The BBC is not the first brand to get involved with the virtual-reality website Second Life (www.secondlife.com), where users create their own virtual characters that drink, eat, sleep and buy products just like they do in the real world. But it has gone beyond straightforward product placement by buying its own virtual tropical island on the site, from where it plans to debut new bands. It has already broadcast events, such as the Radio One Big Weekend, at the same time as they happen in real life.
A great new way for a traditional broadcaster to make itself relevant to the online generation.
SKY'S HD ONLINE CAMPAIGN
It's good to see Sky's online push for its high-definition service make the most of the digital medium. The pop-up ads, which appear on Hotmail, use a window-wiper effect to reveal a clean, crisp image of the National Geographic Channel (one of the channels available in HD as part of the Sky package) and are a cut above the usual fare. If you click on the ad, the pop-up takes you to a minisite (www.sky.com/hd/navigationpop). Hats off to glue London for this diamond in the rough.
THE FOOD STANDARDS AGENCY'S MEDIA BUYING
The last two weekends have brought fantastic weather, big games featuring England and more barbecues than ever before. So the FSA's decision to bring back its old "sausages" commercial was well timed. The media buying, through COI's TV agency Carat, around big football matches and other weekend programming, was immaculately executed: just as we were tucking into the pink meat off the charcoal grill, the warning was on our screens. Thousands of cases of food poisoning were avoided, allowing for more football and beer consumption.
SAXONDALE ON BBC2
Steve Coogan is back with a new character who, with a bit of time and love, could come to rival his all-time top comedy creation, Alan Partridge.
There are obvious similarities between the Knowing Me, Knowing You presenter and Tommy Saxondale, a former roadie with anger-management issues and a pest-control business - the small-mindedness and the petty hatreds - but they are much more understated in the new programme, with a greater sense of fun.
AND ONE THING WE DON'T ...
Red card for Sir Geoff Hurst
We can all sympathise with the fact that the heroes of 66 need to earn a living, but Sir Geoff Hurst's blatant plugging of McDonald's is a step too far. Quizzed before the Sweden game on whether "Owen-ey" should play with "Crouch-ey" or Rooney, Sir Geoff told us he was in Germany with the McDonald's competition winners. Then, in reply to a question he later claimed not to have heard correctly, he said: "Mmm ... I'm lovin' it." Two yellow cards for those offences, we think. Come on, Sir Geoff, you used to stand for integrity. Cut it out. Now.