Some Cool Stuff

Just kicking about the internet and wanted to point y’all in the direction of some cool stuff.

The upcoming Watchmen film which I’ve waxed lyrical about before is putting on a heavy digital campaign. A few YouTube Channels connected to the film have appeared including one for Veidt industries (a company owned by one of the characters) and a few Virals from the Watchmen world have appeared. My favourites are the ‘Keene Report’ propaganda video made by rag newspaper ‘The New Frontiersman’ and a brilliantly authentic newspaper report about the godlike Dr Manhattan, Read the comments on ‘The Keene Report’; there are quite a few heroes posting. I love the way they’ve kept the theme going in the discussion and kept the videos completely free of branding. The only things identifying it as Watchmen are the characters and the taglines being thrown around; “Who watches the watchmen”, “Better blue than red”.

The Keene Act & You

NBS Nightly News with Ted Philips, March 11th 1970

Next order of business:
 Whoever is running 30 Rock’s PR has reacted brilliantly to the Christian Bale incident with a Tracy Jordan rant sparked by a camera man filming him whilst he was acting. TMZ has the exclusive recording. If you haven’t seen 30 Rock you probably won’t get it.

Will do Jeds meme eventually, honest. Technorati Tags: , , , , ,


My friend Esther

Technorati Tags: ,,,

at the beginning of the week I started getting Skype messages from a nice Ghanaian girl named Esther. At first I thought Esther a run of the mill spammer/ scam artist but Esther was persistent so I eventually responded. Turns out Esther grandma has malaria and Esther needed 100 Euros to buy the medicine. I was so impressed by her tenacity that I thought I’d give her some good PR and reprint the charming girl’s conversation with me right here:



ghana_map (day 1)

05/02/09 09:05:00] Esther: how are you
[05/02/09 10:23:19] Paul Crouch: i’m fne thanks, how are you
[05/02/09 15:33:09] Esther: pls am not well now
[05/02/09 15:33:33] Paul Crouch: why not?
[05/02/09 15:34:57] Esther: ;(pls my grandmum is sick in hospital and the docter need money before they look her
[05/02/09 15:35:11] Paul Crouch: oh yeah whats wrong with her
[05/02/09 15:35:34] Esther: pls is malira
[05/02/09 15:35:51] Esther: pls the need 150euros
[05/02/09 15:36:17] Paul Crouch: are you asking me for the money
[05/02/09 15:36:48] Esther: pls yes that is why am here looking for help
[05/02/09 15:37:12] Paul Crouch: what do i get for my 150 euros
[05/02/09 15:37:52] Esther: pls to pay it
[05/02/09 15:38:12] Esther: pls God will bless you
[05/02/09 15:38:58] Paul Crouch: just wondering, why do you need euros if you live in Ghana
[05/02/09 15:40:40] Esther: when u transfer the euros i will get it here sin Ghana cedis
[05/02/09 15:41:27] Paul Crouch: what is the unit of currency in Ghana
[05/02/09 15:43:21] Esther: 50euros is 78 Ghana cedis
[05/02/09 15:44:42] Paul Crouch: i don’t know you
[05/02/09 15:45:02] Esther: plsi know
[05/02/09 15:45:51] Esther: pls can i give you the datails you will use it to send the pls.pls my grandmum  will die pls
[05/02/09 15:47:07] Paul Crouch: i’m curious how come you have an internet connection to use skype with but not the money for the malaria vaccine
[05/02/09 15:48:24] Esther: pls am not lie you pls s;(v;( my grandmumlife me 
[05/02/09 15:49:33] Paul Crouch: how come you have an internet connection to use skype with but not the money for the malaria vaccine
[05/02/09 15:50:06] Esther: pls if you cant help  me pls tell me
[05/02/09 15:51:20] Paul Crouch: you should get a picture, i’d probably be more likely to give you money then
[05/02/09 15:51:44] Esther: ok
[05/02/09 15:51:58] Esther: pls send the money frist
[05/02/09 15:52:22] Esther:
[05/02/09 15:52:53] Esther: is my mail send the imfromation there so i will get it fast
[05/02/09 15:53:05] Esther: pls my timeis up now
[05/02/09 15:53:09] Esther: byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
[05/02/09 15:53:12] Paul Crouch: you can’t send money to an email address
[05/02/09 15:54:26] Esther: pls everdaypeoples die
[05/02/09 15:54:49] Paul Crouch: thats true so why should i specifically help you
[05/02/09 15:55:06] Paul Crouch: you should read Novick’s writings on economy
[05/02/09 15:57:12] Esther: yes
[05/02/09 15:58:45] Paul Crouch: thats not an answer
[05/02/09 16:03:09] Paul Crouch: did you go away?



