Welcome to a slightly tweaked version to my bits and bytes. I realised that my weekly rant – while therapeutic for me – isn’t particularly good for finding things. Ideally, the little segments in here should be posts in and of themselves. But that would mean taking up blogging full time and, well, I love my day job a bit too much to do that. So, from now on, expect a summary at the top of each post and links to the sections in the post below to make it easier to browse.

In this week’s edition

My April Fools’ round-up

In what has become a yearly effort to fool the world, PR and marketing bods around the world unleashed their best April Fools’ pranks on the entirely unsuspecting population on Tuesday morning. I’ve pulled together my favourites…

And yes, damnit, I’m starting with our effort, Sainsbury’s butter-side-up bread: never again will you drop your toast and have it land butter-side-down. Because: Science! And, as it’s topping agnostic, even the team at Marmite loved it.

As ever, Google went all out with a campaign to hire the world’s best Pokemon master by hiding the little blighters in Google Maps for would-be masters to find and capture. The challenge is real, not so much the job.

Brilliant for the environment and as someone who always struggles with getting the cardboard box folded up and into the bin without creating a pizza crumb mess in the kitchen, I am sad to see this isn’t real. At least the sausage stuffed crust is.

John Lewis also had customer convenience in mind with their measurement scanning mirror. I can’t ever remember my suit size, so this would also be a welcome addition to the retail landscape.

Rather than fool its followers, Pepsi took on the role of protector: make sure you tap that can of ice-cold Pepsi that your friend, grinning from ear to ear, just handed you.

Airbnb went one further with Airbrb, a simple way to rent out your desk at work to make some extra money while you’re in a meeting or having lunch.

A cheesy look behind the scenes at YouTube reveals that all those viral videos from last year were carefully crafted by YouTube. Rather than keep us all in suspense about what we can expect in 2014, they’ve lifted the curtain on what they will make viral. Gotta be Finish Lining for me.

My favourite? Samuel Adams’ new beer, HeliYUM. No words, just watch the clip and enjoy (HT @a_little_wine)


The death of organic reach on Facebook’s and why your people are the answer

Last week, Eat24 wrote a break-up letter to Facebook. They’d had it with the ever changing Facebook algorithm and the fact that organic reach on Facebook is effectively dead. No longer are brands able to post something to Facebook for it to be seen by their fans. You have to buy the right to get your message out to your fans on Facebook.

“When we first met, you made us feel special. We’d tell you a super funny joke about Sriracha and you’d tell all our friends and then everyone would laugh together. But now? Now you want us to give you money if we want to talk to our friends. Now when we show you a photo of a taco wrapped with bacon, you’re all like “PROMOTE THIS POST! GET MORE FRIENDS!” instead of just liking us for who we are. That’s hella messed up.”

This kind of criticism isn’t new – a quick search for death of organic reach on Facebook gets you articles dating back to October 2013. What is new however, is that for the first time, Facebook has not only reacted, but it’s flipped Eat24 the bird.

In a snarky response (posted to Facebook, but since deleted), Brandon McCormick, Facebook’s director of global communications and monetisation wrote:

Facebook responds to Eat24

It’s clear that McCormick was mimicking the style in which the Eat24 break-up letter was written.  But he’s also quite clearly confirmed that basically, Facebook doesn’t care about organic branded content.

What then does this mean for brands?

Focus your efforts on your people – both customer and employees. Make them the centre of your brand, make them be at the heart of what you do. Help make their life easier, entertain and inform them, make them laugh, make them want to tell a friend about you. Make them proud to work for you, make them happy to spend their hard-earned money with you.

At the heart of it is your story and your people tell your story best.

It’s why, at Sainsbury’s, we work with our colleagues to tell our story. It’s why we’ve partnered with real people to show how they feed their family. It’s why our national advertising campaign for Mothers’ Day included messages from our customers to their mums. It’s why we work with hundreds of amazing and talented bloggers around the country.

The result is little stories, videos, blog posts and images about Sainsbury’s – shared by our colleagues and customers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine and more. Telling their Sainsbury’s story to their friends and showing them what we stand for as a brand.

What makes us wholesome?

In it’s ‘This is Wholesome‘ campaign, Honey Maid in the US produced a series of films featuring different families talking about how they met, how they came together, what makes them a family. You’ve got the single dad, the military family and a film called Dad and Papa featuring two gay men and their son:

The campaign received a lot of comments, but it was the Dad and Papa film that resulted in a large amount of negative comments and homophobic backlash – something that Honey Maid could have ignored. Instead, they asked two artists to make something out of these comments. The result is a beautiful message, arguably more powerful than the original campaign (HT @tom_parker81).


Utter brilliance from Stephen Colbert in the wake of the #CancelColbert trend

Another masterclass on how to handle media and Twitter outrage this week comes from an unlikely source: Stephen Colbert. I can’t do it justice by writing a summary here, save for me to say that these next 10 minutes are a masterclass of media satire.


Curating cooking expertise with Asda’s new YouTube channel ‘Mum’s Eye View’

In the last couple of weeks, Asda have launched Mum’s Eye View, according to @DomBurch the supermarket’s Head of Social, “the UK’s first dedicated YouTube channel aimed squarely at mums”. On it you’ll find family food inspiration, health & fitness encouragement or beauty & fashion tips – brought to you not by Asda, but by familiar YouTube faces such as Pixiwoo and Zoella.

Interestingly, rather than produce its own video content, Asda has decided to concentrate on curation. It provides the raw ingredients (with the occasional close up shot of product packaging and subtle branding) to established YouTube stars who in turn provide their personality, cooking expertise and access to their fan base. Early signs are positive with the first three videos racking up 60k+ views and 6.5k+ subscribers in three weeks.

Head over to Dom’s blog where he writes more about how Mum’s Eye View come about and why he feels it’s the most exciting thing he’s done in 16 years in PR.

Bits and bytes

Videos of the week

Snickers have gone for some reverse sexism in a new campaign featuring a group of Aussie builders shouting female friendly messages to lady passers-by. A strange one as the ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry’ campaign thus far has focused on the hungry person being a bit of a shit when hungry – only to then snap back to their ‘normal’ self when biting into a Snickers. Going by that logic then, when the hungry builders bite into a Snickers, they’ll revert back to their normal behaviour, i.e. sexist chants and wolf whistles. Weird.

What if you could extend happy hour at the bar you’re at just by sharing selfies? That’s the idea behind Happy Beer Time, a ‘plug and party’ USB dongle that keeps track of selfies uploaded to Instagram, adding 5 minutes to the happy hour countdown for every correctly tagged photo, thus prolonging the drinking fun (HT @ghensel).

And finally: Alternate scene from ‘Gravity’.