With a $500m marketing budget, and an ad featuring an insanely catchy yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah song, you can't fail to have noticed the launch of the XBox Kinect.
What you might not have heard about, however, is the guys and girls who have been on a non-stop mission to hack the Kinect - digital revolutionaries trying to liberate the technology, so we're free to use it on other platforms. Underneath the surface, Kinect is about more than gaming, after all. It's about computers being able to read three dimensional movement and respond accordingly - and that's an idea with the power to change the world.
Well, it's only been five days since launch and the hackers can already claim their first startling, if rough and ready, development: 3D video capture.
I can only imagine the fun we're going to have with this...
A lecturer at Huddersfield University recently asked me for a few words on sponsorship, to help add a bit of texture to her teaching, so I just thought I'd share what I wrote.
A few words on sponsorship
Whether it’s of an event, group or TV programme, sponsorship can be a cost effective way for brands to target a discrete, regular audience. It also tends to offer them the ability to communicate in a less cluttered and more controlled environment. Only official sponsors of an event will be allowed to communicate inside it (although attempts by non-sponsor brands to “hijack” events are fairly common, especially at major events like the Olympics or World Cup). When brands sponsor a TV programme they are given premium ad space on either side of the commercial break that is much less likely to be skipped by viewers – and studies show people with Sky+ (and other PVRs) actively use sponsorship idents to know when to start watching again if they fast forward the ad break.
Sponsorship also offers brands unique benefits above and beyond regular advertising, however. Sponsorship is unique in that it’s a way for a brand to align itself with another brand (that of the programme, event, sports team etc. being sponsored). Effectively, the brand is saying: “I like this” - and it’s only human nature to like someone who likes what you like. Important stuff when you realise that brand warmth, or likeability, is a proven driver of sales. Fans often also believe that sponsors actively contribute to the thing they love, beyond just stumping up the cash - so the brand gets even more kudos. This is not true in all cases, but the best sponsors work hard to not just badge, but improve the fans’ enjoyment of the property they’re sponsoring.
Finally, one other important aspect of sponsorship to mention is the access or privileges that come in the sponsorship package, beyond consumer facing branding and communications. From the outside, corporate hospitality can seem like a bunch of businessmen having a laugh, but the reality is that brands and businesses are built on relationships – and whether they’re staff, suppliers or clients, treating the people you care about every now and again can be just as good a way to keep professional relationships strong as it is in your personal life.
It's been a couple of years since I wrote my paper now, so when I was asked to present it the other day, I thought I'd best update the examples here and there. Thankfully, there's been no shortage to go around...
Here's the deck that I put together, for your flicking enjoyment:
To paraphrase William Shakespeare: "
If you're going to learn new stuff, you have to look in new places. And one of the most interesting places around at the moment is the computer game industry - especially since it's become bigger than the music and film industries combined.
So, it's perhaps unsurprising that one of the best speeches I've seen for a long time should come from a video games conference. DICE (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) is held yearly in Las Vegas and this particular speech comes courtesy of Jesse Schell, games designer, Carnegie Mellon professor and ex-Disney imagineer.
Watch and learn why...
...Facebook knocked the gaming world on its ass last year
...Games companies are making millions by playing with our natural instincts
...Gaming is busting out of fantasy and into reality
...Authenticity rules, in a bubble of fake bullshit
...Avatar might actually have something profound to say after all
...Technology will continue to diverge, not converge
...Disposable technology could turn daily life into an RPG
...And why all that might just help you become a better human being
Makes you wonder what the true potential of Tesco Clubcard points is, hey?
Yesterday, from 8:30-9:30PM UK time, it was WWF Earth Hour - a time when the world was asked to switch off all non-essential lights to raise awareness of climate change.
So imagine my surprise, when I came across this billboard, smack bang in the middle of Earth Hour. I mean, it even has a digital clock at the bottom...
This is what the guys at innocent smoothies have written in their kitchen.
Wise words indeed...