Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

UKYIE - Business Visits in Mumbai

As you may know I’m currently lucky enough to be travelling with the British Council on a market visit to India as part of their Young Interactive Entrepreneur programme. You can read more about my findings on the BIMA blog but I thought I'd take the opportunity to run you through some of the awsome people we've met thus far.

The first stage of the trip took us to Mumbai and whilst we were there we visited three very different games studios:

  • Games2Win – flash games developers and games portal owners.
  • IndiaGames - who largely build mobile games but also supply a download games service known as Games On Demand or GOD (thanks for the shirt guys!)
  • And Trine – a developer and publisher of AAA games on major console platforms.
We also visited a charitable organisation called UnLtd India which is affiliated to UnLtd in Britain and whose remit is to help social entrepreneurs in India with financial support and advice.

Whether these businesses represent a typical cross-section of the industry over here is difficult to say but the three games companies share two key things in common: Firstly all of these businesses are fronted by charismatic, sharp and driven individuals who are well informed and have a clear and ambitious strategy for their businesses. Secondly they have all identified a different key challenge for their businesses and have innovative approaches to those challenges.

Perhaps unsurprisingly of the three studios we visited I could most relate to these guys since their practice isn’t wildly different to that of Kempt’s. We met with the extremely likable CEO Alok Kejriwal who took us through his business and his thoughts on the interactive business in Mumbai. Alok’s business is built around his flash games portal games2win.com and their self-produced and published content which is spread around the extended web in a similar way to our Advergames. Considering traffic from the portal and from the extended web G2W currently enjoys an audience of around 20 million unique users.

In my opinion one of the most interesting point Alok made was that they’re in a “No Hits business” a point which he makes with a degree of relish. The hypothesis that Alok is working to is that unlike the mainstream games industry which is necessarily obsessed with the creation of hits in order to drive revenue, in the flash games scene there’s no need for this approach. You can be extremely successful by producing large amounts of simple games content which appeals to the lowest common denominator. Therefore their games tend towards cheeky, slightly suggestive dress-up games and such like, each one enjoys a degree of popularity and by getting enough games out regularly then an extremely powerful media channel is created.

This, the second studio we visited on day one was based in Mumbai’s IT park, Vishwaroop, about an hour and a half north of where we were staying. There we met with one of the directors, a charming and extremely open man called Hrishi Oberoi. Their core business is in mobile games, both development and publishing thanks to their exclusive relationship with the mobile networks in India and given the penetration of mobile phones in India relative to games consoles or PCs it’s clear that they have a good business here and a great deal of future potential.

However what I found most interesting was their newest venture GamesOnDemand or GOD for short. GOD is a low cost subscription-based download games service. IndiaGames identified that the core challenge with retailing games in India is piracy which is prevalent. Their strategy therefore is to bypass this issue entirely by offering unlimited games content to subscribers for a very small monthly subscription, a smart and successful strategy as they’ve already amassed thirty-five thousand subscribers through their clever buzz-marketing featuring a range of takes on GOD based slogans such as their “I am GOD” tee shirts and “Beware GOD Ahead” signage.

The final games studio we visited on Saturday afternoon was Trine, India’s only AAA games development studio that’s on the verge of becoming a significant publisher in its own right. We met with their charismatic front-man and sole shareholder Sangam Gupta. Walking into their studio was startling considering the overall Mumbai experience and the other studios we’d visited, hidden within a fairly humble looking tower block was an extraordinarily modern and well equipped studio.

Sangam is a man with his eyes on no less than global domination. He speaks with notable pride that they were the first and this far only licensee in India of the fantastically expensive Unreal engine which is the power behind many of today’s top console games titles and waxes lyrical on the imminent release of their first self published title: Wii Yoga for which they have immensely high hopes and there’s a notable glint in his eye when he talks of future success that might one day allow them the opportunity to acquire their own publisher. It’s clear that this man believes it’s possible.

UnLtd India
Sadly when we visited UnLtd the director was unfortunately unwell and therefore unable to meet us however we were able visit their offices and check out the hub that they also run which is essentially a hot-desking space for social entrepreneurs and met with one of their hub hosts a charming lady whose name unfortunately escapes me who left a career as a clinical psychologist to work with UnLtd. She told us all about their members, some of the challenges that face them and some examples of projects that their members were undertaking, I have to say they’re doing really sterling work and are to be congratulated.

Other Mumbai Contacts
In addition to meeting all the wonderful people above I was also lucky enough to be able to arrange meetings with two of my contacts in India Yashraj Vakil, a former client of ours at Zapak now at Dream 11, an online fantasy cricket game and Saagar Dhoke, our current contact at Zapak.

