Big Changes

Big things have happened in my life recently. For those of you who are out of the loop here is the quick catch up.

  • I’ve moved to Auckland
  • I’ve left STM
  • I’ve resurrected my own business
  • I’ve partnered with Andre (STM) and embarked on a new project.

For those of you who would like a bit more detail…

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Moved to Auckland

That’s right, I’ve moved to Auckland. After spending an overwhelming majority of my life living in Wellington, I’m now a Jafa. A pink shirt wearing, espresso sipping, Apple computing, lane swerving, Jafa, to be fair I was most of those things before the move, so I fit right in.

The main motivator for the move is my partner’s(Genevieve’s) career. Mind you, I’ve always wanted live in Auckland but the stars never aligned till now.

After a brief stay in the CBD, we have settled into a nice house in Newmarket and so far so good. Our house is in walking distance to everything you need, gym, cafe, bars, shops and the train station. There is even a little back yard for the cat.

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Left STM

After 5 years of service I’ve handed in my resignation at STM. Working for the best performance workshop  was a great opportunity, I look back at everything I’ve done and everything the STM team has achieved and I’m a little blown away. I’ll have to write a post about my time at STM at some stage.

Now I didn’t get away completely scot-free. I’ll still be heavily involved in STM’s marketing and business development for the foreseeable future, which I couldn’t be happier about.

Resurrected my old Business

Some of you may remember my business Refresh Online Media which I ran before I started work at STM. Refresh Online Media was essentially me designing websites, taking photos and running Ignition Magazine. To enable me to contract my services back to STM I’ve brought it back from the dead.

Next year sometime I’ll be looking for a few more freelance, marketing consulting clients.

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New Exciting Project

This is the piece of news that I’m most excited to shout about. Andre and I have teamed up to teach the world to tune. We are in the process of producing a series of high quality tuning lessons to be delivered as part of an online course.

Our first course is based on STM’s highly successful and wildly popular classroom EFI tuning training course, it teaches fundamental tuning principles, these are a collection of concepts that we feel are too often overlooked. The benefits of delivering the course online are numerous, international appeal, no travel costs, learn at your own pace to name a few. The online nature of the course will also allow us to provide a supportive community and follow up support to students as they start applying what they have learnt in real life situations.

This is something that both Andre and I have literally been talking about for years, I’m really happy we now have the opportunity to see it through.

So there you have it. That is what’s up.

ASB’s Great Mobile Banking App

Hands up who is sick of entering their username and password a million times a day to access your apps/banking/sites etc. Well say goodbye to one of those instances; your online banking.

Seems like ASB was actually listening to their customers while developing their banking app. The old version was pretty much a chopped up version of their website. Which meant every time you wanted to log on you had to enter your full username and password, with all my numerals and capitalisation (cause I’m ultra sneaky) it used to take ages to enter. This was my main gripe but the problems didn’t end there. The ASB website sure wasn’t optimised for the small screen at all and in sort everything was fiddly and annoying to do anything.

The new app solves the login side of things granting access with just a pin number. No username. No password. Just a five digit pin. This new light weight method means you can get almost instant access to your account.

This one feature removed my major bugbear with smartphone based banking. So the fact that ASB went all out and optimised almost every aspect of the web based service for the small screen was pure bonus!  They even introduced a service to pay your mates via their cell phone number, that’s smart bro!

I really appreciate a bank creating something truly useful.

Redbull F1 driver David Coulthard on New Jersey Streets

Redbull F1 driver David Coulthard blasts through the Lincoln Tunnel and around New Jersey streets in this amazing video.

The BTS clip of the car playing The Star-Spangled Banner

A really interesting behind the scene video.

Powerade Challenge Wellington

STM’s Doug Goodall gave me the heads up on Powerade’s most recent interactive marketing efforts. So I signed up to see what it’s all about.

The Gist
In its simplest form the Powerade Challenge is a running race, you can start your race at anytime you like. Competitors sign up online and are sent an RFID rubber bracelet. Competitors swipe their bracelet at check point A (the start). Run 8km along a predefined course and then swipe again at checkpoint B (the finish). Competitors times are automatically posted to an online leader board. Clever that the check points are Powerade machines.

Interesting Bits
The fastest runners to complete the course are given encouragement on a LCD Powerade billboard. Competitors go into the draw for Powerade prizes. The things you can do with RF bracelets are pretty insane, I feel like I’m living in the future.

