Blowjobs included!

July 10, 2008

I recently posted a great Ben Stiller video on getinspiredhere.net. This post received a comment by Richard who states that “a lot of viral videos contain some form of depravity”. I don’t have stats about that but I think Richard is right.

Since a lot of marketers seem to believe in the power of depravity, Ryanair launched a new VIP program called “Beds and blowjobs”.

Who said “over promise”?

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Delta skelter

July 1, 2008

I complained about Starwood’s lame customer service.

According to Joseph Jaffe, Delta airlines provides an even worse service to their “preferred” customers.

After the post, here comes the video:

The editing isn’t fantastic (reading is quiet difficult) but I really love the idea. Congrat’s Jaffe, you show us the way.

Love anyone?

June 30, 2008

I have the honour to have admin rights on getinspiredhere, the collective blog related to the “inspiration anyone”-viral video (the sequel of Bring the love back)

I must say I’m pretty disappointed by the stats of the viral video (less than 5000 views so far on youtube versus 150.000 for bring the love back – and 3000 versus 180.000 on dailymotion). I don’t think it’s a question of seeding strategy. The seeding strategy of “Bring the love back” was minimal and the video became a success mainly thanks to the enthusiasm of David Armano.

Quality could be an issue. I still think that Inspiration anyone is a great vid but I agree on the fact that there are some minor flaws (mainly in editing).

Basically, I agree with Peter Kim  when he states that “(perhaps) it hits too close to home for agencies”. Besides, the video carries a message telling us that it’s not that simple. It confronted me with my own ignorance. Of course, we have to listen to the customer and I think we all know that; of course, balanced conversation is key; of course we have to rethink the way we make marketing; of course…. but how do we aknowledge the changes while maintaining the system? (major online players selling added value to the advertisers).That’s the whole point of getinspiredhere and that’s why we need you there 🙂

Nightmare at Sheraton – Episode 3 (awakening)

June 25, 2008

I replied to starwood with the following mail

” Thank you very much for your mail. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can use this solution since there is no Jean Deltenre living at my adress. It’s just an encoding mistake made by your services: They typed “Jean” and they should have typed “Philippe”. Is there a way to correct that at your side? I will stay at the Sheraton Hotel in Atlanta as from july 15th and I really would like to benefit from my points. “

and this time, I received the answer I expected from an “Assistant Manager, E-Communications Department”:

“Thank you for sending another email request, this time we will make it right.
 
In reviewing our email correspondence we failed to answer your question; on behalf of the E-communications department I sincerely apologize. I have corrected the first name on your Starwood Preferred Guest account to Philippe.
In your last email you mentioned that you will be staying at the Sheraton in Atlanta on July 15th; Please do not hesitate to contact a Starwood Preferred Guest representative for assistance in making your hotel reservation at (phone number). Thank you for your dedication to our Starwood properties and being a valued member of our Starwood Preferred Guest program.
Please do not hesitate to contact me should you require additional assistance.”

Seems that my problem is solved. I also really appreciate that the admitted their mistake. Nevertheless, If I could give starwood a piece of advice, it would be the following:

– Do not send a standard answer without reviewing it. Your first reply was beyond ridiculous.

– Use technorati and monitor your brand(s)

– All the mails you sent me were from the same email adress even if there were different senders.  It’s very difficult to interact in that case. Please consider personalized emails for your staff, I can’t even send a mail to thank Marcella who solved my problem.

Marcella, I hereby thank you

Nightmare at Sheraton – Episode 2 (the specialist)

June 24, 2008

I was very tempted to be sarcastic in my reply to starwood (see yesterday’s post), but I assumed they just sent me a standard answer based on some keywords they identified in my previous mail.

So, I made a short reply “Thanks for your reply but how could I show you documentation with my “former name”? You just made a mistake by calling me Jean Deltenre instead of Philippe Deltenre

I received an answer by a “Specialist, E-Communications Department, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide” (wow!)

