You Write the End. Which Doritos Flavour Will be Destoyed?

Doritos Canada is back with ‘Write the End‘, another interesting campaign soliciting user-generated content to promote two new flavour experiments. You may remember the previous campaigns Become the Doritos Guru Contest; in which people were asked to come up with a name and 30 second ad for the plain-packaged mystery flavour and Viralocity; where people not only named the flavour, created and ad but were asked to try to make their ad go ‘viral’.  This time they’re asking consumers to create their own ending to the TV commercial embedded below.

In the commercial two flavour technicians are tolling away at the Doritos Research Facility creating new chip flavours. The young upstart has developed ‘Onion Rings and Ketchup‘ while the old master has come up with ‘Buffalo Wings n’ Ranch‘ flavour. The two researchers are led to the Flavour Master, who according to the website bio has 7 times as many taste buds as any other mammal on earth. The two flavours are presented to the Master, the video breaks up with the question “Which flavour gets destroyed? And how?”

Viewers are asked to write the rest of the story. 14 finalists will be picked, 7 for each flavour. The finalists will make a pitch to the ad agency and commercial director, who’ll select the winning entry to be filmed in secret to be revealed on May 5. The winner gets $25,000 and 1% of future sales of the winning flavour.

Making contest entry simpler

In an interview with Marketing Magazine, Tim Welsh, vice-president, group account director at BBDO Toronto explained that he feels change in how people enter the contest will help increase the amount of entries.

“The last couple of years we’ve done video… there’s all this rigmarole that goes with it,” he said. “By just asking people to write [their entry]… you just have to have an idea and it kind of levels the playing field.”

In a quick scan of the gallery this definitely appears to be the case. Last year’s Viralocity campaign received over 1,100 video entries, while it looks like ‘Write the End’ has brought in 6-7 times that many. It’s important to note that even in 2011, where video cameras seem to be everywhere and 24 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute that not everyone can or will create a video entry.

Where’s the Mobile?

I’m a little surprised that the bags don’t at least suggest a visit to a mobile site enabled by either a short code, QR code or a mobile redirect at the URL. I entered the URL ‘’ on my iPhone and iPad and was directed to a page with a message that ‘The Backup site will be up shortly… Please Go To’. An odd message considering I was already at the site – its possible that the mobile site was down this afternoon. I’m wondering if they left the mobile site out based on some research that despite people buying the product in a store while out, they still consume it somewhere that they have access to a laptop or PC

‘A’ vs ‘B’: The Taste Test
Doritos: You Write the End
As for the two flavours (yes, I did go to the corner store for samples), my taste buds are definitely siding with ‘A’ bag featuring Onion Rings N’ Ketchup flavour, the taste of ketchup is very strong, but the hint of deep-fried onion rings are definitely in there too.

The ‘B’ bag featuring Buffalo Wings n’ Ranch flavour is still burning its way through my body and must be destroyed immediately. My stomach may never forgive me for getting involved in this debate.

Radiohead’s new album ‘The King of Limbs’ arrives a day early!

Radiohead - King of LimbsIt really wasn’t a surprise that Radiohead’s 8th studio album ‘The King of Limbs’ would be available as a direct download from their website, or that they would move away the “Pay what you want” pricing of 2007’s ‘In Rainbows’. They’ve never really revealed what the average price that people selected to pay, except to admit that the amount of downloads that occurred through Torrent sites probably eclipsed their 3 million total album sales across all of the available formats.

What was surprising was the speed at which the events took place this week. On Monday, Feb 14, Radiohead fans worldwide spontaneously wet themselves as the band announced that the digital download would be available on Saturday Feb 19 at a cost of $9 for the MP3s and $14 for the WAV files. A release described as a ‘newspaper album’ costing $48 would follow on March 28 that includes the digital download, 2 10 inch vinyl records, a CD and large sheets of artwork, 625 smaller pieces all packaged within a sheet of oxo-degradable plastic.