Bits I liked

  • The website looks great, loads quickly and is easy to operate.
  • The concept in general, every competitor is dedicating a huge chunk of their time (at least 20mins) getting involved with Powerade’s brand. That is an extremely hard thing to achieve in the info overload, content cluttered times we live in.   

Downer

  • The info pack I got sent looked average. A plain envelope with colour laser printed map and info page really didn’t fit with the rest of the campaign, Maybe they ran out of budget?

Campaign Main Website

Brand consistant confirmation email

The sweet branded RF bracelet

Average laser printed info pack, sent in plain envelope

Couldn’t have picked a better morning.

The start / finish line.

Powerade branding is prevalent along the entire course’

While some people sleep, I run. Powerade went crazy on the bus stop media buys. Each bus top along the course displayed a Powerade ad front and back.

Obviously using some kind of black magic, this bill board scrolls encouragement.

Just incase you thought you were off track, Powerade points you in the right direction.

The bus stop adverts facing you on the way back to the finish spout motivational slogans.

Swiped my bracelet at the end of the course and revived a free Powerade. Hell Yeah!

When I got home I checked my time online. Very slick.
All in all, I loved getting involved with the campaign. Anyone who knows me, knows I appreciate the small details and almost all the bases were covered. This promotion really blew me away congrats to Powerade’s marketing team.
Oh and the guys over at Stoppress wrote a piece on this interactive marketing campaign if you want more info.
Anyone going to give it a try?

Power Moves – Phones, Headphones, Fast Cars and Snowboarding

Welcome to ‘Power Moves’ part deuce, this time I sit down with Jasper Chung and shoot the shit. I’ve known Jasper since high school, our paths first crossed while competing in a downhill mountain biking competition over the years we have continued to shared similar interests, cars, snow, hip hop, balla status shaving products, video editing, design and the like.

Note Jasper is the talent behind the STM video intro.

Without further ado here is the list of random awesome we spoke about last Saturday night over gin and tonics, Sapporo and Mac n Cheese. Oh and Genevieve and Brittney are here too, talking about boob, jobs Kim and Kanye while sipping on Villa Maria.

  • G has recently broken her beloved iPhone, she is looking to fix it with some replacement glass and a sweet golden surround.

  • Recently Jasper got himself a Subaru STi Forester, he attributes the purchase to the video below.
  • Following along the broad transport theme Brittany, is involved in designing the interior of the new Auckland EMU Train project. Go her!
  • Genevieve is getting a pimple.
  • We got talking about the old HP commercials and how some design institute in New Zealand poorly imitated the concept.
  • Jasper bought up the Holden Captiva commercial and how it’s a blatant shot for shot copy of the Forza Motorsport Autovista.  Even the sounds are the same.
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  • We then got to talking about some really fast cars, check out the Venom from Hennessey Performance which thrashes a Bugatti to 200MPH. Venom 0 – 200 mph in 15.9 sec. (Bugatti Veyron = 24.2 sec.).
  • On another note, doesn’t Steven Taylor look like a chick? Check the photo below from the Venom GT site and you decide!

  •  We spoke for a while on how low you can go and still maintain without your car becoming a pain in the arse. It was the classic form vs function debate.
  • Jasper gave props to my Friend Taryn’s MX5 and the photos I did for Hella Flush. Thanks 🙂
  • G and I have recently purchased a Toyota bB, which is sold in the States as a Scion xB. Scion have a really interesting marketing strategy called “Scion Tuner Challenge” It’s a cool concept.  Anyway when G and I visited Sema last year one of the entries was the Pit Boss Cartel i2, imagine having this at the track, boss indeed.  Jasper described this as a dude magnet.

  • Right back on to the supercar buzz, we spoke about AMS and their Alpha packages for the Nissan R35 GTR. Side note: The guys at AMS were nice enough to take us out to dinner at Tau when were in Vegas, cheers guys!  The Alpha 10 package starts at $63k USD not including labour which seems like a bunch of money, but when you consider you can pick up a stock R35 GTR for about $85kNZD and add the Alpha 10 Package for less than $100k NZD you would be blowing the doors off Bugatti Veyrons all day for under $200k NZD
  • On the same page, this photo blows me away every time I look at it.  Underground Racing have 1000hp+ upgrade packages for all sorts of exotic super cars

