What a Story

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Kate Bush played an important part in the soundtrack of my childhood. My sister loved her music, and we used to spend a lot of time together listening to her CDs.

But as the years went by, my musical taste changed.  I started listening to  Prodigy and heavy metal bands — music that energized me — instead of more relaxed music.

When my daughter was born, I started to play music from the 80s and 90s.   (I’m doing my best to make sure she doesn’t become a Lady Gaga fan, people.)  And it was then that I rediscovered Kate Bush music and videos.

YouTube replaced CDs, and for my daughter, music will forever start as a visual experience.

Kate Bush was an artist, who knew how to tell deep and meaningful stories, as well as convey experiences, through a seamless blend of lyrics, music, visuals, and choreography.
In this clip, she tells the compelling story of a son’s inability to save his father. Little did I know when I first heard this song that it is based on the story of Peter Reich and his Father Wilhelm Reich, a controversial psychoanalyst, who was jailed in 1957.
This clip is a great example of storytelling. Hope you’ll enjoy it.

POST-MORTEM: How the fictitious service, Envoy, can change the way we look at death.

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“Two certainties in life exist: You are born, and you die.” With these words Max Doherty, a vaguely sinister spokesman for the fictitious service Envoy, takes viewers on a journey that messes with our paradigm of life after death.

Seriously. Check out the video. It’s like Twilight Zone meets Vanilla Sky. Only on Facebook.


There is something eerily convincing about this video, and not only are the social implications pretty huge, but if we take it a step further, the possibilities are almost terrifying: I’m thinking Zombie Apocalypse in cyberspace. Quick, call M. Night Shyamalan. And Max Doherty, (who in real life is visual designer Max Batt), plays his part so convincingly that I actually thought Envoy was a real service and felt a chill run up my spine.

(Ok, I also tried to search for it on Facebook.)

The overwhelming reaction here at Pravda Media after watching the video was “oh wow, creepy.” And according to Max Batt, “Creepy” is exactly what he’s going for:

“I think that reality is creepy and will get much creepier from here on out! And this is a powerful emotion that resonates with people, so it’s a way in.” Batt told me in our interview.

“Envoy started with observation,” Batt explained. “I had an acquaintance who committed suicide around the year 2008. After observing his Facebook profile after death, it became clear to me that the memorial / remembrance behavior on Facebook was very different than anything going on in the physical world. Over time, I started noticing some errors Facebook was making: saying things like ‘You haven’t talked to Brett in a while, why don’t you reconnect with him,’ when in fact, Brett was dead and could not connect with anybody. These types of social algorithms were meant for the living, but Facebook has not been able to solve the problem of compartmentalizing the dead: so the dead continue to occasionally be run through programs intended for the living and are, for a moment, in a way, reanimated. This was where I started with the Envoy project.

While Envoy could maybe someday inspire a real service, Batt notes that reproducing jargon and slang would prove challenging:

“A group of computer scientists contacted me after Envoy was released. They were super excited about it, and they were convinced the only thing within Envoy that is actually impossible, currently, is the artificial reproduction of slang. So this huge growing field of natural language processing has not yet reached the benchmark of slang reproduction, really.”

Having lost several family members and a few close friends, I feel especially moved by Envoy’s social implications. I mean, there have been so many — too many — times in the last few years when I have yearned to have some kind of contact with a loved one who had passed on. Grief is powerful, and can feed on the illusion of bits and bytes that bring about conversation in real time.

If Envoy were a real service, would I lose touch with reality? Would I forsake my in-real-life friends for the screen names of my mother or Aunt Judy?

And Batt admits that “[Envoy] probably isn’t the healthiest thing for mourners to do. But there will be services like Envoy. Dynamic mourning will materialize in one form or another, so people need to be prepared for it. So much of our lives are already digitally mediated that the physical expiration of people might gradually become less important over time.

There may be a day in our lifetimes, perhaps relatively soon, where we don’t really need to “move on” in the way we think of it today. But ask me again after I experience a profound death.

Still, Envoy is not a real service. Well, not yet, anyway. But if it were, Max Batt says he would definitely want to use it. And yeah, I think I would too.

What about you?


R.I.P. Farfar

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It is often said that all good things must come to an end.  Following ten years of incredible work, the Swedish agency Farfar shut its doors…and ironically enough, they closed up shop on the very day that they won yet another award.