In one more surprise move (which no doubt was planned all along) the album was made available on Radiohead’s website a day early (Friday, February 18). Except for one brief error on the site, the experience was seamless. There were no issues on with the payment process and the 89MB quickly downloaded to my computer and unzipped. And there was much rejoicing in my brain.

As someone who has been buying albums since the early 70s, I am always excited to get my hands on an artists brand new work. Its the exact same way today, even though the instant gratification of a digital download or a ‘leaked’ album beats out traveling to my local record store or mall chain, not to mention the excitement of reading and reacting to the thousands of posts, tweets and blog reviews. NPR organized a last-minute listening party on their site using Toronto’s ScribbleLive chat technology, providing a great shared experience as listeners left their comments and impressions as they experienced Radiohead’s new music as a group.

Oh and by the way, the album is pretty good – layers of distorted instrumentation and electronics, offbeat rhythms, Thom Yorke’s soaring falsetto are all represented here. Early favorites to my ears are ‘Lotus Flower’, ‘Codex’ and ‘Give Up The Ghost’.

Is Your iPhone Listening to What You’re Watching?

IntoNow iPhone AppIf you’re a fan of Snooki and The Situation you’ll want to check out MTV’s new campaign for Jersey Shore. You can earn a chance to win a trip to the Season 4 Premiere party by checking into the 6 remaining episodes in Season 3 using the iPhone app IntoNow.

IntoNow, which works much like the song identifying app Shazam, can identify 2.6 million broadcast airings using its patented platform Soundprint. Soundprint analyzes the audio coming from your televsion in 3-second increments creating an audio fingerprint.

The fingerprint is then compared to their reference set made up of 130 channels of live broadcasting going back 5 years. The system then returns the metadata that goes with the show, including title, cast and links to IMDB. With a tap the show can be added to your Netflix queue or shared on your Twitter or Facebook profile.

Other sites such as Miso and GetGlue are built on check-ins, rewards and sharing, but the convenient part of IntoNow is the Soundprint feature identifying the exact episode of a series.

Unfortunately for us here in Canada, the IntoNow app is only available in the US iTunes store.

Want to Hear the New Flaming Lips Song? First find 11 friends.

Anyone who has ever experienced a The Flaming Lips concert in person or listened to their recordings knows that the Oklahoma City band isn’t afraid of experimentation. Leader Wayne Coyne is famous for walking across the heads of their audience is a giant inflatable plastic ball, and there’s no better man you want on the business end of a confetti gun in a concert crisis. Over on the recording side, there’s been 20 albums of wild pop experiments, a remake of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and their own indie movie Christmas on Mars.

In 2011, the Flaming Lips have announced they will release a new track every month, and this is the first result (not sure what happened to January). Not to worry, the song ‘Two Blobs Fucking‘ (don’t worry, there’s a bit more NSFW language in the instructional video too) is available on the Flaming Lips YouTube Channel as 12 separate tracks. You’ll need to sync together 12 devices with each playing one of the different videos.

Below is a handy instructional video. Now I’m off to find 11 friends insane enough to try this.

This Valentine’s Day Shout Your Love From the Mountain Tops

AT&T has enlisted the help of a group of very unconventional spokespersons for a special live Valentine’s Day event. A team of loud-talking mountain men will shout a special message to your loved one live from Mount Baldy, California.

You can submit your message on the AT&T Facebook application now. On February 14th at 8am PST the Mountain Men begin live streaming their shouts live for everyone to follow, plus they will send each person selected a video clip link to pass onto their loved ones. But hey kids, keep it clean, as the site explains even grizzled Mountain Men have mothers too. The event will promote the new HTC Inspire 4G and I’m imagining the phone and its 4G capabilities will be featured prominently.

The campaign was created by BBDO NY and features several hilarious video clips on the Facebook application and YouTube channel.

Matrix Barcodes Link to Classic Cocktail Recipes at the LCBO

LCBO uses QR Codes to direct shoppers to Classic Cocktail recipesAs part of the LCBO (Liquor Commission Board of Ontario) Classic Cocktails promotion, shelf signage for the brands featured in the campaign feature Matrix barcodes.

