Jetpack Media

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Jetpack Media provides design services for print, web, video production, strategic communications and public relations.

We provide the highest quality work, and know what it means to hit a deadline – whether it’s for writing and editing a print document, launching a website, producing a web video, developing a communications plan or writing a press release.

PR is also a cost-effective way of promoting your organization, your products and services, especially compared to the cost of print, TV or radio advertising. We have years of expertise in generating tens of thousands of dollars worth of “earned media” with a public relations campaign.

We can help coordinate media events, press release writing, editing, and distribution, and participate in strategic communications planning for your organization.

This year, our communications work for clients has resulted in many stories on both local and national Canadian media, including Maclean’s magazine, national coverage on CTV, several cover stories on the Winnipeg Free Press, and coverage by CBC Radio, CBC TV, CTV, Global-TV, CJOB, the Ottawa Citizen and more.

E-mail us to find out how we can help.

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Taking “Got Bannock” to the Next Level

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Althea Guiboche, AKA “The Bannock Lady” has been recognized for her grassroots efforts to feed the poor and homeless in Winnipeg.

It has been an honour and a pleasure to work alongside her, donating food and funds, helping with fundraising, and cooking and cleaning and serving food on the street.

I am part of a team helping her to raise money to take “Got Bannock?” to the next level.

After one week, we are already at nearly 50% of the fundraising goal. If you want to make a difference in our community and help someone who has been working hard without reward for over a year, please consider donating.

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Income Inequality in Canada

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(Click image to embiggen)

Income-distribution-Canada

This chart is derived from Statcan tables on income.

http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/famil105a-eng.htm

I have been working on a book on economics and inequality.

If you are interested in finding out more, please contact me at jetpackmedia@me.com.

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Why are Snoopy & the Smurfs Ripping off little Kids?

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The tech business is undermining itself with phony likes and manipulative sales practices that “game” customers. It could backfire. 

I stumbled across two items on the web that pose an interesting problem for tech businesses, whether they are ad-supported, like Facebook or Google, or mobile games supported by in-app purchases. I think they show real problems with the idea of manipulating customers’ behaviour by “gamifying” it – turning everything into a carrot and stick that rewards the customer when they spend money. 

One was this Youtube video about phony Facebook likes:

It’s a good video and makes some important points: that there are too many people being paid to deliver fake likes and it means buying ads on Facebook can be a dodgy experience.

I think many of his criticisms are spot on, and they present real problems for Facebook and Google, both of which are supported by advertising.

However, there are two important premises he has that make his experiment turn out particularly poorly.

1) He is starting from absolute zero, with no customers, community or real people to link to.

2) He isn’t targeting his advertising in any way.

From a marketing / advertising perspective, no targeting makes no sense. If you are a brick and mortar store, you want to attract people in your own area, and even if you are an online store you should be able to target people geographically, by keyword, or demographics.

That being said, the experience of spending money on Facebook or Google advertising and getting absolutely nothing for it in terms of sales is not rare. The fact that Google sends out hundreds of thousands of $100 coupons to get people to buy their advertising should be some indication that there is a problem.

The positive side of Likes on Facebook is that if you do it right, you can gather together a community who are actually interested in your business or service. If you have phony likes, that’s not the case.

The “gamification” part of the Facebook ads is that the advertiser pays for likes, and gets the satisfaction of seeing them go up, like points in a video game. The problem for the customer is that those likes are about as useful as points in a video game, and they cost real money.

The problem for Facebook is that the system itself is being gamed. Facebook has made it harder for organizations to reach all the people who like them on Facebook. To ensure that every user sees a post, you may have to pay extra for it.

Phony Facebook likes, fake Twitter followers and phantom Youtube views have all been used by celebrities as a way of making them appear more popular than they really are. Youtube wiped out billions of recorded views of Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and Justin Bieber, because they had been paying for views. The purge was so complete that Universal was left with just five videos left, and Sony had only three.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2254181/YouTube-wipes-billions-video-views-finding-faked-music-industry.html

For celebrities buying fake followers is a way to fake status. When he ran for to be the GOP candidate for President, 92% of Newt Gingrich’s twitter followers were found to be fake.

But for businesses who are actually trying to find and reach real customers, they risk paying Facebook for mostly fake followers, then paying Facebook again to ensure their message reaches everyone, when only a fraction of the people following the page are actually interested.

Google faces exactly the same problem with “click fraud.” I have used Google ad coupons in small ad buys. Someone, somewhere clicked them all, but it never translated into a sale: in looking at google analytics, it rarely even translated into Facebook likes.

The other article I came across related to the use of in-app purchases on “free” mobile games, “How In-app Purchases have Destroyed the Industry”  by Thomas Baekdal.

