Monday, January 25, 2010

The truth behind Cushelle

Toilet paperImage via Wikipedia

The truth behind Cushelle is that it’s the new name for Charmin toilet tissue. The truth behind Cushelle is your bum.

I have the greatest respect for marketers in the toiletries space. They’ve just a hard product to market (although I'm sure Cushelle is very soft). How do you make something like Cushelle into a "must have" product? How is it different from any other good quality loo roll?

Cushelle (that what was once Charmin) hasn’t advertised on TV since SCA bought the brand from P&G.

Brand Republic has the news that Cushelle will relaunch with a £100,000 marketing campaign. From a digital point of view; the very fact I’m able to blog about the brand name before there’s a digital presence means that the Cushelle team will now have a race on their hands.

There is a domain. It’s owned by SCA and points at their site – there is a Cushelle site but the standard SCA homepage. The Twitter name isn’t taken (at the time of writing; 3, 2, 1... now check) nor the Facebook vanity URL.

What do you think? Is it almost impossible to line up all your ducks before a re-branding these days or is it still worth trying?

Update: Why is Charmin called Cushelle?

This blog page is beginning to get traffic from people searching for [why is Charmin called Cushelle] and [where is Charmin called Cushelle?]

I think people are searching for "where" because we're used to UK brands being brought in sync with American product names or even mainland European names.

That leaves the question; why? Why is Charmin now called Cushelle?

The short answer is - money.

SCA, who now own Cushelle, already changed Bounty to Plenty and they say that helped grow the product's marketshare ie; more people bought Plenty than Bounty. SCA will be trying the same trick again, changing Charmin to Cushelle to make it easier to sell, to make it a more memorable name... but it's a risk, isn't it?

What do you think? Was this a wise idea?

The Caledonian Mercury launches

taken by משתמש:HmbrImage via Wikipedia

This morning, via twitter, I heard the news that a new newspaper had launched in Scotland. It’s called the Caledonian Mercury after the first ever print newspaper in Scotland – the Mercurius Caledonius.

I know. Let’s reflect on that. I heard the news via Twitter. Actually; I’d heard the news that this was going to happen over the grapevine but I didn’t know the name of the paper or the date of arrival. It’s a reflection on today’s online PR and social media that even the launch of a newspaper is news which pops on to my radar via Twitter.

Here I am – writing about the launch of the paper, giving you it’s address (, by the way) and talking about it. Clearly Twitter’s done the Caledonian Mercury proud. Hopefully I’m contributing to the buzz around the launch.

It’s also worth noting that the Caledonian Mercury describes itself as “Scotland’s first truly online newspaper”. From this I deduce there will be no print version.

At a glance – it just takes a glance – I can tell the Caledonian Mercury is a Wordpress installation. No one’s had to go out and build a hugely complicated CMS/story flow system for this paper. I’ve worked with very many newspapers in my time; I’ve seen their CMS systems and I can say that a Wordpress launch is just what the Caledonian Mercury needed to do. In time they can look at OpenX or bidding exchanges to boost their ad platform.

It does raise an interesting question though; what’s the difference between a blog and an online newspaper? Should Caledonian Mercury get the Search Marketing steer it deserves and finds itself a successful contributor to Google News – will the search engine mark their submissions as “(blog)”? Will the NLA approach them and suggest the online newspaper join them in the battle against royalty free links and to opt-out of news aggregators like NewsNow?

One big difference, of course, is that journalists write for online newspapers. A classic example of the characteristics of the community defining the unit.

It’s good to note that Stewart Kirkpatrick says in his hello world post that;
We believe that there has never been a better time to be in the business of journalism, never a better time to find fascinating stories and never a better time to be part of a conversation with our readers. The internet frees us from machine media and brings us closer to the people who inspire and consume our writing.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Google launches centre for UK advertisers

Google’s just launched – and I’ve seen Googlers tweeting about it so I assume this is public news – a new centre for advertisers in the UK. It’s called Google for Advertisers.

The site has four clear areas; Insights, Creative, Media and Optimisation.

I imagine many advertisers will be drawn to the big, bold, red button – Creative. What? Google offering creative? What’s a heck of a ... oh, wait, this is a gallery of creative successes, of YouTube successes, in which the creative agency’s roll is clearly credited.

Here’s a sample for Footlocker which was produced with the help of OMD International

Whereas the Creative tab acts as an inspirational source for advertisers the rest of the site acts as guidance centre. It’s there to help map common advertiser problems, like “Where can I find out what consumers think of my brand?”, to Google’s solutions to each. Google’s suggested solution to that brand question is Google Blog Search - another nod towards the importance of social media and not just search.

