Other Stories Archive

New Windows Phone TV Ads from Microsoft plus Stephen Fry

New from the US, these Windows Phone ads really sum up how my wife feels about me and my device.

Here’s hoping I can start living my life again…..

BTW – I was at the launch of the phone 7 on Monday.

As Ashley Highfield said on stage, it was “high risk” having Stephen Fry show up, but it seems to have done wonders to draw attention to the wider smartphone/tech ecosystem, especially as Stephen’s all about “biodiversity” in the technology space.

Listen to this excellent Guardian Tech podcast from the event by Jemima Kiss and Charles Arthur

And he most definitely didn’t get paid!!!

Here’s a link to my photos from the front row of the Windows Phone Launch and my fave below:


Newport in Wales YouTube Video Rap

Just seen M-J – she’s only 24!!! – on BBC News this morning so thought I’d share this hilarious spoof dedicated to the Welsh town of Newport.

Don’t worry if you’re from the other side of the pond………there are subtitles!

10 Celebrities, a Golf Course and a Bing Bus


Last week, I was asked to go and “do a bit of social media” at Dougray Scott’s Mini Masters golf tournament in aid of the charity Leuka, that the Bing UK were sponsoring.

I had no idea what to expect having never been to an event like it, but took my Kodak Zi8 and a microphone in the hope of catching someone to talk to.


Gianlucca Vialli played with our Bing team

Well as it turned out, we had a huge Bing bus right in the middle of Dukes Meadows Golf Course and a host of celebs became easy pickings for “a few words for the sponsors.”


Dougray Scott with a motley crew from Microsoft

In the video I talk to Hugh Grant, James Nesbitt, Tim Henman, Damian Lewis, Tim Lovejoy, Phil Glenister, Mark Nicholas, Rob Brydon and Gianluca Vialli.


Hugh are you?

Nearly all of them were very accommodating and gave us and the fabulous guys at Cherry UK some great material to edit. I say nearly all, because one gave me a bit of a runaround which, if you see me out and about I’d be happy to share, but not here!


Jimmy Nesbitt know how to party!

I needed a hook. Something about Bing to ask them and get a variety of responses.

So I came up with:

“What’s the best decision you’ve ever made?”

Geddit? Bing’s our “Decision Engine”……..anyway we got some great answers, so watch on!


Tim shared he’s not played tennis for 16 months!


James Walsh from Starsailor – he and his tour manager were delightful!

Already talk of us doing it all again next year……….so I’m off to the driving range!

Celebrating 5 years at Microsoft

Today marks my 5th year at Microsoft.

Here are some memories/highlights/milestones:

5 years ago – I got up early  – 4am – dragged myself to Waterloo, and caught the train with the fabulous, and now newly married, Nitin Hegde, to Paris where I witnessed the first ever ad go live from adCenter on MSN.fr. I then spent the next 2 days working with my colleague Clea Blockey, to upload Expedia’s French PPC campaign, ad group by ad group, as we didn’t have a bulk upload tool back then. 😉

After 7…………..yes 7 interviews, I had joined Microsoft from 24/7 Real Media as the 1st account manager for adCenter based in London. For the next 9 months I’d work with my boss – Julie Warburton – on hiring and training the acclaimed customer service team we have today.

Very proud of Mark Richardson, Chris Wallington, Ravleen Beeston, Colm Bracken and Lee Blyth for the work they’ve done over the years with that crackpot team.

Dixon JonesDixon Jones – Not in Vegas For a Change

4 years ago – I’d just got the community manager role for adCenter in EMEA. Essentially, I was going to work with my fabulous Redmond-based social media partner – Carolyn Miller – writing PPC blog posts and managing the adCenter forum.

One of the requirements was to seek out authorities in the industry and try and help them understand our business a bit better, figure out where the pain-points were, and feedback any insight to our product teams so they use it to make our products and services better.

I remember calling up Andy Atkins-Kruger and telling him about the new job and he said, “Oh well you much come to Iceland!”


Getting Serious with Viking Kristjan

Now, I knew Iceland was not a top priority for adCenter at the time and there was no way way I’d get permission to go, but Andy said some chap called Kristjan would pay for my trip if I promised to do a cracking presentation. The rest, as far as I’m concerned, goes down as a little bit of career history.

