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Ant Bytes — AA19

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Wake up, gents. ‘Lift and separate’ is no longer just for the ladies.

Sydney-based business, aussieBum, a designer, manufacturer and marketer of men’s underwear, swimwear and leisurewear, has launched its latest product offering – the Wonderjock.

The Wonderjock was designed by aussieBum co-founders Sean Ashby and Guyom Holland to make men look bigger without the discomfort experienced by other products that were on the market.

IP research company, IP Organisers, searched globally for prior art, while the provisional patent for the Wonderjock was drafted and filed by Phillips Ormonde & Fitzpatrick.

Earlier products with the same objective shared rather unfortunate side effects, causing various degrees of genital discomfort and even deformation.

Details of provisional patent applications are not typically public until 18 months after filing, meaning the Wonderjock patent may not be available until April 2008.

Since the Wonderjock was launched in late October ’06, orders have been received from 64 countries, primarily through internet sales.


 

BACK-ISSUE BULL-ANTS

 

ILOVE AWARDS

Remember iLove, the magazine on a water bottle (“Behind the Label”, Jun/Jul ’06 cover story)?

Well Modern Media Concepts (MMC), the company behind the brand, has been making waves internationally in recent times, taking out top honours in the ‘Best Label’ and ‘Best Overall Concept’ categories at the prestigious 2006 Bottled Water World Design Awards.

The verdict was delivered at a gala dinner held in San Pellegrino Casino in Bergamo, Italy, during the Zenith International Global Bottled Water Congress. The judges were impressed with the design innovation of the Magazine on a Bottle concept and how the concept of On Product Publishing opens up new marketing and revenue channels by combining publishing with consumer goods. MMC’s international licensing arm, On Product Publishing International, has recently signed agreements in Europe and Australia.

COOL CONTRACT

Cool Company Awards top 20 finalist Battlefield Sports recently bolstered its cool credibility by winning a contract with the Barbados Cadet Corps, the youth arm of the Barbados Defence Force.

The company, which develops combat simulation weaponry for commercial and military organisations, will supply 45 high-powered infrared guns for young cadets to operate in a safe and controlled environment.

Battlefield Sports spent more than seven years developing, constructing, producing, installing, field-testing, integrating and conducting trials of its combat simulation systems. All that hard work is now paying dividends.

MOOTERS CHINA PLAY

Another 2006 Cool Company finalist, Mooter Media, is making great progress in the Chinese market with its internet advertising targeting technology, adVantage.

Founded in 2001 by Liesl Capper (profiled in our Jun/Jul ’05 issue, “Women who mean business”), Mooter has evolved from an intuitive search engine technology to a sophisticated advertising contextualisation platform. Large Chinese publishers to enter the Mooter Media Network in recent times include SouFun, Tom Online and China.com Inc., taking the total estimated distribution of page views to $1 billion per month.


2006 IG NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS

October saw another batch of suitably curious scientific research findings honoured at the 2006 Ig Nobel Prize ceremony, held at Harvard University. The Ig Nobels, handed out around the same time as the more prestigious and sober Nobel Prizes, acknowledge “achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think”.

Standouts this year were the Californian researchers honoured in the field of ‘Ornithology’, for exploring and explaining why woodpeckers don’t get headaches. The ‘Nutrition’ prize went to the Kuwaiti researchers who demonstrated that dung beetles are finicky eaters. French researchers took out the Physics prize for their insights into why, when you bend dry spaghetti, it often breaks into more than two pieces. Australia’s own CSIRO researchers took out the ‘Mathematics’ gong for calculating the number of photographs you must take to (almost) ensure that nobody in a group photo will have their eyes closed.

But our personal favourite… the coveted ‘Peace’ prize went to Welsh inventor, Howard Stapelton, for inventing an electromechanical teenager repellent (a device that makes annoying high-pitched noise designed to be audible to teenagers but not to adults); and for his entrepreneurial flair in later using that same technology to make telephone ringtones that are audible to teenagers but probably not to their teachers.

THUMBPRINTS

On Tuesday 17 October, Britons took part in what has been dubbed the biggest single-day blog post in history. It was a bog average 2006 day, by most accounts, but that was the point.

From Joyce’s Ulysses to Mel Gibson’s triumphant romp in the featherweight flick, What Women Want, it seems clear that we have always been fascinated by the myriad shards of consciousness that constitute reality. Reality may be nothing more than a loose confederation of individual assumptions, misconceptions and convenient truths, but it’s all we have. So we might as well have fun with it.