These two guys are both young hands on practitioners and meeting these guys added a really valuable second perspective on the interactive industries in India, what it’s like on the ground so to speak. It was also really good to finally meet them in person and I look forward to working with them again in the future.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Monday, 2 November 2009

UKYIE 09 - Thoughts on Mumbai.

Over the last few days I've been on a market visit with the British Council to Mumbai, India. Although the focus of the visit is business, I thought it might be useful to share a few thoughts about Mumbai the place as a bit of background:

The first thing to say about Mumbai is that flying in is a remarkable experience, it’s a simply gargantuan sprawling metropolis which demonstrates very little plan or system in its construction. The city hugs the coastline for miles and blanket of smog hugs the city in return. As you get closer to the city itself and start to be able to discern a little more detail you start to notice the slum areas dotted all over the city right taking up seemingly any available space. Weirdly, from the air these areas are quite possibly the most beautiful features of Mumbai. Each area is a fairly regular shape within which hundreds of small shacks (most no bigger than a garden shed with mixture of tin and blue tarpaulin roofs) have been thrown together utilising any and every space possible. However putting aside the reality of the place for a moment, the overall effect from the air is that of a series of warm patchwork quilts having been thrown over the city. It’s really quite stunning. (see inset picture of Dharavi slum by markhillary)

Coming on to the city itself, Mumbai can be summed up in one word – chaos. I wouldn’t even say organised chaos. I would agree, that it does seem to somehow work, but I’m damned if I know how. I’ll save you lengthy descriptions of the traffic, the remarkably unfinished state of almost every area, the largely dreadful roads or even the beggars, street children, hawkers or eunuchs, you can get that from any guide book. What I will say this that outside all of this Mumbai and its residents impart on their guests a remarkable and truly infectious feeling of opportunity and enthusiasm for change and the new. There’s a feeling that anything can, will and probably already has happened here.

However, in my opinion the most charming aspect of the city is the feeling or being very relaxed with the unknown which comes out of its chaotic nature. As was eloquently expressed by Tas, our host from the council: there’s no point getting worked up about punctuality here, for example: due to the traffic it could take forty-five minutes to get from one place in the city to another but it could take an hour and a half, there’s really no way of knowing. As a result the city, and therefore business within it, is laid back and open to change and opportunity. It’s really rather infectious and to be honest I’m a little sad to have left.
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Saturday, 31 October 2009

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Crikey... In Mumbai with the British Council

While I write this I'm sitting in a hotel room on the 16th floor of the Taj Lands End in Mumbai listening to the Wildhearts and watching eagles circle in front and below my window between this hotel and the building opposite which is being demolished.

How so? Well, quite remarkably, I've been selected as one of the final six in the British Council's Young Interactive Entrepreneur competition. I know... young... who'd have thought it! Being part of this elite group I've been flown out to do a Market visit in India, over ten days we're visiting Mumbai (the city formerly known as Bombay) Bangalore and Hyderabad in order to meet and learn about entrepreneurs over here, their businesses, the economic climate and to access the opportunities for British businesses through collaboration.

So... it's a pretty hectic schedule so I guess I better stop waffling, I'll update soon with some thoughts on the first few days of the trip.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Monday, 28 September 2009

The Shaveolution Will Be Televised...

Hi All,

Got an email from Will King this morning with a link to the new KoS advert, I have to say even though it's not a game it's pretty darn good!


Friday, 25 September 2009

Friday, 25 September 2009

Wow, what a week.

Well it's Friday... and what a couple of weeks it's been.

Working in reverse order, yesterday was the BIMA awards judging day which was held at the offices of our good friends at Ruby/The Red Brick Road in Beak St. Massive thanks to Paul Hammersley and his team who made us very welcome indeed. You can read my full judging day write-up on the BIMA blog.

On Wednesday afternoon I presented my Viral/Advergame theory session to the punters at Ad:Tech which went down really well, having done the presentation a couple of times now I'm really settling into it and know most of the figures by heart so I can concentrate on making an idiot of myself with some appalling jokes!

On Wednesday morning I found out that I've got through to the second round of judging for the British Council's Young Interactive Entrepreneur award, I've got a formal interview on Tuesday, wish me luck! If you're interested there's more information on the Creative Economy site

Business has been good too, we've won a slew of amazing projects over the last couple of weeks and i can't wait to announce them, it's going to be some of our best ever work I'm sure.

