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:

Blogs Are Dead? Give Me a Break

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A blogger saying in a mainstream publication that blogging is dead – and the echo chamber goes nuts.

That what happened when Paul Boutin, a blogger, reporter, and correspondent to    the gossip blog Valleyweg, wrote a terrific article in Wired, stating:

@WiredReader: Kill yr blog. 2004 over. Google won’t find you. Too much cruft from HuffPo, NYT. Commenters are tards.

I have to respectfully disagree. There are many points that are true in Boutin’s article. Yes, it is harder to get noticed. Yes, the blogosphere is getting professionalized. Yes, there are stupid marketers who abuse this medium. And yes, there are several people who should be stopped from commenting by court order.

Having said that, blogs are still a great way for professionals and amateurs alike to state their opinion. Boutin writes:

Bloggers today are expected to write clever, insightful, witty prose to compete with Huffington and The New York Time

What’s wrong with that? Yes, bloggers need to write in a professional way – if they want to treated as professionals. One can’t expect to be treated as a pro if he/she writes amateur pieces in the world’s most simple to use CMS. The fact someone is a blogger doesn’t mean that he is rated on a different scorecard. It’s the other way around – bloggers MUST be professional to stick out in the crowd.

Boutin continues:

Social multimedia sites like YouTube, Flickr, and Facebook have since made publishing pics and video as easy as typing text. Easier, if you consider the time most bloggers spend fretting over their words. Take a clue from Robert Scoble, who made his name as Microsoft’s “technical evangelist” blogger from 2003 to 2006. Today, he focuses on posting videos and Twitter updates. “I keep my blog mostly for long-form writing,” he says.

Yep, the secret sauce of social media is integration. Write a blog, be active on Twitter, use Facebook and Linkedin wisely. None of these tools is good enough on its own. Together they are an impressive toolbox.

Boutin is a very smart man – and his article is thought provoking. However, advising people to stop blogging, while the guy is making a living out of it, and many cases are showing the opposite, makes me think that he is just flaming the community to get noticed in the Echo Chamber…


Innovation in News – A Top Down Approach

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Inform, Educate, Entertain... Expose?Image by inju via Flickr

We all know that the news industry is highly affected by technology – starting with the rise of bloggers as a news source, through the usage of UGC in mainstream news reporting, the reduction of cost of live broadcasting, the introduction of video to newspapers websites, collaborative news gathering, and the usage of social media tools to notify readers and create discussions around news items.

However, how can one evaluate the level of innovation of a news organization? Here are some of our thoughts:

1. Release of hot off the press news through the day, without limiting hot items to a specific news hour or editionTV news organizations expanding to the internet face a challenge – should they compromise the rating of their main edition by releasing hot items on the internet first? The same goes for newspapers and radio. This is a case of innovation – the internet strong point is the fact that news can be dispatched instantaneously 24×7, while traditional media is all about creating and maintaining viewership and readership peaks.

2. Creation of direct to web video news clips – today the cost of a video journalist is much lower than in the past. Newspaper websites already have in some areas video journalists – a role traditionally exisitng in the TV business only. Online news consumers do not divide media based on it sources (such as TV, papers and radio), but based on the information itself.

3. One news desk,  many platforms – while in traditional media, a newspaper has its own platform and news desk, one will think that news innovation should integrate all the platforms and create a unified desk per topic. So, for example, a desk covering the Pallin affair would be a stand alone operation in a newspaper, while others will focus on getting the best information, and “repurpose” it to the relevant platform.

4. Social media as a part of a news gathering game – does a news outlet use social networks and blogs as source of information?

5. Social media as a part of a distribution strategy – does a news outlet use social networks (such as Facebook and Twitter) and blogs as a distribution platform?

6. Audience interaction – does a news outlet interact with viewers, through its own site, as well as social networks?

7. Distributed approach – does a news outlet allow others to embed its content in their sites, social networks profiles and so on?

How does your news room operate? What are the challenges you are facing? what is the role of innovation in the success of news organizations, and how do they evaluate it?

(written in collaboration with Lara Greenberg, former South African journalist and current student of the School of Communications at IDC Herzliya).