The article gave the example of a game, Dungeon Keeper, that used to be $5.99 for purchase, and is now free, but its in-app purchases slow down the game so much it is unplayable, and, what is more, incredibly expensive.

In these games, players are given a choice – they can either wait for the clock to run out for some feature to be unlocked (or to get another life) – which may take a few minutes, an hour, or a day, or they can spend money to get what they want right now.

Candy Crush, an app that is given away for free uses this method. Just as the player is on the verge of finishing a level, the player dies, and is offered the opportunity to finish a level for just 99 cents. Its revenue was reaching $850,000 a day.

99 cents may sound reasonable enough. But it is the same price for a couple of lives that may extend a game for 20 seconds as it is for a song on iTunes. And there are in-game purchases of much higher amounts – $5, $10, $25, $50 and $100 dollars, enough to buy a major game for a console.

Most surprising, these games are targeted at children, using globally famous films and cartoon strips, like Peanuts, The Smurfs, and Jurassic Park. These are screenshots from my iPad:

photo 1 photo 2

The “Trunk” of money in the Snoopy game costs $100, and so does the money in the Jurassic Park game. This money is used to buy upgrades in the game – but not finish it. Both are open ended games, and the Jurassic Park game recently added a combat mode that is not only boring, but you can’t progress without spending more, starting at a minimum of $1.99, which is soon exhausted.

These games are nothing short of exploitive. Baekdal also gave the example of a game, Asphalt 7, that requires $3500 in actual money to unlock every feature. There are many examples of children playing the games and racking up purchases of hundreds of dollars or more.

I have seen Facebook threads where friends with children complained that because they hadn’t disabled the password for purchases on their iPad, their children had racked up in-game purchases of $400, $800, or more than a $1000 – enough to buy a full game console, or a new computer! They were able to get refunds the first time, but others may not be so lucky, especially if it happens again. 

These games are much more like slot machines or gambling than anyone might realize, except that with gambling there is at least a chance of a payout. The “free” game is almost unplayable unless you spend real money to speed things along. Waiting for new game elements may take minutes or hours, and useful in-game currency (there are often two kinds) is almost impossible to build up.

There have been TED talks delivered about “gamification” and encouraging people to behave by manipulating them with rewards, as if they are playing a game. When it comes to marketing, whether it is Facebook likes, or in-app purchases, there are problems with this approach.

One is that it sets out not just to persuade people, but to manipulate them. This might seem like a fine line, but the distinction is between honest communication about a product’s benefits and a deal that genuinely benefits both parties, and one where the customer is being deceived or manipulated, and if they find it out, feel ripped off. In their book “Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive” the authors make this point: that if customers feel manipulated, they will feel betrayed.

Part of running a business is that there is a relationship of trust, and of confidence. The issue of phoney likes and click fraud is a huge problem for Facebook and Google. It is not an exaggeration to say that their business depends on it. As for in-app purchases, Apple, gaming companies and the people who are licensing their children’s characters for addictive games (which aren’t particularly good) that exploit the player are fleecing their customers in a way that cries out for regulation – whether by the industry itself or government.

Companies should be willing to act, not just because it is the right thing to do (which it would be) nor because of fear of government regulation, but because it is in their own self-interest. This is the kind of business practice that is unsustainable, because it ruins the experience for the customer. Seller beware.

The irony is that this is the flip side of the ease of digital advertising and targeting that is the basis of Google and Facebook’s business models. It is being met by the ease of digital fraud, of bots pretending to be people, or people being paid to pretend to be someone else. Twitter has a button that allows individuals to report that a follower may be a spambot, and regularly purges its membership of phony members, but Facebook does not.

There is a bigger lesson here: Fakes and spambots created with computers don’t matter. Real people do.

- Dougald Lamont

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$710K for Clandestine Anomaly

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Jetpack Media helped secure a round of $710,000 in production funding for Clandestine Anomaly, which, together with Manitoba New Media Tax Credits makes nearly $1-million, which will be supplemented by investments from interested publishers. The game will be the single largest ever produced out of Manitoba.

This is in addition to the $250,000 in funds that were secured for the first phase of development.

Very proud of this accomplishment and of the incredible work done by everybody on the team.

***

ZenFri Inc. Scores $710K+ to bring Groundbreaking Mobile Video Game to Market

July 29, 2013

WINNIPEG – ZenFri Inc. a Winnipeg start-up, has been awarded $710,000 by the Canadian Media Fund (CMF) to help bring its groundbreaking game for mobile devices, Clandestine Anomaly, to market.