Finally early last week we had a massive article published in Contagious thanks to Paul and his team. You can find a copy of the article entitled: Advergames - Natural Selection in the Online Ecosystem here, but I would of course instead suggest that you subscribe to the magazine which is a thing of beauty indeed.

Well, that brings me more or less up to date, more soon i promise!

Monday, 17 August 2009

Monday, 17 August 2009

Clean Sweep for Kempt on ViralChart.com

Well last week was a good week for Kempt games, this morning we were delighted to discover that we've topped the UK, European and Global Advergames charts with our games Freeway Fallguy for power pop pimps Raygun and Digital Genius for HP. In fact, it was such a good week that three out of top ten in each chart are Kempt campaigns! What a result!

Check out the ViralChart for the week ending 16th Aug.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Friday, 7 August 2009

Introducing Freeway Fallguy

Hi All, well, it's been a wild ride over the last few weeks. I've been flat out on the BIMA awards and as you may have read we've been putting an article together for Contagious which will be out in September so keep-em-peeled!

Anyway... within all this mayhem rather remarkably we found some time to do some work too! We've just released our latest game "Freeway Fallguy" which supports the release of the new single from RayGun.

The game is a classic example a good Advergame and shows just what can be achieved with a very modest budget with a little creativity and a client who's prepared to give you a little bit of rope. Although the game is very simple it's stylishly presented and crucially has a nice original twist to it which gives it the smirk factor required to drive it's spread around the net. Massive thanks to Seb Weller at Sony BMG for keeping the faith!

I confidently predict that this one will be massive so keep an eye on viralchart.com.


Saturday, 1 August 2009

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Next Kempt GP: 10th September 2010

The inaugural Kempt Grand Prix was such a tire-squealing success that we’ve developed it into an ongoing series, with events scheduled throughout the summer and beyond. We’re offering you the chance to be our guest on a car-focused day of high-speed fun, relaxed networking and the added spice of a little competition.

Our leaderboard shows the current standings in the Fastest Lap Challenge - every attendee gets to set a time on the Big Circuit in a Lotus Elise, and whilst we’ve seen some impressive lap times already we think they can be beaten.

If that’s piqued your interest then find out more here. You can get some practice in (and learn the course!) on our fabulous Kempt GP game and if you’d like to join in the fun then what are you waiting for?

Sign Up Now!

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Where do we hold the Kempt GP?

The spacious North Weald Airfield is the location for our all-day event. It's a perfect place to test the limits of your skill - as the track is laid out on an airfield there's nothing to hit but plastic cones!

North Weald Airfield is conveniently located just off the M11. There is no postcode for the venue but directions are very simple if you are coming from the M11 - come off at Junction 7 and then follow the signs for North Weald Airfield.

Not coming by car?
The nearest train station is Harlow Town just 30 mins from London Liverpool Street. The Nearest tube station is Epping on the end of the Central line. Both stations are 15-20 min drive from the airfield, if you're on the attendee list and intend to come by one or other please do let us know and we'll try to arrange for someone to pick you up or put you in a cab.


What is the Kempt GP?

The Kempt GP is our way of getting to know you and give you the opportunity to mix with our other guests in a relaxed atmosphere. What’s more, you’ll learn some genuine driving skills and get to blast around in some serious sports cars.

The event is run by ex-Benetton F1 pilot Andy Walsh and the rest of the driving gurus at Car Limits. These chaps are experts in their (air)field and have improved drivers of all skill levels, including current F1 competitors and BBC F1 anchor Jake Humphries (read his glowing tribute here).

With assistance from three experienced instructors, you'll begin the day learning from the pro's as you get to grips with the two circuits set up especially for the event. The format of the day is structured so that you learn basic skills in the morning and use them to put in some serious lap times in the afternoon. Once you've honed your driving style you'll take part in the grand finale, the Fastest Lap Challenge.

The Cars
If your wheels are just that little bit flash then we'd actively encourage you to bring them along. Several of us will so you'll be in good company and North Weald is the perfect place to explore the limits of a car safely and responsibly.

If you're not bringing your own car (or even if you do and fancy a bit of variation) then you'll get to zoom around the course in a Lotus Elise (just about the best damn car to fling around a track) and a slightly more forgiving Porsche Boxster.

The Prize
Setting the fastest time in the end-of-day shoot-out will gain the winner a Magnum of champagne. It's your choice whether you use it to soak your fellow competitors or take it home for a champion's celebration. And of course, everyone gets their place in GP history on our illustrious leaderboard.


