Seems Legit

The email scams never end. The latest one to befoul my inbox is purportedly from Google’s very own Lawrence “Larry” Page to advise me of my random prize. Woot!

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 09.04.45

Wait a minute… something’s not quite right here.

  1. Why is there no Google branding? It’s Google. If anyone has brand guidelines for digital marketing it’s Google.
  2. Why is there no subject line? Surely Google understands the important of properly worded subject lines to ensure the avoidance of spam filters and get the recipient’s undivided attention.
  3. Why would Larry Page be emailing me? Surely he has more important things to do.
  4. Would Larry really sign off as Lawrence “Larry” Page?
  5. Hang on. Larry says he’s randomly selected my email address for this prize. So why did he send it to my Yahoo email rather than my Google-supplied Gmail account?
  6. Uh-oh, that doesn’t look like Larry’s email address. Who is is the site of Howard Johnson hotels which has nothing to do with Google or Larry Page.
  7. Why is Larry’s email footer written in Spanish?
  8. Why does Larry still think he’s the CEO of Google Inc when he stepped down from that role in August 2015 to let Sundar Pichai assume the role of CEO?

Poor Larry. He seems so confused.

Perhaps I better download and open the PDF attachment to see what Larry is talking about as it may shed clues to his mental health. And it probably won’t contain any kind of Trojan horse virus that sets my hard drive afire.


It strikes me as odd that these scammers have enough digital savvy to construct or find viral attachments, build or use software that searches for email addresses and stream emails to unwitting recipients, then also supposedly have the technological wherewithall to extract data from said recipients’ hard drives to be able to access online bank accounts or other sensitive information and perhaps even steal an entire identity… but they don’t know about Wikipedia where they could read Larry’s bio to see that he’s no longer the CEO.

Ironically, they didn’t even use Google to see what Hojo is. Or to find some Google branding. Or maybe even the names of genuine marketing staff at Google. Or examples of email marketing from a world of brands.

It’s not that hard. And now I’ve provided a bunch of links for them to get it right.

You’re welcome, Mr Scammy McScamscam.


P.S.  The Spanish footer translates as:
This message has been scanned by MailScanner for viruses and other harmful content , and is considered to be clean.”
Either ironic or sarcastic. Maybe both.




Mind-Reading Musicians

Tech-junkies, creatives, music lovers, and people just looking for inspiration should enjoy this project. It’s what happens when you combine all of these elements. Without an agency or any budget.

A string quartet was fitted with EEG headsets to record their brainwave activity as they played an incredibly difficult composition, then the data was visualised to create a sensorial experience of the complex vs the simple.

The Ligeti Quartet was formed by four classical musicians, united by their fascination with the music of György Ligeti (1923-2006) who was renowned for his complex compositions that merged music with soundscape and is best known for his work in the soundtrack of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Shutter Island (2010) and Heat (1995).Ligeti’s music is difficult to play, so the quartet pride themselves on being able to turn such complex compositions into easily enjoyed experiences. To this end, our group of creatives undertook a proactive but audacious project to bring the Ligeti Quartet’s proposition – and Ligeti’s compositions – to life, visually.


In a large warehouse space, we fitted the four musicians with a Mindwave headset which detects EEG power spectrums (alpha waves, beta waves, etc), attention and meditation levels, and eye blinks. The data was transmitted in real-time via bluetooth to a laptop running NeuroSkyLab proprietary software which recorded eight different brainwave frequencies and converted them to CVS data which was then used to generate the visualisation of their thought patterns as they played.

The resulting film combines the auditory experience of a Ligeti composition with the visual stimuli of the musicians’ mental activity in real-time data-based art.


This project was part of a program I developed for my (former) creative department to connect the talents of unsigned musicians with the combined talents of the creative teams. The program gave the teams the freedom and opportunity to do the kind of creative work the agency wasn’t providing them, and gave musicians access to free content to build their own awareness. It was all done after hours (late nights and weekends), with their own equipment, and a few favours here and there. Plus £100 out of my own pocket for the warehouse space.

Please share this post. My team deserves it.


The Ligeti Quartet:
Mandhira de Saram: violin 1
Patrick Dawkins: violin 2
Richard Jones: viola
Valerie Wellbanks: cello

Concept and production by Billy Bernhardt, Milan Desai, Ale Miasi, Andrea Foresi, and Stefanie DiGianvincenzo
Directed by Matt Batten and Alex Zeeman
Composition by György Ligeti
Sound Engineering by Paul Bishop
Audio Production by Tom Green
Post Production by Alex Zeeman

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