ZenFri was the only company outside of Quebec or BC to receive CMF production funding this round. With the addition of a projected $280,000 in Manitoba tax credits, the $248,100 award last year from CMF for development and further investments expected from interested international game publishers, the project will be the largest original game property ever created in Manitoba. The latest round of funding will let the company bring the first chapter of its game to market.

In the past year, ZenFri created innovative technology, design and story for the game, which merges a technology called Augmented Reality (AR) with GPS allowing players to experience a compelling science fiction adventure at real world location, in their own community. At the June 2013 GameLab conference in Barcelona, Spain, Clandestine Anomaly was called “the most ambitious AR game ever attempted.”

King says that the tremendous work and commitment by newcomers and industry veterans, many of which worked as volunteers or for “sweat equity” in the early days, helped get the project off the ground. As the project matured, King and his team was able to attract financial and networking support in order to drive the project forward:

  • The Canadian Media Fund, which makes repayable investments into innovative, creative projects owned by Canadian companies;
  • The Government of Manitoba’s Interactive Digital Media Tax Credits;
  • New Media Manitoba, which provided advice and travel support;
  • the Canada Youth Business Foundation, which provided business mentorship and startup loan support;
  • MITACS, an organization that connects businesses with university researchers.

“It speaks to the commitment of the people on the project, as well as the depth of talent in Manitoba as well as across Canada, that a small start-up in Winnipeg can create a project that can compete with big players across Canada and get attention around the world,” said King. “We had a lot of people who believed in our mission to create a whole new way to share and experience stories. Since then, the project has grown considerably. With this latest funding we will now be able bring this new kind of game experience to a worldwide market.”

Key project partners include:

  • Talking Dog Studios, who created music, sound and augmented reality for the game
  • Evodant, a Winnipeg company that helped design and engineer the game
  • Jetpack Media, which offered marketing & creative support
  • As well as 30+ other employees and contractors from Winnipeg and across Canada.

To date, the game’s prototype has already landed the company’s founder, 28-year-old Corey King, speaking engagements in Barcelona, in Germany, and at the Augmented World Expo in Silicon Valley, where Clandestine: Anomaly was a finalist for best augmented reality app, despite its early stage of development. King is slated to deliver a Keynote talk at StoryDrive in Frankfurt Germany in October.

ZenFri Inc. was founded by Corey King and his wife Danielle King to tell innovative stories across a range of different media — from games, to books, films, and paintings.

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CONTACT AND SOCAIL DETAILS:

Corey King

Chief Executive Artist

ZenFri Inc.

 

Email:  corey@zenfri.com

Twitter: @corey_king ; @anomalygame ; @zenfri

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ProjectClandestine

Phone: (204) 475-7305

 

ELECTRONIC PRESS KIT:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/12fxuo6wbwccozr/A8b9ihvRSd

 

ONLINE:

www.zenfri.com

http://zenfri.com/category/clandestine-anomaly/

www.clandestineanomaly.com

http://www.youtube.com/user/clandestineanomaly

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License to Grill

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This is an article I wrote for Today’s Parent before the birth of my first child.

License to Grill – Today’s Parent

 

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Jetpack Media helps land $250,000 in funding for Clandestine Anomaly

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For the past few months, Jetpack Media has been working with ZenFri Inc., a creative company headed by Corey King.

Corey came up with the idea of an epic sci-fi adventure game for mobile devices that uses augmented reality and GPS. He also assembled a team of programmers and artists from across Canada.

Jetpack Media helped prepare the Canadian Media Fund application, as well as providing a strategic communications and marketing plan, storyboards and animatics. We’ll also be part of the ongoing development team.

Today we announced the CMF funding. As we ramp up for development, we’ll be making more announcements.

Winnipeg’s ZenFri Inc. picks up $250,000 CMF Investment to Develop “Clandestine Anomaly” Video Game

For IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 20, 2012

Art Included - http://clandestineanomaly.com/2012/07/05/game-art/

WINNIPEG – ZenFri Inc., a start-up creative company in Winnipeg has been selected for a $250,000 investment by the Canadian Media Fund (CMF) to develop their ground-breaking new videogame for smartphones, “Clandestine Anomaly.”

27-year-old Corey King, ZenFri’s “Chief Executive Artist” King assembled a Canada-wide team of 40 writers, modellers, artists, programmers, game designers and computer scientists. Some of the team have been working on art 3D models and scripts for the game for more than a year.

“Some of this funding is about taking technology straight from the lab in Canadian universities and using it to build a better game, and that’s pretty cool,” says King, “But out ultimate goal with Clandestine Anomaly is to create an epic adventure science fiction game that you can play on your smartphone.”

