I have been using my iPod down the gym and found my present headphones inadequate for my needs. I was looking for a set of headphones that were gym friendly, that didn’t completely seal me off from my surroundings, but at the same time stayed in my ears.
I looked at a number of designs and read reviews that put me off every alternative that I found. Eventually I remembered the old headphones that came with my Sony Discman in the early 1990s, these were an iconic design in their own way. The headphones were lightweight and the degree of articulation that was in the headband to make it foldable and fit different head sizes made them ideal.
The speakers pointed backward in the ear canal to give a more realistic sound by bouncing it around the ear like you hear normal sounds. The fact that it wasn’t fully closed made it ideal for me to be aware of what was happening around me in the gym.
The real surprise I got was when I found out how much these headphones now go for on eBay: £30. It seems I wasn’t the only one that wanted these design features and the headphones still work well partly because they were made to a more exacting standard in a Sony factory in Japan.
So what do they sound like? Well the MDR-A10 with it’s ‘turbo’ circuitry was designed to work with Sony’s premium Discman range of the early 1990s which have a superior performance in terms of audio output compared to Apple’s iPod. You can only get so much out of headphone drivers this small, but the headphones are good enough to show the limitations in the iPods sound.
Whilst former football hooligan favourite Burberry gets a lot of kudos for its work using Facebook for brand engagement, I think that there are other fashion and luxury brands doing possibly smarter, and certainly more targeted narrowcast social media work. Here are five of them:
Whilst Louis Vuitton’s adverts make me feel queasy with their odd positioning with the likes of Bono, Mikael Gorbachev and Angelina Jolie with the gaudy holdall woven into awkward-looking photo-shoots, LV have been much smarter in their use of location services; notably Foursquare and Chinese counterpart Jiepang. Louis Vuitton uses it very carefully to curate a Louis Vuitton life and encourage store engagement. Recommendations for London include the Southbank Centre, Connaught Hotel and the Fifth Floor restaurant at Harvey Nichols. This is also likely to filter out all about the most ardent hangers on
Comptoir des Cotonniers (CDC) have a blog with a distinctly homespun look and feel that talks about brand news coverage and the kind of things that influence them. There is a playlist module of saccharin soul on the left-hand side of the page. Even if you can’t use Google Translate to get a feel of what the French language content is about you, can tell by the kind of imagery that accompanies the posts
In a similar vein, Sir Paul Smith has a personal blog that acts as the voice for his fashion brand. It doesn’t give you a sense of their collection but does give a strong sense of who or what Paul Smith the brand actually is. He has a good eye for curating interesting and eclectic imagery and the site feels like it wasn’t pulled together by an intern
At the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of production values is Dunhill; despite the site using Amazon Web Services as a content delivery network this can be a beast to load down anything but the fattest broadband pipe. Their Day 8 section of the site sits somewhere between a magazine and a blog and is stuffed with a range of quality thought-provoking content. Interestingly it hasn’t been updated in the past 80 days. They do publish Day 8 as an iPad application, but it would have been nice if there was an RSS feed for the content, being a busy person I don’t have time to fanny around. If I was the publisher of Esquire magazine I would have a good look at Day 8; as this is what quality men’s interest content feels like
Whilst lots of different fashion houses have used live video to extend the audience of their runway shows (primarily spurred on by trying to crack the massive Chinese market) most of them require you to watch the show from in front of your computer. If you are getting hold of the kind of money it takes to shop with these brands; time in front of your computer is likely to be time wasted. Menswear fashion brand Ermenegildo Zegna put it on an iPhone application so you can follow the show whilst waiting for a flight or traveling to a business meeting in a taxi; if you like what you see you can even buy some of the items in-application. Previously this kind of mobile content | m-commerce integration had only been seen in more mainstream brands like Tokyo Girls Collection. Rather than create their own social content on the Zegna site they have started to have fashion bloggers create their own Zegna looks and ‘guest post’ on the Zegna site. Again no RSS though
I broke out Matt Cutt’s video presentation from last August to emphasise the importance of good content as being more important than technical SEO (search engine optimisation), it’s still a great video that every PR person and search marketer should see (it’s on YouTube so may not be available to all viewers)
TopShop’s Tigergate scandal introduced me to the photography of Gavin Bell. I didn’t realise until much later that this was the same Gavin Bell who wrote Building Social Web Applications out on O’Reilly Publishing.
Find my iPhone feature on iCloud came in handy prevented the panic attack which ensued when I couldn’t find my phones. Now if they can develop a bit more granularity in their search from its somewhere on your road, probably in your house – to – its behind the bookshelf on the left-hand side as your facing it in your sitting room.
I’m more of a Yoshida & Co. Porter brand person than Mulberry, but I was really impressed by this blog post that Mulberry did showing how they made giant golden key show invites from embossed and die-cut gold foil card.