A million penguins (and a bunch of bananas)

Posted by on Mar 5, 2007 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments


Met the charming Jeremy Ettinghausen, Marketing bod at Penguin, at the Nesta do last week. He’s responsible for among other things a fantastic social experiment in co-creation – essentially a novel (actually think it’s now 12 novels) written through mass online collaboration. Much like Russell’s genius Plannersphere, it’s a wiki that’s proved immensely popular with it’s natural constituency. At one point 10 individuals/second were logging in.

Of course, like all mass activities, some folk enjoy trying to bring the co-operation down. 25 individuals have been banned and there are at least 100 regular ‘vandals’. My favourite – it would be, wouldn’t it? – is the rather serious surrealism of the banana* version. The word banana kept appearing in the wiki edits and eventually the editors gave up trying to remove banana mentions.

Not only is this experiment a great marketing ‘behaviour’ (as I call it) but it also reveals some important truths – nice and less so – about mass-behaviour…go have a rummage and see what you think.

*Go here to see why I like the surreal banana thing…


  1. hugh macleod
    March 5, 2007

    Hey Mark,
    Glad to see you have a blog. btw “Bananas” is one of my fave marketing books of all time. “Purpose/Idea” changed my life… or at least, my career. Well done.

  2. Mark Earls
    March 5, 2007

    Why thanks, mate. That’s amazing.
    As for the blog, I’m very much still learning…tips hints gratefully received.
    Love what you do at gaping void btw. Top work