JP's Random Thoughts on Bell, Starbucks...

Starbucks " Brazil Ipanema Bourbon" - sounds yummy doesn't it? What a name for a coffee. I'm sure it's not that much different than other Brazilian coffees, but it sounds interesting enough to make me want to try it. And I might like it better just because my brain was given the chance to like it better before I even tried it. Black Apron Exlusives - another great name (this for a line of coffees). They sound special. I can only get them at Starbucks so they sound intriguing (Why can't I get them anywhere else? What do they know that no one else does?). On the page for it - they have a link to "Art Revealed." Apparantly they changed the look of the bags? Like it? You can download it as a wallpaper. What a great way to let people extent their experience. Which brings me to the thought trigger of this rambling post. Stampede last night - yahoo! (For non-Calgarians: apparently "yahoo" or "yehaw!" is the thing to say. For the record, I didn't say it once last night.) We haven't been the last few years, so we want this year. Maryruth, Heather, Rob (Heather's new husband or vice versa), and I. It was enjoyable. Food, walking, it was really hot. No pics! I don't know what happened. We didn't take the camera and I didn't use my camera on my mobile. Again, I don't know how that happened. Anyways, one of the things we did was go into the Bell "Rodeo X" monstrosity of a tent. "Rodeo X" is "X" for "cool, unamed, l33t thingy" (like the "X games") and "Rodeo" is because we're at the stampede. Still can't figure it out? Of course not - it's a marketing buzz name. It's just guys on BMXes (bikes) doing jumps and tricks. It's in a HUGE tent. And, of course, they have all the Bell products (TV, mobiles, etc.). It was cool and way too loud (or I'm getting too old - don't know which) but the bike tricks were really cool: flips, huge jumps, 540s (as in rotating 540 degrees) and the control of the guys on the bikes was crazy. Some of it would put acrobats to shame (seeing a guy do a 10' jump spinning 360+ degrees and then stopping - yes, full stop - on his landing balancing on his rear wheel only? say what?). Bell Convergence Anyways, all this to get to my point: they had several camers and were projecting the real-time video feeds on a big screen (especially useful since some of the construction for the jumps was 20' tall and too big to see around). They would sometimes cut in an instant replay but VERY rarely. And they had "downtime" after 1 guy's ride (1 guy at a time would go through the course and do different tricks) and they would be a pause before the next guy started. Hit me with the replay again! Don't show him huffing and puffing (I mean good for him, but his pants are too big and his underwear is showing - I'd rather watch the trick again than watch him). The did 1 thing that got me thinking: they played a video on the screen a few times of a guy doing a trick. It was a "new trick" without a name. Text message (only on your Bell mobile) your suggested name in. Great idea (other than being only Bell mobiles - but I'm not bitter that I couldn't do it, no sirree, I'm above that)! Crux So: here's my crux: this is Bell. Bell has TV (so they have some expertise around video feeds, instant replay, etc.) including PVR (fancy pause live-TV stuff and play video-on-demand [like renting without leaving the couch]). Bell has wireless (so they know how to deliver music to your phone [Rob has Bell for his mobile and he apparently bought 1 song for a ringtone and paid $100 for it without realizing it. Ouch!]). Mobile So, where is the mobile page where I can see each of the coolest replays on my mobile phone and "take it home" with me? Where is the option to watch the live feed on my phone (cuz my phone can do that) instead of craning my neck to the jumbo-tron - or, more likely, after I've left the booth and am waiting in some really long line (or crammed on the C-Train on the way home), I can watch what is going on over in the tent from my phone (I'm at the Bell tent without being at the Bell tent - you've just "virtually multiplied" your tent size by 4,8, 20 whatever!). Where is the option to email the coolest clips to a friend (or a blog like this so I don't have to butcher it with my poor description)?? (I just checked Google and they don't even have a website! But some pictures posted by a fan/watcher on Flickr here: - they SO missed out on an opportunity - obviously someone was interested enough to post pictures.) Where is the option to vote from my phone for the best clips and have them change order? Or, in real-time have the riders put together a "fan-favorite" ride from the votes to close out a session? Why can't I text the riders (give 'em all free mobile phones) and suggest tricks? Snap out parts of the text conversation and put it on screen. Let the riders snap photos of each other on the cameras and text them to the screen (or website or blogs or audience members...) *stops for a breath* Video? Video? Don't even get me started. More replays. Some extra titles (they said the peoples' names but it was WAY to loud too hear - so put their names up and their websites [all Bell branded of course]). Give me video clips on my phone with a little application to edit them together that I can submit to YouTube, my blog, a bell website, or real-time back to the jumbo-tron (many mobile phones already have basic video editing software built-in). Or put a video-editing booth right there and let people give direction to the guy running it. Or let participants run it for a bit (many of the kids have already played with Adobe Premiere or something like it school anyways). Or hand out DVDs of the best stuff (or, in true Stampede fashion, try to sell them for a stupid amount of money [oh wait, that wouldn't work]). You think it's Hard? This stuff isn't hard. You take 1 geek and 1 Mac and you've got the video part done. You take another geek and you've got the web stuff done. A third geek (or maybe a couple) do the server and wiring and stuff to make it work. So, this ginormous tent probably cost Bell $100,$200k to do. Maybe more. These geeks would cost you maybe $10k for the weeked (plus the hardware and some pre-work) - OK, let's get crazy and spend $20k on them AND, that's assuming that you don't just send around some emails at Bell and find the geeks who are sitting in front of customer service phones and doing this kind of thing at home on the weekend and just itching for the chance to do it right and in front of a real audience on someone else's dime ("You want me to do that and get paid for it? Really? Put me in coach!"). For $20k you've bought way more "hook" and "eyeballs" and interest that you would get for a portion of your marketing budget - say $250k - that you spend on the rest of the year trying to connect to people. I bet you that $20k would give your about as much impact as those animated beavers (which, including voice talent and TV time and production cost WAY more than 1/4 million). They have the budget and the expertise and the opportunity. So it's easy to take the last step. Oh yeah, you need the guy with ideas who talks to the manager who says "yes." That's the hard part, isn't it?

Friday, July 13, 2007, 12:00 AM

tagged: bell, constraints, convergence, flickr, interaction, lateralthinking, stampede, starbucks