firmware 3.0, Google could offer the push notifications of new messages through Apple’s push data stream either in the form of a badge that updates on the app’s icon, or with a small preview that pops up with the first line or two of the message.

2. Offline/Gears
The new version of Gmail for Android has offline reading and composing, meaning you can go through your mail and get work done even when you don’t have a connection. While the iPhone’s Mail app lets you read, save, and compose messages, it doesn’t download a big chunk of your in-box or all of the attachments that come with it, which means you can be out of luck if you can’t get online to view a work document or spreadsheet. Which brings us to…

3. Attachment handling
The attachment viewing of Gmail on the desktop can be an absolute joy. PDFs, PowerPoint presentations and PDFs can be viewed in an HTML viewer that cuts down on the start-up time and the requirement for any special software. While the iPhone can natively view these, it doesn’t include search or the option to save the file locally. A local app could offer both.

Likewise, when composing an e-mail in the native Mail app, adding attachments is limited to photos, which with the upcoming firmware is much simpler with systemwide copy and paste. However, if you’re using the Web client, it’s incapable of accessing your local files, which means you’re stuck using the native app if you want to add or take a quick photo as an attachment.

4. Smarter archiving
Not all Gmail users archive their messages, probably because they don’t understand what it does. Archiving takes a message out of your in-box while keeping it in your account, letting you search for it later. It’s a handy feature, yet the iPhone native mail client gives the impression that we’re deleting messages we don’t want to see in our in-box, something which goes against the very principle of having 7GB of mail storage.

If you’ve set up Gmail using the iPhone’s Gmail setup wizard you can in fact archive messages by selecting them and moving them to your “All Mail” folder. Alternately, for native app users who have set up Gmail using the special IMAP instructions the delete function does not actually delete the message but archives it. Confused? A native Gmail app might make a better differentiation between the two, and let you control what you want deleted and archived from the get-go.

Gmail’s task list

5. A standalone task list
Gmail’s task list is not the most full-featured to-do list app out there, but it’s simple and handy. Having it as part of a native app would let you access it and make edits when offline. Google could even give users the option to create hard due dates for each item, which could be synced up to your phone’s calendar and give you a buzz when they had to be done.

6. Combined contact look-up
Here’s a problem: I have one contact list on my phone and another on Gmail. Sure Google has an official solution that will sync up both and combine them into one massive contact list, but what if I want to keep the two separated to keep my iPhone’s phonebook a little smaller?

A native application would help sort that out by making use of the contacts I have on my phone and giving quick auto-complete-as-you-type suggestions for people on my Gmail contact list. Right now, typing addresses from the native iPhone will only bring up auto-complete suggestions if that person is on my contact list, or if I’ve recently sent them a message.

7. Built-in chat
Chat has become a big part of Gmail’s desktop version, yet on the iPhone it’s relegated to a finger-friendly browser version that will sign you off when you close your browser or switch tabs. That’s not a good solution. Why not build it into a native version of Gmail on the phone like there is on Android?

8. GPS and location awareness
Location is becoming an increasingly important part of mobile apps, and Gmail is no different. When Google puts advertising into the mobile version of Gmail you can bet there’s going to be a play on location. Contextual information from inside of your e-mails is one facet, but if Google can figure out where you are and offer something more targeted, you can bet it will.

More importantly, it will open things up for some fun extras, like being able to announce your location in your signature. This is a feature that’s available in the desktop version, but would be a whole lot more useful when your messages are coming from a mobile phone.

These are just a few reasons the iPhone is long overdue for its own native Gmail app. If you’ve got any of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Social Radar Top 50 Brands

Via Buzzstudy.com

If sheer volume of conversation is any indication, Twitter is the hottest brand in the market. Twitter dominates a tech-heavy list of brands in our March 2009 Social Radar Top 50. The Social Radar Top 50 measures the most social brands by the number of unique topics of conversation. These brands are top of mind for consumers and bloggers today — Social Radar determined rankings according to the number of individual websites with at least one post about each brand to accurately capture the brand’s reach across the web.

