Orange’s new (or relatively new) Orange Rock Corps idea is true brand participation genius. Compared to the heavy handedness of it’s “I am” campaign, this ticks all the right boxes for me – mixing the idea of “community” (and real life connections – at the heart of any mobile operator’s values) with a healthy dose of entertainment, fun and most importantly “social action” (the new rock n roll for today’s middle classes).
Monthly Archives: July 2008
Last weekend’s Secret Garden Party had
a few usual suspect guests absent from the festival. Brands were nowhere to be
seen, and if they were there, they were virtually
invisible to the human eye.
The brand-less festival let a few hundred artists emerge for
attention, and allowed the mass of quirky creative ideas shine through. Instead
of tribute banners to lager, you’d find Action Camps inviting guests to make
their own superhero costume, listen to an experimental musician or watch a
I peeked at one tent, a retail outlet for cigarettes, one of
the more unpopular destinations, who was forbidden to showcase any branding,
and was so minimal that you didn’t even realize that the venue was selling
cigarettes at all. I thought 02 or Orange may have been secretly sponsoring the
mobile charging stations, but it turns out that these were also independents,
staffed by volunteers who were running the gadget-charging facilities on solar
Nope, no brands in sight.
Did I miss them? Hell no!
With Glastonbury becoming a parade of brands and many
attendants getting irritated by the brands-in-your-face that some festivals has
become, the UK’s summer festival lovers are seeking out new places to enjoy a
goodtime without the brands. Want proof? Check the ticket sales that for the
first year in a long time did not sell-out for Glastonbury immediately, and
consider the number of artists that decided to tour The Secret Garden Party,
Bestival, Latitude and The Big Chill – instead of Glastonbury. The Independent
is calling some of the smaller festivals examples of “Poshstock”.
Granted, smaller size (Secret Garden Party had about 7K
attendants to Glastonbury’s 200K +) means the organizers don’t need as much
sponsorship as Glastonbury requires to manage the masses. The Secret Garden
party does trump its horn about its brand-less status, and, as a guest artist
performing at SGP, my own suggestion to get a sponsor for our bit of the
festival – an all-female revue of The Wind in the Willows, was not accepted,
with good reason. Still, the festival has to be funded somehow, and here is a
breakdown of how they split profits from ticket and drink sales:
Music and Performance: 19%
Sound, Stages and Lights: 10%
Decoration and Sculpture: 6%
Event Staff: 17%
Mangement Team: 10%
Event Running Fees: 11%
What’s the secret to success? Seems this formula
is working for Secret Garden Party, and the other secret to success is having
private land to party on semi-legally. The secret location is at Abbots Ripton
Hall, near Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, and the property belongs to wealthy land
holders of the ancestral family of 4th Baron de Ramsey, specifically John
Ailwyn Fellowes, who’s son Freddie Fellowes, is one of the Head Gardeners who makes the
Here’s ten quick peeks at what I did enjoy at the
beautifully brand-less Secret Garden Party:
oOOo Dancing in the sunset on top of the lake at the
Pagoda venue to the tunes of up-and-coming DJ Marshall Hackett, who was dressed
up like a cuddly cat. Top favourite were his re-mixes of 70s classics like
Funky Town. Listen to Marshall’s set here.
oOOo Skanking to the brassy funky soulful beats
of The Fontanas , and having a fireside chat with
lead singer Gavin Skeggs and finding out that he is also in a band called The
Tarantinos, inspired by
Quentin Tarantino’s films.
oOOo Getting a huge kick out of the performance
antics and musical skills of The Ratfinks who delivered big sound and big fun.
oOOo Watching the pyro-technical extravaganza of the
Pirate Ship getting blown-up, a very Burning Man-esque moment.
oOOo Hanging out in the tree house of the Where The
Wild Things Are venue.
oOOo Making a cape at the Superhero Action Camp,
making a carnival hat at another Action Camp and listening to Green political
talks at the Green Action Camp.
oOOo Not spending endless amounts of time waiting in
queues for food, drink and loos.
oOOo Bumping into many friends, something that is
less likely to happen at Glastonbury, where everyone gets lost in the crowd.
oOOo Unwinding in the Lost Horizons sauna.
