OPEN PANINI: In Praise of the Got, Got Need Machine

Four years ago during the World Cup I blogged about how Panini stickers were the original social media.

I’m fascinated at how a Greek defender and a spare Polish midfielder can bring people together and forge connections.

I’m also fascinated at how as an extra layer on top of these human interactions the social web is being put to use.

There’s the inspired Twitter hashtag #gotgotneed that Panini deployed.

There’s stories like Russ Cockburn only spending £90 to collect the entire Panini sticker book because he used the closed Facebook group  Panini World Cup Swapsies I belong to with 117 members that I belong to that just grows and grows.

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The majestic epic brilliance of the got, got need machine…

But what’s also caught my eye is a web application knocked up by brewcamp colleague Simon Whitehouse from Birmingham. Called the Got, Got Need Machine it’s a way of working out based on maths how many stickers you need to buy in order to complete your collection based on probability and a whole load of sums. You can see it here: 

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Me and Simon have talked before about open data and data. I’m a bit of a sceptic. When I see it demonstrated it’s brilliant. But I think the open data community are too inward looking and too keen to impress each other rather than impress real people whose lives they could make a big difference to. Open data has not delivered on a promise to change the world. That’s not to say it won’t. But it’s reaching out as this does that will help it.

So, if data crunched to produce something can work for Panini stickers what could it do crunched for other comms projects?

That’s an idea to swap.

But first go and check out Simon’s website.

 

GOT, GOT, NEED?: Panini stickers as social media

Like a salmon returning to the river it was born Panini World Cup stickers are back. Irrestible. Alluring. Exciting.

And like those fish battling up stream it sparks something deep inside many men – and yes, it is largely men.

It’s a deep seated yearning to hunt and gather Honduras midfielders. Then stick them into a book.

It’s a desire to tell the world: “Switzerland? Yes, I have the complete team. Even their star midfielder  Hakan Yakan.”

What are Panini stickers? They’re adhesive pictures of footballers. But they’re far more than that.

Growing up in the 1980s Panini stickers were the social media of their day.

Armed with a pile of doubles – or swaps – children would show them to other fellow collectors. The ‘got, got, need, NEED!’ commentary gave a status update.

They brought people together. They still do.

Here are some tales of the power of Panini.

1 My brother Paul’s best present

Somewhere on my brother Paul’s book shelf is a tattered Europa 80 Panini sticker book from the European Championships. It cost thirty quid on ebay.

Paul is a reserved man. He’s not given to flights of fancy. The album was the only present I’ve ever given that has caused him to leap from his chair and smile as broad as Marco Tardelli.

It was my way of punching him on the shoulder and saying: ‘Good on you, brother.’

Why? Because it was the first sticker collection we both collected. Not together, of course, but as sibling rivals in a sticker arms race.

We would use a Subbutteo pitch to play tournaments with the stickers as players.

Our mum often asked us why we didn’t join forces and collect them together. Pah! What did she know?

She didn’t understand the thrill of opening a packet of stickers to find Karl Heinz Rumminigge or the Chile foil badge.

2 Panini West Midlands swaps Facebook

Facebook as a platform for swapping. This is inspired. And not just because Russ Cockburn – @dwarfio on Twitter – sent me Stoke City’s Thomas Sorensen.

It’s a case of a digital native using the platform her knows to create something using social media to bring people together. As the Facebook group says ‘bringing the playground to Facebook.’

Link: Black Country Facebook swaps

3 It costs £412 to collect a sticker album

Si Whitehouse is good at maths. He’s good at lots of things, actually. He worked out how much it would cost to collect a World Cup 2010 sticker album. It’s more than £400.

I’m not sure whether I should be amazed or frightened at the sums of money involved in collecting these things. You’d get better value for money from a Build HMS Victory in 100 easy to follow steps.

But you know what? I’m still collecting them.

Link: Si Whitehouse blog

4 Panini as Flickr set

Think of it as a photo love story fired by a passion for Panini. I like Dave Russon. He does good things with his camera.

Here he has captured brilliantly the 18-step process from buying, through anticipation, to sticking, to stocking the swaps pile.

LINK: 365 Days of Photos

5 Who is Senor Panini?

They are from Modena. They started in 1960. Two years later they were selling 29 million ‘units’. Their first World Cup collection was 1970. Thank you, Wikipedia.

LINK: Panini Wikipedia

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