for what it’s worth

stories and stimulus from a consumer insight consultant

Sugar Magazine launches Social Bookmarking Site for Teens

UK teen mag Sugar has launched a new social boomarking tool for teenage girls called Sugarscape. Sitting alongside its already existing sugarmagazine.co.uk, the new site, currently in beta, is aiming to be an aggregator of cool gossip, music, quizzes and ‘stuff’ linked to by the sugar team and the readers themselves.

Users can register and download the sugarscape toolbar, then customise their personal page or ‘scape’, and add anything they find on the web by ‘sugaring’ things with comments and opinions. Involving more of a networking aspect than other bookmarking tools, ‘scapers’ can enhance their status by earning points for their actions – where they can either ‘sugar’ things they like, ‘shove’ things they hate, or ‘share’ things with their friends, and in a kinder version of the facebook poke can ‘squeeze’ their friends- sending a virtual hug that comes with the added bonus of 10 extra points. The site also encourages users to import all existing Bebo, MySpace and YouTube profiles to sugarscape, aiming to create a one-stop social networking experience.

In the dwindling sales of teen mags, Sugar is still standing strong as market leader (average circulation during the January-June 2007 period of 187,059 copies, which is down 6.6% on 2006, versus the 43.5% sales drop of the nearest competitor, Panini’s Bliss which fell to 120,506 copies) and with this site clearly hopes to enhance its identity as a brand that understands teenage girls.

via Brand Republic

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Filed under: brand extensions, life online, ,

Hub Culture Presents Future Visions of an Enlightened Global Singularity

I was lucky enough to be invited (for PSFK) to the fabulous surroundings of Miller’s Academy in London to hear a talk by Stan Stalnaker, the brain behind social collective Hub Culture.

Stan energetically filled the evening – entitled Scenarios: Technology, Community and Consciousness – with fascinating global realizations and future insights, not least his vision of an approaching global singularity within a technologised ‘omniverse’. In fact we were so swept up in his passion that note-taking was somewhat overlooked! Luckily for us though, Stan has been kind enough to share the presentation doc – which we highly recommend reading:

Hub Culture – Scenarios: Technology, Community and Consciousness

Some quotes scribbled during the talk worth thinking about:

  • “everything is a network”: brands as media companies leveraged through networks
  • “everyone becomes a friend and no-one becomes a consumer”: you need to have as many ‘friends’ as possible for business success
  • your value will soon be driven from your ‘economy’: your worth as dictated through the power of your network
  • the bending of social rules and the growing impact of ‘social suicide’
  • “the singularity of a collected conscious is closer than we think”: by 2021 $1000 of computation (ie one mac) will have the intelligence of a human brain – and by 2050 the intelligence of all human brains, leading to a connected organism that can create its own processes
  • “the reality is that every individual is now a brand”

The presentation is a sneaky preview of Stan’s article for the Feb 2008 issue of the Harvard Business Review, which they have classed as one of the 20 Big World Changing Themes for 2008.

Hub Culture

Filed under: visions of the future

Recycle-More Helps You Text Your Waste Away

Recycle-more.co.uk, the recycling information website from Valpak, (the UK’s largest compliance scheme) have made their impressive advice service even better with the introduction of a text location tool. Users can simply text ‘waste’ or ‘elec’ and their postcode to 60060 from anywhere in the UK, and receive a text back with details of the closest location for their recycling needs.

Not only does this help to correctly dispose of the items that the council doesn’t pick up, but more importantly it helps you to continue recycling wherever you may be in the country. As recycle-more’s web manager Sam Blades explains “the text service allows people to recycle materials ‘on the move’. If you’re on holiday in the UK and want to keep up the good work you do at home, it’s now quick and easy to locate your nearest recycling site. It also gives those without internet access a convenient way to find recycling facilites”.

Texts will cost a rather pricey 50p plus standard network charge (why does it always cost to be good?!), made more acceptable by the fact that the company will put any money made directly back into its educational services. Next stop gps mapped locations for truly mobile recycling? Or how about a mobile operator offering this as a free service???

via newconsumer

Filed under: mobile lifestyles,

Time for One helps Londoners learn the Value of their Own Time

time for one

Time for One is a brilliant new review guide that encourages making the most of individual free time in London. The concept began life as a restaurant guide for single travellers- previously a primary school teacher, self-confessed independent spirit Wendy Fisk often found herself with free holiday time when no-one else was around and so went off exploring on her own. She soon noticed however that there was a real need for people to know of places they felt welcome to eat and experience on their own, and this grew into a four-fold online guide that offers honest advice to likeminded individuals as a comprehensive resource to living life to the full.

