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Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Latest Durex Product Campaign to be Led by Social Media

The most recognisable name in the manufacture of birth control products, Durex has never shy in embracing Web 2.0 principles in their campaigns, including crowdsourcing and social media. To promote their latest product Durex are embarking on a social media led TV campaign to be launched on YouTube before hitting the mainstream airwaves in which members of the public will be asked "How in-sync are you?".



Performax Intense is a new condom specially designed to enhance a couple's sexual enjoyment by enabling them to be more in-sync during sex. To promote Performax in the UK, Durex has partnered with Euro RSCG London who devised the social media led campaign. The campaign will start with a fifty second advert which will to be aired on YouTube on 1st February 2012. The ad features two turntables playing at different speeds but when they are brought in perfect sync a song by Marvin Gaye is heard. 

In conjunction with the YouTube ads, leading up to Valentine's Day, a Facebook game will be launched in which players will be challenged to find out how in-sync they are with the partners using a cross-fader device. The game features a number of a well known songs which need to be slowed down or speeded up in order to be heard clearly. Partners work together to bring the levels in-sync so that they can clearly hear the song, and must keep it in-sync for up to ten seconds. Those who are successful progress to the next level.
This campaign is further evidence of our social media capability working powerfully at the core of our uniquely integrated offer. We have taken an intrinsically social idea and used an online platform, ahead of TV, as its launch pad. Russ Lidstone, CEO for Euro RSCG London
With the Performax Intense brand already established through social media, by the end of February the campaign will be aired on UK terrestrial channels ITV and Channel 4, during prime time slots. 

Image Credits; Hi Rorro

Monday, 30 January 2012

Open Innovation Call to Improve UK Poultry and Pig Farming

One of the UK's largest feed providers AB Agri (Associated British Agriculture) has partnered with the British Pig and Poultry fair to launch their second open innovation initiative. The ABN Innovation Award 2012  seeks to find new ways to improve the pig and poultry farming industry in the UK, and is open to anyone who believe they can add value to the industry. 



Each year The British Pig and Poultry Fair plays host to over 280 exhibitors and specialists providing up-to-date information and advice about the industry. The event features topical debates and is the perfect forum to gain opinions and insights into key industry issues. Attendees also have the opportunity to network with leading industry suppliers and producers. This year marks the second pairing with AB Agri to host the innovation award.

The award is open to anyone in the UK and for the first time is open to all ages. Ideas can include ways to increase demand, reduce costs, improve animal welfare, and reduce the carbon footprint. Selected finalists will be chosen to pitch their proposals to a panel of industry experts at the British Pig and Poultry Fair to be held on 15th and 16th May 2012. The winner will be announced at the fair and be awarded a cash prize of £1,000.
It's a great opportunity for individuals with the best idea to real be seen and be heard by industry influencers. - Alice Bell, RASE Events.
Any submissions must be presented by 16th April 2012 and entrants must ensure they are available to attend the fair to be held at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire. For more information about the award and an entry form click here.

Image Credits; Watt Publishing

Devon Film Maker Crowdfunding Latest Project

Despite the UK government calling for British filmmakers to produce Hollywood-esque commercial films it seems independent filmmakers are ignoring the call. More and more independent films are hoping crowdfunding will see their stories come to life. The latest is a short film from Devon based film maker Tony Webber, founder of Rockfall Films who is looking to raise funds through the crowdfunding platform IndieGoGo.




Tom is the story of a thirty-something male whose girlfriend is about to meet his family for the first time. The film reflects on how the couple first met leading up to the inevitable meeting but with an unexpected conclusion. It is an emotional drama focussing on loss and loneliness which Tony believes will resonate with the audience.

Funds raised will be used to cover costs for the production and Tony is looking to raise £5,500. These include accomodation and costs, hiring of cast and crew, equipment hire and post production.
I'd also like to engage the services of a casting director and go after a cast of named actors. Raising the money would hekp me do this. - Tony Webber
The project, looking to raise funds through IndieGoGo, has just under a month to reach its funding target. In exchange for a donation investors will be rewarded with acknowledgements and thanks, DVD and Blu Ray copies of the film, limited edition merchandise, and invitations to exclusive screenings. The rewards depend on the amount pledged and for higher value investments Associate/Executive producer credits will be awarded. To support this project click here to visit the IndieGoGo funding page.

