Skype has recruited Australian writer Rebecca Campbell (pictured) for an ambitious attempt to create a live, worldwide, human demonstration of how their product can now be used anywhere and on the move.
Earlier this month, Rebecca Campbell (aka. ‘The Skype Nomad’) embarked from London on a 33 day round-the-world trip across 15 countries including China, Australia, US (including the state of Alaska), Italy and Estonia. Sounds like the trip of a lifetime, right? Well the twist is that she must remain in ‘perpetual motion’ for her entire journey – always moving, even when she’s sleeping. Rebecca will also need to use as many forms of transport as possible to complete her journey, from planes, trains and automobiles to hot air balloons, dog sleds and bum boats.
So how did an Aussie girl come to be involved in one of the most ambitious marketing campaigns in recent history?
Rebecca Campbell says she was working in London as a copywriter when she was presented with the opportunity to take on the world. Although she had moved to London for work and travel, Rebecca said she never thought she would be doing something like this when she stepped off the plane from Sydney.
Skype is famous for having recruited 309 million registered users without using any traditional advertising. The Skype Nomad challenge continues this tradition of using more innovative communications to demonstrate the company’s unique product. Created collaboratively by London-based communications agency Albion and Skype’s in-house marketing team, Nomad will be the world’s longest product demonstration costing a fraction of traditional TV advertising.
Malthe Sigurdsson, Skype’s creative director, commented: “This is a great way to show people how easy it is to use Skype wherever they happen to be. Our Nomad has to keep moving for a long time. Her journey is the equivalent of how long it takes to run 200 full marathons and the only downtime she will have is when she’s on a flight or some form of transport that keeps her moving.”
I had planned to speak with Rebecca during the Australian leg of her round-the-world-trip, but the world traveller had run into a few problems whilst travelling through Australia’s top end.
Rebecca later explained in an email:
“After 3 days of close to zero reception travelling through the heart of Australia, I arrived in Darwin ready to post loads of pics, videos, posts, and do interviews. On the way to the airport my phone stopped working. Feeling a little frazzled, but still in control, I paid for the taxi and set myself up at the only powerpoint in the airport, located right next to automatic doors. As I attempted to sit down (a rarity reserved only for transit) I was hit by the sliding doors, and the screen of my mac book air shattered. All I could see was thousands of annoying little lines. So frustrated, I had to get out of the airport and get some air. Soon after I returned to find another computer and upload some pictures from my external hard drive… and that wouldn’t work either. Talk about bad things happening in threes!”
At any other time, Rebecca may have become discouraged, but ‘The Skype Nomad’ was still in high spirits after spending some quality time with family and friends in Sydney.
“Considering the limited time frame of less than 15 hours (including sleeping time) I definitely did my best to squeeze in as much as possible. As I had to keep moving, my friends and family picked me up on a mini bus and we drove from Manly to Palm Beach cramming in a beach walk from Dee Why to Long Reef headland. This is my favorite place so it was extra special to get to go here. Before I moved to London I used to walk this every day.”
“I miss the beach so much! After a teary goodbye to my girlfriends, I ran home, took my dog for a walk, before heading to the Hawkesbury with my family to stay on a houseboat for the night! We even got takeaway from my favorite Chinese Restaurant, Konki’s at Collaroy Plateau. Their Mongolian Lamb is number one. The boat was pretty bogan though… my brother, sister and I were in the ‘kids room’ with three bunk beds… Not that I am complaining, so far it’s probably the best bed I have had the luxury of sleeping in… A real bed, wow!”
“Mum and dad also surprised me by flying to adelaide at 6am the next morning so we could fit in an extra 4 hours! Such a fantastic day. It left me feeling very loved, charged and well, a blubbering mess at the airport.”
During our email communications, I asked Rebecca what she was most looking forward to when you she embarked on this trip?
“The finishing line!!! I knew it was going to be a challenge, which is kind of why I decided to do it,” she said.
Rebecca also told me the response from the Skype community has been very positive.
” There have been lots of tips from jet lag to the best things to do in each city I visit. The night that we were meant to talk I texted a rather emotional post and was amazed at the amount of people from all over the world who either commented on my post or pinged me a message. So cool.”
So what has Rebecca missed most since she embarked on the Skype Nomad challenge?
“Curling up on my couch with a doonah, dodgy chinese, a terrible movie and a bottle of rose with my house mate.”
And what is the first thing she will do when it is all over?
“Have a hot bath, before doing the above.”
You can read all about Rebecca’s adventures live on the internet as she travels, at her blog www.skype.com/go/nomad or her Facebook and MySpace pages. Her blog will include the latest queue-jumping tips, how to keep moving when waiting to board an aircraft or when stuck in a traffic jam and more.
For this challenge, Skype has teamed up with international disability and development charity Motivation, which works in low-income countries to enhance the quality of life of people with mobility disabilities. Skype will be making a donation to the charity and in addition further donations can be made via www.justgiving.com/Skypenomad.
I would like to thank Rebecca Campbell and the organisers of the Skype Nomad challenge for their assistance with this article.