[09:27:49] Esther: pls is not pls my time sign up
[09:28:28] Paul Crouch: that doesn’t make sense
[09:29:41] Esther: ok.pls did you send what is told you
[09:46:09] Paul Crouch: did I send you money to your email address?
[09:47:06] Esther: pls yes
[09:48:03] Esther: pls if you give the datails online
[09:49:00] Paul Crouch: if i give you my bank details?
[09:49:38] Esther: ok
[09:49:54] Esther: pls the mtc number
[09:51:12] Paul Crouch: why you are very knowledgeable on international money transfer, are you sure your Grandma hasn’t had Malaria before
[09:52:38] Esther: if is;(;(ot serious i will not come here to beg for money
[09:53:44] Paul Crouch: whats Ghana like, I image its better than the Congo but worse the South Africa
[09:54:56] Esther: i dont have anyone to help me i lost my parent in car accident and now it has l;(;(y only us pls help me to save my grandmum from death  
[09:57:09] Esther: pls add me am semding you a picture
[09:57:26] Paul Crouch: so your saying Ghana has lots of cars? i don’t really use traffic levels as an indicator of how good a country is
[09:57:34] Esther: Let me see when you are online
[09:57:52] *** Missed call from Esther. ***
[09:58:10] Paul Crouch: don’t have a microphone
[09:58:17] *** Call ended ***
[09:58:25] Esther: ok.pls add me
[09:58:39] Paul Crouch: how come you have a microphone
[09:58:49] Esther: pls i dont
[09:58:50] Paul Crouch: you should sell your microphone and buy some medicine
[09:59:05] Paul Crouch: then how could you ring me
[09:59:09] Esther: pls i dont have
[09:59:23] Esther: pls in the computer pls
[10:00:04] Paul Crouch: that doesn’t make sense
[10:00:55] Esther: ok
[10:01:22] Esther: pls send the imfromation in my mail address pls
[10:03:09] Paul Crouch: its probably best we wait till I get paid
[10:03:29] Paul Crouch: also are you vat registered
[10:03:48] Esther: pls my time is up.pls i want to go the hospital yo see my grandmum pls am going
[10:04:07] Paul Crouch: say hi from me
[10:04:25] Esther: ok hse will hear it
[10:04:27] Paul Crouch: who’s computer are you using
[10:04:32] Esther: byeeeeeeeee
[10:04:37] Esther: pls am in cafe
[10:06:00] Paul Crouch: pls you should stop spending money in cafes and buy your grandma some grape
[10:06:04] Paul Crouch: grapes*
[10:06:05] Esther: pls am waitting you
[10:06:27] Esther: ok.that is why am here
[10:06:36] Esther: pls send the money noe
[10:06:39] Esther: now
[10:06:40] Esther: now
[10:07:01] Paul Crouch: geez don’t get huffy
[10:07:37] Paul Crouch: I feel like your pay/hours ratio would be better if you got a job


I hope you enjoyed Esther’s obvious wit and charm as much as I did and if you’d like to donate just send all your bank details (including MTC number) to; Do some good in the world.

Accuracy Vs Accessibility: The Wikipedia Story

I don’t know what it is about the Independent but they Love them a good Wikipedia story and I just love to have my two cents. Today the Indy have a big spread on how Wikipedia is crumbling.

On Obama’s inauguration day senators Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd had to leave a celebration dinner early. Kennedy left in an ambulance apparently having suffered a stroke, the live updating of stories on Wikipedia which often make it the fastest source for news resulted in premature reports of both senator’s deaths (both are still alive and kicking).