I just  learned of the sad loss of Farfar, and in order to properly honor this groundbreaking agency I’ve prepared a tribute showcasing 3 of their best and most indelible campaigns:

“Heidies 15 MB of Fame” (2007)

Let’s begin by turning up the temperature a little bit with this provocative and astounding campaign that Farfar put together for Diesel. The recipe is actually quite simple: Put two hot girls in a hotel room with an equally hot (and mostly naked!) guy. Then stand back and let them do all kinds of crazy stuff. And then show everything online. And to make it even more tantilizing, give the trio control of Diesel’s official website, and allow them to transform the site into a personal blog and live-chat. Not innovative enough? Well, this went down way back in the day in 2007. In Internet years, this is like “the Dark Ages.”

Here is the video case-study:Bjorn Borg (2007)

Let’s keep the heat turned up, shall we? Here is another Farfar campaign from 2007 that uses sexy people to maximum effect, except this time they mix in a some humor. To boost the Swedish lingerie brand Bjorn Borg, the agency chose to make fun of the universal blond-Swedish stereotype. The result is an amusing story involving fake company employees sharing their crazy ideas of how to change the world using the “power of underwear”. Unfortunately, I found very little online about this great campaign, so below are two videos, one presenting the general concept of the campaign and the other bringing to life one of the um, “creative” (shall we say) concepts.

This is the concept video for the campaign, which presents the office, the characters and the general story:

Here is the video of the first “mission” promoted by the “power of underwear”: Peace on Earth:


The World’s Biggest Signpost (2010)

Finally, let’s jump ahead to 2010. Farfar was able to count Nokia as a regular client for many years and several great campaign came out of their relationship. However one stands apart from the rest: “The World’s Biggest Signpost”. Designed to generate interest in Nokia’s navigation products, it featured a 50m high SMS-controlled signpost displaying people’s favorite places around the world. This brilliant idea received tons of awards, including the one mentioned in the beginning of this post.

Here is the video case-study:

Steve Jobs

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Steve Jobs was an exceptional man.

A revolutionary thinker and a trailblazer, he has been called the Thomas Edison of our times.

As a visionary, he created products that millions love, and big companies strive to imitate.

And there is no stronger evidence of the indelible mark Jobs left on our lives than the fact that so many of us were using a product screen he created when we read the news of his death.


Twitter's First Self-Promotional Video: Failure in less than 140 characters

Twitter's First Self-Promotional Video:  Failure in less than 140 characters
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While Twitter has proven itself quite successful in the areas of content sharing and advertising, the company up until now has apparently dropped the ball when it comes to self-promotion. Specifically, their first promotional video is so blasé, so utterly flat, that it accomplishes nearly the opposite of its intent, serving more to drive people away from Twitter rather than towards it. Have a look for yourself:

Now try NOT to think of a hundred — heck, a thousand! — ways in which Twitter could have done a better job. Good luck!

Via Gawker:

Twitter’s First Self-Promotional Video

Very good listeners

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Everybody loves Google. True. We love G-mail, Google Maps, Google Street View and so on. But what if now Google used all his knowledge about you to create the perfect boyfriend?

Meet G-Male:

Very good listeners

Is Viewbix the answer for Video ROI?

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Video production is a tricky thing. Even though production cost has plummeted, video as a marketing tool still requires more effort than other marketing material (such as blog posts, newsletters, and ads). And now, when businesses need to spend their marketing budget more wisely, it all boils down to ROI:  How can businesses generate more revenues from their videos?

ViewBix, a client of Pravda Media Group, is releasing a new product that answers the ROI challenge.  It allows everyone to add Call For Action buttons to their videos. In literally 5 minutes users can add links, Skype Click to Call buttons, Twitter and Facebook feeds, and many other capabilities to their video. These buttons, called apps, are then integrated to create a video player that can be embedded in sites, blogs, Facebook feeds, and more.

Some of the real users examples that are presented in their site include a cabin owner that added Google maps to his video player, A band that added links to their tour info and online ticket purchasing site and a non profit that added a donation button on their promotional videos.

These examples show many ways in which the Viewbix product can enrich videos. But the possibilities are pretty much endless. For instance, we are looking into ways to add voting buttons to the video player so it can be used for an international online video competition. Others are using the ViewBix player for affiliate marketing by adding customized links to promotional videos. Also, the ability to add coupons and QR codes opens a whole new array of possibilities for call for action that can be measured in ROI terms.

