Thursday, 14 December 2017

Manchester United GDPR new email opt-in pitch advertising

In 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect in the European Union with the intention of seeking to strengthen data protection for individuals in the EU.  There are a whole range of processes that need to be followed in order to be compliant, including the need for Data Controllers to "prove" that consent was given.

It was therefore interesting to see the pitchside advertising last night during the Man Utd vs Bournemouth Premier League match as Manchester United were telling Manchester United fans to sign up again to their email lists:

" you must opt-in again to continue receiving emails from Man Utd" []

Manchester United v Bournemouth GDPT StayUnited advertising
Manchester United v Bournemouth with GDPR pitchside advertising

The StayUnited website then tells Manchester United fans that "the law is changing, to continue to receive emails from Manchester Untied you MUST complete this form" and offers the chance to win a shirt as an incentive:

Manchester United StayUnited GDPR website
StayUnited - Manchester United GDPR email opt-in

Nothing in this post constitutes legal advice, but are you taking the new data regulations as seriously as Manchester United?

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Thursday, 23 November 2017

Elf Yourself 2017 - this year with Augmented Reality!

Elf Yourself is back for 2017 and this year ElfYourself has new dances and Augmented Reality through the ElfYourself mobile app!

As with previous years, the ElfYourself OfficeMax Christmas / holiday fun is based around uploading a photo of yourself (and up to four other faces), then customising to fit the Elf Yourself template:

ElfYourself 2017 make your photo
OfficeMax ElfYourself 2017 - make your Elf

Once everything has been lined up with your ElfYourself photo you can then add other elves, 'Add Greeting' and then this year there are a host of new ElfYourself features including Augmented Reality, Workshop Dance, Dance Off Dance and Dance Management:

ElfYourself 2017 New features
ElfYourself 2017 'New This Season'

ElfYourself 2017 has a long list of dances to choose from for 2017, including:

80s dance

ElfYourself 2017 80s dance
ElfYourself 2017 80's dance
'Feliz Navidad'

ElfYourself 2017 Feliz Navidad
ElfYourself 2017 Feliz Navidad

and even 'Oh Hanukkah'!

ElfYourself 2017 Hanukkah
ElfYourself 2017 Oh Hanukkah

For 2017 there is also an ElfYourself mobile app which offers the opportunity to pay to download ElfYourself dances that have been created in order to share them / upload them to social media etc. 

An additional Augmented Reality feature has been included in ElfYourself 2017 too and this allows users to bring a digital elf into the real world:

ElfYourself 2017 AR instructions
ElfYourself 2017 Augmented Reality instructions

ElfYourself 2017 Augmented Reality elf
Elf Yourself 2017 Augmented Reality elves

It's slightly later than previous years, but ElfYourself is back for 2017 and at the time of writing 1,558, 134, 981 elves have been created - will you be joining in with ElfYourself this year??!!!

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ElfYourself 2012

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ElfYourself 2010

ElfYourself 2009

ElfYourself 2008

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Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Marks and Spencer Paddington Christmas TV ad

I woke up this morning, checked Twitter and was shown the new Marks and Spencer Christmas ad featuring Paddington Bear in a Promoted Tweet with video - a nice way to start the day :-)

I actually really like this M&S Christmas TV ad and I don't agree that one sentence sounds rude - I actually think it's a great tie in with Paddington and the Paddington movie!

The Marks and Spencer Christmas TV ad is being syndicated on YouTube and social + there is a special Paddington book for sale on the M&S website with proceeds going to the NSPCC's childline.

Paddington Marks and Spencer website
Paddington on the M&S website

It seems Christmas has started and Marks and Spencers Paddington tie in has set the bar high already! Twitter users tonight are trying to #guessthejohnlewisad and TV ad breaks are about to be dominated by wall to wall Christmas retail...

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Sunday, 15 October 2017

DriveNow, the Oxford Half Marathon and a special signup offer!

Whilst people argue about the merits of black cabs vs Uber, I have started to travel around (North) London using a different service.  No worrying about whether the taxi will be on time or worrying about who the driver is, I drive myself using DriveNow ("the flexible car club" where you rent cars by the minute through an app on your phone.)

drivenow 3-door mini
Our DriveNow 3-door Mini
I have been an unofficial advocate of DriveNow for a while and last weekend I became a DriveNow influencer for the day!  DriveNow have launched extended packages that mean that you can take a car outside of London for longer journeys and DriveNow loaned us a car so that we could get to the Oxford Half Marathon.  (Basically, we got a car to use for the day in return for telling everyone about it - something I am happy to do as it is a service that I use and enjoy.)

So how does it work?  Well, DriveNow is powered by BMW and runs in partnership with Sixt in a number of European cities including London, Milan, Berlin, Stockholm, Copenhagen and more.  DriveNow customers simply download the DriveNow app to their phone and an in-app map view shows the cars that are nearby.  You can tap on a car on the map and then see the car type and how much fuel / power it has.  You can then reserve it for 15 minutes while you walk to it and the app allows you to flash the lights, enter SatNav details and Lock / Unlock.  You simply either pay by the minute or book a longer hourly package in advance.

