for what it’s worth

stories and stimulus from a consumer insight consultant


From tomorrow Southampton Crematorium will be offering a “pay-per-view funerals” service, allowing family members who are unable to make it in person the chance to watch the service online. The Guardian reports that for £75 a family will be able to purchase a password that will give them access to a live webcast of the ceremony.

Critics believe the webcasting of ceremonies from a suburban crematorium in the UK to the world is macabre. But from tomorrow, Southampton crematorium will begin the £75-per-family service.

The crematorium manager’s, Trevor Mathieson, said he was keen to lay to rest the pay-per-view label. He said: “It’s not as if we’re Sky and broadcasting Premier League football. We’re not putting the services on to the internet for anyone to watch. Security is very important. It’s all about offering a better service to people who are bereaved.”

A digital camera discreetly set up in a corner of the crematorium’s east chapel captures the service. For £75 a family is given a user name and password.

These can be passed on to people who cannot get to the ceremony and they can watch the service as it takes place. DVDs of funerals are also being offered for £50 and audio recordings for £25.

The Guardian: Pay-per-view service at crematorium

Filed under: life online


observerThe Observer magazine this weekend offered their list of the World’s 50 most powerful blogs with the Huffington Post, Boing Boing and Techchrunch unsurprisingly taking the top three spots. There is however no explanation as to how the blogs have been judged, and with lolcat site icanhasacheezburger ranking at 8th on the list ahead of Gawker and Engadget, it can only be assumed that it is down to page views rather than any defined power or societal impact. The list makes for an interesting read, with a range of sites from the expected: Perezhilton, Drudgereport, Treehugger, to the less-exposed Studentsforafreetibet, and intellectual superblog Crookedtimber, as well as PSFK friend and conference speaker Hugh MacLeod’s Gapingvoid in at no 31. But mostly it’s a list of fashion, gossip and personal lives- a sad but true reflection on what the world is choosing to read.

The World’s 50 Most Powerful Blogs

Filed under: life online,


With high-street retailers getting designer copies into stores within weeks, and transeasonal collections creating confusion on the catwalks, the newly relaunching fashion brand Halston have decided to shake up the traditional industry structure by offering a selection of their new range on fashion e-tailer Net-a-porter the day after the show.

Last season Net-a-porter scored a coup by offering the chance to order the new RM for Roland Mouret collection the day after the show, but whilst this still left a few months wait for delivery, the new deal with Halston will let shoppers buy – and receive – the new collection 24 hours after the catwalk show.

‘As the collection goes down the runway on 4 February and the press and buyers are seeing it for the first time, two of the key pieces will be sitting, wrapped, packed and ready to go in our distribution centres in Manhattan and London for worldwide delivery,’ Net-a-porter founder Natalie Massenet explains.

‘We are allowing a luxury brand to reclaim the right to sell to the customer first. We are only doing it with two looks, but hope that we are offering a glimpse to brands that we can change the fashion system and say, “We can get the product to the customer, because we can market and distribute in the world.”‘

WWD are calling it a groundbreaking move, saying ‘At a time when customers can see runway looks on fashion sites and blogs within hours of a designer’s final exit, and stores ask for earlier and earlier deliveries based on the strength of pre-collections, many industry executives are increasingly questioning the commercial validity of the much-hyped bi-annual runway extravaganzas’.

24 hours after the Halston show, Net-a-porter will present edited video footage of the runway show. Shoppers can then click and buy two looks, a $1,495 shirt dress for daytime, and a $1,795 silk evening dress. Due to launch today is a microsite on Net-a-porter featuring a retrospective of Halston curated by fashion writer and historian Colin McDowell, aiming to increase brand awareness in the run-up to the brand’s relaunch.

via WWD

Filed under: life online,

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, 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

Filed under: brand extensions, life online, ,

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

French Connection launches social network

Described as ‘a website dedicated to self-expression in music, fashion and the arts’, is actually a clever picture-based networking site set up by UK retailer French Connection.

Unlike previous retail offshoots, this site is not overly heavy on product promotion, relying instead on attracting customers through building a young network of music and fashion afficionados and offering them access to niche gigs and secret fashion events around the UK.

