5 Amazing UK TV Christmas Commercials

Here’s a playlist of 5 absolutely amazing TV ads shown in the UK for Christmas 2014. The quality across all 5 brands’ ads is pretty well jawdropping in places – I probably should have called this post ‘the 5 UK companies who won Christmas’.

Seems like it became a contest to see who could outdo each other, reflected in the consistent quality of all the ads – we have emotion, pulling of heartstrings, aspiration and even a little humour from Mulberry.

My favourites are the John Lewis ‘Monty the Penguin’ ad, and the Sainsbury’s wartime giving one. Really good stuff. Boots should get a mention as well however, for the simplicity and message. Enjoy!

Playlist order:
1: John Lewis Christmas Advert 2014 – #MontyThePenguin
2: Extended Boots Christmas TV Advert 2014 #SpecialBecause
3: Sainsbury’s OFFICIAL Christmas 2014 Ad
4: Mulberry #WinChristmas
5: Marks & Spencer Christmas Advert 2014 #FollowTheFairies

Grab & pass tracking parameters with php

Sometimes it can be useful when split testing creatives etc, to have an easy/quick way of seeing which is doing better or fulfilling your goals more. You can do this very easily using a couple of lines of php.

On your creative variants you would simply apply a predetermined parameter [for this example, we will use the parameter ‘cre’]. Your normal creative links would looks something like this:


With an identifier, your links [from your creative variants] would look like this:



In your landing page you would use php to grab the ‘cre’ parameter in a url like so:

<?php $creativeid = ($_GET['cre']); ?>

[this function can be placed in or above thetags, or just inside the openingtag of your page].

Then to pass the stored ‘cre’ parameter on to the next page, you would simply call like so:

<a href="http://yourlandingpage.com/thanks.php?cre=<?php echo $cre; ?>">Signup</a>

This would enable you to see, for example, the number of visits to /thanks.php?cre=creative1 in google analytics.

The above can obviously be adapted and added to pretty infinitely with additional parameters for example, grab & pass along a second param [‘src’] like so:


<?php $creativeid = ($_GET['cre']); ?>

<?php $src = ($_GET['src']); ?>

Output like so in the page with both id’s appended:

<a href="http://yourlandingpage.com/thanks.php?cre=<?php echo $cre; ?>&src=<?php echo $src; ?>">Signup</a>


I: Parameter names must be url-safe – that is: no spaces, use a-z, 1-9 and -_ ONLY.

II: Your page extension cannot be .html it must be .php or the above will not work.

Further note:

The basics above can be applied in a variety of ways – passing url parameters for tracking purposes is just one example. You could also make your landing page ‘dynamic’ depending on the referrer or a message contained as a parameter on your landing page url. The possibilities are endless. Once yous et and grab the contents of a parameter, you can output it any way you like [for example as text on the page] to increase relevance to your visitor.

Download 100 Free Kindle Books

Nice bundled download of 100 awesome literary classics from Project Gutenberg for your convenience, in one big zip file!

A perfect ‘instant library’ for Kindle owners, all the books are .mobi formatted and ready to upload to your Kindle device or app :)

Oh, and did I mention that it’s totally free? (Ok, you have to share to unlock the download link, but meh. It’s free).

Grab the 100 classic Kindle book bundle here.


Grab the 100 classic Kindle book bundle here.

Awesome Name Your Own Price Learn To Code Bundle

*This is currently a deal available on Stacksocial, at the time of writing there is 13 days left to grab it*

Stacksocial are currently offering a deal on 8 web design/development online courses, including modules on php, , ajax, javascript, java, python, mysql, responsive web design, basic html/css sitebuilding, ios app development and psd to html. Pretty well a bit of everything.

The really awesome bit, is that its a charity ‘name your own price’ deal – so you can literally get all the above for next to nothing, and the money goes to one of three charities of your choice. Bargain! In total, there’s over 800 lectures and 80 hours of content. Take the courses at your own pace and in your own time.

Buy the bundle for $15, and you will easily learn enough to set you up long-term for most basic web stuff you’ll ever need to do! And you can feel good as you just gave the $15 to a worthy charity. Win-win all round.

Grab the bundle now while it’s still live over at Stacksocial.

BookDip – Kindle Daily Deal Site

Fed up with trawling through hundreds of pages of new books looking for something you might like, or keep missing out on those great free kindle book deals?

Well BookDip will put an end to all your bookish suffering. It’s a new free daily deal email service aimed at Kindle ebook readers. You simply sign up with your email address, pick the categories of books you like and that’s it, you’re done. The next day you’ll start getting a single daily deal email that will give you 2-3 free or bargain books in the categories you picked.

A tip though: don’t hang around, if there’s something you like the look of and it’s free grab it right then and there. Kindle books published under Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program are only allowed to be free for 5 days out of every 90 so the books featured in the daily deal email are often still only free for a few hours after the email goes out.


Anyway take a look at BookDip, it’s well worth signing up for. I’ve already snagged five business book bundles that FT Press did a free promo on, and those alone are selling normally for over $400 combined now. Great service, and not spammy or annoying – just one email per day.