In fact, the invisible tagline to the UK advertiser section on Google might be exactly that; “not just search”. Google now has a host of solutions and tools it is keen for agencies and in-house teams to use.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Yup; YouTube is down

This doesn't happen very often - YouTube is down.

Last night I posted that Friendfeed was down and pondered whether anyone would notice. I think I've caught this YouTube blip right at the start of the outage (which may already be over) but I bet people notice this!

That screen grab comes from Is It Down For Everyone Or Just Me which is an excellent resource. Yes, YouTube is down for everyone and not just you!

Friendfeed is down - did you notice?

Friendfeed - such an enigma of a site. So good! Yet; so hopeless. I swear it needs to become the name of the must-have Facebook wow. That 'something' which makes Facebook cool again rather than just Facebook as a place to check out the latest embarrassing photos of friends and family.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Keeping Keeley - would you?

Today there’s much fanfare about the latest creative from Lynx (known as Ax in the States).

The campaign features a page-3 model and “aspiring accress” called Keeley Hazell and centres around a 15 minute game. You’ve got to twist and turn to try and keep Keeley happy. Lynx’s is new product is called Twist.

Also today, via Unruly Media comes a video ad for the effort. I’m showing it below so you can see the flavour for yourself – it’s a typical Lynx ad!

Here’s the thing though. The game is played on Facebook. It’s an application.

This is the decision you have to make.

Would you let such an application access all your Facebook friends data? Can you imagine what it might do with Facebook messages and a game featuring a page-3 topless model?

Whereas I like the video and think Lynx have been really creative here – I think they’ve got themselves a challenge on their hands. I think there’s a whole bunch of agencies involved too – TMX, Mindshare and Freud Communications. Good luck!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Google and the phrase search engine optimisation

I'm getting a lot of emails about this and – at least in those emails – the focus is wrong. What people are pointing out (as if I hadn't noticed) is that Google's now automatically correcting [search engine optimisation] as [search engine optimization] when you try and search for the former. Yeah; and it's just on

This is not a ranking issue for me. It's about language.

It's a bit fuzzy as there are a number of nuances to look at. First, as BelfastBoy pointed out to me, the word “optimize” is a perfectly valid English spelling. It's just usually spelt with an s. Whereas I don't like attempts (accidental or otherwise) to Americanise the British version of English I think we need to accept there are shades of gray.

It's also notable that there are hardly any other examples of Google “correcting” the English spelling like this.

  • Try [ Privatisation ] Sure; the z spelling comes top but there's no auto-correct.
  • Try [ Globalisation ] A ‘Did you mean' suggestion but no auto-correct.
  • Try [ Marginalise ] There's neither a “Did you mean” nor auto-correct.
  • Try [ Optimise ] There's now only a ‘Did you mean' rather than the auto-correct.

Sadly, I fear the phrases [search engine optimisation] and [search engine optimization] are special because its subject to so many automated queries from the SEO firms around the world checking on their position. There's an unnatural content and search quota for the phrase.

I think that's also why people keep pinging me with the news. The digital agency I work for has had good rankings, in, for the phrase [search engine optimisation] for many years now. While it's a good vanity phrase and I know a business developer or two like to had a screenshot in some of their presentations – it's purely a vanity phrase.

Many years ago the phrase changed intent. Once it was a research phrase. People actually went to the search engines to find out what search engine optimisation was all about it and to research it. The intent is different. Now, in my opinion, it's more of a commodity purchase phrase most often used by SMEs to begin a purchase cycle.

I would imagine [search engine optimisation] (I think [seo] would be better) and a geographic location would be a strong match.

The big blue chips that I'm lucky enough to work with don't begin their RFP process by hitting Google with a [search engine optimisation] query. That's nonsense. Many of these big blue chips have experience of SEO already.

In fact, it's almost a bad ranking for us! We offer a lot more than search engine optimisation and yet it is still too common for journalists or the occasional blogger to refer to us as a ‘search engine optimisation' agency.

Google's made no progress in NOT removing the “Did you mean: search engine optimization” prompt for [search engine optimisation] searches over the last few years. There's no reason to suspect they'll tweak their auto-correct feature so that it backs away from changing [search engine optimisation] to [search engine optimization]. However, given the growing outcry and the (likely) miss-use of the language I wouldn't be surprised if they did reverse engineer out of this one.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Google can't cope with pubsubhubbub

Google is struggling to cope with its own invention; pubsubhubbub.

Except, by Google I mean Feedburner. At this point about a dozen eyes will roll as the digital community say; "Urg! More feedburner problems!"