And…performing in my company Hai
Media Group’s all-female revue of The Wind in the Willows – we were a
hit! The cast and crew presented adventures of the lovable Toad, Ratty, Mole,
Badger and supporting Weasels and Rabbits, festival style, including inviting
the audience to feast on a banquet at our make believe Toad Hall. Here’s some quick peeks from our show:
*Photos courtesy of photographer Jim Hanner
Lucy Lowe as Ratty
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The Wind in the Willows Rabbits
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Still grooving on the Secret Garden Party,
A mate of mine sent me a mail about the new iPint campaign from Carling. If you haven’t seen it, iPint is a v.cool iPhone app which basically pours you a virtual pint of Carling. It’s one of those great ideas that is naturally viral – with people naturally talking about it + mailing each other about it. Congratulations Carling and Beattie McGuinness Bungay – the agency that created it.
Congratulations to a point. Although the creative concept is great, Carling and BMB just don’t seem to understand how to execute and manage viral campaigns. Two main things annoy me about the execution of this campaign:
1) The content isn’t as shareable as it should be: for example, the video demo of iPint is embeded in the Carling.com website without any easy way to share it, and embed it in blogs etc. as it uses an old school proprietary video player and not a video sharing platform like YouTube.
2) Carling are stopping users from sharing their content: I only know this as when I Googled “iPint” and it came up with a clip on YouTube with the following description: ” iPint game for iPod touch showing the accelerometer to simulate a pint of beer!Keeps my daughter entertained!”. Of course I thought this was pure viral gold-dust for the brand, so immediately clicked the link to then only find out that it had been pulled down from YouTube by Carling for being copyrighted material.
It was at this point that my opinion of Carling and BMB turned from viral geniuses to viral dumbasses. Why on earth would Carling want to stop brand advocates from sharing their branded viral content with friends on YouTube?
Carling and BMB got so close to creating viral nirvana, but seem to have shot themselves in the foot at the last hurdle. So near, yet so far . . .
Kenneth Grahame, the author of The
Wind in the Willows be delighted or disgusted to know that his fairy tale classic
for children has had a makeover? His four main anthropomorphised animal
characters Toad, Badger, Ratty and Mole will be played by a cast of
entertaining women who are hell bent on making their own version of the tale
company the Hai Media Group has produced and cast a new cabaret show that takes inspiration from the lazy days of life
along the river in the very English countryside adventure story. I’m playing
Toad of Toad Hall and will present this magical story, that evokes the best of
pastoral English settings for summer, to quote the book:
“Believe me, my young friend,
there is NOTHING–absolutely nothing–half so much worth doing as simply
messing about in boats.” –The Wind in the Willows
oOOo Who’s Who in the Cast?
- Toad played by me, Lisa Devaney
- Badger played by Mary Epworth, lead singer with her
Jubliee Band, on the Hand of Glory record label
- Mole played by Cheyne Pride, a country rock singer
- Ratty played by Lucy Lowe
- Weasel, played by Ali Rawlings, aka Punk Rock Dolly
are merrily on our way to The Secret Garden Party, bringing a
cast of colourful, loveable, characters who will treat guests to a scrumptious
feast of sight and sound at none other than that magical childhood place Toad
Hall. Greeting weary travellers who come from far and wide across this great
green land of Britain, and beyond, will be our joyful celebration, of dancing,
and a spectacular banquet table, in a place to revel.
debut our all-female revue of The Wind in the Willows at The Secret
Garden Party, arts and music festival this week, where Grace Jones is the
headline act. Our show is among a talented line-up of music acts that will be
part of the ‘Come and Play’ area of the festival – a collection of tents that
invite guests to play with arcade games, or interact with the performances
happening around them.
“The Mole was bewitched,
entranced, fascinated. By the side of the river he trotted as one trots, when
very small, by the side of a man who holds one spell-bound by exciting stories;
and when tired at last, he sat on the bank, while the river still chattered on
to him, a babbling procession of the best stories in the world, sent from the
heart of the earth to be told at last to the insatiable sea.” –The Wind in
before our guest’s eyes will be a dining table, gigantic banquet table, as only
would suit Toad of Toad Hall to entertain, along with his friends, all evoking
the magical memories of childhood favourite tale The Wind in the Willows. White table cloth, OTT décor and upon this marvellous
display, unexpected delights – of poetry reading, dancing and comedy skits,
played out spontaneously, between sets of live music.