The list below is based on overall conversation volume through the month of March 2009, including blog posts, news feeds, forums, social networks and Twitter posts. The +/- number represents the ranking change since February 2009.

Rank

Chg

Brand

1

Twitter

2

Google

3

Obama

4

iPhone

5

Facebook

6

(+1)

Mac

7

(-1)

YouTube

8

Microsoft

9

(+1)

Windows

10

(+6)

iPod

11

(-2)

Apple

12

(+1)

Yahoo

13

(+2)

Sony

14

XBox

15

(+6)

Playstation

16

(+4)

Amazon

17

(-5)

Wii

18

Dell

19

(-8)

Linux

20

(-3)

Nokia

21

(+1)

Samsung

22

(+3)

Firefox

23

(-4)

eBay

24

(+2)

Ford

25

(+6)

BlackBerry

26

(+6)

General Motors

27

(+2)

Fox

28

NFL

29

(-5)

MySpace

30

(-7)

NBA

31

(+2)

Nintendo

32

(-2)

BBC

33

(+1)

Disney

34

(+6)

AT&T

35

(+3)

Honda

36

(+5)

MLB

37

(+11)

Skype

38

(+1)

ABC

39

(+5)

Toyota

40

(+9)

Nike

41

(-4)

LG

42

(-7)

Kindle

43

FedEx

44

(-1)

Wikipedia

45

Nissan

46

CNN

47

Blu-Ray

48

(+2)

UPS

49

IBM

50

Audi

For the full March 2009 list, download the PDF.

Google Insights for Search

Hands up who’s heard of Google Insights for Search? My hand is staying down which as a discerning tech lover I probably shouldn’t freely admit? It had apparently launched last August though fact fans which in Google world is a long time ago. So what is it? Let’s essentially think of it as a stripped down version of your very own Google Analytics but for search. It’s actually pretty useful on getting a more detailed picture on what people are searching for, where and when.

Much like Google Trends, you can use Insights for Search to analyze search volume patterns over time, as well as related queries and rising searches. You can also compare search trends across multiple search terms, categories, geographic regions, or specific time ranges. Insights can help you can analyze everything from interest levels in rival football teams (I’ve chosen my home town team of Nottingham Forest Vs bitter rivals Derby County but you see how it works. Take note @tim_whirledge) Or maybe even the relative popularity of politicians? (In this case Barack Obama Vs Gordon Brown)

In the last few days, additional features have been launched that allow you to see what the world is searching for beyond Google Web Search, by adding new data sources including Google News, Image Search, and Product Search. The new Insights lets you break down search data in several ways. For starters, you can take a look at the rising News searches over the past 7, 30, or 90 days

You can also view the popularity of a given query across different geographies, from country-level down to individual metropolitan areas. For journalists and newspapers, this feature could be a useful tool to gauge interest levels in different subjects among a reader base.

For example, with the Formula 1 season coming back in to action at the weekend kicking off in Melbourne, Australia, I was curious to see where in the world interest in Formula 1 was highest. I initally thought it would be highest in Australia with all the mentions stemming from the fact that the first race is in Melbourne and everyone would be really excited about it. I was wrong. Australia was down in 8th place for regional interest. How did I find that out?

I tried a search for “Formula 1” and used the ‘Google Web Search’ filter over the past 7 days. Interest was found to be highest in Spain, passionate and vocal F1 fans, with Costa Rica and South Africa running closely behind as you can see on the map below:

Regional Split

Of course, Insights for Search can’t quite explain these search asymmetries, but they’re interesting to note nonetheless!

Interesting stuff I’m sure you may well agree. It’s not a revolution, more an evolution. It might just give you that bit more granular level of detail when you’re doing a search so for that, it comes highly recommended. Start exploring right away on the Google Insights for Search homepage or head on over to the Inside Adwords Blog to find out more.