Simply put; you can use Feedburner's Socialise offering to use pubsubhubbub speed to automatically Twitter your blog posts. This is great. A blog post is often a race. If you hit Twitter first then that's fantastic.

What's not fantastic is if the short Google URL (the URLs you see these days) gets tweeted before Feedburner is able to match them up with the original feedburned URL/redirect.

You may well see errors like the one below. If you clicked on this link, from Twitter, as it was hot out of Feedburner you may well have encountered a similar error yourself.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Charting the Nexus number keyword landrush (betting on the Nexus Four)

For a spot of mildly amusing benchmarking I thought it’ll be fun to keep track of the number of pages matching “nexus one”, “nexus two”, “nexus three”, “nexus four” and so forth in Google.

I expect there will be a blip around “Nexus Six” but Google’s introduced a product line with a predictable keyword evolution.

That chart isn’t very meaningful given the Nexus One’s domination. Let’s drop that and try again.

Right. Looks like the Nexus Four with a mere 906 pages indexed is the one to be aiming for. Phone’s likely to get up to number 4 and there aren’t that many pages out there.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Disqus down?

Sites go down all the time and frankly my blog hosts have failed more often than Disqus.

Nevertheless, it's uniquely frustrating when comments are off but the blog is live - especially if you've just got a good scoop.

Right now Disqus looks to be down. Poot.

Update: It's a semi-planned outage. Disqus, good as ever, got back to me on Twitter in less than a minute!

Update 2: Disqus was down for around 120 seconds. Er, unless it goes down again after this update.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Nexus One Sprint - Google showing itself what to do

I was curious to see if Google's news on the Nexus One and the Android Alliance of Super Powers had caused any ripples on search frequencies.

Sure; social media was all a buzz with everyone talking about the news and the event but was anyone actually searching for the news? Where people going to Google with [nexus one] queries and a "What’s this all about?" attitude?

Sort of.

One of the hundred most popular searches from the US in the last few hours was "Nexus One vs Droid" as people looked for comparison charts.

Another term, one that’s peaking right now and marked as Volcanic by Google Hot Trends, is "Nexus One Sprint".

Simply put; people are checking to see whether the Nexus One is available on Sprint. You can shell out the cash for a SIM free version of the phone (as I’d likely do) but there’s no Sprint contract deal.

Google and co now have to debate whether they’ll bid on terms like this. Do they bid on Sprint’s trademark or do they phrase match with "Nexus One"?

Or could they even, well, do some other deal with themselves for the promotion of the phone?

Whatever happens Google now has to decide the best way to market a phone that can be used on all sorts of networks without annoying the networks even more.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Bing’s political hot potatoes tour of the United Kingdom

By and large Bing does a good job of describing the United Kingdom and component kingdoms and principalities at the footer of its search results. There are, however, some political hot potatoes!

Here’s one. The official currencies of the United Kingdom? The Euro and the Pound.

That’ll have Tory bloggers frothing.

What about the official representative for England?

Yes, that’s right. Liam Donaldson!

Now there are a number of contenders for who the Liam Donaldson might be. Wikipedia’s main Liam Donaldson is currently the Chief Medical officer for England. Let’s go with him for now.

Scotland does pretty well. I’m from Edinburgh so I’d debate whether the official language of Scotland is “Scottish English”. I think we speak English pretty well, ken?

Wales scores strongly. They don’t speak Welsh English. They speak Welsh and English and are classified as a country.

Poor old Northern Ireland doesn’t trigger a country response from Bing though.

Backing Blackblaze; siding with David against the giants

As much as I like Bing and as much as I’m impressed with Google Wave I’m not giving them my vote in the 2009 Crunchies.

Instead I’m going to support a backup company I’ve been running on my home laptop and travelling laptop, without bother, for over a year now: Backblaze.

Not only do I find Backblaze gives me the peace of mind of automatic backups but it gives me access to my documents in the Cloud. If I’m travelling around I might work on a PPT file on my small laptop. The next day in the office I’ll be able to have Backblaze email me a copy of that very same PPT.

I’ve written about them before so won’t do it again. Instead I’ll supply the link to the Crunchies voting page and encourage you to do the same (and perhaps ask anyone why they thought they were familiar with enough with Chrome OS to consider voting for it!)

Monday, January 04, 2010

Are we real time people?

I go back to work tomorrow. Er. I go back to work today; Monday the 4th of January. It's been a long, busy and good holiday. I'm prepping to instill more real time search and real time response into our digital marketing campaigns.

I've also noticed that 4 days after the New Year we're still wishing each other happy New Year. It's still a tending topic. New Year 2011 will be an interesting year for search, affiliates and display given the data we've picked up this year.

What do you think?