Five Ways To Increase Web Presence- Guest Post by Keren Dagan

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Monitor something on the web

There’s a lot going on, on the web, all the time. New companies, technologies, conversations, ranking schemes and more are created daily. You can pick one and start monitoring it over time. I monitor around 800 blogs’ Technorati rank for over eight months now. I publish precipitating results to my Twitter @blogmon account and accumulated results in here. It is not just helping me to weed out good blogs from the rest, it is also helping me to learn a lot about the blogsphere, Technorati, mashup challenges and more. There is still a lot to do in this little project but it help me to establish few, but very interesting connections through working on it. Few ideas: monitor tags from Delicious, the top 100 blogs on Technorati list (here), use Google Trends, Alexa, Twingly blog rank. If you have some programming skills you can automate most, if not all the steps and scale the process. If not, that’s OK too. You can start with only few. The added value is that you’ll keep consistently monitoring it over time and finding the right way to present the results. Where to report results? Read on…


From one of my favorite blog ReadWriteWeb I learned that there at least 35 Ways to Stream Your Life and counting. Pick one or more and join the conversation. The key is to do it right and here I’m still learning.

Few ideas:

One way is to keep current, riding new waves of conversations – start with Twitter Search‘s Trending Topics or if you are in Europe use Twingly’s Hot right now. You can also see interesting tags on (Most Popular, Recently Added) and then search for them on Twitter Search.

Report results from your monitoring project: You can use Seesmic, Twitter, Jaiku, FriendFeed or any of the other life streaming tools. An interesting one that allow you to present your data using timeline is Swurl. You can use Google Docs to build online document that could be published and embed (using iFrame) inside a blog post, web page, pointed using a link from Twitter. A more demanding option is using Google Chart – good for automation.

Share interesting experiences, links, books, movies, knowledge – think what might interest others to follow.

It is amazing that all these great services comes for free. What that is more fascinating is how easy people with common interest find and subscribes to your feed and or vice versa.

Start a knowledge base, join and participate in a community, online book club or group

There are so many groups open for new members that are looking for active participation on Ning, Facebook, LinkedIn and many more. You can also start and lead one.

Examples: I joined Your Inner CEO Community on Ning. This is not just a good book but also a very active community. I’m also working building a knowledge base around Salability and Performance using an unbelievable smart service (armed with powerful semantic search engine) called Twine. I joined bloggers communities like Pijoo or MyBloglog.

I have to admit that things are going slow for me in this section – see the Bonus tip #2 for the reason why.

Become a beta tester

There is nothing more exciting (for me) than shaping new product functionality, look and feel. As an early adopter you have a chance to interact with extremely talented and creative minds building new technologies. You can contribute from your experience, and unique thinking, helping building a great new product. Be ready to deal with challenges such as poor performance, trouble getting subscribed, on-boarding, product crashes and hangs. Yet, be merciful, look at the bigger picture. Give feedback on both the details and the overall functionality. This is my favorite activity and the one that requires the most of my time. I wish I could do it more. You’ll be amazed how suddenly you mostly interact with the CEO, CTO and the VP of engineering (some time it is the same person :)).

Few ideas: use Mashable Beta Invite section to find candidates. Subscribe to Techcrunch feed, or subscribe by email (I consume it in this way) to learn about new companies. Some start-up companies’ offers private beta invites through Techcrunch blog.

Write a guest post

I could not help a little recursion in here 🙂 Now, seriously, write something compelling and offer it to some of the larger and established blogs out there. Having a guest blog post is a win win. You get to be noticed and the host to be perceived as the patron for upcoming new bloggers.

If you noticed I did not mention the word blog. I recommend having one even just because today this is the best way to create your web identity. I see mine as the home base. Yet, you don’t need to have a blog to establish web presence and blog also require some effort. Thanks to the great blog platforms available today it is not so heard to start from a very good place.

Two bonus tips:

Be patient – if you do start a blog Google appreciate the age of the domain and that you’ll consistently write blog posts. I noticed a significant change not before 6 month of blogging.

Focus – don’t do all these five at once unless you are single, have no kids and don’t have a life. Each one of the activities listed here demands time and should be done with care. It is better to do one or two as best as you could to build positive, meaningful web presence

I will not get into existential philosophical discussion about the why in this post (please create your meaning) but I will finish this post saying that I have a lot of joy doing so. I learned a ton and still learning constantly. I made new connections all over the world that otherwise could not have happened. So, give it a try.

Keren Dagan is a professional software developer manager and an amateur blogger. He likes to think both strategically and tactically on web technologies, trends, and phenomena. He mostly write about data and search engines technics. You can read his blog and follow him on Twitter Keren brings to the blogsphere more than 10 years of experience in software development and management building highly scalable solution for the enterprise and his unique way of looking at things.