For our journey to Oxford I managed to find a 3-door Mini near my house called 'Axel' (all the cars have names) and it had a good amount of petrol too.  I reserved it on the DriveNow app, walked to it and then opened it up using the 'Unlock' function on the app.  (DriveNow cars have no keys, just a Start / Stop button and a multi-media display on the dashboard that requires your pin code.)  So I started up our DriveNow Mini, put it into 'Drive' on the automatic gearstick and set off for Oxford.  We then parked up in the Oxford Park and Ride, got the bus to town, dropped our bags in the bag drop and lined up for the half marathon...

Oxford Half Marathon 2017 start
Start of the Virgin Sport Oxford Half Marathon 2017
Within the DriveNow 'Business Area' in London (Hackney, Haringey and Islington) DriveNow cars can be parked in almost any parking space (including residents permit parking.)   This means that there are DriveNow cars scattered throughout the DriveNow zones and it is fairly easy to find a DriveNow car - either a Mini 3 door, Mini 5 door, Mini convertible, BMW 1 Series or a BMW i3 Electric car.  For a short journey in London I tend to collect a car and end my rental when I park.  I then just pick up another DriveNow car through the app when I want to return home, though there is a 'Park and Keep' function that allows you to keep / hold the original car while you shop / eat / go about whatever it is that you are doing!

New longer journey packages allow DriveNow users to take vehicles out of the business area for extended periods - like our journey to and from Oxford. (Standard rentals are charged by the minute vs these longer packages that have fixed costs.)  This made it very easy for us and once we had finished the half marathon we collected our bags, returned to the DriveNow car we had been using earlier in the day, unlocked it and drove home (finally parking up in the business area and ending our rental.)

DriveNow mini
Our DriveNow mini with our Oxford Half Marathon medals
I love the simplicity of DriveNow and I really enjoyed our day out in Oxford.  I got a good finishing time in the Oxford Half Marathon too and I'm crediting part of this to DriveNow as our journey was much easier than it would have been otherwise!!!

Finally, DriveNow have offered readers of this post a special DriveNow sign up deal - £0 joining fee and £10 driving credit.

Thank you #drivenow!

[Disclaimer: DriveNow gave me the use of a mini in order to get to and from the Oxford Half Marathon and agreed to offer readers of this post a special membership signup promotion.  In return I offered to write a post about our DriveNow journey to and from the Oxford Half Marathon.  I was also a happy prior customer of DriveNow.]  

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Alex Hunter and Coke Zero in FIFA18

Alex Hunter, the star of FIFA 18's 'The Journey' is drinking Coke Zero!  The Journey allows FIFA18 players to effectively play as a character and take decisions that effect how the narrative unveils.  Alex Hunter is the centre of The Journey and FIFA18 players will now see him attached to the Coke Zero brand.

Alex Hunter Coke Zero FIFA18
Alex Hunter Coke Zero in FIFA18
Called 'Uplifted Alex' a FIFA18 preview film has been released to show Alex Hunter and Coke Zero too:

The Coke Zero Alex Hunter tie up follows FIFA17 where Alex Hunter was partnered with Adidas and seen in a film with a virtual Angel Di Maria:

Expect more of this as games develop story modes and brands seek interesting ways to connect with video game gaming audiences - Alex Hunter and Coke Zero in FIFA18 is just the beginning!

[*Coca-Cola are a client of my company, but I was not directly involved in this activity - I am highlighting it simply because I like it!]

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Saturday, 1 April 2017

BMW April Fool 2017 - dDrive (BMW dog basket)

BMW have a long history of April Fools activity and the BMW April Fool for 2017 is the BMW dDrive, a BMW for dogs....

The BMW 2017 April Fool reads:


BMW April Fools 2017 dDrive ad
BMW April Fools ad 2017 dDrive
"A sunny day, an open road and the slipstream gently caressing your flowing looks.  For some, there are feelings that are impossible to piut into words.

Equipped with a revolutionary TwinPower Trbo fan, the new BMW dDrive dog basket is designed to satisfy the unspoken needs of the canine community and bring the windswept thrill of the drive to a safer, more dog-friendly environment.

Visit your nearest BMW centre today, or book your dog in for a test drive at  If you would like to find out more, please contact Head of Product Fabrication or call 0800 093 6161."

There is also a dDrive BMW April Fools 2017 YouTube video too:

Hope you enjoy the BMW 2017 April Fools!

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BMW April Fools Day 2011 - the Royal Edition
BMW April Fools Day 2010 - Political Roundel
BMW April Fools Day 2009 - Magnetic Tow Technology
BMW April Fools Day 2008 - Canine Repellent Alloy Protection System

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Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Audi Enter Sandbox - virtual reality Audi Q5 test drives!

Audi Norway have unveiled the Audi VR Sandbox virtual reality test drives.

The Audi 'Enter Sandbox' project allows people to use Virtual Reality to test drive Audi Q5 on a track that they have designed!  First, people are given the chance to build a track in a sand box, it is then scanned and played back in a real-time VR experience using Oculus Rift.