Spending time with Dixon Jones, Anne Kennedy, Shari Thurow, Chris Sherman, Andy, Brian Clifton, Mikkel deMib Svendsen, Sara Andersson and, of course, Kristjan, showed me just how amazing the search industry was, how smart everyone on was in it, and just how much work I had to do!


Dave Naylor – Drinking Chianti in San Jose

3 years ago – I was asked by Media Week to start writing a digital blog for them. I’d also started blogging from events and doing a lot of travel, talking about adCenter and search at conferences here and in the US. It was that year I got my British Airways Gold Card because I was piling on the points with trips to San Francisco, San Jose, New York, Toronto and Las Vegas.

Just loved Brett Tabke’s post on conference speaking tips. It inspired me to write one of my own.

DSC_0181 Rand Fishkin and Dog about 100 ft from that Volcano!

2 years ago – I set up a Twitter account and Facebook page for me, adCenter and Microsoft Advertising. I had a built a case for us going “off piste” and using 3rd parties – which were sometimes competitor tools – in order to spread our news and insight a bit further.

Thankfully my boss – Jenny Leahy – was opened minded and now we have nearly 20K fans and followers across those accounts that “listen-in” anytime we have something to say.

Interesting to look back on what I said about my 3rd year working on adCenter too.

Stephen Fry

Can’t Think Who he Means!

1 year ago – I’d just got back from Cannes where we’d taken a full film crew to cover the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. Jenny and I just picked up the microphone and went for it, interviewing folks in the street, Microsoft execs and agency folk about the event and blogging about their responses.

It was last year that I ran into a couple of my top 5 career highlights – interviewing Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter and of course Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer.

Can’t show you the last one, but it was showed internally and he didn’t disappoint!

Biz Stone

Biz Stone in Cannes

In 5 years I’ve seen us go from MSN Search, to Windows Live Search, to Live Search and now to Bing – much better brand don’t you think?!

The part of the business I work for has gone from MSN to Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions to Microsoft Advertising.

Windows 7 was launched, Windows Phone 7 is just around the corner and Kinect for Xbox 360 means people like me with no thumb dexterity can now compete in the living room. I spent 2 hours with Blaise, the man behind Deep Zoom and Photosynth and worked with the TED guys on TED@Cannes getting exclusive back stage access to the speakers.

Thinking about it, I reckon I’ve been responsible for well over 1000 blog posts across various sites.

But, most importantly………………….. I got married to the wonderful Ashley!!

I’m immensely proud of my time here as Microsoft. I think the 2 minute wrap up video from this year’s Cannes Lions says it all about how well we are positioned in digital advertising, and long may it continue.

When people ask what I do for Microsoft, I tend to say that I do a lot of talking, either online or in person.

I couldn’t and wouldn’t have been able to do my job with out the hundreds of people that have sat and listened to what I’ve had to say.

There are swathes of people who have turned up at conferences I’ve organised, been interviewed by me or contributed guest blog posts, that have retweeted our stuff or helped promote what Microsoft Advertising is about and how we can help marketers reach huge audiences and get a great ROI.

To all those folks…………a huge thank you for helping me do my job!

I’ve singled out a few people below – I may have missed a few though as, Oil of Olay aside, I am getting old!

Dixon Jones, Dave Naylor, Rich Sutcliffe, Gordon MacMillan, Rand Fishkin and Geraldine Everywhereist, Danny Sullivan, Brett Tabke, Ciaran Norris, Will Critchlow, Steve Barrett, Tamar Weinberg, Lee Odden, Jane Copland, Will Cooper, Kieron Matthews, Jack Wallington, Emma App-Thomas, Rishi Lakhani, Richard Gregory, Shari Thurow, Anne Kennedy, Kristjan Mar Hauksson, Andy Atkins-Kruger, Andrew Goodman, Andrew Girdwood, Matt McGowan, Kevin Ryan, Chris Winfield, Dave Snyder, Greg Boser, Jon Myers, Lisa Myers, Bas Van Den Beld, Mike Grehan, Chris Sherman, Mikkel deMib Svendsen, Brian Clifton, Sara Andersson, Eloi Cassali, Peter Young, Bill Hunt, Jim Sterne, Motoko Hunt, Ian Thomas, Joost de ValkJoanna Lord and Kate Morris plus loads and loads of others!!!

