History repeats itself: pirates go to prison. And it won’t change a thing.

Four people from Pirate Bay have been convicted in a Swedish court of contributory copyright infringement, and sentenced to one year of jail.

Aside from the irony of sending digital pirates to prison while at the same time being unable to fight real pirates in the Indian Sea, this historical conviction is likely to change nothing. Just like shutting down Napster did.

Despite numerous attempts throughout the centuries, noone has managed to successfully outlaw revolutions, and technology is inevitably evolving quicker than regulation can, especially in democratic societies.

 

Final Burp: “We have long been a leading IT nation but with these kind of actions we will be left behind and become dependent on other nations’ arbitrary views”. Christian Engström, Pirate Party.  In other words, approach towards digital can be a source of competitive advantage among nations, just like loose financial regulations used to be.

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The status of digital music

A few days ago I was looking for a pair of jeans at Banana Republic. I tried on a few, luckily found a pair that I liked and fitted me, and went on to pay.

The gentle girl behind the counter took my credit card, registered the transaction, folded the jeans, put them in a bag. And only after that, she said, “there are also two vouchers to download free music” and carelessly dropped them in the bag.

When I went back home I took out the jeans, and didn’t give those vouchers a second look.

What was supposed to me a sales promotion around music didn’t play any role whatsover in the sale:  the shop assistant knew that it would be completely irrelevant, I knew I wasn’t going to care a bit about it.

To me, this tells more about the status of digital music than any sophisticated strategy or elaborated point of view.

 

Final Burp: a music download is the ultimate commodity, priced at zero. Null. Nada.

 

BMW Z4 augmented reality. Feel like a kid again!

Do you remember when kids played with little car models, letting them run on floors and tables, dodging chairs, lamps and pencils, and their grandma’s screaming legs? I do.  I was one of them.

Now we can all do  the same, thanks to BMW and augmented reality. Dare has produced a pretty damn cool work to introduce the new Z4:  inspired by the tv ad, you can print the Z4 symbol, position it in front of your webcam, and drive the new Z4 on your own desk. 

This is the ad:

 

And this is  how you could use the Z4 as a paintbrush:

 

Pretty sweet. But I still thinking that driving it around pencils and water bottles would have been more fun…

 

Final Burp: Digital is not about virtual. It’s about making it real.

Pizza Hut made me feel like an idiot. (And I’m not sure it’s a good thing…)

pizza-hut

 

I found a link to the above site from Pizza Hut, and I thought: wow!, what a brilliant and simple idea!

The privilege of having your face featured on a pizza is no longer reserved to Jesus, Mary and Kurt Cobain…

This is what I would expect from Domino ever since they started working with Crispin, and instead it comes from the same Pizza Hut whose latest brand initiatives were,  let’s say, debatable at least…

 

So I gladly uploaded the picture I wanted on my pizza:

brian-griffin

 

 

 

and this is what I got back:

 

pizza-hut-2

 

And it made me feel like an idiot.

Now,  I don’t know who pitched this idea to Pizza Hut, but I’m pretty sure they said that it would be “fun social content” that would “engage your hard-to-reach, on-the-go, web-savy consumers”,  allowing the brand to “entertain them”, and of course “it would go viral”. 

My problem with this is that April’s Fools are designed to make you feel like an idiot because they are clearly  hyperbolic stunts that no person with a sense of reality would fall for. (Like, let’s say, building a global financial system on mortgages paid for by people who can’t afford them, backed by houses that noone would want to live in…)

In this case, portrait pizzas are feasible. You need a relatively simple algorythm (one that you can find online for free), a variety of different ingredients (the same you can find in any Pizza Hut) and a little time (maybe more than what Pizza Hut is currently taking to bake a pizza, but I have no doubt taht consumers would be willing to wait 10 minutes longer to have a personalized portrait pizza).

So, to sum things up:

  1. Pizza Hut came up with a feasible and unique marketing idea
  2. Instead of making it happen, they used it as an April’s Fool
  3. In doing so, not only they walked away from its marketing value: they made their potential consumers feel like idiots

 

The irony of all this is that the more people try to customize their pizza, the more an evidence it is that it could have been a great marketing idea. And instead, it’s just more people that will be annoyed at Pizza Hut.

Quite an achievement for a brand under pressure.

It will be interesting to see how many people actually redeemed the coupon, and how this influenced brand perception…

 

Final Burp: Do you want to do something audacious, engaging,  edgy and viral as a marketer? Make a damn good product! That’s your job.

What’s the Twitter talk about your brand?

Twitalyzer is one of the many services working off the back of Twitter. This one is particularly nice because it allows you to track down the Tweets about anything (let’s say, your brand), and builds a brand profile according to 5 categories: Strengh, Signal, Favor, Passion and Clout.

It also points out who are the top influencers discussing your brand (pretty useful for rewarding them, or slapping them), breaks down your results over time, and compares your brand to other Twitter users.

I played with it a bit, and Twytalized Jack in the Box: 

 

jackinthebox

 

 

And here is why I love Jack in the Box:

 

double_bacon_cheeseburger

 

 

Final Burp: a picture is worth a thousand Tweets…

It’s coming

waitrose

 

My new neighbourhood Waitrose, in Islington. 

Next to Sainsbury’s, opposite from Marks & Spencer. Slurp!

 

Final Burp: Oh, sweet anticipation…

Who is going to pay for Last.Fm?

No, really. It’s not an hypothesis: Last.Fm has just announced that it will charge  users (outside of US, UK and Germany) 3€/month to listen to its radio.

It’s easy to relate this news to the article by the Economist that announced the end of the free model online*, but ultimately this may just prove how wrong that article was.

The first reaction we can have is that Last.Fm made a stupid mistake, for three reasons:

  1. It’s not something you do now that Spotify is getting mainstream and seems likely to make it big
  2. It’s not something you do in those countries where Last.Fm is less penetrated, and use of the internet is less evolved. If you had a choice, you would probably charge american and english consumers,  because they best understand the value of Last.Fm, and if they’ve been using it for a while there may be an inherent cost in opting out and switching to another service (ie. getting familiar with the new service, reinstating your preferences…). Hopefully that cost would be psychologically higher than 3€/month.
  3. It’s not something you do, period. Digital music is free. Not because it’s a viable business model. Simply because it can be. And people would rather have it for free, than pay for it.

These considerations are so obvious that we must assume Last.Fm simply had no other choice. Let’s see what more will come out of this…

 

Final Burp: Back when Napster was shut down, I was wondering why Shawn Fanning didn’t just move the servers to another country where he wouldn’t face serious legal threats. Still wondering…

 

* If you read the article, here’s my comment:

“There’s a fundamental mistake in the article.

Freeconomics did not happen as a business strategy aimed at making money. It happened because: a) technology enables users to “get stuff” for free; b) a certain number of people globally are willing to create and distribute such technology for free.

Whether this is a sustainable business model or not is irrilevant, because Napster, BitTorrent, Linux, Wikipedia, Facebook and many others were not born to be businesses. If their attempts to make money gets in the way of user experience, somebody in the world will come up with a free alternative, and that’s where users will flow to.

The trick is, one person in the world is enough to create a free alternative available to a global audience.”