Thursday, May 31, 2007

Avril's Make 5 Wishes

An article I found on one of the comic blogs I look at:

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Avril Lavigne by Greg McElhatton

I have a confession to make: I really know very little about Avril Lavigne. Don't get me wrong, it's hard to not know that she exists, but the only song of hers I could instantly recognize from the radio is "Complicated" and that's thanks to all the ads for that horrible Uptown Girls movie with Brittany Murphy and Dakota Fanning. Sure, I know she had a hit with the unfortunate name of "Sk8er Boi" and that she's a really big star. But in the great Avril Lavigne vs. Michelle Branch war, it was Branch who was my everything, and I always thought Kelly Clarkson could kick both of their butts.

With all that in mind, I was perhaps not the target audience for Avril Lavigne's Make 5 Wishes, a new graphic novel by Joshua Dysart and Camilla d'Errico. Generally speaking, comics starring a celebrity are something for true fans only, with shoddily written plots that dumbfound even the best of us. I doubt there are many people who look back fondly on All My Children's Walt Willey appearances in The Second Life of Doctor Mirage where assassins are after the mystical tattoo on Willey's hand (I am not making this up), or perhaps the issue of Shadowman where the evil Master Darque steals Aerosmith's souls. (Who knew they weren't already traded away decades ago?)

But then a funny thing happened. I took my car in for its 15,000 mile tune-up and what was supposed to take half an hour stretched into two hours, and I had nothing else to read but a review copy of Make 5 Wishes, and that's when it happened. I didn't care how long it was taking for the incompetent dealership to work on my poor Matrix. (No relation to Lavigne's old songwriting and producing team of the same name.) Because, and I'm almost mortified to admit this... I really liked it.

The plot in many ways is pretty familiar. A young girl named Hana feels like an outcast throughout her entire life, unable to relate to friends or family. Instead she adopts different identities on the internet, and has fantasies about her best friend being Avril Lavigne. Then one day she discovers, a website that promises for a fee to make anyone's five wishes come true. Faced with her parents on the verge of a divorce and school becoming harder than ever to deal with, Hana decides to give it a try and is sent a five-horned demon that promises to grant whatever she asks for. And that's when things begin to get really bad.

Make 5 Wishes owes a lot to stories like The Monkey's Paw with the idea of being careful what you wish for. The fact that Hana's wishes are going to go badly is in many ways obvious, because it would be an awfully boring story otherwise. What makes it interesting is how Dysart and d'Errico (who co-plotted the book with Dysart scripting) followed through with the actual execution of the idea. It's a creepy, slightly sinister book; Hana's wishing demon Romeo isn't content to merely grant Hana's wishes (triggered by her breaking off one of his five horns), but affects the world around Hana as well, dismantling all of her carefully constructed fictions and destroying anything that gives her comfort. With Hana's wishes rapidly dwindling, one can't help but wonder how it will all end, and if there's really a truly "happy" ending even possible.

The use of Avril Lavigne in the book works well, perhaps because she's only a hallucination on the part of Hana. In many ways she's Hana's conscience, telling her the things she needs to hear even as she doesn't listen. As the book progresses, the shift in what happens to Hana's imaginings of her "best friend" becomes all the more interesting, adding an extra layer of dread to the story. Add in d'Errico's beautiful art, with its loose, styled pencils that seem to flow across the page, and you've got a real winner. I've only seen a little bit of d'Errico's art in the past, but I'm quite impressed here, especially with her ability to make Romeo look both cuddly and sinister at the same time. Now that's not an easy feat.

So, I admit it. Avril Lavigne, can you ever forgive me? I love this book that you agreed to lend your name and likeness to. My friend Julie says I next need to listen to her new single "Girlfriend" and I'm so excited about this book I might just do that. The conclusion is being published in June and I am absolutely dying to find out what happens. Above all else, Avril Lavigne's Make 5 Wishes is a book that should be held up to the industry with the important message: this is how you create a book starring someone real. Dysart, d'Errico, Lavigne, and Del Rey Manga? I take my proverbial hat off to you. Well done, well done, well done.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Mash it up

In the ever evolving landscape of music, producers, remixers, dj's, and labels are constantly on the search for the next "hot" tune.

A style of music that has been creeping up the playlists of dancefloors, mixshows, music blogs, and ipods is the "mash-up" - usually a combination of two or three songs creating a completely different song.

Does the mash-up give us an opportunity to create an additional tool to promote our music in a new may? Possibly. Download the below link and you be the judge.

Unk vs. Avril Lavigne ft. Toni Basil

Disc-Go Vending Machine

My name is Clint and I recently started interning here at SONY BMG in the Global marketing department. While attending college I was broke and most of my movie entertainment came from Redbox. Redbox is a vending machine that rents videos for $1.00 per day. Most machines are placed in convenient locations like Supermarkets, drugstores and McDonalds. I loved the fact that it was convenient, cheep, and I was in control. After one use I was hooked.