For Jimmy Wales, Mr Wikipedia, that was the last straw and it was time for measures to insure accuracy over accessibility. Basically from now on any editing of a famous person’s entry must be approved by someone higher up in the Wikipedia hierarchy, and they are considering extending it to all entries. Samurai_Pizza_Cats

This type of thing already happens on German Wikipedia and there are delays in updating entries of up to 6 weeks. On top of that it simply isn’t what Wikipedia does. One of the  key ingredients of the site’s success is that I can look up that cartoon no one remembers from when i was a kid and skip over to get a précis of Hobbes’ Leviathan. If I need to wait for someone on the Wikipedia staff to verify and approve an entry on Samurai Pizza cats it will never appear because it simply isn’t worth the time of the people who have to approve it in comparison to resurrecting Ted Kennedy. meanwhile my contract philosophy lecturer is cruising the entry on Thomas Hobbes and notices an error. How does a volunteer housewife in Arizona (because that’s what Wikipedia staff largely are) know whether he is right or wrong.

In order to moderate something the size of Wikipedia you would need an army of academics and even then they’d never be able to approve Samurai Pizza cats. Moderation isn’t needed; corrupt entries get fixed with an average of 3 minutes, physics students i went to Uni with never found a problem with the formulae it contained and it grows quicker than any moderated source possibly could. It’s better to suffer 3 minutes of inaccuracy on 100,000 articles in 100 million than massively restrict the available knowledge base.

I just noticed I’ve been memed by Jed so I’ll get on that soon.

I have no Title

Chris is always telling us to blog about what we’d like to work on so here it is. I just can’t get enough of the film and TV online campaigns that have been put together over the last few years. The way they managed to suck people in make people completely invested just astounds me.

The first one to do it was probably Blair Witch project which managed to make up for the fact that it was shockingly awful by convincing a few people it was real.

In film the first campaign to really grab attention was Cloverfield. Cloverfield simply had strange snippets of handycamcloverfield video featuring flailing monster legs and scared people popping up in random places. The videos featured clues that when googled took you to dummy sites for security firms and government reports about some massive catastrophe.

The Dark Knight did it best though: It’s online campaign began well over a year before the film’s release when The Joker started leaving clues on message boards. The clues led to websites letting you snitch on your neighbour, enroll in the police force or even join the Joker’s gang of clowns. People who joined the police force got invited to online press conferences by Harvey Dent (off of the film), the Jokers gang were sent out onto the streets to cause havoc.

The film’s poster was revealed to a select few online who cracked the joker’s riddles and eventually bad guys and cops alike were sent out on to the streets of major cities following the Joker’s clues to find the prize (apparently posters signed by the cast) or support Harvey Dent at campaign rallies.The-Joker

thousands of people wasted hours following the trails and film magazines reported every development. Chatter was massive as people tried to work out what clues were in the Gotham Times. I doubt more than a half a dozen people went chasing around London for the Jokers prize but the beauty of the campaign was the investment created by the film and the spread of chatter as people blogged, twittered and Face booked their findings. It was impossible to spend more than 5 minutes on a film site without seeing a mention of the Dark Knight and being drawn in to the puzzles.

This is a bit long so I’ll stop now but Honourable mention should also go to Lost, it’s online game during season one brilliantly convinced us the writers had a clue and Mad Men. Every Mad Men character seems to be on Twitter: they Twitter regularly, they interact with real people and each other, never breaking character (they are all very hopeful about Nixon.) and their Tweets are usually genuinely interesting, follow @Betty_Draper if you really want your day pulling down.

I’m posting this because a new online campaign just started off for a film due out next year which I’m pretty sure I’m going to blog about.

product placement mk 2

for about 6 seconds during I AM Legend while Will Smith wanders through an empty Times Square there’s a glimpse of a giant billboard poster advertising Batman Vs Superman. This sent the geek universe into a whirl with anticipation of this film and License! global even pointed it out as a big branding opportunity of 2009. The film wasn’t real but a reference to a failed idea from 2002 and ain’t it cool news was infinitely dissapointed.

Seems Jerry Bruckheimer (the money magnet who made Pirates of the Caribbean) was taking notes because Empire is reporting he’s about to unveil the poster for summer Blockbuster/ Jake Gylenhaal vehicle Prince of Persia in the background of the more imminent Confessions of a Shopaholic. I don’t really get how the two demographics crossover, ones a Sex and the City clone (albeit one starring the amazing Isla Fisher) the other is a computer game adaptation, I’d say it was appealing to the boyfriends dragged to see Confessions but I’m not sure the type of people who look forward to computer game movies often have girlfriends.

Either way the idea has grabbed column inches so clearly it was a good one and I reckon it’ll lead to more films advertising films or TV, (Heroes posters in Watchmen anyone?)