  • Speaking of awesome garages, Joe’s Garage down on Tory Street is awesome, I’ve gone there the last couple of weekends had a great coffee and stole their wifi. My favorite drink at the moment is a chocolate coffee milkshake, it’s killer.
  • Jasper spends his days creating great videos and films, so he knows whats “hawt”. He loves the sweet edits in these drag racing videos from Drag Times Info.
  • When you are working on a video for up to 70hours a week you need a good set of headphones. When in the market for new gadget Jasper is one of those guys who spends hours of reading reviews and scouring the internet for the best option. On his search he found a crazy amount of headphones endorsed by rappers. Got any more to add to the list?
    1. Luda – http://soulelectronics.com/en/
    2. 50 Cent – http://www.smsby50.com/
    3. Dr Dre – http://beatsbydre.com/
    4. Rza –  http://wesc.com/stuff/wesc-x-rza-chambers-by-rza-3
  • After relentless searching he scored himself a pair of Audio Technica M50s which have no rapper endorsement. They provide great studio quality monitoring and unlike my Beats by Dre provide absolutely no sound leakage.
  • I got sick of skin irritation after shaving, while I was in the States last year found a shop that sells products dedicated to better shave. Shave like a boss with the awesome range products from ‘Art of Shaving‘.

  • We spoke about Kick Starter, for those of you who don’t know its a social funding platform. Jasper and I first heard  about it after finding Cineskates. More recently there was a very popular iPhone dock project. The company aimed to raise $75k but ended up with $1.5m. How is that for the power of community? Now the “investors” are complaining about late delivery, I’m of the opinion they need to pipe down or help out, Kickstarter is an investment tool not a store front.
  • Japser just bought his awesome cat Ruby a cat bed, I wish these came in human size, how comfortable does that look!

  • Until I got my Casio G-Shock I wasn’t a ‘watch guy’ at all. Since then though I’ve been really into watches, there are some amazing timepieces out there. Check out this HYT Fluid Luxury Watch.

  • As some of you will know I plan to snowboard for at least 10 days this year. Jasper will be my boarding buddy for at least a few of those. We both decided we need helmets although both for different reasons neither because we are hardcore. Jasper doesn’t like beanies and I reckon I’ll bail attempting to dismount the chair.
Has anyone got any recommendations? We have been looking at the following:
  • Speaking of hitting the snow, check out Jon Olsson’s blog, the guy is an awesome Skier. (He is the guy that drifts his Audi & Lambo in the snow). I’m really impressed with his sponsor list too; Audi, Redbull, Douche Bag to name a few. He has recently posted up a bunch of Gumball 3000 shots that are worth a look.
  • Final point. One of Jaspers work mates edited, produced and stared in the following Wellington skate video. Check it out.

That’s all folks. Until next time.

Power Moves – Apps, Business and Photography among other things

Dunx and I used to flat together out in Petone, our tastes are crazy similar. Every so often we catch up over dinner and talk about things going on in our lives and the world around us. We reckon we chat about some pretty interesting things so this time we noted it all down to share.