Image Credits; Fiverlocker

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Univeristy of Cambridge Joins Open Innovation Platform for Pharmaceutical Research

The University of Cambridge has become the latest academic institution to join pharmaceutical giant Ely Lilly's open innovation drug research and development platform. The renowned college has joined a community of over 60 institutions looking to tackle the challenges of productive pharmaceutical research and development.



One of the US largest pharmaceutical manufacturers, Eli Lilly, established the Open Innovation Drug Discovery Platform (OIDDP) in February 2011 to address the problems that is hampering research into new and improved treatments and medicines. Increasing costs and a lack of resources have limit researchers ability to discover vital compounds and molecules that could prove instrumental on developing new medicine. 

The OIDDP addresses this problem by inviting academic institutions to sign up to the platform and with access Lilly's latest screening and in vitro model systems, challenge them to test various molecules and compounds in the search for innovative pharmaceutical products. 
The access to Lilly’s sophisticated in vitro model systems, as well as the potential for future collaborations and licenses with the goal of discovering new therapeutics, makes these types of initiatives very important. - Emma Barker of Cambridge Enterprise
Ely Lilly's testing and screening systems are world renowned, and researchers will have access to many of them including a phenotypic screening system that simultaneous tests drug compounds activity against both multiple mechanisms and targets. Researchers who wish to submit molecules for testing will be allowed free access to the assays. Academic institutions will retain any intellectual property rights although Eli Lilly will be entitled to negotiate the rights to any molecules discovered.

To date the OIDDP has helped uncover compounds with potential in treating cancer and diabetes, and are currently in the optimisation stage.

Image Credits; Spectacles

[Gallery Post] Afrika Bambaataa - A Hip Hop Zulu Warrior

Afrika Bambaataa was the creative force behind the rise of Electro Funk music, modern R&B and of course Hip Hop and one of the first DJ’s to sign a recording contract and release Hip Hop music commercially. Despite his material having never made it to respectable places in the hit parades of the day, it helped to spread the growing hip hop subculture around the world. Bambaataa was also a musician with a message, of peace, unity, tolerance and acceptance which he conveys through his Universal Zulu nation. As a teenager, Bambaataa was more than just my musical influence but helped to shape my philosophical beliefs.





Growing up in The Bronx

Before he assumed his more famous pseudonym, Kevin Donovan was no different to any other African-American teenager growing up in the South Bronx in New York. Despite having a keen interest in music, African history and politics, especially Black Activism (he would often witness political debates between his mother and uncle), Donovan got involved with the local gangs.

The young Donovan founded what became one of the most notorious gangs in his neighbourhood known, The Black Spades, primarily as a form of protection from other gangs and criminal elements that were rife in his neighbourhood. Donovan’s strong presence and natural leadership qualities ascended him to the position of Warlord.

In addition to his gang activities, consisting mainly of territory expansion which had sometimes inevitably resulted in conflictive situations, Donovan, inspired by the legendary DJ Kool Herc, would organise block parties and entertain the crowds with his eclectic musical collection and knowledge. The parties would also provide opportunities to scout for new recruits and thus increase gang membership. Before long The Black Spades became the largest and most respected gang in terms of membership size and territory, and as its leader, Donovan was both well liked and feared.

From Violent Loss to Vision of Peace

With his reputation secure and the gang continuing to become a formidable presence in South Bronx, the fifteen year old Donovan’s life soon took a life changing direction. It started in 1975 with the death of his best friend, shot and killed by police officers. This for Donovan marked the end of the line and in trying to cope with this shock he immersed himself in his other passions of music and African history, particularly the Zulu tribes and it’s most prominent leader, Shaka Zulu.