Ten Minutes Blogging School

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One of my best friends decided to make a move and start blogging. He asked for my guidance, and instead of keeping it between us, I decided to post it here. So, here we go – welcome to the Ten Minutes Blogging School:

1. Choose a Platform – you are looking for a combination of flexibility and stability. Flexibility is the ability to add widgets, video players, badges and so on. Stability is the total uptime of the system. Therefore you need a well known service. I am using as it offers a good enough flexibility (they approve every application separately so not everything is working on their platfor

m out of the box) and they provide a reliable service. Another great thing about WordPress is that you can later install your own version of the platform and get maximum flexibility with zillion plugins that are av

ailable for the WordPress platform but not implemented in

2. Buy a Domain – so now you have a blog in Its address looks like You don’t want that. Buy a domain (from Godady for example), upgrade your account by buying 10 credits ($10), and redirect the blog to that address. So instead of having a long and annoying address, you will have one tailored for you. It is very important to get this thing done first – so all the links to your blog from external resources will be done to the new URL.

3. Go to Feedburner and create an RSS feed – find the RSS feed address that gives you and “burn” it with Feedburner to get an independent RSS feed. The reason is that your RSS address is very important in order to maintain readership over time. If tomorrow you will decide to move to your own hosted wordpress platform, or change your bloggin infrastructure, you will still need to keep the original RSS feed address.

4. Choose the template you like and start writing!

That’s it for the technical stuff. Now for the real thing – Community and Promotion

5. Identify other blogs and sites in the same topics. Comment on them regularly with your blog address in the identification. other readers will find your blog this way, and you will get more incoming links

6. Add your blog link to your Facebook profile, and import its RSS feed to your notes. You can also open a Facebook group and invite your friends to it. Use it to keep in touch with your readers.

7. Add the blog to your Linkedin profile, in case it is relevant to your business, or you believe your business contacts will be interested in it.

8. If you are on Twitter, use TwitterFeed to push your post to your Twitter friends. Use it carefully, and try to communicate using Twitter for other topics as well.

9. Constantly post your posts to Digg, and StambleUpon

10. Answer your comments – it is the way your readers communicate with you. It takes time but it worth the effort.

Is that it?

No, there are many strategies, and technics to write and promote a blog. But these things are the basics to get you going. Remember – write about your passion, you will have the best posts if you’ll do that.

Good luck to all the new bloggers among us!

Your Company Got Blogger-Bashed? Take an Example From NewTek

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Bloggers affect public image of companies – and smart ones know to identify and respond to issues raised by this independent media source. The effect of bloggers doesn’t end in image only, but also harm stock price, as Engadget false report on iPhone release dates showed the market.

However, smart management of these situation can not only fix damage done, but also improve company’s public image.

Readers of my blog know that sometimes I politely bash companies. That was the case of NewTek, the creator of TriCaster, that I’ve covered in this post. The main issue that I’ve raised was their lack of responsiveness to, a company that used its product to push the envelope of online drama.

Several hours after publishing the post, their CEO and President, Jim Plant left a comment thanking for the post and asking who was trying to reach them. I’ve asked Andrew from to touch base with Jim, and they’ve done so through the comments section, and later I’ve introduced them to one another via mail (based on the email address provided in the comment Jim left me). Not only that, the company later sent Philip Nelson, VP of Strategic Development, for a meeting with Andrew Lipson, and for a related panel in IMTC event.

Not only that NewTek improved their image in the community, they also gained some publicity and reach to new market segments – only because they were responsive to what was written about them – in a timely fashion.

So what are the most important points for companies in dealing with bloggers who bash them?

1. Time– responding in a timely fashion to posts is a crucial part of communicating with bloggers. This requires an ongoing monitoring of blogsphere by companies and their marketing departments.

2. Comments – though companies can contact bloggers directly, comments are visible to all readers. That way, even if a company doesn’t persuade the blogger that his bashing is wrong, at least the readers would see additional point of view on the topic.

3. Top management involvement – getting top management to comment directly on blogs provide additional benefits – especially when the company is bashed. Just like a press conference, when a senior level official presents company views, readers see that the company sees a topic as important.

4. Use real email addresses in comments – yes, I know, sounds strange, but the fact that I had the direct connection to Jim made things much easier, and raised NewTek’s credibility.

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