  1. We spoke about turning off all phone notifications.  As most of the notifications aren’t urgent and are often distracting.
  2. Tim Ferris wrote a pretty interesting book on creating a 4 hour work week.  That’s right 4 hours of work a week!
  3. G’s going to write up a bunch of beauty tips given to her by her mum. Look out for them on her blog
  4. Duncan spied my Nugget’s dyno sheet. 206kW at the wheels! STM Yeah boy!
  5. Maggi Ten Minute Marinades are so delicious and easy.  Just marinade chicken for ten minutes and then bang it on the BBQ.
  6. We discussed how much time we were “investing” in Instagram, check us out at @senbilcock, @genevievenz and @duncanrouke
  7.  I bought myself a G Shock while I was in Canada a couple of months ago, Dunx mentioned that The Hundreds have just put out their own G Shock.
  8. Dunx is a pretty kick arse wedding photographer and on that subject he showed me Logan McMillian a kiwi film maker that makes sick same day wedding video edits that the bride and groom can watch at their reception.  He was also the guy who made the Hell Pizza YouTube pick-a-path video marketing campaign.
  9. Speaking of marketing, I’m going back to school.  Extramurally of course.  My first paper is business statistics.  Fun fun.
  10. Did you know the newest Adobe Photoshop has this awesome content aware scaling feature? I didn’t, Dunx did. Watch this video to see the full explanation.
  11.  G always complains about our super high power bill, so Duncan recommend the Powerswitch website and the Powershop website to change to a cheaper supplier.
  12. Duncan told us about Sushi B, a sushi place in town that has an awesome selection of delicious sushi. After 3pm all pieces are only 1 buck each! Bonus.
  13. Dunx is looking to edit videos like I’ve been doing for STM(like this and this).  I recommend Final Cut Pro X as its SOOOOO easy to us. It’s pretty much iMovie on steroids.
  14. Wunderlist is a new to-do app that I have been using.  It syncs to your iPad, iPhone and Mac.  The same company has an exciting collaboration project in the works called Wunderkit, I’ve seen the public beta and it looks choice.
  15. I open programs on my Mac using an app called Alfred it’s crazy fast. Hat tip to Hayden from Leftfield Interactive who told me about it.
  16. Duncan is going to setup the Multi Desktop feature on his mac, so I suggested the Incase wall paper page as it has some beautiful wallpapers
  17. Genevieve is going to start uploading folders of photos on here Genevieve Warburton Facebook page.  To increase interaction from her fans.
  18. Duncan and I spoke about the Social Fresh Academy, which is an online social media training centre.
  19. Dunx showed me his new Wedding photography website.  I gave him some feedback regarding search engine optimization.  The basics like page titles and image alt tags are important.  Also a page with all photos isn’t going to rank as high as a page with some text.
  20. Duncan is going to have a stand at the Wedding expo, we spoke about running a really compelling offer to drum up some business for next year.
  21. Both Duncan and I drive a long way on a daily basis, to utilize this time I listen to pod casts during the trip.  I’ll publish a list of my favorites soon.
  22. We spoke about sending online advertising traffic to a specific conversion page (Like Unbounce).  This give you the ability to test and improve the conversion.
  23. My mate Pedey put me onto “Ski-On Neon” an incredibly addictive iPhone game.
  24. There are heaps of social media tools out there, when I went on holiday to the states a couple of months ago, I used Sendible to schedule all the STM Facebook photos and posts.  It doesn’t look as slick as some of the others but I found it had more complete features.  G uses Hootsuite.
  25. This year as per my New Years resolutions I will be up the Mountain to snowboard a few times, turns out this is one of Duncan’s goals too.  Snow team assemble!
  26. The last thing we spoke about was making money from blogging and being online, Duncan brought up this chick Gala Darling, a girl from the Hutt who is making it big overseas.

That’s all folks. Until next time.

Yellow’s illuminated billboard

Yellow, previously known as Yellow Pages have been around for ages. Long before the days of Google, the Yellow Pages were the first stop when you were looking for business details. I can’t remember the last time I used a Yellow Pages service successfully, any how. Remember the Tree House Restaurant and the award winning Yellow Chocolate campaign, well this is Yellow’s latest, an illuminated bill board.

The billboard is targeting businesses rather than viewers, which I find odd as they have one of the biggest business directories in NZ. Anyways, http://beeverywherekiwislook.co.nz/ goes to a flash website, as I’m on my iPad I can’t see exactly what it’s up to.

Here is a quick video of the billboard.

Do 2.4million kiwis really use Yellow?

ASB’s Social Banking, welcome to the future.

I’ve been with ASB for ages now, I choose to bank with ASB because at the time, their logo and design appealed to me more than any other.  Since then other banks have re-branded stepping up their cool status.   Not to be out down however ASB launched the “Virtual Teller” on Facebook.  Oh yeah, FB so hawt right now.   I first found out about ASB’s social launch when they won a “Best Use” award over at Social Media NZ, and I decided to give the Virtual Teller a go myself.

I went in with a goal of getting a new credit and EFTPOS card, the concept is pretty straight forward, agree to the app terms, pick a teller, a chat window opens up and you converse until all your questions and requests are met.  One major inconvenience I found was remembering my “password”, my teller reminded me it was “a password you gave us when you set up your account” and continued to help me through the process as a randomly guessed all my common passwords from the last 7 years.

In conclusion I like the concept, it’s so damn futuristic, kind of like using the robot checkout chicks at Pak’n’Save.  My question is why is this on Facebook and not inside the safe ‘n’ secure Fastnet (ASB’s online banking) then you could do away with all the frustrating ” what is your password” bullshit.  Is this just away for ASB to show they are still hip?

Brings me to a point, how come banks don’t use email marketing? Do you think it’s them pesky spammers who have ruined email marketing for banks?

Oh and I made this video, pretty choice.

http://socialmedianz.com/best-use-award/2010/10/14/asb-bank-best-use-of-social-media-award-october-winner/trackback/