Thank you for your email reply. I welcome this opportunity to assist you further.
 
“While we are unable to allow change the name on a Starwood Preferred Guest account without documentation. We do allow unlimited Starpoint transfers between accounts of members in the same household.
You may transfer your Starpoints to another member’s Starwood Preferred Guest account, or vice versa, as long as the following requirements are met:
1. Both members live at the same address.
2. The member from whose account the Starpoints are being deducted must advise us of his/her password.
3. Neither member is an employee of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.
For further information on transferring Starpoints or to make a transfer, please contact your nearest Account Services Center, where one of our Associates will be happy to assist you. Within the United States and Canada you can contact us by calling toll free 1-888-625-4988 or visit our website for the telephone number of the office nearest you.
We appreciate your continued loyalty to the Starwood Preferred Guest program and welcome any further questions or concerns.”

OK, so, now we have a solution. I just have to ask to Jean Deltenre who lives in my house to transfer me his points… oh, but wait, there is no Jean Deltenre living with me (even if I sometimes hear strange noises coming from the attic)

Starwood, please hire John P. from Dell and pay the guy a million bucks. You really need a guy like him.

Nightmare at Sheraton – Episode 1 (Mulva)

June 23, 2008

Yes, it’s been a long time. I must admit that I lost the sparkle. I was more into swimming and brazilian jiu jitsu than into marketing readings the last months. It’s probably also because I’m not in a customer facing job today and I miss that badly.

Today, I’m back because I want to have conversations again, thanks to Geert who boosted me last week and also because I have something to tell you: Starwood hotels have a very poor customer service!

I went to Egypt in march in a nice Sheraton hotel (El Gouna), they proposed me the “Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Program” and I accepted it. I’m travelling to Atlanta next month and I will stay at the Sheraton. I received my SPG card last week… and I realized they made a mistake in my first name: instead of Philippe Deltenre, they refer to me as Jean Deltenre (the adress and other details are correct). I went to www.spg.com and found a customer service adress.

I wrote the following mail:

“SPG Number:******9082
Subject: General Comment
Dear,
I received my SPG card a few days ago. The first name mentionned on my card is not correct (JEAN instead of PHILIPPE). How can I proceed in order to have a card with my correct details? Thanks
First Name: Philippe
Last Name: Deltenre
Membership Level: A”

Here’s the reply I received one day later:

“Dear Jean Deltenre,
 
Thank you for your recent email concerning your Starwood Preferred Guest account. I welcome this opportunity to assist you.
We always want to be sure that you’re pleased with our service so we’ve included a link to a brief survey at the end of this email. I would very much appreciate it if you could take a minute or two to let us know how we’re doing.
 
We would be pleased to change the name on your account as requested. However, for security reasons we require legal documentation that shows both the former and current names. Please note that a driver’s license is not sufficient verification for a legal name change.
Please send a copy of your marriage certificate or certificate of name change to:
Email:
research@starwoodhotels.com

Errr, this looks like a bad start in our relation. They probably assumed I underwent a gender change or married another man (not that there is something wrong with that)… I save the next episode for tomorrow but I can tell you already that it looks like the fist minutes of the movie BRAZIL

Demanding students

August 29, 2007

I accepted to be one of the 5 speakers for the annual congress of the “Fondation Marketing” annual students event of November 6th 2007 in the Bozar (probably Brussels most beautiful location). The theme will be Consumer centric Marketing (defined in the event desciption as user generated, participative marketing and targeted advertising)

I just received the briefing. I am totally free to define the approach and the content of my presentation and I’m expected to talk during approximatively 40 minutes. The briefing mail states that the audience is demanding (gasp!). 700 attendees are expected (gasp again).

I didn’t determined the details of my presentation but I’m currently reading blogs posts like “The dumbness of the crowds” or “Are you a giver?”nfor inspiration

If you had to propose me a link on your blog to inspire me for this future presentation, which one would it be?

Just when I thought about quitting

August 28, 2007

cigarettes.jpg

Oh my! I haven’t blogged for a while… but I’m back.

Besides 2 wonderful holiday weeks in Egypt, I’ve been busy with a side-project (the title of the post is related to this project) that took me a lot of time lately. I stay sneaky about it but I’ll publish it on this blog in the coming weeks.

I’m very happy to announce that I’m not a smoker anymore thanks to the Allen Carr’s method

I’ll be back with a real post in the next few hours. In the meantime, I’ll browse my favourite blogs and read everything about the Blogger Social event.

A revolutionary entertainment experience

July 11, 2007

21 years ago…

It’s totally cheesy but it was already all about people connection… You said web 2.0?

No headquarters, no hierarchy

July 10, 2007

I had the chance today to hear a brilliant presentation by Charles Leadbeater. I wrote down a few key messages:
– Give people tools, see how they us them and only then, build your business model
– If you treat users as (just) consumers, you won’t be able to make them help you to innovate
– The most innovative organisations (based on free collaboration) today have no headquarters and no hierarchy, they are much quicker in innovation than any big fixed rigid organisation
– Succes may lead to conservatism. If you have a history of succes, you may tend to repeat what led you to succes.
– If you want to see your way into the future, act as you were a new entrant with low budgets

Ola bem dia

July 9, 2007

I’m in Lisbon today for the Microsoft Digital Advertising Solution sales kick off 2008. After the usual loud R’n’B music, the “Wow, look at this”, the “Make some noise to show how much fun you’ll have”, the “give yourself a big round of applaus” and a few “that’s a FANTASTIC achievement”, we had a short opening by Marc Bresseel and a 45 minutes speech by Chris Dobson, our sales VP. I won’t (and I guess, I may not) go into the details of what have been said this morning but on statement of Chris Dobson’s presentation caught my attention: “Internet doesn’t change people behaviour (…) technology change, not behaviours

This is an interesting statement but I still haven’t figure out if I agree with that. We may tend to exagerate the impact of internet on what we are but I think that some of our behaviours are the result of our internet experience. We have friends we have never seen, we are expecting brands to listen, we want to consume media on demand, we don’t perceive advertising as we used to do, we participate, we contribute, we share, we aggregate, we syndicate and we engage. Is that enough to call that a major behaviour change? And what kind of users are impacted?

I would love to read your opinions about this.

Link love meme

July 8, 2007

Toby tagged me for the 8 random things game (thanks Toby): The idea is to list eight random facts/habits about myself. I don’t know what kind of curse is waiting for me if I break the chain. 

(You can fin the complete rules on adjunct whore.)

Here’s my list:

– I used to be a problem child: 4 highschools is 6 years

– Long story… but a (very decent) picture of me and my wife appears in a book called “cybersex”

– I’m a Lost and a Seinfeld freak

– I sometimes cry when I finish a really good book

– My favorite musicians are Captain Beefheart, Can, Nosfell, Tindersticks, Curtis Mayfield, Daniel Johnston and Velvet Underground

– Whenever I can, I play basketball with my 8 year old son. The only reason I still manage to beat him is the fact I’m much taller

– I’m a procrastinator

– I’m conviced that corporations are unable to change no matter how hard they pretend to try

Now, according to the rules it’s my turn to tag 8 bloggers: Pieter, Tara, David, David, Joseph, Tim, Mark, Phil, what about you?

Don’t break the chain 😉 :

Ryan K (Iowa) : “I tagged 8 people and was hired THE SAME day by a big company”

Christina K (New York): “A few hours after tagging 8 people, I met the real coke light delivery man in the lift of my office. Believe me…this really works!!!”

Luc D (Brussels): “A few days after tagging 8 people, I won the lottery of $ 50”

The marxist blogosphere

July 6, 2007

The web 2.0-power-to-the-people cliché made me realize that we could summarize the social media phenomenon by using 3 major concepts of Marxism.

Proletariat: Joel de Rosnay renamed it ProNetariat and opposed it to “infocapitalism”. The pronetariat is basically us… all the people that are (trying to) own the means of (information) production. In marxist theory, the goal of the proletariat (aka the working class) is to displace the capitalist system and change the social relationship through a period called the “dictatorship of Proletariat”. The social media era resembles somehow this marxist concept: the working class became the networking class but basically there is a class struggle between Pronetariat and infocapitalists who both seek the mastering of the means of information production.

But the comparison has 2 major limits: The first discrepency is that in the networked world, information is not a scarce resource at all, the second is that the control of the means of production is not linked to the profit (for the moment)

Class consciousness: “Class consciousness refers to the self-awareness of a social class and its capacity to act in its own rational interests”. We, bloggers, start to be aware of our influence power (and if I may say, we often overestimate it), more as a group than as individuals. We come from a society were physical power was replaced by economical power. Here comes the time of informational power…

Infrastructure and superstructure: The infrastructure is the sum of the means that allow production and the superstructure is the sum of subjective elements meeting the infrastructure. It’s funny to look at the evolution from that perspective. The infrastructure of social media (forums, broadband connections, XML,…) is there for a long time but the subjective elements were not there yet.  Our subjectivity gave a new sense to the infrastructure.

Those comparisons may seem a little far stretched… and they are. We could also find analogies between the web and the very opposite of marxism like, for instance, the libertarian deregulation philosophers and their spontaneous order theory.

Even if this might seem trivial and useless, I think it’s interesting to use that kind of filters to think about our media from a different angle.

PS: I have groucho marxist tendencies. Here is one of my favourite quotes: “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it, and then misapplying the wrong remedies.”

I’ll do better next time

July 4, 2007

time-flies-clock-10-11-2006.gif

As usual, I spent my evening thinking about the weakest aspects of my presentation and how I’ve could done better. I’m a little disappointed by my explanations on scale-free networks and I make plans on how I will rebuild the speech with more subtleties next time.

But overall, I’m happy about last night. I think (I hope) I wasn’t ridiculous in front of all the beautiful minds and brains of the audience and that my presentation had a few thought-provoking moments.

To illustrate Microsoft belief in real life-networks, I used a quote of Francis Bacon (I initially believed it was the painter but it’s the philosopher) who once wrote “Friends are thieves of time”. I wish I had spent more time with my fellow bloggers last night: Luc, Pascal, Caroline,… and I regret I hardly or didn’t had the opportunity to chat with Maarten, Dominique (who posted a great piece of feedback), Valérie, Steven, Pieter, Tanguy, Bert, and many others. I also realized we just forgot to invite some major bloggers like for instance, Robin (our blogger database needs serious improvements). Hopefully, we’ll have new conversation opportunities real soon.

The permanent revolution

July 3, 2007

I just created my account on slideshare. In around 30 minutes, I will present the slideshow below at the second Microsoft Belgium circle of media where we gathered journalists and key Belgian bloggers. Most of the slides aren’t self-explanatory but I trust your interpreation and imagination power 🙂

As told previously, it’s my first presentation to an audience made of experts. I’ll tell you in my next post how it went.

Virtuous circles (of media)

July 1, 2007

I decided to call my new presentation “the permanent revolution”. It’s probably already a cliché and it’s something we’re all very excited about. It’s even a condition for our marketing blogs to survive. We need change and innovation to feed our blogs. I’m not sure that advertisers are always as excited as we are. Our message often remains: Incredible things are happening now but you ain’t seen nothing yet! Some advertisers tend to wait the next big thing, maybe thinking that after that, the innovation pace will slow down a little… but it won’t.

Where will the permanent revolution lead us? IMHO, the web is a matter of virtuous circles. The major trend is more and more integration of the services and the gadget mashups we see poping up everywhere today are the biggest sign of what the web will become. I already mentionned photosynth that could lead to the first real-virtual world (a giant mashup of flickr and second life). Like Marc Bresseel explained at the IAB Interact forum, Photosynth is the result of a virtuous circle made of Simplified authoring, improved search and improved metadata. If this product is marketed properly, it simply could change the way we are experiencing the web.

The “première” of my presentation will be tuesday at the “circle of media”, where Microsoft invited a lot of journalists and a bunch a very bright Belgian bloggers. It’s the first time I will talk about our media to a very informed audience… Wish me luck. 

The graduate

June 27, 2007

website_grader_200px.gif

A website grade of 75 for badideaindeed.wordpress.com means that of the thousands of websites that have previously been submitted to the tool, our algorithm has calculated that this site scores higher than 75% of them in terms of its marketing effectiveness. The algorithm uses a proprietary blend of over a dozen different variables, including search engine data, website structure, approximate traffic, site performance, and others.”

It’s better than my college results. My parents will be proud.

Website grader found via bnox. What’s your score?

Achilles’ heel

June 26, 2007

What’s the Achilles’ heel of web advertising?

Measurement? Certainly not! Our medium is much more measurable than any other.

Reach? Not any more

Creative possibilities? Ha! I don’t feel I have to argue on this one

Standardization? No big deal. There are a few standards even if sky is the limit for the creative people

Price? Impact? According to many case studies, the web offers the best return on investment (of course, this will depend on the sanity of the media mix)

So, what else?

Well, one annoying detail actually: when you book an online campaign you’re not totally sure that you and especially your distribution network people will actually see it. We usually sell with a “share of voice” principle (most campaigns on msn Belgium have 15 to 30% SOV) and that really bothers the advertisers. They want to be able to show their ad not only on a screenshot or by using the page refresh function untill they see their product. It’s not rational but that’s the reason why a lot of media buyers buy space in the advertisers’ favorite magazine (even if it’s not selective on the target group) or an outdoor advertising near the advertisers’ home, on top of the normal plan.

Of course, discounts and commissioning is another problem that will only be solved with the growth of investments.

Just when I thought about quitting

June 24, 2007

I sent a mail about 10 days ago to Lewis Green and Bob Glaza about a mysterious band based in Belgium called Bang Lassi. Last friday, Lewis wrote, in his fantastic “Fridays and weekends rock”-series, a great post about Bang Lassi, echoed in a very creative way by Bob Glaza. Here’s a line from Lewis’ post

Mostly we will look into Classic Rock Bands. But today I feature a band that a few weeks ago was Bang_lassi introduced to me by Philippe Deltenre, a Belgium friend. The band, Bang Lassi, blew me away.

I also left a link to a Bang Lassi song on Tim Brunelle’s blog who replied

I’m hearing Thin White Duke-era Bowie, the Beach Boys, some Queen, some early Yes, a little King Crimson and some Dresden Dolls. Fun track. Really nice harmonies and orchestration!

I have a profound respect for the musical opinions of Lewis, Bob and Tim since those guys have a very broad musical culture.

Bang Lassi is clearly in an end sixties-early seventies tradition: the music is complex and rich, far away of the usual mainstream airplay routine. Their approach of music can be regarded as radical and without compromission and I wonder: What can web 2.0 and social media do for them? How can we identify the influencers that will spread the Lassimen work? Which “marketing strategy” would you advise?

My Cannes grand prix

June 22, 2007

diesel_11.jpg

Wednesday evening was the momentum of the festival with the cyberlions awards. The creative works of the winners is totally amazing and they show the power of rich media and interactive formats. My favorites weren’t always the grand prix winners. Here’s my selection:

First: 3 online ads

A viral/participative action: Pulse

A website: Diesel Heidies. It’s unconventional, interactive, user-friendly funny and full of personality. They received a well deserved Grand Prix

The full list of the cyberlions awards is here.

I feel very fortunate to work in a media where creativity has almost no limits… If you can think it, you can do it.