The site encompasses Table for One, the only online restaurant guide with advice on where to go and eat by yourself, entertainment and activity guide Play for One, travel and exploration guide Away for One, and personal pampering guide Spa for One, together making the most of what London has to offer. With aims to expand with advice in cities across the globe, and research already underway for a New York guide to debut next year, Time for One hopes to start a global social movement that helps people understand the value of their free time. As the lovely Wendy explained to us “London is a place where there’s not enough time for anybody and anything, and I think people have to see the time in the life that maybe they’ve not been noticing, seeing free time in a whole new light and understanding that you are not by yourself you are with yourself. It’s something that Londoners are starting to pick up on”. And it’s not just for single folk, Wendy says that in fact many of her readers- and reviewers- are happily married but looking to enjoy “my time”, whether it’s on a free evening on business trip or just an hour away from the kids!

A labour of passion, the site carefully vets each venue and only adds places that the team feel understands their ethos that it’s absolutely fine to be there alone enjoying it, primarily through the attitude of the manager whom they always interview. Within Table for One the search options cover a variety of choices based on the attitude of the space rather than the cuisine: from seating (communal/ counter/ tables for one) to mood (vibrant and social/ chic and stylish / relaxed and casual), and the reviews always include the manager’s personal recommendations for their favourite places to eat solo. From this, Wendy has found not only a great deal of places that welcome individuals, but that a lot more people enjoy eating and experiencing things alone than even she had assumed. She described her most recent discovery: “One of our recent reviews was Kensington Square Kitchen, a great brunch and tea place which opened 5 weeks ago. When I was talking to Sarah the manager she said that on an average day she will discover that her entire restaurant is full of single tables. She has found that it is totally normal for people to come and treat themselves and indulge alone.”

The Play for One section offers not only the expected Music, Arts and Entertainment searches, but also options for Classes (including cooking, cheerleading and chocolate appreciation!), Sports, and even the fabulously titled Something Zen. In fact Wendy describes Play for One as “an indulgence of my own time and interests”, summing up exactly what this whole fantastic concept offers- the opportunity to openly indulge and revel in self-serving space and time that is on your own, not necessarily alone, but definitely all about ‘me’.

Time for One

Filed under: arts & culture, entertainment, food n drink,

Hammer Horror Revived – on MySpaceTV

Since the news earlier this year that classic horror film company Hammer had been bought by a consortium headed by Big Brother creator John de Mol, there has been speculation about what would be next to come from the great British institution. According to The Guardian the wait is now over:

‘Yesterday it was announced that the first production from the recently revived Hammer Films would attempt to [similarly] marry old and new to shocking effect by premiering on MySpace in a series of 20 four-minute “webisodes”. The film, Beyond the Rave, will be the first UK co-production by the social networking site’s recently launched video arm, MySpaceTV.’

‘Starring Sadie Frost alongside a largely unknown cast and with a score chosen by DJ Pete Tong, it will chart 24 hedonistic hours in the life of a young soldier before he goes to Iraq. Inevitably, things soon take a sinister turn.’

‘Simon Oakes, chairman of Hammer Horror, promised it would mix the defining elements of its catalogue – blood, sex, death, vampires – with a 21st-century setting and sensibility. “It’s suspenseful, with plenty of blood, but it’s not ‘gore-nography’,” he said.’

Hammer are of course promoting across the social networks through their pages on Facebook and Bebo as well as MySpace, and by creating the film as an online serial are completely bypassing the box office- although they will offer the film on DVD after it’s online debut. The question now though, is how does MySpace plan to act as a regulator- despite Oakes’ insisting that the online version will not be too violent to be shown to a general audience, the DVD will most probably be classified as an 18.

watch the trailer at Beyond The Rave

Hammer Films

Filed under: entertainment, life online

Burger King Has a Whopper Freakout

The Whopper Freakout is the brilliant new Burger King ad campaign shot as an undercover experiment to show the emotional power of ‘America’s favorite’ burger. The customer outrage is apparently all real!

[via Fallon Planning]

Filed under: ads that caught my eye

Greenpeace gets Gamers to Battle for a Greener Future

clash of the consoles

With games consoles top of many Christmas lists, Greenpeace are taking their fight to the gamers themselves and asking for their help in forcing the gaming industry to get greener. The campaign, known as Clash of the Consoles, pits the three key players- Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft- against each other with a scoreboard rating each on their toxic use, toxic policy, recycling credits and energy use.