you are planning to attend The Secret Garden Party, please plan to see our
performance – scheduled for 8 PM, this Thursday, July 24th, at the
‘Come and Play’ area. We’ll plan to keep in character and costume for the
night, so stop by after setting up your campsite and dive deep into this
festival’s creative spirit, and come play with us.
arrived, liked the look of the place, took up their quarters, settled down,
spread, and flourished. They didn’t bother themselves about the past–they
never do; they’re too busy.” –The Wind in the Willows
the night’s line-up:
hrs – 19:30 hrs Simon Harris aka DJ Bomber
19:30 hrs – 20:25
hrs The Ratfinks
20:30 hrs – 20:50
hrs The Wind in the Willows by Hai Media Group
20:50 hrs – 21:45
hrs Kid Id
22:00 hrs – 23:00 hrs The
23:00 hrs – 00:00 hrs
DJ Bomber/ I Heart What?
00:00 hrs – 01:00
hrs Chin Supressor
01:00 hrs – 02:00
and Play’ is an exciting new festival venue, which has been put together by the
team responsible for bringing Eco-Arcadia to events throughout the UK for the
last 5 years. Join in the welcoming feast of the festival, or just sit back,
relax and unwind after your travels, to watch the silly, festive antics unfold,
enjoy the music, and dine! Dine! Dine! Upon festival delights.
only question is – are you a Rabbit or a Weasel? Pick one or the other, and
join us! Whiskers and bunny ears will be supplied, or bring your own to be a
participant in our version of The Wind
in the Willows.
never the wrong time to call on Toad. Early or late he’s always the same
fellow. Always good-tempered, always glad to see you, always sorry when you
go!” -The Wind in the Willows
Many thanks to Kate Risker, aka the fabulous Miss Risk, who invited Hai Media Group to present this performance at The Secret Garden Party.
proud & stupid Toad am I,
Orange has eschewed the campaign URL in its latest campaign “I am”
where the payoff asks consumers to search for “I am everyone”. When you
do, you get a paid link to click on. The first natural link however, is for a site called “I am bored”, and there is no sign of Orange in the natural rankings at all.
As a control test, I searched for ‘minimise-me’, MRM Worldwide UK’s
latest work for Windows Live Messenger, and the URL
www.minimise-me.com is number 1 link, as indeed are all the following
links (on Google). I was amazed to find that minimise-me and the
personalisable emoticons dominated the top 100 search listings -
literally, 90+ of the top 100.
Both these campaigns broke around the same time, with probably very different budgets and indeed objectives. If getting online ‘buzz’ was an objective for both campaigns (quite possible), I’d have to say Windows Live Messenger is winning by a country mile. You can see pictures at www.participationmarketing.co.uk. So which is the more clever campaign?
Ben Pullen With Fan of Horror Film Walker Stalker:
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Stalker, is available for download to your mobile phone:
Text HORROR to 63456
caught up with Ben this week to find out what he’s been getting up to with new films, and
to get some feedback about his first experience in venturing onto the Third
Screen mobile phone format. Here’s a peek at our conversation:
new with Sentinel?
Sentinel, right now, we are a little bogged down in shepherding through two
short films for the UKFC – it’s a hard slog but we are working with some
really, really talented people.
just finished filming a five-minute short directed by Vanessa Caswill, who’s “Pudding Bowl” short film was well received at Cannes
Festival. She’s a 4Talent award winner, and has been announced as a finalist in
this year’s Moondance Film Festival, Reykjavik International Film Festival, and
Filmstock International Film Festival. She is going on to bright things I
reckon – she has a very unique eye on the world.
film was also designed by Livi Vaughan who does some of the design for Punch Drunk
Theatre’s amazing London theatre “experiences” at the BAC.
are cutting a wonderful 10 minute film written by Billy MacKinnon (Small Faces/Hideous
Kinky) with a truly fantastic score by the preposterously talented
Johnny Flynn, one of the spearheads of the “new folk” vibe. It was shot
on a RED camera and the results are breathtaking – it’s a real breakthrough
for digital film formats.
a bunch of features are in development – we are still busy getting Walker
Stalker into shape in it’s feature incarnation of ICU – on draft three and still it still has
a way to go. There is a really exciting tie-in with the game we are developing
for Walker Stalker, with a Brighton company, to compliment the film. It’s important to get it right
because the film revolves around this game…which is basically like Pacman,
very excited about a Bollywood project we have based on a best selling book
about a young English rose on the make in Bollywood, it’s Borat meets Bridget
I’m putting finance together on a Spanish thriller set in Barcelona about a mute
hitman who wants to go straight – this one is…
Kill Bill meets Old Boy!