Matrix (2D) bar codes have been used throughout the rest of the world enabling users of mobile devices to connect with product sites, contest info, coupons or other additional information.

Unfortunately the experience of using matrix barcodes sometimes falls short of providing a great digital experience for the user. Issues with the sizing and positioning of the code happen frequently with inexperienced developers. Adequate instructions should always be provided for uninitiated users and even if everything does go perfectly to that point sometimes an unfriendly mobile experience awaits the user at the destination. You can read more about matrix barcodes in this post I wrote on the Delvinia Blog.

In this case the system worked flawlessly. I opened my ScanLife iPhone app and held it about 6-8 inches away from the shelf signage. The code was immediately picked up and my browser was directed to the  recipe for a Gin Martini made with Tanqueray on the Classic Cocktails mobile web site. At that point I could easily bookmark that with my browser for reference later.

Cheers to the LCBO and their digital team for such a useful application. Now to make myself a Gin Martini.

Originally published at by me.

When Branding Consumes All – Logorama

Logorama from Marc Altshuler – Human Music on Vimeo.

I was going to play ‘Count the Logos’ in the piece, but since there are as many 2,500 logos featured in this film, that’s impossible. I especially love the flying Bentley and MSN logos. And seriously, how could any piece be complete without a gun battle between Ronald MacDonald and the Michelin Man.

The 16 minute short film was directed by the animation group H5, made up of Ludovic Houplian, François Alaux and Hervé de Crécy. The team has made advertising campaigns and music videos for artists such as Massive Attack and Royksopp. The film has been public since 2009 when it was presented at the Cannes Film Festival. Since then it opened at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and won a 2010 Academy Award in the animated short category.

Inspiration for the Logorama project began with a 1999 typography-centric video produced for the group called French Touch. In 2003 George Harrison asked H5 to create a video for his song ‘Brainwashed’. They wanted to create a video addressing the culture of consumption, and the idea of using logos was born. Unfortunately Harrison died, but H5 decided to realize the project on their own.

The film was produced by Mikros Image, a post production company using Maya Software combined with rotoscoping done of the producers and members of their family.

It’s Complicated. Reuniting Ken & Barbie on Social Media

Ken and Barbie on Social MediaHonestly I had no idea that these two icons had even broken up. It turns out however, that Ken Carson and Barbie Roberts (yes, they did have last names) have been an on-and-off thing one since they first met in 1961. Things were not well at the Barbie dream house apparently. In fact, in 2004 Mattel issued a press release stating that they were going to spend some time apart, and as we all know it’s not true until the press release has been issued. According to the website Barbie had actually started dating an Aussie surfer named Blaine.

Welcome Back

Now in 2011, on the 50th anniversary of the debut on the Ken doll, and after a triumphant return in Toy Story 3 he’s back and he’s looking to win Barbie’s heart again, and he’s looking to do it just in time Valentine’s Day.

Mattel has created a website at where visitors are asked “Should Barbie take Ken back?”. Ken hopes that enough people say ‘Yes’ and that the Love-o-meter goes all the way to the ‘Soulmate’ status. Mattel has also created new profiles for Ken on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare and are the inspiration behind a new reality series Genuine Ken, a Search for the Great American Boyfriend. Oh, by the way there is a new Sweet Talking Ken doll available in stores, with the striking look and physique which makes Justin Bieber look like the Incredible Hulk. (sorry Biebs)

The streams on the various platforms are a combination of promotion and cute interaction between the two characters. Ken leaves a tip on Foursquare as he reminisces about better times, “Barbie was a little afraid of heights, but I held her hand the entire time during our ferris wheel ride. A little kiss always helps calm the nerves.” Or we see Barbie tweet, “No better distraction for me during this whole @OfficialKen business than #NYFW. See you at the shows!”

Finding Barbie on


While the campaign is very clever there is one thing that pops out at me. First of all, who is this campaign aimed at? It certainly isn’t the young girls who would be playing with them. It seems to me that this is targeted at adult users of these social media platforms, which begins to make sense as these are the people that will be buying the dolls for their daughters, nieces or younger family members.

It turns out the dolls were already appearing in stores a week before Valentine’s Day in boxes emblazoned with the message ‘She Said Yes!’. It would have been fun to see coordinated events happening in stores on the Saturday morning prior to Valentine’s Day, providing discounts on the dolls to people who check in on Foursquare of Facebook Places. Encourage tweeting and Facebook status updates, as well as uploading and tagging photos from the events to their profiles on Facebook.

Seems, you can’t keep anything secret these days. Good luck Ken on sorting out the ‘It’s Complicated’ relationship status.

Update: It’s Valentine’s Day and Barbie did say Yes! To celebrate Ken and his Kentourage appeared at Toronto’s Union Station handing out pink roses in celebration of his new relationship status. The current campaign will run until March and there  is a plan for two more phases yet to go in 2011.

Air New Zealand is looking for the Coldest Canadian

Air New Zealand - Are You the Coldest Canadian?Today on the way in to work I saw 12×18 posters for Air New Zealand’s Coldest Canadian Contest on a few mail boxes and power poles along King Street West. It looked interesting enough, certainly topical enough in the -10 degree weather, and I’m a sucker for these user-generated video submission contests. I took a second look at them at lunch time and noticed a couple of issues with my first interaction with the creative.

First of almost every poster I came across was mounted at waist or below height making it virtually impossible to get down and read the information including the URL. In the lower left corner was a very small QR code, I’d say it might have been a half-inch square. I squatted down in the slush and tried to scan it with my normally reliable QR code scanner, but it didn’t work for me. I assume it will redirect my mobile browser to the site. I took a moment and typed the URL into my iPhone browser. The site that I saw was not optimized for mobile, it was the standard web page. It displayed fine, but I did have to enlarge and scan around in order to read. I did share the poster with a couple of friends, but the sharing was not done through the site. It was done by taking an iPhone photo and emailing it to them.

I’ll be on the lookout in other media for additional initial touch points with the campaign.

A few things that could have worked better with the poster and mobile experience:

  • Mount the posters higher so I could read them while walking by or standing at a crosswalk
  • If you are using a QR code think about how your viewer is going to interact with it. Having it at the top of the poster would have been better position.
  • Make sure the QR code is the correct ratio for scanners to pick it up. I am assuming the poster had been sized-down from a larger creative, so the ratio may have been correct to begin with.
  • A site optimized for my mobile device would have allowed me to check out the information while I was still in the area.

Once I arrived back at work, I did check out the site and the contest looks like a lot of fun. Air New Zealand is asking people who want to enter the contest to submit a three-minute video demonstrating why they are ‘The Coldest Canadian’. Once the video is approved its up to the entrant to collect as many votes, comments and likes as they can. The contest features weekly prizes as well as Grand Prize of a round-trip airfare to Auckland, NZ. There is a Google Map showing where the coldest Canadians are located and live reminders of how cold the temperatures are in different areas of the country (and how much warmer it is in New Zealand right now).

LinkedIn Debuts New Company Insider Widget on ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ List

LinkedIn Company InsiderLast fall LinkedIn announced its new Javascript platform that would allow LinkedIn content to be shared across the web in a similar manner as Facebook or Twitter.  This week saw the public debut of LinkedIn‘s new Company Insider widget on the CNNMoney website.  It’s being used to give readers of Fortune’s annual list of the ‘100 Best Companies to Work For‘ a live look into the employees of each these companies.

A reader can instantly see how many members of a company have profiles on LinkedIn, as well as if they have direct or other level connections at the company already within their network. In addition a reader can view additional content such as new hires, promotions and changes at the company.  A reader interested in a company can click the follow button and not leave the site to subscribe to updates.

In addition the profile pages for each company in Fortune’s list also features a Facebook Social Plugin featuring the question “Is _______ a great company to work for, or what?”. Readers who are logged into Facebook can ‘Like’ the post as well as comment using their Facebook profile. The comment can then be shared back onto their profile.

Do you feel that including widgets as shown in this example helps to connect the social web together?

Are these good substitutes for regular company profiles and traditional commenting features?