Having won an essay contest that earned him a trip to the African continent, Donovan got to live out his dream of meeting the Zulu communities. Inspired by the sense of solidarity and community within the tribe, Donovan returned home with a vision and determination to take what he had learned from his travels and bring about a radical change in his troubled hometown. Upon his return Donovan renounced his gang activities, disbanding the gang, and vowed to draw angry and disaffected youths away from the life he had now forsaken.

Birth of the Zulu Nation

When Donovan disbanded the Black Spades, rather than simply sending his comrades out on their own, he decided to form a music - orientated youth group made up of former gang members who boasted formidable social and political awareness and an array of artistic and musical ability. Donovan had already earned a reputation for his successful block parties but to convey the message he felt was needed, he decided that this new group would emulate his greatest inspiration. The group became known as The Zulu Nation and Donovan changed his name to Afrika Bambaataa Aasim, adopting the name of the Zulu Chief Bambatha.

The newly christened Bambaataa with his reformed crew made up of B Boys (Breakdancers) and B Girls, DJ’s rappers and graffiti artists, concentrated on organizing his block parties full time. Bambaataa was already aware of the unifying power of music but for himself and other emerging DJ’s who were former gang members it presented a means to channel their confrontational instincts thus giving birth to the Bronx’s very own take on dueling banjos. Bambaataa battled fellow DJ’s night after night working the turntables proving his musical might, whilst rappers would spark lyrical altercations, devising complex rhymes and reflective recitations.

The dance floor provided the perfect arena for another form of battling as B Boys and B Girls took to the floor in an incredible display of gymnastic dance moves (known as breakdancing) and body contortions (commonly referred to as popping). It must have been life affirming for Bambaataa to see his dream of a non violent means to resolve conflict and unite a community unfold before his eyes.

Yet his goal was not simply to host parties but to convey his political message across and so whilst performing his set Bambaataa would insert into his long instrumental segments, insightful recordings from Malcolm X , and Martin Luther King Jr. With cassette recordings of his battles and music being produced and sold, Bambaataa like an urban pied piper found himself drawing a following of more DJ’s rappers, dancers and artists whom he took under his wing to become part of the fast growing Zulu Nation.

Click here to continue the story.

Image Credits; ShootJoeC

Saturday, 14 January 2012

UK Steampunk Movie Looks For Crowdfunding Support - UPDATE!!!

Since the 19th December 2011 when the Gazette posted this story, the project did not reach it's funding target. However undeterred from this setback the team at Seraphim Pictures have turned to IndieGoGo in the hopes of raising the necessary to funds to see their dream project become a reality. Good luck from the Gazette.

The genre of steampunk science fiction has enjoyed a little resurgence this past year with the 3D reboot of Alexander Dumas' Three Musketeers, and Martin Scorsese's latest feature Hugo, based on the book by Brian Selznick. A new independent film, Nova Initia looks set to help with the steampunk revival set within a dystopia world, whilst challenging the current stable of big budget Hollywood remakes and sequels. The makers of the film are looking to raise part of the budget through the crowdfunding. 




Nova Initia is set in a desolate world of crumbled cities and split factions trying to make sense of their scorched earth. Amidst the desolation, a young woman is on the run but she does not know why or nor have any clue as to her identity, carrying a satchel that cannot be lost nor fall into the hands of her pursuers. Cardiff writer/director Dale Jordan Johnson, along with producers James Morgan and Daniel Lyddon of the Welsh film production company Seraphim Pictures, hope to present steampunk to mainstream audiences with original stories, fresh characters and whole new worlds to explore. To help bring the world of steampunk to life, the services of The Little Steampunk Shop will be employed, developing props for the film, which will also feature as rewards for donations.

The project needs $10,000 to help cover location costs, insurance premiums, set design & construction as well as wardrobe and catering. In exchange for a monetary pledge, donors can expect various rewards including, acknowledgements & credits, various official merchandise, set visits and premier invitations, as well as DVD and BLU-RAY copies of the film. So if you want to support this steampunk adventure then visit the project's funding page

Image Credit Used with kind permission of Seraphim Pictures Copyright 2011 
- All Rights Reserved.  