This week I came across an interesting article that focused on a new wave of vending machines where music is the focal point. Using the new Disc-Go, listeners can create their own CD full of whatever songs they choose. Not only are the prices affordable, but consumers are given the power to decide how many tracks they want at any given session.

Since installing the machine in his store, George Daniels, manager of George’s Music Room in Chicago, has noticed a large increase in single sales and a flood of new business. George says he loves it “because it puts me back in the singles business.” This shows the importance of being aware of new sales opportunities, especially in a business where change in technology and tactics are constant. Already a fast growing trend for movie rentals, this may be a good way to market physical singles for the near future??

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Street Wars

A friend of mine has invited me to join a secret crazy shooting street game called StreetWars. It's a 3 week long, 24/7, watergun assassination game that has already started rounds in New York City, Vancouver, Vienna, San Francisco, Los Angeles, London, and begins in Paris this September 2007.

When I sign up, I have to submit my photo, my home & work addresses, my name and my contact info. In return, I am given a target... the same information of someone else. I have three weeks to find my target, surprise and shoot him/her... with a water weapon (water gun, water balloon, etc.). While at the same time, someone is trying to do the same to me.

After I "kill" somone, they give me their target. If I can eliminate everyone without being shot myself, I win CASH (not sure how much, they'll tell me once I've been accepted into the game).


Even though I know it won't hurt, it's still a spooky, thrilling rush to walk the streets knowing someone is looking for me, maybe waiting for you me around the next corner. It's like a real-life video game!

I signed up tonight. The rules on the site are:

At the start of the game you will receive a manila envelope containing the following:
  • A picture of your intended target(s)
  • The home address of your intended target(s)
  • The work address of your intended target(s)
  • The name of your intended target(s)
  • Contact information of your intended target(s)

Upon receipt of these items, your (or your team's) mission is to find and kill (by way of water gun, water balloon or super soaker) your target(s).

You can hunt your target down any way you see fit; you can pose as a delivery person and jack them when they open the door, disguise yourself and take them out on the street, etc.

If you are successful in your assassination attempt, the person you killed will give you their envelope and the person they were supposed to kill becomes your new target. This continues until you work yourself through all the players and retrieve the envelope with your (or your team's) picture(s) and name(s). Then you win. Cash…but first live in fear.

There are games also running in Toronto, Paris & Chicago this Summer. Marc & your backs!!!

Here are some videos explaining the phenomenon:

San Fransisco



Monday, May 28, 2007

Pepsi Preaches Dubs n' Decks

PEPSI continues to show its creative edge and as always has music as a central part of its strategy. Below are its latest online initiatives which includes a fun "Move the Crowd" component where Dusko pratices his skills preparing for the weekend.

Continuing its 2007 Choreography initiative, Pepsi-with Tribal DDB Worldwide again at the creative helm-is now tapping both car and club cultures with two microsites that'll likely rouse both pimped ride enthusiasts and bedroom DJs. With Street Motion, Pepsi teamed with DUB magazine to entice competitive auto-philes to design their own set of rims, from base and spoke to center cap and inlays. The artistes can indulge in a broad spectrum of colors, and a multitude of styles for each component, with the top dub winning its creator a real-life set of his or her design. But for those tuning out the bling-friendly fare, DJ Division gives vinyl-spinning neophytes the chance to stake their claim on the 1's and 2's with its "Superstar DJ" contest. Starting June 15th, the site will feature nine DJs each from twelve separate regions squaring off to land a spot in the finals (ending on September 7th) where users at home can then rank their performances, with the winning mixmaster joining Pepsi's elite DJ Division. All it takes is an uploaded MP3 of your best mix to enter, but for those with a bit of stage fright, the site also offers a "Move the Crowd" option where you can create your own beats and loops from the obscurity of your home computers.. Check out the US campaigns at
Pepsi - 'DJ Division' and 'Street Motion'

Sunday, May 27, 2007

MTV - The Opposite of Everything

The newest wave of MTV adverts are here. I'm not sure what this has to do with music (well, that fits MTV I guess), but it's both funny and creepy as hell:

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Star Wars - the beginning of Viral

November 2002 marked the beginning of the viral video outbreak.

A fanatical Star Wars fan (like my son) videotaping himself fighting as a Jedi warrior with nothing but a golf ball retriever, was discovered in the archives of a high school camera room. As a practical joke, the video was uploaded to the net, and from there… a phenomenon.

From its first upload on Kazaa, the funny, quirky video spread like wildfire through file-sharing sites, youtube and eventually several TV shows like Arrested Development and The Colbert Report. The outbreak of the video continued to snowball as people began editing the video with their own special effects, sending it to friends, and making movie trailers from the footage.

