Thursday, 31 July 2008

Too cuil for school?

I suppose it would only be fitting to briefly add my own comments/opinions to the new search engine that has been making the news earlier this week.

Cuil (pronounced "cool" if you were unaware) was set up by a husband and wife team (rarely a good idea! - not really since Mr and Mrs Curie, and look what happened to them!) with a bunch of former Google employees. They launched the site this week claiming that the engine has indexed 3 times as many web-pages as Google, produces more relevant search results than Google, is more user friendly than Google, maintains 100% privacy of the user and will be the best thing since...well...Google!

Very bold claims.

However, I can't help but ask the question that if these people were former Google employees then were they not good enough to continue working for Google? Or are they really smart and under-appreciated there, so decided to go it alone? Discuss.

Now, these guys must obviously be smart, but couldn't they have picked a somewhat better name? At least Google comes from Googol, which is the number 1 followed by 100 zeros (i.e. 10100. I shall avoid the temptation to be cheesy and write the actual full number. I'll save that for the tabloids.). It is a very simple name and just represents something big. With Cuil you have to explain the Irish origin meaning knowledge, and then follow this by fighting off the Irish people claiming that the word Cuil means "nook" or "rear"!

To recall my comments on the work blog (sorry guys), but I just can't see that name taking off at all. A huge success from Google was the ability for the name to be used as a verb. It put their name into everyday usage.

This t-shirt design just wouldn't work with the verb "to cuil". In fact, from a distance "I cuiled your mom" would look like somebody culled my mum last night, and that just isn't as funny.

On a more serious note though, I do find the "magazine" style lay-out to be very user friendly and could potentially allow for innovative advertising amongst the results. It is just a shame that I have not seen any evidence so far that it produces good search results. A search for even the most basic of things doesn't bring up any links to websites that I would consider to house the info I was after. Also, some commonly used pages that I visit on a regular basis are not even contained in it's results (as far as I can tell).

Although the tabloids do enjoy promoting these type of things and stating the press release details as facts, it has been quite obvious in blogs and forums thus far that the majority of people are unimpressed.

Still, it is very early days and if the results become credible in the near future then they may yet surprise me.

# On a side note, when looking up the above t-shirt, I came across this great one. I may just buy it:


Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Fake Ads

Following my previous post on advertising that is pretending not to be advertising, I thought I would counter-act this with a good example of a video that is not advertising but pretending to be advertising! Still following?

Basically, the video below has been creating a little bit of concern from the brilliant guys at Guinness.

The video is quite minimalistic in it's approach and has used a higher definition camera to give it a much more professional feel. The use of a bottle of Guniess instead of the traditional pint for the majority of the video is a slight indicator that this is indeed not an official video but in general the clip does not stand out as being home made.

It is obvious why Guinness were quick to point out that they have not themselves made the ad, but it does seem to be fooling people once again:

"Please be assured that Guinness is in no way associated with this video, and has approached YouTube to have it removed. We are proud of our brand, and our commitment to responsible marketing, and this is not how we want our brand portrayed."

The creator of the video has defended himself:

"It really isn't real. I shot the ad with no intention of sending it to Guiness because of the content. IT was meant to either make people laugh or get really disgusted. I rather people felt the former because that's why it was made. Just for fun.
Oh and it only cost $320 for the ad. My equipment, 300 for the actress, and the rest for food and a six pack of Guiness"

Followed by:

"Please understand that this was never meant to go this far as in terms of many viewers. This isn't a legitimate ad considering the glitches of the spot. In no way or form was there though of sending the idea to Guiness. This was meant for a good laugh. It shouldn't get more serious than that."

A lesson to be learned here, I feel. Don't parade a big brand name around on YouTube and link it with sex. Simple. It will be interesting to know what the outcome of this could be. If Guinness were like other global organisations I would have expected them to have sued the creator for defamation.

See for yourself:

#Note that this is the 3nd link as the first two were pulled from YouTube - as expected!

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Stealth Ad Virals

For the first post on the new blog, I thought I would open with a string of videos that have been popping up lately and providing some mild amusement.

Basically, the idea is a very simple one, with only 3 rules:
  1. Film a low budget movie with clips of people do "amazing" things.
  2. Pretend they are real tricks and filmed by ordinary people.
  3. Have your logo or product in the clips at some point but not in an obvious "in-your-face" way (otherwise you risk breaking rule 2!)
As far as I can remember it seemed to begin quite some time ago with the Ray-Ban's film of a guy catching sunglasses on his face. It was a very simple trick (SPOILER ALERT!!! Pull the glasses off his face using a piece of string and then play the footage backwards with forwards footage cut in before and after!) but it got a lot of people talking. Using their own product throughout the film and having their slogan "Never Hide" written in the dirt on the window of the car at the end are the subtle references that give the game away:

However, as with most things in advertising, a great idea will be copied in an attempt to better it. The following 3 clips are more recent examples of what I like to call stealth-advertising. With You Tube being the household name it means that people send links (or paste them onto their blogs and websites :) !) on a daily basis. It is certainly a regular thing in my office for people to share the latest video that they find particularly funny/interesting. It means that it becomes very cheap/free for these videos to be distributed around the globe and be seen by 100s of 1000s of people and get people talking about it with their friends...all while they are being exposed to what is still an advert!

First up is Nike's effort with the basketball tricks being performed by a group of girls. Incredibly fun to watch as it one of the more believable ones out there but the keen eye will catch the focus in on the Nick Tick stuck on the ball right before the camera pans up to catch the final trick:

The second is the back-flipping into jeans from Levi Strauss. The ad is very impressive with its mix of tricks with the Parkour-esque feel to it. Again the company has such a strong brand that it doesn't feel the need to plaster its name all over the video as the products it sell are permanently within shot anyway:

My final example for today is that from Gatorade. The product itself is probably the biggest brand name in the world that the majority of the UK population will have never heard of. I myself can only recall first hearing about it after having watched Adam Sandler and The Fonz in "The Waterboy". Perhaps I'll save that clip for another day! However, I do believe that they have begun the process of hitting the UK shops so expect them to rival Powerade!

The clip shows a ball-girl at a baseball game performing a gravity-defying jump to catch the ball before it could go out of the field, to the disbelief of all the players and the commentary team. Pretending to be live coverage of a real baseball game it has fooled a lot of people into thinking it happened. Once again the use of string has come in handy!

As with the Nike ad, they have had to place the product within the video in the last shot with the girl sitting in a chair on the edge of the field with the bottle of Gatorade on the floor next to her: