Sunday, December 17, 2006

A closer look at the online music revolution

An article in this week's Guardian Technology supplement discusses the impact of the internet on both top-down and bottom-up music distribution. Taking pride of place on the cover of the supplement is a stunning graphic that shows how various parties, including the search behemoth Google, the social-network MySpace, and the online retailer, are connected via user clickstreams (The sites with the most upstream clicks are centralised, with bigger nodes):

Both the article and the graphic were inspired by a Heather Hopkins blog post for, which included additional graphics looking at the downstream clicks from Myspace and Bebo:

Whilst the detail in these graphics may be difficult to discern (visit the links in Heather's blog for full-size versions), the general message is clear: existing models for music distribution and promotion have been turned upside down and shaken about as Diginative music lovers increasingly seek to explore their passion through the medium of online community. The learnings for music marketers - and marketers of all high interest goods, which are, by definition, likely to be the subject of community discussion - are profound and multitudinous. I'll have a think about them and report back!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Honda Asimo

Depressingly, for any marketer who doesn't work at Wieden and Kennedy London, it looks like Honda have done it again with their latest brand campaign starring the uber-cute Asimo robot.

Asimo (A Study In MObility) is the focus of a 20 year Honda research project. He's also the perfect embodiment of The Power of Dreams - Honda's inspirational mantra - and the warm technology idea that defines the Japanese car manufacturer's brand strategy.

W&K introduced the campaign on Monday with a post on their agency blog. On the same day, Asimo attracted attention in the Guardian and Independent media supplements. This pre-TVC publicity echoes that of the recent Sony Bravia 'Paint' ad, which was widely reported in the press. Like Sony, Honda are hoping to leverage web-based viral marketing with 6 short films released at over the course of this week for streaming and download. The films will also be available as video podcasts from the iTunes music store. Here's the first of them, entitled 'Who is Asimo?':

Creating hype around the premiere of a TVC is an interesting piece of channel strategy. The PR and online activity is designed to elevate the commercial to appointment-to-view TV status, which is perhaps appropriate for a blockbuster brand ad. Trainspotters will recall that Chanel employed similar tactics for the launch of Baz Luhrman's £18m perfume ad starring Nicole Kidman, which debuted in the first ad break of Moulin Rouge - a specially orchestrated media context. The Chanel ad's Hollywood credentials and relentless PR even earned it the right to a Peter Bradshaw review and a place in TV listings publications.