Kill Bill meets Old Boy
oOOo How long have you been in the business and what titles
have you produced?
been making films since 93’ when I graduated form drama school. I
acted until 2004 then set up Sentinel Entertainmenet, with partner. I’ve produced two series for mobile phones,
CORPSE and WALKER STALKER, which went out on ZoneHorror’s WAP
site domestically and also through Player X internationally.
also just done two short films for the UKFC’s New Cinema Fund which promotes and
backs new talent.
are your favourite film directors?
Wes Anderson, David Lynch
thought it was a legitimate route into the film industry – and we didn’t want
to make shorts that no one would buy and we wanted to raise finance on the back
of a convincing business plan. In 2005/6 it was still a brave new world in
mobile, when this project started, and we were excited by the possibilities of
a new platform for film distribution as was the whole of the Telco Industry.
The possibilities were endless, and remain so, for filmmakers producing content
for the Third Screen.
has the consumer response been for mobile?
consumer response for our content has been modest! I attribute this to having
micro budgets to work with and very limited marketing spend – the rules of the
established audiovisual industry have applied themselves here. If you are not
an established brand and do not have significant marketing spend you can easily
get lost. We have stuck to horror genres to make the word-of-mouth easier to
generate and to ensure the target audience was the right demographic, ie.
young. However, a good month for us is still only 1000 downloads, it’s not
oOOo What was the biggest challenge in producing for mobile?
And can you share tips for others who may be contemplating working in this
challenge was to produce not just for mobile but to have a 360 degree take
on our projects. Being able to deliver to Mobile/Internet/TV/Film is quite
a task and requires a good degree of planning. It’s also expensive if you
don’t monetize thoroughly. If it were just for mobile it would be very different
and we would be out there with handy cams and laptops churning away.
If you are a commercial film maker then knowing the mobile content market
is all important.
it short and lively, so people won’t put the phone down, format being – two
minutes of laughter/violence/sex/animals/live anything is great mobile content.
We have a killer app. In terms of content which entirely breaks that rule, but
I think it will go down a storm – early days at the moment but we are convinced
its going to satisfy a need.
biggest tip I could pass on is to know the audience and to be able to make
the content for next to nothing!
you think the ‘third screen’ as the industry calls it, will be a viable new format for indie filmmakers?
have bet huge R&D budgets on it! Everyone thinks it will happen and
have done so for the last four years. Sentinel are moving away from it now,
except as a marketing element. Making money in Mobile video content for
filmmakers are a long way off – unless you are a Bob Guccione sort of
filmmaker. Indie filmmakers who want to make stories that redefine the way we
think about the world and move us deeply should stay on the Internet I would
it a viable format for advertisers to support with their brands, and how might you see this incorporated with a film like Walker
yes YES. It’s all about the branding! As I mentioned, we now look at
mobile as more of a marketing tool, and we write off our costs as marketing
costs for the rest of the 360 picture. It’s a great platform for established
brands I reckon and we have only seen the tip of the iceberg. As people
begin to look at their phones in a less exclusive way this will open up
– but it’s a very delicate manoeuvre to access people through their mobiles
– it’s a very personal space.
Stalker is a tricky one because it involves a stalker mashing innocent people’s
heads in with a mobile – its Red Bull who
want to play ball with us right now.
the new medium being discussed among filmmakers seriously?
think people still talk about mobile as a sort of panacea for the film business
– like an untapped wealth, which is waiting there to be minted. The indies
hope that it might afford them a brand new route to their audiences without
the gate keepers they are so used to on other platforms. The studios want
to make sure it becomes as safe a window as the established platforms, and want
to control it ASAP.