There is no need to change anything in the video itself. Apps and call for action buttons can be added to videos hosted on YouTube, Facebook and Vimeo, and a clickable link can be configured at the top of the screen that will lead prospects to a chosen site. And as I’ve mentioned before, the process itself is pretty straight forward, so in 5 minutes or less you can have your video enriched with Viewbix and shared with the world.

ViewBix is offering a simple way to enrich your videos, and it is also a great way to measure the ROI of video production efforts. If your video drives traffic to your site or generates sales, the value is clear and measurable. ViewBix brings this ROI to SMB videos.

If you are at TechCrunch Disrupt, look for Viewbix at the Israeli Startup Pavilion. Jonathan Stefansky, CEO, will be happy to answer your questions, and can be reached at jon AT viewbix DOT com. You can also ping me for questions.



Congrats Babylon!

Congrats Babylon!
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Babylon, a client of Pravda Media Group, won a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® certificate for the Most downloads of a translation software. This was achieved thanks to over 100 million users of Babylon translation software worldwide.
Our very own Tzahi filmed this interview with Alon Carmeli, Babylon’s CEO, and Rob Molloy, from GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS®, interviewed by Aya Shapir.


Disruptive Real-time Marketing and PR at TechCrunch Disrupt

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Social conversation distribution about TechCrunch Disrupt

Despite the power of the personal connection that social media marketing delivers – there’s still something missing in online marketing and PR – immediacy.

Whereas conferences, trade shows, and live events were once the primary focus of direct marketing – today, social networks and blogs are leading the charge. Just like face-to-face meetings at CEBIT, CES or COMDEX – today’s online discussions, personal conversations, and opinions affect the way potential buyers, investors, and reporters perceive and value products and services.

So, we’ve got the personal connection covered – nobody can argue that Facebook isn’t personal. But what’s missing for companies looking to supplant the costly trade show or conference marketing experience has been immediacy. Social media marketing has yet to effectively duplicate the immediate buzz factor of gathering interested parties in a room, making eye contact, and “wowing” them, Steve Jobs style, with new technology.

That is, until now (you did see this coming, right?).

Here’s how it works. On May 24, 2011, SHL Telemedicine, one of our clients, unveiled a new and truly revolutionary product. Smartheart is a small, lightweight, hospital-grade ECG device that connects to a patient’s iPhone, Blackberry or Android device. The product was unveiled at TechCrunch Disrupt, one of highest-profile startup events in the world, which took place in NYC, San Francisco and Beijing. Serious buzz factor potential – but mostly for those in the room, right?

Not exactly. Pravda Media Group created a real time marketing and PR umbrella for SHL Telemedicine, in order to maximize the online exposure, the value, and – especially – the immediacy of the TechCrunch Disrupt event.

By combining technology, a unique workflow and work methods, we managed to increase the resonance of the client’s messages. By identifying and reacting to feedback in real time, we helped SHL Telemedicine control the coverage and ongoing conversations surrounding the product launch – measurably contributing to the overall success in the event.

And the results were clear: Smartheart received excellent and positive press coverage, was mentioned in key publications such as the Washington Post, was covered by bloggers in the mobile and health sectors, and dominated the online conversation compared to other event participants.

The bottom line: it’s possible and highly worthwhile to radically expand the circle of impact for events, product launches, etc. It’s not simple – so plan ahead, and contract with an experienced provider. Adding immediacy to the personal online conversation – real time PR increases PR and marketing efficacy, raises brand awareness, and will ultimately positively impact sales. What’s not to like?

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We are Hiring!

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Wanted Poster at Holburn Station (London, UK)

Image by takomabibelot via Flickr

We are looking for a Digital Marketing Project Manager.

Job description:
1. Manage ongoing digital marketing activities with international and local clients
2. Find and manage suppliers and vendors
3. Work internally with development, creative and content professionals
4. Support sales and business development processes

We are located in Tel Aviv, Ramat Hachayal

Full time position

Our Ideal Candidate:

You have a strong passion for media, marketing, and getting others excited. You are a hard working self starter and motivated individual, who get things done. You solve problems, and are considered an out of the box and creative thinker.

You should also have experience in working with clients in Israel and abroad and with a variety of vendors and service providers.
We are a B2B/B2C digital agency, with publicly traded international clients. We believe that the relations between brands, companies and customers are changing fundamentally, and there is a need for a new breed of marketeers that understand different platforms, know how to integrate them, and how to create value to for customers and brands/companies alike.

If we work together, you will create and execute multi-platform digital and real life projects that challenge traditional advertising and PR industry.

Please send your CV to