Saturday, 18 July 2009

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Kempt Go-Public with New Viral Theory at Online Marketing Show 2009

I’m very pleased to announce that we’ve finally been able to publicly launch our important new research and theories around viral, specifically the power of the medium of games in this space.

We unveiled our ideas in a presentation entitled: Viral, the Content Distribution Lever and the power of Games at the Online Marketing Show on the 30th June 2009. This presentation was the culmination of nearly five years work and research in the viral games space and I’m very pleased to say that it was immensely well received.

Our presentation outlined three simple principles which describe the crucial factors or mechanics that affect the success of a viral campaign: The Content Pool, The Content Ecosystem and The Content Distribution Lever and explained why the nature of the first two in the online games scene help to make flash games the most powerful and most importantly reliable of viral mediums. Interestingly just two days later on the 2nd of July Richard Spalding, Founder of Diffusion Media and Kontraband made a presentation at the Revolution forum where he stated that fewer than one in ten video-based viral campaigns are a success, not good odds in our opinion!

Don’t worry if you missed the presentation though, a substantial article based on it is going to be published shortly (we’ll of course let you know when it’s out) and we’ll be presenting an updated version of the presentation at Ad:Tech London on the 23rd of September.

More information on the show can be found on the OMS 2009 website and the Ad:tech London site.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Game DNA - Digital Genius

Keen Kempt watchers will have already seen our latest game Digital Genius. In many ways it is our most sophisticated release so far and draws together concepts and influences that have been buzzing around our heads over the last few years.

For example, Digital Genius is a clear descendent of Nintendo’s Wario Ware and Konami’s earlier Bishi Bashi series. These titles popularized microgames with their quirky approach, sharing a fast-paced, frenzied structure and a real focus on novelty - perfect for short attention spans. That’s probably why we took to Wario Ware with such gusto when we got a Wii in the office. Our first stab at this genre was the much-lauded VaioWare (shortlisted as the Best Online Game at the 2007 BIMA Awards), which we then developed into our own ‘Championship of Microgames’ TinyTrials.

After Wario Ware and Bishi Bashi the other obvious influence is Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training. This was another big hit in the Kempt office and we learned its lessons well: with a little style and a clever format it was possible to get hardcore gamers hooked on simple problem solving. Even if we couldn't get our brain ages down from the mid-fifties.

Brain Training was particularly appropriate for Digital Genius as the game was launched with input from Mensa. In the early stages of development we began by using their IQ test questions, some of which made it through as microgames in the final release. Whilst this was fantastic in itself the real kudos came from Mensa actually taking part in the game; they asked their members to play through Digital Genius to set a benchmark for other players and this stands as a serious challenge to most gamers.

If you dig deeper into Digital Genius you’ll see more than just microgames as inspiration - videogame culture pops up all over the place; there are console knowledge quizzes, an arithmetic game based on Asteroids and various other nods to the likes of Gauntlet, Tron and Ray Ray Parade. We see this layering of references as a vital part of what we do - immersing ourselves in videogame culture means that we can build new games from the ground up using our influences as the cornerstones.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Thursday, 21 May 2009

MemeCounter Powers ViralChart.com

We're very pleased to announce that after many months of discussion the world's most famous viral chart - the aptly-named ViralChart.com has re-launched with an all new Advergames chart driven by data provided by our state of the art tracking system MemeCounter.

We're extremely pleased to be working with ViralChart, and it's very exciting that our MemeCounter customers can have a one-stop service for tracking and promotion through both ViralChart.com and KillerViral.com all in all it's a pretty unbeatable offer!!!

Check it out now at http://www.viralchart.com/ and http://www.memecounter.com/ you won't regret it!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Crikey, Chris Kempt - BIMA Exec!

Well what a turn up for the books... last night at the BIMA AGM I got voted in to the executive!

Needless to say I am completely blown away by this and very grateful for the opportunity that BIMA have given me to get involved. As anyone who knows me will testify I have been in a deep love affair with this industry for many years now so this chance to contribute to its future development is something that I feel it my responsibility to grasp with both hands. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to our first meeting.

I’d like to take the opportunity to thank the people that voted for me despite my faltering speech, exiting BIMA chair Paul Walsh without whose massive support over the last few months (both with my work on the Awards and Kempt) I would have been lost without and all of the Executive who have been so supportive of my ideas to redevelop the BIMA Awards, it’s a real shame that some of them are giving up their positions this year it would have been a privilege to work with them.

Happily though some amazing candidates have stepped up to the plate to fill the very large boots and again I’m thrilled to be part of what is sure to be an amazing team. You can read all about them on the BIMA site but I’ll close by saying hearty congratulations to our incoming chair Justin Cooke who will, I have no doubt, do a brilliant job.
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Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Discover the All-new MemeCounter!

Over the last few years we've pumped a tremendous amount of effort into making sure that MemeCounter is the very best in its class with regard to features but lets face it, it's always been a bit, well... how should I say it... challenged, in its appearance.

So, it's been a little while coming but we've finally got around to giving MemeCounter a lick of paint, please do head over to www.memecounter.com and let us know what you think!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

The Stench of Online Display

It’s not a secret; I’m not a big fan of the way that display advertising is done online. It’s perhaps not that surprising considering what we do but even outside of that, given the ever decreasing click-through rates and the fact that most marketeers would themselves freely admit that even they don’t engage with or frankly even notice banners most of the time, I find it mystifying why advertisers invest such gigantic sums into the medium.

But that’s not constructive is it... it’s all very easy for me to criticise so allow me if you will to tell you what’s wrong with display and why.

First of all in terms of what’s wrong, it’s quite simple, there’s far too much of it! Your typical web-page could have 3 ad positions on it, a banner a skyscraper and an MPU all sitting around 3-400 words of text. Quite simply this is excessive. The ratio of advertising to content is all out of whack, for example, whilst typing this up I took a screen grab of a random page from one of my favourite sites: FHM.com, I hate to pick on them because it’s a great site and they are by no means the worst but check this out: Above the fold on a 1024x768 page the content of the page itself takes up 195930 pixels whereas the two advertising positions take up a whopping 143340 pixels, 42% of the combined area. To put this into context, let’s compare this to TV where currently advertisers are restricted to only 7 minutes of advertising per hour or 11%. Of course FHM would quite rightly say that the page extends for the user to scroll down and they’d be right, but guess what... at that point you can’t see the adverts any more, which renders them at best an enormous waste of bandwidth.

So... why is too much advertising a problem? Well this has been one that I’ve been struggling to find a way to articulate for a while but I think I’ve finally found a way. The problem is the smell.
When I was about 12 I went on a horse-riding trip with my school for a week and several things stand out in my mind from that trip including playing strip poker with the girls who were teaching us to ride and getting a stiffy when Debbie (Gardiner?) sat on my bed one night, much to her amusement. Unfortunately though the thing that sticks in my mind the most was the smell as we were arriving, I distinctly remember gagging and wondering how the hell I was going to stand the stench all week, it was simply overpowering. However, within a matter of minutes of getting off the bus it wasn’t a problem anymore, my brain had completely filtered out the smell, from that point on I don’t ever recall having been bothered by it.

It’s like this with online ads, they’re so overpowering that our brains learn their language and simply filter them out. It’s perhaps not surprising then that Google Adwords are more successful, the ads look like content so our brains can’t so easily filter them out, but that’s not going to work for everything and, if they’re not already, human beings will eventually learn to filter out Google’s minimal visual style too. No. Good advertising needs to be a fart. Something different that stands out from the content to which it’s attached not an endless drone of background noise. It needs to be the exceptional both in its creativity and in the regularity of exposure. Regardless of how many times the internet industry invent new formats, metrics and buzz-words, the current practice of bombarding users will simply never ever work.
So... what needs to change?

Well for a start everyone needs to cut-down on their ad-positions, hopefully this will happen naturally as demand for display continues to decrease, last year was down, apparently this year is looking even less promising and it’ll be interesting to see the figures when they’re released in the next few weeks. But there’s more to it than that. I think the whole mechanism of buying impressions is severely flawed. For example, the other day I was searching for a hardcore DNS provider, I looked high and low but I couldn’t find anyone who ticked all my boxes. Then, on an article on some random site somewhere I noticed an advert for such a service, unfortunately this was just after I’d clicked through to another page and when I clicked back it had been replaced by another irrelevant advert. How frustrating. Rewind to the good old magazine and this wouldn’t be an issue, if I remembered an advert I’d simply flick back a page and there it’d be, magic!

So, maybe I sound like an old fogey but I’d like to see a return to the days of proper media sales where I could buy an advert on a relevant page indefinitely, sponsor it if you will. For example, right now I know for a fact that there’s an article on Revolution about online games in which I’m quoted. If it was possible to do I’d absolutely love to sponsor that page, have a nice Kempt banner on it and get all the link-love back from it. But alas, it’s not possible. The best I could hope for is to buy banner impressions around the site or maybe the channel, meaning that 99% of the impressions will be on pages that are completely unrelated to what I do. There have to be better ways to do it?

