The Week: Best of the blogs - Loving 'branded utility'

By now you will have seen the wi-fi-enabled fridge from LG in Korea. Meanwhile, our colonial chums have added wireless internet connectivity to that old bedroom staple, the clock-radio - and in the process created something quite beautiful and charming.

The result of this spectacular hybridisation is called the Chumby and you can find out more at Chumby is a clock and an internet radio. It plays tracks from your iPod. And, as you would expect, it wakes you up in the morning - in my case, at the crack of 9am.

But, at the times when the Chumby is not displaying one of your various clocks, the small screen displays in rotation your choice of a variety of Flash widgets, many created by enthusiastic amateurs. Some of these are amazingly useful. One (thank you, Gingerbeardman, whoever you are) displays the live departure times of trains from any UK railway station. Still more widgets tell you the weather, the latest news from The New York Times and the BBC, the WPP stock price, my Twitter friends' updates, my latest Facebook photographs and a live photo of The Golden Gate Bridge.

Very occasionally, the device displays ads. Not a problem. Some of them are even quite cute. As you read this, the nerdier half of you will be salivating (especially when I tell you it runs on Linux). The other half, I suspect, will be close to vomiting. Me, I love it to death. I have always been a fan of what is now called "branded utility". This is the perfect way to deliver it.


Become a member of Campaign

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to, plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events.

Become a member

What is Campaign AI?

Our new premium service offering bespoke monitoring reports for your company.

Find out more

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an alert now

Partner content