The Audi Enter Sandbox virtual reality VR test drives enable people to experience the Audi Q5 in an impactful, fun and immersive way:

Audi Enter Sandbox virtual reality
Audi Enter Sandbox virtual reality

You can see the Audi virtual reality sandbox for yourself at
and there is a behind the scenes Audi film that explains the 'making of' the Audi Enter Sandbox project here too:


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Friday, 6 January 2017

Ed Sheeran Snapchat Lens filter for 'Shape Of You' new single

Ed Sheeran is back - and he has found a great new way of using Snapchat to tease and promote his latest single...!

Ed Sheeran Snapchat Lens filter Shape Of You
Ed Sheeran Snapchat Lens
Ed Sheeran has used a Snapchat Lens to showcase his new single 'Shape Of You' and has allowed Snapchat users to hear a 30 second clip of the track whilst they can add sunglasses and effects to their own selfies!

@Caitlyn showed how the Ed Sheeran Snapchat lens filter looks with her tweet here:
and also interesting to see that Ed Sheeran has also promoted 'Shape Of You' through his 'teddysphotos' Instagram account too:

A video posted by Ed Sheeran (@teddysphotos) on

An innovative and fun way of using social media to bring the new Ed Sheeran single to life!


Ed Sheeran's new singles 'Shape Of You' and 'Castle on the Hill' have broken the Spotify record for one-day streams!

NME write: "Shape Of You’ is the new record holder, registering 6,868,642 in the 24 hours after its release early on Friday. ‘Castle On The Hill’ faired similarly numbers-wise, pulling in 6,168,395 streams. The stats have been compiled by Sheeran’s label, Warner Music."

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Sunday, 25 December 2016

EON Sverige - Christmas lights solar energy battery campaign

EON have been running TV advertising in Sweden this Christmas to promote the idea of battery stored solar power - 'Turn on your Christmas lights with a good conscience, use solar energy all year round with our storage battery.'  The TV ad centres around a house with an amazing Christmas lights and laser display set to the DubVision Remix of Avicii - 'For A Better Day.'

There is some nice additional content for those willing to dig a bit further into the eon campaign too. The Swedish eon website highlights what solar battery storage is, talks about the virtues of being a solfarmare ('sun farmer') and promotes advocacy through featuring stories of people who have installed the solar battery technology.

eon website solar energy battery storage
The eon website features additional information about solar energy battery storage
The story behind the Christmas lights is brought to life with an additional YouTube video that features the Christmas lights enthusiasts who own the house in the ad:

A fun seasonal campaign that promotes the product benefits and nicely ties everything together in a connected system of paid ads and content!

(+ Happy Christmas / Seasons Greetings to you all!)

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Guitar Hero powered Christmas Lights!

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Monday, 19 December 2016

Facebook Messenger codes and the bot future?

Heathrow airport security really want your feedback.  Once passengers have finished the security screening process they are asked for feedback and given a dizzying array of options including phone, Facebook, Facebook Messenger (through scannable code), Emoticon face button and even through writing using the envelopes provided on the lower left!

Heathrow airport security Facebook Messenger feedback options
Heathrow airport security - feedback options

I thought the Facebook Messenger shortcode was interesting as it's the first time that I can recall seeing one used 'in the wild.'  In 2016 there has been a lot of conversation about chatbots and Messenger solutions, but it has been slower to take off than people perhaps initially anticipated.

I think there are two key challenges around Messenger adoption:

1) Discovery - the majority of people don't seem to realise how to find a Messenger profile / bot in order to interact with it (this is from anecdotal research rather than through any official research - but I challenge anyone outside of San Francisco to find more than a handful of friends who know how to get to a Facebook chatbot...)  The truth is that it's remarkably easy once you know how - message through a Facebook Page and you get a response through Messenger OR just search for the company in Messenger like you would a friend OR scan a Messenger short code.

....which leads me onto:

2) Use cases - I believe that the key use case for Facebook Messenger will be customer service.  It's a more personal (and private) form of community management that sees the community managers role move from public space to private space and become more akin to a call centre.  Additionally, the key role for bots is as an FAQ solution - responding to standard questions ('what time do you open?', 'do you have a kids menu?', 'do you offer non-smoking rooms?' etc) through tapping into easily databased information rather than bots being an interactive / free form kind of artificial friend to talk to.  Further down the line bots may become more emotionally aware and able to hold proper conversations but for the moment I think the best and most widespread use will be for customer service around standard questions.

So what does this all mean?  3 predictions:

1) The need to promote a Messenger handle increases.  In the same way that advertisers used to run fan recruitment advertising to grow their Facebook fan bases, (rightly or wrongly) I believe there will be an explosion in 'Add us on Messenger advertising' in 2017.  We will also start to see Messenger shortcodes used more and more frequently by brands.

2) As the 'Messenger for advertisers' hype dies down in 2017, I believe the role for Messenger in the advertising system will become focussed around customer service and this will play out between community management and the call centre.

3) Generally the most effective and widely used bots (at least for the foreseeable future) will not be found offering 'conversational commerce', but will be found offering quick and easy answers to customers most frequently asked questions.

As always, let me know in the comments if you agree or disagree!

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