Peter M Howard ::

Mysterious Packages Part II

11Dec2005 [personal]

or, More Reasons to Worship the Internet

Stormhoek Shiraz

Following-up my previous post, and with pictures... We tried the Stormhoek Shiraz at our Christmas dinner (celebrated early on the Eve of St Nick's as we won't be in Reims for Christmas proper). I don't know what it sells for so it's difficult to compare to the rather cheap French wine we've been drinking. Certainly a nice drop in any case.

Yay! Free Alcohol

Stormhoek also get bonus points just for what they've done. The bottle came with a little booklet from Hugh Macleod talking about Disruptive Marketing. It's yet to be seen what effect sending wine freebies to a bunch of bloggers will have in the real world, but he's certainly created a buzz online. It's an interesting way of doing marketing, and has backfired on people in the past: some companies have been exposed for paying bloggers to write about them, which is the ultimate crime - sending free wine with, officially, no strings attached is nowhere near as bad, and after all, if the wine tasted awful the world would find out pretty quickly.

But it also reminds me of the movie Serenity, and its legion of Browncoats - supporters who campaigned to have the movie made after the TV series was cancelled. The studio responded, turning it into a movie, assuming that all the online buzz would translate into profits... And well, they were wrong. My take on it was that the Browncoats tended to talk amongst themselves, they didn't take the message to the wider market... (and that's something that was bothering me about the scheme from early on). Further, because of all the buzz, the studio didn't bother putting any money into marketing, only causing the movie to bomb even worse!

Welcome_ to_ Perplex_ City_

Received my 2nd mysterious package a couple days ago (was fortunately sent by post so I just had to go round the corner to the Post Office to pick it up!). Having been at a Perplex City meetup in London back in September, and been on the winning team for a quiz thing they did, Mind Candy owed me a prize. They sent me a Perplex City 'starter kit', with a few more cards, a card album, a magazine (with more puzzles!) and a CD, called The Silver City.

Perplex City kit

I do have to say though, that this is just what I needed to get back into Perplex City. I've not really been playing since the summer holiday, though I've been watching a couple in-game sites and an update site just to see what's been happening. But this little package has me interested in the story again, and I've finally signed up on the site. Anyway, the winning factor was the CD: it's (very surprisingly) really good! I've been looping it over the last couple days. An hour long (a shock in itself, I was half expecting a 20-minute sampler), funky and very atmospheric dance tracks. And of course, there's all sorts of story to tie it into Perplex City: the CD was created by a rather controversial artist who goes by the name of Viard, then banned for sale in Perplex City as it's supposedly mind-altering. The Perplexian record company leaked it to Earth instead. Plus there's a message hiding at the end talking about conspiracies and arranging secret meetings... I still might not 'play' for a little longer, but I'm definitely interested again.

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