To answer my own question there already are: for example Advergame campaigns such as the ones that Kempt produce. Advergames work in a similar way to sponsorship or sometimes product placement and are phenomenally popular, in the last four or five years that we’ve been working with the medium I don’t think I’ve ever seen one receive less than a million visits and the biggest trafficking game we’ve ever seen was King of Defenders which has to date received over 52 million visits. In the context of this piece its popularity isn’t actually the most important factor though, perhaps more important are two other things that are typical of an Advergame:
  1. The brand is generally incorporated in a sympathetic manner and is effectively permanent.
  2. The ratio of brand message to content is generally relatively low.
“So what” you might say...” why is this important?” well because of the effect that this has. These days on a typical display advertising campaign you might consider yourself lucky to get a click-through rate of 0.5%, in fact that’s probably generous. But with a game we typically see 10-15% sometimes higher. Why? Well the key factor in my opinion is politeness. Display advertising is rude, it barges in all over the place, it’s like a drunken gatecrasher at a birthday party, it’s loud, it shouts a lot and in the worst case (expanding banners, pre-rolls and overlays) it’s just vomited all over your living room. And guess what, people don’t like it! Advergames by contrast setup a fair value exchange, the user gets something that they desire (a game to play) and just like any other form of entertainment if they have a good experience then they feel positively towards the entertainer, in this case the brand that sponsored it.

Okay, I can hear you saying it: “games aren’t going to work for everything are they?” This is true but there are other options: I’m sure video viral producers will do great things once they manage to wean themselves off the 30-60 second ad format, responsible contribution to forums can also be a great way to engage your desired audience and there’s always advertorial but realistically none of these are going to replace display advertising completely. How therefore do we make display advertising work?

A number of years back I met Alex Tew of Million Dollar Homepage fame at an awards do, it was just after MDH became really big and he’d made the bulk of his money. He was a guest of our clients, shared our table and I had quite a nice chat with him later on that evening (I think, I was pretty hammered at the time). We talked over the success of MDC and what he might do next, I offered the benefit of my opinion and some ideas which to this day I’m still gutted he didn’t follow up on, I’m hoping that maybe someone else will.

In my opinion there were two remarkable things about the million dollar homepage: The first was the spectacle of it. Although vaguely similar things had been done before the genius of MDH lay in its simplicity and audacity, it was genuinely new and therefore it spread like wildfire around the internet. But you can’t really replicate that, you have to think of something new and that takes real skill or perhaps luck. However, beneath the spectacle there was something else, something truly remarkable about its proposition. When you bought your pixel on MDH, it was yours for at least five years (I’m sure it used to be ten) which in internet terms is effectively permanent and therefore it only took half a brain cell to work out that it was worth buying in, the page was famous, everyone was talking about it, it would go down in internet history and you could have a permanent piece of the action. You just couldn’t lose.

My suggestion to Alex was therefore that he should focus on the latter and come out with an advertising product/agency that worked on the same basis, which would allow people to sponsor a page – an article or something that’s relevant to their product or objectives, permanently.

It would work fairly simply, for instance taking my earlier example of revolution each article or page on their site would have a simple sponsor’s box of about 160x200 pixels in size – enough room for a small logo and a little bit of blub about the company concerned presented in a similar style to the article in order to communicate the relevance to the reader and therefore increase attention on it.

This would put the creativity back into media planning and buying, buyers would need to understand what kind of content the advertiser needs to be associated with and then seek it out even, as is increasingly talked about, commission the content specifically for the purpose of hanging the brand message on in a similar way you would with a piece of advertorial. It would bring editorial and ad-sales teams back together (the two are often far too separate and seem to be working against each other sometimes) and most importantly, if we got rid of all the other crap, would truly deliver results for the advertiser.

Current Page on Revolution:

Kempt Sponsored:

Sadly Alex didn’t do that and I don’t want to belittle what he did in any way, the guy made a shit-load of cash in a very short space of time and he should be congratulated for that. But I think if he’d followed MDH with something like I describe, he’d have made a lot more than a million bucks and more importantly, he might have been the saviour of display advertising as we know it.

Oh well, maybe one day the industry will sort itself out, I do hope so, but in the mean time we’ll keep plugging away with Advergames, Widgets, Facebook apps and all manner of other engaging forms of branded content and count ourselves lucky.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Monday, 20 April 2009

Revolution Insert Credits

Yeassss... terrible punny title I know but it kinda seemed appropriate for this!