King credited the work of his team to date, as well as support from New Media Manitoba for its role in securing the CMF investment. Louie Ghiz of New Media Manitoba said that it was a sign that the game development community in Manitoba is starting to gain momentum with the creation of original, compelling intellectual property.

“In the Interactive Digital Media Industry we’ve got a wealth of creative and technological skills here in Manitoba,” said Ghiz. “It’s really exciting to see ZenFri building a game using a very strong team of local talent and cutting-edge technology to create a groundbreaking product in mobile game development”.

The team includes a range of partners, and includes industry veterans, young hotshots and researchers academe:

  • Winnipeg team members include Zenfri Inc., Jei Kohlenberg of Dark Spark Studios, Dwayne Rudy of Evodant Interactive, and Dougald Lamont of Jetpack Media.
  • Saskatchewan team members include Gemini-award-winning Talking Dog Studios (who worked on sound for Corner Gas), and Prince Albert-based animation lead, Adam Ferguson.
  • In Montreal, Miralupa is an indie game studio whose designers have worked on titles including Indiana Jones and Rango.
  • ZenFri is also working with researchers at the University of Manitoba and the University of Alberta to take their cutting-edge research and find ways of applying it to gaming.

The game itself is a science-fiction adventure game that will combine “augmented reality” character – computer generated 3D models that are integrated with the environment when viewed through a smartphone’s camera – as well as using GPS to place characters in real-world locations, including the player’s own neighbourhood. The goal will be to create a game that can be played anywhere in the world.

“We’re taking a whole bunch of elements that have never been put together in quite this combination, and that makes it an exciting project, both as a game as an exercise in storytelling,” said King.

King said that ZenFri will also be pursuing funding through “Kickstarter,” a U.S. based “crowdfunding” website that has raised millions of dollars for independent creative projects, from books and films to games.

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Clandestine Anomaly Animatics

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Jetpack Media has been working with ZenFri Inc., an awesome creative startup in Winnipeg, on a groundbreaking AR (Augmented Reality) game for smartphones.

Corey King runs ZenFri, and he’s developed a really cool idea for a new way playing mobile adventure games.

We’ve been doing writing, editing and strategic communications work with them, but also preparing some storyboards and animatics for video production.

The idea behind this video is that if you are standing in a park and looking through your iPhone or Smartphone, you’ll see 3D characters who will interact with you in real time.

You’ll use your smartphone as a controller and communications device.

Using wireframe models developed for the game, Jetpack Media provided the animation and audio – including SFX and simulated speech – to show programmers and producers an idea of how the technology would appear and move in virtual space.

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Clandestine Anomaly on Gamespot

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Jetpack Media helped place this video on Gamespot.com!

We’ve been providing marketing, writing, and strategic communications support for this cool mobile game project.

http://www.gamespot.com/clandestine-anomaly/videos/clandestine-anomaly-behind-the-scenes-video-6386825/

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Looking for Three Dreams Deep?

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The Midwest Book Review gave Three Dreams Deep a great review in its June 2012 Children’s Bookwatch:

How far can the concept of dreaming go? “Three Dreams Deep” is a young adult novel from D. F. Lamont, as he places readers with thirteen year old Willis Newman as he runs into a girl in his dreams, who claims to be a former best friend, and he must help her find her brother, deep into the dreams and within. With psychological elements, “Three Dreams Deep” is a strong pick for youth readers, very much recommended.

http://www.midwestbookreview.com/cbw/jun_12.htm#Fiction

If you want to buy a copy in paperback, please order from the independent bookstore McNally Robinson.

It’s available as an e-Book for all ebook devices, as well as paperback:

It’s available FOR KINDLE  here

For Barnes and Noble NOOK here

For Kobo (Chapters Indigo & others) here

Here it is in the Canadian iTunes store

http://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/three-dreams-deep/id503665079?mt=11

In the U.S. store

http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/three-dreams-deep/id503665079?mt=11

And in the UK store -

http://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/three-dreams-deep/id503665079?mt=11

You can read the first chapter free  here -

http://dflamont.tumblr.com/post/19301161944/first-chapter-of-three-dreams-deep

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“Three Dreams Deep” – Three! Weeks on the Bestseller List

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D. F. Lamont’s “Three Dreams Deep,” released in paperback March 20 at McNally Robinson in Winnipeg, has been on the young readers’ bestseller list for two weeks.

“Beautifully imagined, built on a thoroughly enjoyable mix of science, philosophy and whimsy, this story goes the whole three dreams deep and takes the reader with it.” – Sheila Deeth

You can read updates about the book – including the first chapter – at http://dflamont.tumblr.com

There are also links to purchase on iTunes, Kobo, Kindle and more.

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