Saturday, 11 September 2010

Ikea can haz interwebs cultyure?

Cats had to get into video designed for the TV screen sooner or later didn't they? The thinking behind Ikea's 'Happy Inside' video is pretty straightforward: the brand premise is aspirational but cheap, and the trade off for cheap is the dehumanising big box trolley dash of the shopping experience. So what would make an Ikea warehouse look like a home? Cats. And cats conveniently enough also have the power to spread videos on the internet. Here's the background.

So far, so awesome. But when you see the finished TV ad, a lot of that potential awesomeness has vanished. Although cat videos are the internet's uber-meme, there is no trace of reference to them other than the animals themselves. The cats are being used outside of the rich seam of references that could be played upon in the films. Which makes it all a little bit 'glossy production no culture'.

It all seems to be taking itself a bit seriously. Now since we're talking about serious TV ads here's how to do several levels of postmodern category awareness. Baby Carrots: Eat 'Em Like Junk Food is the best ad I've seen since Old Spice - it plays every 'taking itself too seriously' trick/cliche in the book with the full knowledge that the audience know that they are tricks/cliches too, and that it is only by going to the ironic extreme that a junk food ad would go to seriously, that you can suggest re-evaluating baby carrots in a junk food wrapper. And more importantly they are fun.

Sort of like Tango - an excuse to embed my favourite 90s Tango ad

Monday, 6 September 2010

What a social network for music might look like

(Clue - not this)

This wasn't meant to be a post about Ping, Apple's pitiful attempt to launch a social platform around the huge wealth of listening data that iTunes holds on 160m people around the world. The less said about Ping the better really - i'll just point out that of the recommended artists to follow in the screengrab above, I have listened to none of them (ever). And that I last shared music recommendations with other people an hour ago, but Ping can import my social graph from none of the four networks I already use to do that (all of which have open APIs)

No, Apple sort of hijacked something much more important. It was me
ant to celebrate the fact that I've been using LastFM for a year (i mean using properly, rather than just having an account). And in the last year that really has been something that has meant a lot to me. Not the service itself..... well, actually partly the service itself, because being a massive geek I do get excited about being able to chart lots of different parameters of my music listening. (I swear I've never made a spreadsheet from LastFM data though, honest). No, what is more important is using that data to power the best curation and discovery engine imaginable for 'music i might like' - other people who like the same stuff.

So as it's been a year I did look at an 'end of year chart' type of thing, mainly to find out how many of the albums I'd listened to most I had discovered on LastFM. Of the top 25 albums I've listened to most over the last year, 12 of them were by artists I h
ad never heard until they cropped up in my Neighbourhood or Recommended radio. I think that's pretty awesomeThe one thing you can't use it for is to play all this stuff to other people. I've made a playlist on Spotify with my most played tune off each album, which you can find here if you are interested. If you don't know whether you are interested then just look here to see how similar your musical tastes are to mine