Friday Folly

We all love Fridays … they mark the end of things — the end of the working week, the end of a project and so on. Beyond Friday is a new world … a luxurious place of martinis, beaches, picnics and warm winter fires. And in the spirit of preparation (for the end/the beginning), I am launching the "Friday Folly". Here, each Friday, I will seek to share one piece of advertising/marketing gone wrong (even if is it slightly wrong).

If you have something I should know about please let me know. But, in the meantime, enjoy this gem courtesy of Amelia Torode. What’s so wrong I hear you say? Look closely.

SAP Communities Support the World Food Program

We all continue to debate the merits of Web 2.0 and social media. Various pundits proclaim the end of Web 2.0 and the demise of blogging while others extol the virtues of digital conversation and the opportunities it presents for forms of social activism. But I firmly believe that we are still in the very early stages of understanding what the REAL opportunities are.

One of the companies who are really pushing the limits of exploration in this space is SAP (disclaimer — this is where I work). Today, in what I think is a world first, the SAP communities announced that the community points recognition system is being transformed. Instead of printing and shipping shirts all around the world to "top contributors", SAP are aggregating the points collected and transforming these into a single, cumulative donation to Feed School Children (part of the UN’s World Food Programme).

If the points accumulated next year reach the same proportion as 2007, then SAP will donate 100,000 Euro. If this can be improved by 20% (ie 20% more contributions to the forums, wikis and blogs), then SAP will increase this to 150,000 Euro — and so on up to a maximum of 200,000 Euro.

This is an exciting innovation that I would love to see adopted by other companies and brands.

The End of Journalism?

The Argus does it again
Originally uploaded by Erasmus T

It is a perennial debate and one which is not likely to fade any time soon — blogging vs journalism. Darren Rowse picks up the theme this time the print publication (l’horror), Australian Marketing Magazine. The magazine asks Darren and Phil McLean from Fairfax to answer the question, "Will the growing popularity of digital user-generated content pose a threat to the traditional journalist?". I am sure you can guess which side each came down on.

However, I can see no "end" on either side. No end to blogs and blogging and no end of journalism. But there is a question around the economic viability of publishing in its current format — and this is something that the "citizen journalists" have picked up on faster than the publishers — at least in Australia. New initiatives such as Norg and Hunters Best demonstrate that there are gaps in the market that are simply not being served. And, certainly from my perspective, the social media "attempts" by mainstream media players thus far have been poorly conceived and driven by a protectionist spirit. I am still waiting for some of the innovation that Katie refers to.

Not holding my breath for that one.


When diggers on the goldfields discovered the precious metal, they would stand up and cry "Eureka!". And when I am so lucky as to happen across a fantastic blog, I do the same. Now, I may be late to this party, but Jen has a fantastic, provocative and insightful blog. Check it out, and be amazed. And yes, she is a local Sydneysider. And for a taste of what is to come … check out one of her presentations on Second Life. Too good.

Thanks Bernie Banton

Very few of us know what it means to be an evangelist. Sure, we can believe in some cause, issue or even technology, but the challenges that the modern marketing evangelists have to overcome are relatively lightweight concerns — lack of awareness, market inertia, apathetic employees. The real life evangelist, however, deals in a world of magnified challenges where the outcomes are counted in lives.

In a time where the economic, social and political power of corporations has reached its zenith, Bernie Banton stood out as an individual willing and (barely) able to confront it. Despite suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma and Asbestos-Related Pleural Disease, Bernie took on the might and legal wiles of James Hardy and the Australian legal system, working to secure the rights to compensation of thousands of workers affected by unsafe working conditions in the James Hardy factories.

At 1am, on Monday, Bernie died at home, in the presence of his family.

In many ways in the last decade, Bernie was the voice of a forgotten Australian consciousness reminding us all of our fundamental humanity and Australian spirit. It was a voice that we sorely needed and one that will be greatly missed.

Next Wednesday, a State Funeral will be held at Acer Arena in Homebush. May you rest in peace, Bernie. And thanks.

InterestingSouth Wrap

Gavin Heaton
Originally uploaded by warmers

The InterestingSouth conference last week was a great success. It was a fantastic mishmash of people and ideas … and even a few presentations.

Gregg and I greeted the audience as they arrived at Bondi Pavillion, checking off their names and providing them with a random book, a conference program and a pen. It was interesting to see the reactions to the books (and there was a wide and eclectic variety available — I wonder if Emily has anything left in her library) and the openness of the participants. The sponsor helped put everyone in the mood, with books from Remo, juices and smoothies from Nudie, water from Another Bloody Water, refreshments from Smirnoff, Cheese, delicious cheese from McIntosh and Bowman and ethical chocolate from Cocolo.

All up we had about 17 presentations — but the night itself seemed to fly by. And while the presentation descriptions sounded "interesting", they were even moreso in the flesh. Unfortunately I missed a couple of the early presentations, trying to corral the late comers over by the top of the stairs — but I did try and keep a Twitter-stream going through the night. I will use this, over the next few days, to put down some thoughts on each of the fantastic presentations — but Matt Moore also has already covered some of these — though not his own on zombies. And you can see Juan’s on his blog. There is also a great Flickr stream by Piers over here.

Finally, more thanks to the sponsors — the team from The Precinct helped out on the production side and Pure Profile will be hosting the videos and other materials very soon. Thanks also go to The Design Conspiracy and Digital Wranglers. And Lauren not only helped fold programs, she was the onstage tea hostess, she designed and organised the stage set AND presented FIRST.

Oh, and if you want to take a look at my presentation … here it is on Slideshare. Three minutes of joy.

Planning for Good

A while back I got involved with a number of folks wanting to use their brains to help solve problems and support non-profit causes. This group, called Planning for Good, have organised themselves mainly through Facebook, but have recently started a blog.

The Facebook group has over 1000 members with 35 city groups established — so there is certainly a lot of participation. We have answered two high profile briefs and there is a second on the way (in the next 48 hours).

The city groupings have turned out to be a great way of extending your online interest into offline activism (and it is a lot of fun to meet people face-to-face). If you are based in Sydney and would like to participate in Planning for Good, please JOIN our Facebook group. You can expect to meet Emily Reed, Tim Longhurst, Jax Weschler, Katie Chatfield, Samantha Heron and many others. Come one, come all.