Thanks again and here’s to the next 5 years!!

Big Fan of Andrews Sykes Air Conditioning Marketing


These fans were being given out outside Victoria Station yesterday, and there were queues of people lining up to get their hands on one of them.

Andrews Sykes Air Conditioning were using a very simple tactic of using a useful direct marketing vehicle.

When the weather is overbearing you need air-conditioning, so why not spread your message with the next best thing……a fan.

Pretty sure all the offices along Victoria Street aren’t blessed with the igloo-type conditions we have in ours, so think they’ve probably got some business out of it.

Shame there’s no social media efforts on their site though.

Would have liked to see some online continuity with this great offline effort….

Links From My Other Blogs – 1


Decided to do this more often as I now write for a number of sites and have different audiences on each.

When I added up last year’s blogs contributions, I worked out I’ve been responsible for over 450 posts on digital advertising over the past 12 months!

Check ‘em out:

Media Week:

Announcing Beware the Big Turn Off

Cannes Lions 2010 – Digital Insights, Videos and Interviews

The Wall UK:

Video: Behind the Scenes at TED@Cannes

Social Media White Paper

Microsoft Advertising Blog:

Innovation in Mobile Experiences – Advertising and Windows Phone 7

Online Advertising in China Insight from Nokia and Procter and Gamble

Standing Room Only: The Rise of Rich TV at Cannes Lions 2010

More next week!

Your Freedom – Nick Clegg’s Government Law Change Site

Great idea!

Nick Clegg’s crowd sourcing site has caused quite a stir in this Web 2.0 world.

You Freedom

“We’ve had an excellent response so far, with over 2,205 ideas, 7,419 comments and 18,000 votes in our first day.”

Would like to have found it in the search results instead of mining it through news articles so am doing my bit for SEO – Your Freedom!

Get on it and help make a change!

Rob Green, Beckham’s Face, Obama, Twitter & the World Cup

So what was trending on Twitter in the UK an hour or so after Rob Green’s howler last night in the England football game with the USA?

trending No “Rob Green”…………..although I’m sure he’d made an appearance shortly after miss.

Checking out the Tweets related to David’s expression, there were a couple of photos circulating showing him disconsolate.

One just with David:Beckham And the other showing Barack Obama unable to contain his delight:

Obama Whether the Obama pic is a fake or not, I don’t know.

But it does go to show that visuals/photos can spread like wildfire on Twitter if they’ve scored a critical hit.

LA, TED Talks and Peter Gabriel


Digital Hollywood is going great here on Santa Monica beach in Los Angeles. The Loews Hotel is excellent and the digital discussion has been fast and furious.

I’ve cranked out about 5 posts so far.

Here are the top 3:

Multi-Screen Advertising Gets Upfront at Digital Hollywood

Video: Talking Advertising Accountability at Digital Hollywood 2010

Video: Xbox LIVE and Branded Entertainment at Digital Hollywood

The huge news from yesterday is that we’re hosting TED at Cannes this summer.

For anyone who doesn’t know about them, they run these talks where people from all walks of life come and share ideas to an live audience and the videos get seen my thousands across the web.

I download them to my Zune HD and watch them on the train.

One of my favourites is Blaise Aguera y Arcas from Microsoft (who I met a few years ago to discuss how best to demo Photosynth) talking about Bing Maps.

We are very excited about the TED event. We’ll have access to the speakers and will be interviewing and blogging from the venue too so check out our Cannes Lions 2010 page for updates.

Went out last night with my mate David McKimmie who was regaling stories of his latest movie exploits. He’s a post production supervisor for FOX and has just finished Wall Street 2 with Oliver Stone.

While were in Sushi Roku on Ocean, I spotted Peter Gabriel about 4 feet away.

I’m a huge fan, but reminded myself of how embarrassed I felt for interrupting Ian Botham’s dinner a few years ago in London.

I didn’t bother him.

But if I had, just think of what he could do with a Surface table at one of his live shows?!

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