With four launch parties scheduled to start in May, the ‘movement’ is in early infancy, yet appears to already have a decent number of members uploading and contributing. Maybe the grandiose mission statement really does appeal to teens-

‘Every now and then something special happens in contemporary culture. It starts with a disparate group of people thinking and expressing themselves in
similar ways and slowly that group becomes a crowd. Then over time it
gains momentum before finally becoming a movement, an unavoidable
meeting of minds, a global shift in self-expression defined by fashion,
music and the arts. So, if you feel the rumblings of just such an event
beginning to happen, then you have come to the right place.
Over the coming months will be exploring all sorts of
self-expression, inviting our members to get involved and find that
state of mind and those magical links that connect us all and make us a
collective creative force, wherever we happen to be.’

Will the movement take off and the brand regain cool status or will teens see the free gigs and parties for the marketing ploy they really are? Either way it’s a unique and clever attempt by a brand to connect with and understand it’s customers.

Filed under: brand extensions, life online

Lacoste launches Virtual Modeling Contest

Sounds pretty ridiculous and somewhat pointless but it’s definitely a novel approach to marketing in Second Life. According to WWD, Lacoste is holding a modeling contest for the 100 most remarkable avatars. Six of the winners will participate in a virtual photo shoot, and the results will be posted in an online
gallery. They also will split prize money of $1 million Lindens.  The competition started yesterday so hurry if you want to enter!

Filed under: ads that caught my eye, life online

Don’t you liketotallyloveit?!


Taking the idea of Digg and creating a social shopping site where users can publish any interesting finds that they want to share, was founded by four students in Germany who wanted to create a community-based website for cool product recommendations. Quoting Paris Hilton may not make for the most eloquent name, yet it’s a perfect way to to describe this great new site where every user can upload short reviews of their chosen items, vote on other people’s postings and comment on products shown, which vary from iPod alarm clocks to gold cassette belt buckles, plus of course a wide array of cool t-shirts.

Products are grouped in areas- accessories, art, entertainment, fashion, food, furniture, gadgets, personal care and toys- and can also be searched by price range, with the added bonus that every item has a direct link to an online shop where it can be bought. Having only launched at the beginning of the year and still in beta mode, users have already uploaded an array of products from all over the world- with more being added at an increasing rate. Although it may well get targeted as a free advertising exercise by many small designers/ manufacturers, ultimately only the best designs will achieve front-page accolade.

Filed under: life online

Toptipsforgirls- online help for sticky situations offers advice from a range of women in the know on how to survive any situation modern society may throw at you. Launched only two weeks ago, according to the site is already receiving over 2,500 visitors a day wanting tips on how to deal with everything from how to get dressed for a date to how to get chewing-gum out of hair!

‘Top Tips For Girls is the ever-expanding bible of genuine advice,
combining modern tips with the remembered fragments of our
grandmothers’ wisdom. All about the sisterhood, this is for women who
actually like other women. Users are asked not just to take, but to
leave something handy behind.’

Set up by journalist Kate Reardon, the site aims to utilise the knowledge of all the wise women out there to create an amazing practical and useful online resource, or as she explains it- “it’s like being in the bathroom at a party with millions of women, all
of whom want to give you advice”.

check out

Filed under: collaborative working, life online, ,

Fashionising- Are you doing it yet?

Fashionising is another new social networking site on the block, this one being aimed at fashion lovers and those working in the fashion industry. The Australian founders describe the meaning of their made-up title as ‘to socialise fashionably’, which perfectly sums up the aim of their site- where a fashion diary, lifestyle blog, discussion forums, cliques (because fashionistas like to be exclusive and elitist!), and a portfolio section for aspiring models are all on offer for members.

In their own words- ‘Because “social networking” is no longer just a way to make friends, Fashionising is happy to take things a step further and recognise that there’s more value to be had: more contributions by members, more job opportunities, more promotion of upcoming fashion, more support for people’s passions.’

check out fashionising, currently in beta and due for full release in April

via MoMB

Filed under: industry news, life online