think the studios will win – the mobile seems to me to be the very essence of
mass entertainment – if its titillating/hysterical/wow factor or just
escapism, it’ll do well on mobile, and that’s studio land. Likewise, if it’s
a global brand, it’ll do well on mobile, and that’s studio land. Having said
that, the numbers are just too big to be too prescriptive with what will and
wont work – there is just such huge saturation out there of this little 3rd
screen that who knows. Sound’slike the lottery doesn’t it? It could be you.
terms of what filmmakers are talking about – I think the internet is still a
bigger fish to fry for filmmakers. It has almost the same saturation as
and you can command someone’s attention more readily with it. The internet
might just yet revolutionize the film business, mobile never will.
you make another film for mobile?
likely. Unless it’s commissioned by a brand – we’ll make viral/ads for mobile
and do it wonderfully – but we wont be stepping in that arena again on
a prospecting footing… having said that, never say never!
Bond is a great brand for mobile!)
it shaken, not stirred, Ben,
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This week in The Guardian, the annual MediaGuardian 100 list is chock full of plenty of
talented media people, and includes a number of truly innovative digital types
who are shaping the emerging media landscape.
ranking is top heavy with choices from the BBC, and has a smattering of new
media types such as Eileen Gallagher, Chief Executive of Shed Media, and hails a few personalities like Simon
Cowell, Katie Price and Ant & Dec. I’m not in disagreement with the choices
for this highly influential
list, but I do feel there are some people missing.
around the fringes of the mainstream media is a busy, creative and
working-hard-in-the-trenches community of small entrepreneurs. Many are ‘doing
their own thing’ when it comes to media, in all the forms it takes. I’ve cherry
picked some folks from my immediate sphere of influence, and some who I think The
Guardian just missed the mark on, because they are a bit more
behind-the-scenes, but are leaders who I think are having an impact on the
emerging media landscape.
note, these choices are entirely my own, and I’d love to hear your
feedback about some of the people you think are rocking the media world these
applaud them, and celebrate all those who are contributing to an ever-changing information
delivery system, and who are making being informed, being entertained via
whatever form the media medium chooses to take. So
without further ado, please let me present my list of Other Media Peopl:
Music Media People
oOOo Jon Gisby,
head of new media at Channel 4, and caretaker of the new £50K 4iP Fund.
Taylor, the ideas guy at Carat Media, part of Aegis.
Platt, mistress of all things video and director of Kinura.com.
Richard Barbrook , media theorist, author and
professor of political science at the University of Westminster.
Townsend, pop cultural blogger and co-founder of BigShinyThing.com.
oOOo Darrell Berry, photographer and
co-founder of BigShinyThing.com, who is slyly documenting London’s nightlife.
who works for Vodaphone, is always a friendly face to see at Mobile Mondays, and had great success in bringing the BBC sponsored Over the Air to London. He is also a contributing author to the new Mobile Internet for Dummies and is also the UK representative for W3.
oOOo Helen Keegan aka Technokitten, a mobile media specialist who may have the longest history with the mobile industry of anyone working in the industry, in London, given her legacy with Zag Me, that begins waaaay back in the 90s.
Wyatt , who holds the editorial power over selecting what the absolute best
things for Londoners to do each week as the editor of Flavourpill.net.
Green Media People
oOOo George Manbiot, author, journalist, and green political
Ilet, a freelance writer and the head of the blog Greenbang.com.
oOOo John Grant,
author of The Green Marketing Manifesto.
oOOo Shawn Chamberlain
the dark optimist.
MacMillan, the editor of Brand Republic, who kindly allows this Quick Peeks blog
are your favourite Other Media People?
Being proven right isn’t always a pleasure. A third consecutive IPA Bellwether wobble. Only a fifth of companies report upward online spend. The signals have been around for a while, though. Pitches that used to take two months are taking five months. More talk about efficiency than effectiveness. Incidentally, US ad spending growth forecasts have been halved this week, even though there is optimism in global markets like Argentina, China and Russia. I have always carped on about how digital agencies need to step up their management skills to be able to handle global problems for Clients. I also believe in how an understanding of technology can bring significant competitive advantage. More of our briefs are about building excitement around a brand’s value proposition in the context of lower cost delivery of the brand to the consumer, in every way possible.