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

RentMyItems Look to Expand With Help From Crowdfunding

Despite having only been launched less than four months ago, the UK web startup, RentMyItems has already grown into a successful business and featured in many of the the country's national publications. Now the website, which allows people to rent their seldom used belongings, is already looking to expand its operations through an assortment of investments including crowdfunding through one of the UK's specialist platforms.



RentMyItems was launched in September 2011, to provide a platform individuals and organisations who are willing to share items with others, for a small rental charge. Browsers through the site can negotiate to rent anything from games and DVD's, gardening equipment, even clothing. In times of financial difficulties the renter can make extra money from their seldom used items and the rentee can save money renting the items they would otherwise have to buy. The business was built with funds of £40,000 raised through the founders' own personal finances as well as investments from friends and family.
RentMyItems.com has recently been named as both one of ten ways to make/save money in 2012 (The Guardian) and one of the 40 best new websites that save you money (WebUser magazine). - Warren Heal, Founder/CEO RentMyItems
The rapid success of RentMyItems has created room for potential growth. The company is looking to raise £100,000 through the Angel Investment Network, in which anyone can invest sums of money from as little as £5,000. The remaining £50,000 will be sought from the UK crowdfunding platform Crowdcube, an online version of Dragon's Den providing a platform for budding entrepreneurs to secure funding from potential investors (or armchair dragons) in exchange for equity stakes. The money raised will be used to promote RentMyItems, as well as include new features such as a virtual notice board for people to post notices of items they wish to rent. For those looking to pledge an investment visit the Angel Investment Network or alternatively visit RentMyItems, Crowdcube funding page.

Image Credits; Brian Hawkins

Friday, 6 January 2012

[Interview] Indie Film Makers Share Crowdfunding Success

Recently two independent film makers have enjoyed the benefits of crowdfunding giants Kickstarter and IndieGoGo in a bid to see their projects reach completion. Actor, screenwriter, and director Jayce Bartok raised $20,000 to continue filming his drama Tiny Dancer through IndieGoGo, whilst Andrew Berends, thanks to Kickstarter raised $16,000 to complete his project Delta Boys. 


The two film makers were recently interviewed by New York based creative digital agency Flightpath. Here they share their experiences of how the process empowered them yet presented its fair share of challenges;

Jayce Bartok: It was the hardest thing we’ve ever done. For those 60 days, it was just insane.
Andy Berends: Yeah. It’s awesome in a lot of respects, but I wouldn’t call it fun. For me, the first thing was you have to pretty much put aside your pride. 
For the full interview please click here.

Image Credit; Tahmid Munazâ„¢

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Crowdsourcing and Collaboration Help Make Sweet Music Success

A new platform has been launched that will enable musicians and songwriters to collaborate on creating fun and original music thanks to the far reaching power of crowdsourcing. RecordTogether brings musical talent together to create new songs that is cost effective, and rewards contributors for their work. 



RecordTogether was devised by music producer Mike Bishop, co-founder of Minnesota based recording studio, The Zoo Studios , and launched in November 2011. It allows songwriters to post a call for an instrumental recording and place a price (or bounty) that they are willing to pay. For example if you are looking for a trumpet solo to be featured in your finished musical piece you set a bounty. An existing recording of the composition so far is then uploaded with instructions on where the trumpet solo is to be featured as well as additional information. The musicians then record and upload their segment. The songwriter chooses from the options available and pays the bounty.

The cost effective element allows songwriters to find the right addition to their composition without going through the expense of auditions and hiring a musician. It costs just $6.95 to post a song, which will stay on the platform for 60 days. In return for the bounty the songwriters get recording and all its rights. Musicians meanwhile can submit as many recordings as they like, at only the cost of 8% of the bounty plus Paypal fees. The site offers songwriters and musicians an assortment of on line tutorials to help produce high quality recordings.

RecordTogether hopes to promote the advantages of home-based recording markets as well provide a forum for musicians to be recognised for their talent and compensated through the Internet.

Image Credit: Ranch Records