In the April edition, the amazing people at Revolution have published an excellent piece on online games, specifically Atari's recent decision to focus on this area. I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that it's about time, after all, we flash game builders have been ripping off their IP for a good decade now :O)

Anyway, I'm pleased as punch that they've chosen to include a bunch of comments from me and apart from some opinion near the end which personally I don't fully agree with it's an excellent piece over all.

You can see the full article on the Revolution website and my comments below it.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Celebrity Pedigree Launched!

It's with enormous pleasure that i can announce that our latest game, Celebrity Pedigree has been launched. We always try and make our projects just that little bit different from the run of the mill bu this time, I have to say, the team have really excelled themselves.

And don't forgot to check out the game's companion Facebook app: Celebrity Mutts

Many thanks to our valued clients Triviala.com for making it possible. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Casual Connect Presentation Now Online.

In February, many of the UK flash/Advergames specialists and I were out in Hamburg for Casual Connect Europe, the event was a triumph once again and a very messy time was had by all. Unfortunately I was presenting on the Thursday and so i spent a large proportion of the conference holed up in my hotel room finishing off my presentation but it was great to see everyone there and spend a couple of evenings setting the industry to rights!

My presentation was on the importance of tracking and how to use/interpret the information you can get, not the sexiest subject but a very important one indeed. Those of you that are interested can download my presentation with accompanying audio from the Casual Connect site.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Monday, 16 March 2009

Published Again!

Yes, I've been shooting my mouth off again! This time I've had a very nice little interview/masterclass/article published at iMedia: Viral: Your digital marketing masterclass. Have a read! Hope you enjoy it!
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Friday, 13 March 2009

Friday, 13 March 2009

Ginger Solo Tour Announced

Great news guys and Gals! Ginger, rock god and charismatic front man of my beloved The Wildhearts, the man who's fronted enough bands and written enough material to have his own festival, has announced a solo tour starting in May! I'll be heading down to the London show I should think so if you fancy turning up mob-handed please do let me know, it's sure to be a gig to remember!

Dates are as follows:

1st - TJ's Newport
2nd - Fibbers, York
3rd - JB's, Dudley
4th - Ruby Lounge, Manchester
5th - Corporation, Sheffield
6th - Seven, Nottingham
7th - O2 Academy, London
8th - Talking Heads, Southampton
10th - Rios, Leeds
11th - Academy 2, Newcastle

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Friday, 27 February 2009

Friday, 27 February 2009

Chair of BIMA 09 Awards Announced

BIMA have announced the Chair of the forthcoming 09 awards.... and it's... errr... me! Needless to say I'm chuffed to bits and accepted without a second thought. You can read all about it on the BIMA blog.
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Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Kempt at TFM&A

Well our exhibition debut has come and gone. Over the last couple of days Alex and i have been manning our little spot in the Viral Arcade at TFM&A and I think overall it was a great success, we met lots of very lovely people - thanks to those of you that took interest and came over to have a chat.

For those of you that weren't able to make it, at TFM&A we showcase two of our newer games: the multiplayer minigame mayhem that is TinyTrials and our epic homage to Guitar Hero King of Air Guitar which, as you can see in the picture, we managed to get running on a real Guitar Hero controller specially for the show. You see... a flash game isn't necessarily confined to the realms of the Internet... put it on a nice screen with a decent control method and you've got an excellent addition to your exhibition stand... VFM indeed!

The best things in life

I have a tendency to be a bit obsessive over some things that I think are really cool so... I thought it might be worth starting a list, that way if you ever meet me and I start boring on one of the points below you can just say... "yes... i read about that on your blog"! I'm sure I'll add to this list but here's a few for starters.

My Favourite Things:
Kempt (Naturally)
David Tennant as Doctor Who
The Fine Burger Company at Kings Cross St Pancras
Macromedia - (Come back all is forgiven!!!)


Friday, 20 February 2009

Friday, 20 February 2009

TinyTrials Blogged by Guardian... whoohoo!

A couple of weeks back we were privileged to be interviewed by Aleks Krotoski (who writes for the Guardian) on the subject of our latest game TinyTrials which is already scarily successful.

If you're interested in our mad ramblings you'll want to check out her post on the Guardian Blog (note the expert use of name-checking and shameless self promotion!) and once you've done that you'll obviously want to check out the game itself!

TinyTrials will shortly be available to sponsor so please do get in touch if you're interested.



Monday, 16 February 2009

Monday, 16 February 2009

Office Scalextric Gets a Bit Serious...

If you know me then you'll also know of my dream of having a Scalextric track running around the entire office, streamed live online, web-cams on each of the cars and opponents controlling cars via a web-based control system on our site... well, we're not quite there yet but today our layout took a step towards that goal. 