As McKinsey will tell you, technology is intrinsic to every lower cost delivery proposal in every FT100 company. All agencies like to talk about the first thing (especially with some digital seasoning sprinkled over it). Not many can talk about the second, which requires some understanding of business and technology and without which the ‘excitement bit’ can become rather fruitless and costly. Few can do both. The next two years will be an interesting filter. Campaign recently referenced the ‘t-junction’ for digital agencies, where they choose to become ‘production’ companies or ‘branding’ agencies. It’s not quite as simple as that, as good business people tend to be pragmatic rather than dogmatic, but in our sector it is increasingly about whether you can deliver the brand at a lower cost to the consumer. This demands an ability to help brands stand for something, and help consumers (who also, btw, stand for something too) get their brand.
On the way to work I rode by the apple store just to see what was going on. There is this story about Alex Bogusky primarily judging a creative idea’s merit by it’s ability to create press (told lots of places but most recently in Nick and Toby’s very fine Digital Essay). But seeing as most newspapers will print any old shit these days how can one judge what’s a success.
One way could be whether the cops deem it worthy enough to get involved.
I hung around for a bit, seems like the cops really shouldn’t have bothered though. The queues did stretch round the block up to Houston but I think that was more to do with the fact that they were only letting one person in every 5 mintues. This is either because it takes them too long to process an order or they just want the queue to be there all day for PR.
When you think about the commotion of last year and Anomaly’s Gold Effie on the back of the launch it just goes to show some things remain the same in this business: The Power of Being First.
Well slap me silly with the latest ridiculous legal
mumbo-jumbo ruling against Google’s YouTube, that favours Viacom.
It seems my, and your, IP address, viewing habits and
YouTube login information are going under scrutiny by Viacom soon.
At the heart of the matter is content viewing of Viacom’s
Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon.
I’ve checked today and it looks like the Viacom bots are
already combing through YouTube’s content, as few clips from some of
the top favourites appear today.
Well, Viacom, I’ll just save you the trouble and let you
know what I’ve been watching that might piss you off:
- -Lot’s and lot’s of old TV sitcoms from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s
and 90s. Including a few you might own.
- -Totally original content like “Shoes” from The Liam Show.
- -Nostalgia videos from throughout MTV’s history.
- -Clips of Comedy
Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon
Stewart” and Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob
SquarePants” cartoon, and MTV videos of Bon Jovi, Madonna, Cindi Lauper singing what might be a fitting theme tune for Viacom “Money Changes Everything” and oooh so many more and hundreds of other artists.
- -Film clips from the 30s, 40s, 50s that can’t be rented in a
video rental store.
- -Movie star clips of
Marilyn Monroe, Bing Crosby, Marlon
- -Hilarious news footage from the USA that I can’t find elsewhere.
- -Artist videos that document performances, installations and
other experimental art – that you certainly don’t own.
- -Cute cat, dog, squirrel and other animal videos, some of which may have appeared on
a Viacom-owned media channel, AFTER discovering the clip on YouTube.
- -My own videos, mostly original in content, and many of my
- -My Dad’s latest DIY tips for restoring old trolley cars.
If the BBC is now offering up free content on YouTube — why can’t Viacom?
YouTube fans have not been shy in sharing their opinions
about the ruling, and the mood among viewers is:
- -They hate Viacom, and will use stolen South Park clips to
- -They think Viacom are greedy money suckers.
- -They are angry and using naughty words about Viacom.
- -They are confused and pissed off!
- -They are depressed about this ruling.
Given the millions of YouTube fans who post and view videos,
it looks like Viacom’s lawyers have won themselves secure employment for the
next few decades, and will be immune from the threat of the Credit Crunch. It does seem like a silly endeavour to try and police YouTube, and the majority of clips being shared — Viacom property, or otherwise, are not for commercial purposes. I guess Viacom has a new sign to hang out the shop window:
BIG BROTHER LAWYERS PLEASE APPLY
I asked a media-savvy professional in London today about this and his response was:
“The lawsuit is very American isn’t it?” said Gual Barwell, Business Development Manager of Contagious Magazine. “It is the easy way out, without figuring out a creative solution to sharing content, or addressing an existing problem.”
Dearest Viacom, I don’t care if you monitor my viewing
habits on YouTube – and to make things easier for you, here are my YouTube
Joined: June 23, 2006
Last Sign In: 20 minutes
Videos Watched: 780
Channel Views: 3,474