Be Original

I’ve noticed a recent trend in advertising which I really want to have a little rant about, so bare with me.

In the last 2 months three different adverts have begun showing which blatantly, shamelessly rip off music videos.

First we had this:

The Berocca Advert ‘with the treadmills’ a bit like:

the OK GO music video with the treadmills.

That I could forgive, the song wasn’t a massive hit so most people won’t have seen it and clearly someone the ad agency had seen the video when it went viral.

but now Mazda are ripping off the White Stripe’s Seven nation army video:

and T-Mobile have made something akin to Fatboy Slim’s ‘Praise You’

Have to give T-mobile credit though, the slow supersizing of the dance troupe is pretty cool.

Yes your marketing needs to imaginative and cool if it’s going to have any pronounced effect anymore and achieve that holy grail of modern advertising, going viral. Yes music videos have a knack for the original (they have to because we aren’t forced to watch them) but ripping off an already popular concept will get you no where. It just makes me write annoying ranty blogs.

monologue done, actual post on it’s way, honest.

the obligatory 2009 prediction post

It’s the beginning of the new year and so like everyone else I feel compelled to tell you what’s going to happen next so here are my predictions for the year:


I’m usually pretty good at the music, last year I called the Ting Tings (after two years of trying to work out who sung that song about being called Stacey) and Duffy (who severely dissapointed me with her album) however I said Vampire Weekend would never go any where and they were easily the best of the year. I think I objected to the name more than the band.

Every year the BBC puts together it’s hot in 2009 list, decides a winner then plays them over and over again on Radio one to make sure they were right.

My favourite off that list is undoubtedly VV Brown the ‘Doo wop’ singer, one listen to ‘Crying Blood’ and you’ll be jiving like Chris Norton at a wedding and singing it non stop

also on that list this year are Empire of the Sun, who I’ve been hearing here and there for a while and think they could follow in MGMT’s foot steps

One act who seems inevitable to become massive and drive me to distraction on a daily basis is Lady Gaga, I’m not putting in a video because I don’t want to encourage her.

My wild card picks for the year are The Asteroids Galaxy Tour who you’ll recognise from the I-Pod adverts

And I’d love to see Laura Marling get some recognition, she put out the best album of last year and no one noticed because they were too busy listening to Duffy’s all filler no killer offering.


Live Music

There’s only one gig this year and that is the Blur reunion, I’ll be there. ’nuff said


Can’t wait for Watchmen, judging by the book it’ll be The Wire with superheroes


Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (yes thats how its spelt) is going to be incredible; it took about 5 years to write, was bought on the day it was finished and began production 5 weeks later (most take months, even years to get to that stage). Plus it’s has the best cast Tarantino has ever had and is undoubtedly the only war film ever to feature a film buff sniper (that’s a sniper that is a film buff not a sniper that kills film buffs.).

Micheal Mann’s new film, Public Enemies stars Johnny Depp and Christian Bale going all Bonnie and Clyde and should be good.

If we’re really lucky there’ll be an Arrested Development movie at the end of the year, I can’t imagine anything better than two hours of Arrested Development

I think this will be a big year for Mary Elizabeth Winstead (most notable for being in Death Proof) and Evan Rachel Wood who’ll hit it big off the back of The Wrestler.


Look out for the Dollshouse which should fill a Buffy shaped void

Dexter season 2 just started on ITV, Dexter is one of the best shows on TV and the second season shouldn’t be missed (unless you’re watching season 3 on FX later this year.)

90210, the remake of Beverly Hills should make for some quality trash viewing

Kings, if it ever makes it to the UK looks pretty cool

FX keep promising to show Generation Kill, an Iraq drama from the guy behind The Wire which means it is entirely possible it will be the best show ever.

Will Ferrell’s new show East Bound and down looks awesome

Though the premiss isn’t great Cupid is being made by a personal hero so I’ll definately be looking at that.

In the returning TV category I’ll be geeking it up with the end of Battlestar Galactica (another contender for best show ever), Damages is good for some highbrow drama, Flight of the Conchords will be deservardly big in 2009, I guarantee it, Chuck should be good and Rock of Love is the most brilliantly trashy TV ever created.

(sorry for the rubbishy formatting but I’m yet to find a blog writer for the mac I can work)