The One Day in History project, part of the History Matters, Pass It On initiative run by the UK National Trust, was intended as a snapshot of everyday life in 2006. Every person in the UK on that day was asked to write a blog entry about their day. The entries were posted on the History Matters website and will be stored in the British Library for the amusement of posterity.

Once, gentle folk everywhere unsheathed their quills, dabbed them in wells of ink and etched their innermost thoughts in a diary. These days, they blog. Blogging might not have the romantic resonance of a Henry James novel, but will generations of posterity really care? Just imagine how many wonderful, weird and crass ways they will record their existence.

CREATING A BUZZ

It’s no longer unusual for business owners to invest in deluxe, and often expensive, espresso machines for the office. Supply the joe, create the buzz and enjoy the spoils of over-enthusiastic employees pepped up on caffeine.

Melbourne based Stop and Refresh has taken the concept one step further by providing offices and shops with jelly-bean and fruit-chew filled vending machines… for free! That’s right. According to Brad Rolph, Director and Founder of Stop and Refresh, the service won’t cost business owners a cent.

So, what’s the business model?

Rolph explains that while delivery and maintenance of the equipment is free, money inserted into the vending machines is collected at regular intervals, with a portion donated to charities, such as Very Special Kids and Heart Kids.

“This way, employees can grab a handful of jellybeans, whenever they feel a sugar craving, while giving something to charity,” says Rolph. “And employers appreciate the ‘fun’ element that our machines add to a work environment.”

According to Rolph, beans means business. And the child in each of us is unlikely to disagree.

To request a vending machine for your workplace, visit stopandrefresh.com.au.


ANT BYTES

 

POSTCARD DVDS

Melbourne-based media group Bison United has launched an innovative new product to distribute its digital . Postcard DVDs contain the group’s high-end photography set to originally composed and liverecorded music featuring classical violin and electro sounds, joined together with animation. Packaged in a cardboard sleeve, the DVD is designed to write on the back, stick on a stamp and mail away. The first offering is a showcase of Melbourne and surrounding sites � sure to be a hit with tourists.

SKIN DEEP

London’s fat cat financiers have found a new way to invest their riches in the hope of yielding competitive advantage – cosmetic surgery. Reuters reports that such operations in the UK have risen by a third in the past year, to more than 22,000, with men now making up 11 percent of the total. No longer vanity projects for the idle rich, power hungry executives are turning to botox, face lifts and liposuction in the hope of gaining that elan that will unseat the boss or keep the pack at bay.

MACHIAVELLI DOT-COM

The US mid-term election campaign saw the internet come of age as a political weapon and gave rise to a new term and tactic – “Google bombing”. You’ve been Google bombed when political opponents exploit Google’s Page Rank algorithm (which gives a higher search ranking to web pages that are heavily linked to by other sites) to elevate websites containing information critical of you onto the first page of a Google search. Over 50 Republican candidates were Google bombed by online Democratic operatives in the lead-up to the November 7 poll. It’s hardly the primary cause for the Republicans’ poor showing, but, in election campaigns, every little bit counts. Something to watch out for during our own Federal election campaign, expected in 2007.

GET PAID TO FLY

Hungarian-based budget airline carrier SkyEurope has become the first airline to actually pay passengers to fly with them. Customers who booked in mid-October for flights between November 1 to December 15, and January 9 to March 24, 2007, paid minus �1. Crazy? Well, how much for a good PR campaign? The ‘you fly, we pay’ headline certainly got chins wagging.

RING OF FIRE

For anyone who has suffered a partner’s slow-burn fury as punishment for forgetting an important anniversary, salvation is at hand. A 26-year-old Alaskan inventor has come up with a ring that heats up to remind husbands and wives of an impending wedding anniversary. The Remember Ring rises to a temperature in excess of 50 degrees Celsius in a 10 second burst the day before an important anniversary. It is expected to retail for around AUD$1,000 when it hits stores in early 2007. This price excludes burns insurance.

STRANGER THAN FICTION

Everyone loves Borat, the fictional Kazakh creation of British comedian Sasha Baron Cohen. Except, of course, the government of Kazakhstan, which has been combating the negative publicity with a charm offensive designed to reposition the country in the eyes of the world from a backward, anti-semitic outpost to a hotbed of progressive humanity. This PR blitz recently suffered a setback when the Kazakhstan Central Bank misspelt the word “bank” on new 2,000 tenge (about AUD$20) and 5,000-tenge notes. So many of the notes were printed that the bank has little choice but to release them before gradually withdrawing them to correct the spelling. However, the country’s MPs, incensed at the untimely blow to Kazakh dignity, want the notes scrapped and reprinted. Jagshemash!

 
 
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