The various pieces and versions of the boy's original video have now been viewed over 900 Million times!

And all of this was absolutely self-propelled. No agency or corporate promotion was needed to make it work.

So what made this video so viral? The possibilities for promoting artists/bands using viral footage are endless. What makes one more powerfuly viral than another? I wrote a post about the viral nature of video a few months ago... which has a recipe for "viral", but it's obviously not as simple as that because I see a TON of very un-funny video floating around everywhere nowadays.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Color Changing Card Trick!

Watch the video first.

It's amazing to see how the way we focus on something affects our whole perspective and attention level.
We are conditioning ourselves to the traditional card trick, we try to catch "that specific moment" where we will understand how the thing works. But as you see, all the environment is changing at that time. And once that someone shows it to us in an obvious way, we say "wow, I did not even realized it!"

well, it seems like this video is a good picture of the world we are living in.
we have got to catch the whole thing changing instead of wasting time, trying to understand the tricky point which is distracting and locking us...

why are sales declining, how has our customer changed?
it seems that not only the customer has changed color. "nothing is like it was a few years ago".

Friday, May 18, 2007

What if God had a MySpace?

Just a funny youtube discovery for the weekend - interesting to see how MySpace still inspires people to create crazy stuff...


P!NK video contest galore!

To support the single "Dear Mr. President" (Top 10 charts already - 5th single out of this album!) we set up a huge online & tv promotion with (german youtube, 5th biggest internet page in Germany and the biggest national video portal). The promotion is also TV covered by TAFF (boulevard & entertainment program at big private tv station PRO7).
P!NK herself asks the fans to record their own video to "Dear Mr. President" to win a meet & greet with her this summer. The promotion includes all of her videos - only with the "Dear Mr. President" clip you can win the prize. TAFF does accompany everything - announcement, broadcast of fan clips on a regular base, will show P!NK picking the winner as well as the final meet & greet. Online banner are set up at the whole network of PRO7 media (,,, and affiliate partners) together with buy recommendation/links.

Alex & Nina!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Coke and iTunes link for promotion

Coke and iTunes link for promotion
15 May 2007 - 11:46:47

Coca-Cola is teaming up with iTunes on a music promotion that will span 17 European countries this summer.

The campaign will see the drinks company give away songs from the iTunes store in 2bn promotional packs of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coke Zero before the end of August.

The on-pack promotion will also offer customers the chance to win iPods and attend Coke and iTunes-sponsored concerts across Europe.

The Coke and iTunes summer concerts will see headline acts playing with newer acts from Coca-Cola's grassroots programme that allows undiscovered artists to upload their music on Coke's website( ).

All of the concerts will be recorded and made available as downloads and podcasts exclusively on iTunes.

What's The Big Idea?

Last week I attended a conference in the UK called Media 360 which gathered together some of the biggest and brightest marketers, advertising and digital agencies, media buyers and media owners ranging from companies such as Unilever, P & G, Barclays, Channel 4 through to Olgivy, Clearchannel, Microsoft, Yahoo and Vodafone.

A key point of discussion and debate was about marketing in today's world. One of the key themes that came up a number of times was the essential aspect of creating a Big Idea or Big Ideal to base your campaign around. Alan Rutherford, VP of Global Media for Unilever, summed it up well by outlining a four stage process...

1. Put the consumer first - understand the psychology and sociology of your audience.
2. Engage with key cultural trends.
3. Create talkability.
4. Do the numbers last.

As an example see the video below for an amazing campaign that was put together for Lynx in Australia and New Zealand.

The insight behind the campaign was that Unilever discovered and tapped into the fact that Lynx's target audience in Oz and Nz (18-21 year old guys) started to think that air travel and the planning of their first overseas trip on their own was a very aspirational goal.

The insight resulted in a Big Idea which was driven through 32 different channels in an example of true 360 degree integration...see the video below. The sales impact off the back of the campaign was unprecedented.

Obviously our artists aren't brands like Lynx, but to what extent do we need to start thinking in this way?


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Advertising vs. the Consumer

A video by Microsoft digital advertising solutions...

Sometimes (unfortunately more times than some), aren't we this guy? Still turning the same old tricks the same old way to a consumer that has dramatically CHANGED. Are we thinking enough about the CONSUMER as we market our music? The guy listening on the other end? Or the girl singing her lungs out along to the radio in her car? Who is SHE? And not just what is she listening to but where is she going and how is this music connecting to HER? I need to think about that more. Sometimes I get too caught up in the big picture. A launch event. A meet & greet. TV advertising or a radio show. And I lose touch with her.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Relax, Take It Easy

Sometimes music seems to be written for tv commercials like Mika´s new single "Relax, Take It Easy" for German Telco Alice advertising their new combined DSL + landline + mobile rate:

Alice TV Spot

Monday, May 14, 2007

Fergie's solo tour is going wireless.