“In gamespace everybody wants to save the world. But back here on planet Earth, your favourite games console contains deadly agents of real destruction: toxic chemicals that shouldn’t be there and may be contributing to mountains of e-waste when thrown away. Clash of the Consoles is the website where you can check out how your favourite game heroes stand up against their rivals, and how you can help battle the boss monsters to green their game”

Within the website Greenpeace have created a a 90-second video featuring three of the most iconic game characters – Microsoft’s Master Chief, Nintendo’s Mario and Sony’s Kratos – competing for the prize of a greener games console, and calling for gamers to “Jump in…Tell your game console company wii would like to live and play in a toxic free world.”

According to BBC News, Greenpeace’s campaign to persuade the whole electronics industry to eliminate hazardous chemicals has found that “Game console manufacturers are lagging way behind the makers of mobile phones and PCs who have been reducing the toxic load of the products over the past year”, and from a survey conducted by the organisation on Habbo hotel last month found that of the 50,000 teenagers who responded, 74% rated global warming over drugs, violence and war as the issue they were most concerned about.

see more at Clash of the Consoles

Filed under: clever promotion, evironmental insights,

Turner Prize gets Political

turner prizeThis year’s Turner Prize has been won by British artist Mark Wallinger for his politicised installation State Britain, a recreation of Parliament Square peace campaigner Brian Haw’s Anti-Iraq protest that was destroyed by police in 2006.

Anyone who travelled past London’s Houses of Parliament between 2001 and 2006 could not fail to notice the one-man protest that Haw led continuously from his tent on the square, and in fact continues today, though now carefully within the new protest laws created especially to remove him! Wallinger painstakingly recreated all 40 meters of the the destroyed protest camp in incredible detail, down to the messages of support left by the public, and controversially displayed his replica at a gallery lying half inside the 1km radius of the Palace of Westminster within which these new laws forbid political protest.

So, can you put a price on years of protest? Well Wallinger’s recreation in the Tate Britain earlier this year cost a pricely £90,000 to put together, a fact that meant for the Tate show itself the artist had to present an earlier work, Sleeper, his 2004 film of himself dressed in a bear suit wandering the halls of Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie, in reference to the Cold War spies.

The jury praised State Britain for “its immediacy, visceral intensity and historic importance” and how it “combines a bold political statement with art’s ability to articulate fundamental human truths” however critics are divided on the result, with some agreeing Wallinger is making an important statement, whilst others see a reproduction of lifeless propaganda and a protest lacking in understanding.

Some opposing views worth reading from the Telegraph and the Guardian.

See the Turner Prize exhibition at Tate Liverpool until 13 Jan 2008

Filed under: arts & culture

Good Opens Pop-Up Community Center

good pop-up

The lovely people at Good magazine have created their own version of the pop-up phenomenon with Good December; a community center and gallery store that has just arrived on Mulberry St, NY for the run-up to Christmas.

Sponsored by Microsoft’s impressive i’m Initiative, the center is organized around the themes of Media, Environment, Technology, Design, Education, Culture, Business & Money, and Health, and alongside the book exchange, clothing drop-off, free wifi cafe and games such as shuffleboard, visitors can take part in organised events including Etsy’s DIY workshop or visit the health clinic check-in.

Good December opened yesterday and will stay open every day until 23rd, so pop in and spread some festive cheer among your community.

[via core77]

Filed under: creative ideas, good, ,

Nokia Launches Eco-Friendly Evolve

nokia-evolve At the annual Nokia World conference yesterday, the company announced it’s new environmental initiative: the 3110 Evolve phone. Having fallen from first to ninth place in Greenpeace’s Greener Electronics Guide last month, Nokia are bouncing back with this eco-friendly version of the traditional 3110 which has ‘bio-covers’ made from over 50% renewable material, comes in a smaller box with less packaging all made of 60% recycled content, and is powered by Nokia’s most energy efficient charger yet which uses 94% less energy than the Energy Star requirements (the energy-efficiency guidelines set by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy.)

Speaking yesterday, CEO and president Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo explained Nokia’s viewpoint:

“We are at the dawn of a new era in mobile communications driven by the rapid convergence of the internet and mobility, and Nokia is setting the pace of change. But with market leadership in an industry of this scale also comes responsibility. We are committed to taking a leading role in increasing environmental awareness and performance right across the industry, creating further products and services that help people make more sustainable choices. It is both the responsible thing to do and it makes good business sense.”

No word on the launch date (though apparently is it’s due out early next year) or price point, but with the highest eco-credentials of any new phone we’ve seen actually coming to market, could this become the Prius of the phone world?

Filed under: evironmental insights, mobile lifestyles,

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