Today I added the radius 1 hairpin bend that you can see in the top left in this picture and a 10 degree radius 3 banked curve that you can see sweeping around the top. Practically, allowing for room to walk around, the Kempt track now takes up about a quarter of our office! Having briefly tested the track it's very definitely going to provide thrills and spills, I can't wait to down tools and have a proper race!
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Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Facebook App Test in Revolution

Back in December i wrote a piece for Revolution profiling the "Anti-Social Networking" a Facebook application built to promote the cinema release of How to Lose Friends & Alienate People. I've just stumbled across the page, so i thought I'd share it!

Friday, 6 February 2009

Friday, 6 February 2009

Kempt included in KMI's "The Knowledge"

I'm very pleased to say that we've received some very nice words in KMI (King of Shaves' parent company) 's recent copy of their publication "The Knowledge" Issue 21 includes both a write-up on our mammoth Guitar Hero tribute, King of Air Guitar and a write-up on us on the back page.

We're big fans of the guys at KMI (I honestly use their products all the time) so this means a lot to us. Thanks!

To read all about it and also to find out what makes KMI "Company of the Year" check it out!

Friday, 30 January 2009

Friday, 30 January 2009

Advergame: a Definition

Advergame: A type of Branded Content whereby an advertisers message is either incorporated in or presented around a game of some kind.

When distributed on-line (normally as flash games) these are often referred to viral games due to their ability to spread virally around the net both on a peer-to-peer basis and from site-to-site or blog to blog. In the latter cases this occurs because games have a relatively high perceived value and therefore site owners will often publish or link to games that they find and like. This process can be assisted by someone working on the campaign approaching sites that are known to be receptive to games content directly - a process which is known as Seeding.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Chris to speak at Casual Connect Hamburg 2009

I'm very pleased to announce that I've again been invited to speak at Casual Connect Europe, the biggest Casual Games conference in Europe. This year I'll be talking all about metrics for games in a talk wittily entitled: Stat's Amazing!, if you're out there be sure to come along and watch me make a tit out of myself in public... again!

Flash CS4 review for Digital Arts

The Flash-users amongst you might be interested to read the review of Flash CS4 (which has since been dubbed CSPoor by Paul!) that Paul and I have just had published in Digital Arts magazine.
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Friday, 23 January 2009

Friday, 23 January 2009

Kempt Selected for NESTA Mentoring Programme

We are very pleased to announce that Kempt has been selected as one of only 8 UK companies to receive regular mentoring assistance from two top-level industry executives via a pilot scheme run by NESTA as part of their "Raise the Game" initiative which aims to to help drive growth, collaboration and innovation in the UK video games industry.

"It's very difficult to articulate how important this is to Kempt and how privileged we feel to be selected" said Chris Kempt - MD and Founder of the company, "My team at Kempt have achieved some remarkable things over the last few years and I'm very pleased that NESTA have recognised this in accepting us for the scheme, it feels like getting an OBE or something!"

Under the scheme Kempt will be regularly assisted by two very able mentors: Games/mobile games industry entrepreneur John Chasey and Advertising industry heavyweight Steve Taylor who, over the next twelve months, will bring their considerable experience to bear in order to help Kempt to make their next big steps and become a truly world-class organisation.

John is a veteran from the mobile games industry (and the console games sector before that!). He founded award-winning mobile game studio IOMO and built it up before its acquisition in 2004 and after a stint with a NASDAQ listed corporate entity John is back working with a number of smaller entities including Kempt.

Steve has been innovating in media, broadcasting, publishing and communications for three decades. He is currently responsible for innovation at Aegis Media, the UK's most successful media agency group. He integrates strategic direction and leadership mentoring to help evolve and grow businesses, especially those in emerging digital and creative industries.

"It's an huge honour to be working with two individuals with John and Steve's experience and skill" said Chris, "I think the next twelve months will be extremely exciting for all of us, so watch this space!"

The "Raise the Game" mentoring scheme started in January and runs throughout 2009.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

FHM Award Nomination for Mouse of the Dead

I'm very pleased to announce that Mouse of the Dead, our opus project for Shockwave.com has been shortlisted in the FHM Web Game Awards 09.

The game which was released under our KillerViral label at the beginning of last year is a project that we're immensely proud of and we're very pleased that it's recieved this recognition from FHM.

We hope you'll play Mouse of the Dead at FHM.com and vote for it on the awards shortlist page.

Hope you enjoy it and thanks in advance for your vote!