An interesting headline from the Billboard Bulletin last week. It will be interesting to see the fans reaction and whether the tour suffers due to this deal being exclusive to one carrier - Verizon.
"Fergie's solo tour is going wireless. No paper tickets will be sold for the 20-city tour, sponsored by Verizon Wireless. Instead, fans can download a mobile ticket to their mobile phones which they can present at the door for entry. Verizon Wireless subscribers can get a ticket via any of the following mobile tie-ins: by downloading any of Fergie's songs from the VCast Music full-song download service; attending one of several planned Verizon Wireless i-store events; downloading the new Fergie TV channel on VCast; buying select Motorola phones; participating in various "Try 2 Win" fitting events at Kohl's department stores; or through radio promotions. The mobile ticketing initiative is backed up by a number of other mobile-related activities Fergie is offering fans. She created a custom "Fergie TV" channel that fans can download from the VCast mobile video service, available May 21. Content includes clips based around fashion, style, relationships and music. The artist also plans to take questions from fans via text messaging, which she will then answer in the Fergie TV updates. The tour will also feature "green screens" similar to those used in motion picture special effects, allowing fans to dance to Fergie songs and have their image inserted into the show footage. The resulting video will be sent to fans' mobile phones, and fans creating the best videos will have the chance to join Fergie on stage during the finale of each stop. Verizon additionally created as special Fergie Mobile Fashion Meter contest. Fans will be invited to visit certain Verizon Wireless stores to have their pictures taken with mobile phones. The most stylish fans will have the chance to model on stage at a fashion show by the Candie's fashion line." More details click here

Ray-ban Viral

This viral for Ray-Ban was posted to youtube just yesterday, and it’s already nearing 7k views. It was created by Cutwater (Omnicom's newest agency).

Here’s what Chuck McBride, ecd of Cutwater had to say:

“It can’t be a fashion brand, but it is fashionable, so what is it? People like them at the comfort level. They’re what they wear when they are most themselves. That’s how we came up with “Never Hide.” These glasses don’t mask who you are, they’re a window to who you are. For the short while, ”Never Hide” is one of the best branding ideas I’ve had. Everyone gets the double entendre; it’s just right strategically for the audience and the client, and it is evoking a truth. And it’s a big idea that a lot of cool executions can live under. We went out to find the biggest truth out in a marketplace that is going label-driven and fashion. It is a nice, disruptive thought.”

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Have You Been Drinking?

I fell on that nice and creative guerilla campaign from Portugal.
The gerilla team of the Portuguese Taxi Association put yellow "taxi prisms" on all the cars in front of big clubs and bars, writing "If you've been drinking, don't risk it. Call 707 308 294."
Received calls between midnight and 4am have increased by 50%.

Would a similar idea work, by reaching interested audience at the end of concerts? "If you like it, you may want to buy it"

Friday, May 4, 2007

Paying Artists For Free Music

"The Pirate Bay has started a unique collaboration with the members of the Swedish rock band Lamont and their manager Kristopher S. Wilbur. After lengthy discussions about the future of the record industry and its implications for the many talented artists and songwriters around the world, we discovered that we held the same vision. The shared insight that the record industry—with its current business model—is outdated inspired the birth of

This innovative music site will allow users to download music by artists for free and still support them financially. will give companies with strong brands the opportunity to support music and artists directly. Welcome to"

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Keep Your Hands Off My Meat

Meat maker inks music download deal.

What's the only thing better than ground meat encased in synthetic intestines? That same meat accompanied by downloadable music, of course.

Looking to tap into the popularity of digital music, meat maker Carl Buddig & Co. and its subsidiary Old Wisconsin sausages have inked a deal to offer a free download in its packaged deli meats and specialty sausages.

The firm has hooked up with digital music provider Puretracks, which is layering a free download into about 15 million Buddig and Old Wisconsin packages. Puretracks has a catalog of 2 million songs and connected with the meat maker through Promotional Currency, a Dallas-based marketing strategies firm that specializes in digital entertainment promotions. Each specially marked Buddig or Old Wisconsin package will include a unique package code, along with a pointer to the firm's Web site to retrieve the download.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

5 Visions

What happens when you give 5 video directors one script, each commissioned to shoot a film the way they interpret it? How different would each film be?

This is a competition that Clarins ran promoting a film festival in Argentina called Project 155. If you have seven minutes to watch the whole thing tell me which one you liked the most. Just a tip- you may want to skip the first short film because I think it is the worst, but hey, that’s just my opinion.

I like this idea. I think music video directors, for example, are under-recognized. What if we work together with MTV to create 5 different short music videos for one song, leading up to the EMAs? The idea being to celebrate the "directors" rather than just the artist. Using our artist and music as the drawing board.