Check out BookDip now and sign up for the daily email alerts.

Recommended Book – “Building a Brand Online”

cover-med“Quickstart Guide – Building a Brand Online”

This is a nice, short ebook which provides a great foundation in how to establish an online brand, from scratch, within a couple of weeks. The tips about Lean Domain Search, ‘if this then that’ and ‘knowem’ were worth buying the book for in their own right.

Only about 25 pages long on my Kindle, but well worth checking out and covers the basics with tips on how to think of a name, basics of setting up a website, social media presence and some other good tidbits of info. Worth the $2.99 anyway! There’s enough info to give your online venture a good foundation and a good start.

Grab a copy on your Kindle now from amazon – click here.

5 Youtube Embedded Video Hacks

Well ok, these aren’t really ‘hacks’ as such – just parameters that you can control when you embed a Youtube video. Using these parameters gives you a lot of control over what you embed, to the degree that there is little if anything to be gained out of hosting your own video for landing pages or whatever.

So, you’ve built a super-alluring responsive landing page and you want to use Youtube video embedded in it. Your super sales video is primed, ready and uploaded, now you just need to embed it…

But you don’t want your expensive visitors watching competitors video’s after yours has played, or getting distracted by video titles or other BS. Oh, and you don’t want anyone to go fast forwarding through your amazingly persuasive sales video. And you want it to autoplay when the page loads as well? Don’t want to show the Youtube branding on the video? Surely there’s no way you can do all that with a simple embedded video from Youtube right?

Wrong. You can do all the above (and more, actually but the above are probably the most relevant hacks for internet marketers). Let’s get started. Here’s a ‘virgin’ Youtube embed snippet to start with:

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/W8_Kfjo3VjU?rel=1" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

First up we want to stop related (competitor/cat) video’s showing up after yours has played. Easy, we do this using the ‘rel=’ parameter. In this case, we want related video off, so we will use ‘rel=0’.

Second, and this one’s pretty good, we want to turn off the video controls. No fast forwarding, no progress bar, no fiddling around with the video while it does its evil salesy work! For this, we use the ‘controls=’ parameter. In this case, ‘controls=0’.

Third, we want to make sure people see the video so we’ll make it autoplay when the page loads. This one is ‘autoplay=’ – in this case, we want it on so ‘autoplay=1’.

Fourth, we want to get rid of the major bits of Youtube branding on the video, at least as much as possible. So we use the ‘modestbranding=’ parameter. Again we want it turned on so we use ‘modestbranding=1’. You’ll still see a tiny logo when you mouse over the video, but otherwise there’s nothing much. Youtube branding is not going to stop someone buying something anyway.

Fifth, we can turn off the title and uploader stuff showing before the video plays using the ‘showinfo=0’ parameter!

Ok so now we’ve got our four customisation hacks, let’s put them to work in our Youtube iframe embed snippet. Here’s the first snippet above, with the custom parameters now in it:

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/W8_Kfjo3VjU?rel=0&controls=0&modestbranding=1&showinfo=0&autoplay=1" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Have a look at a demo responsive landing page with the embedded video with all the customisations above implemented. Note for the sake of sanity I’ve left autoplay turned off in this example! 😉

Don’t forget to make your video responsive via css to avoid layout issues on mobile devices. If you need the css, or a working example, download the free responsive landing page template from this blog.

Want to do even more clever stuff with your Youtube embed? Well you can do stuff like this using the same kind of paramters very easily – you can control the quality of the video, start the video at a certain point in its runtime, loop the video, play only a certain portion of a video…there’s lots of easy tricks! Check out this full list of available parameters from Google Developers here.

Free – ‘Offer Expires’ Urgency Script

Another simple but useful free script for your enjoyment – another urgency-related one to help give your visitor the final push they need to buy your widgets or sign up for your service right now! A message like so:

Act Now, Offer Expires [tomorrows date]!

We can do this in javascript by taking the current date, and adding [X] days to it, then outputting the ‘expiry’ date, so the message never needs updating and is always current.

Here’s the script itself. Very simple, paste the below into your page. As usual, it doesn’t really matter where. I normally put stuff like this inside the head tags for neatness.

Expires in… Script:

<!-- Offer expires in X days script - X = getDate() +1) -->

var monthNames = new Array("Jan.","Feb.","March","April","May","June","July","Aug.","Sep.","Oct.","Nov.","Dec.");
var now = new Date();
now.setDate(now.getDate() +1);
var nowStringTommorow = monthNames[now.getMonth()] + " " + now.getDate() + ", " + now.getFullYear();

Now to output the result into your landing page, simply paste the below div wherever you want the message to appear:

<h3>Act Now, Offer Expires: <script>document.write(nowStringTommorow);</script></h3>

You’re done! You can edit the number of days forward the script displays, simply alter the ‘getdate() +1’ where 1 = the number of days. The 1 is default and means tomorrow, basically.

You can employ the above with the other free stuff I’ve given away lately, such as the responsive landing page template.