Bits and Bytes

Thoughts on digital, running rambles and photos



Understanding your medium and your audience is key to storytelling

A film titled “Most Terrible Fatal Crash Ever” sounds horrible and I’d argue the people clicking through to it are there to see scenes of desctruction.

Continue reading “Understanding your medium and your audience is key to storytelling”

Sainsbury’s Christmas, pilot name shenanigans, how to use Hashtags and this week’s bits and bytes

Christmas in July: Yup, hottest days of the year and the @SainsburysPR team spends them in a beautifully made up basement in Covent Garden to show off Sainsbury’s gorgeous Christmas collection, from fantastic festive food and drink to classy home and clothing ranges and even floral!

Our Twitter Wall was back, encouraging the assembled press and bloggers to tweet their impressions using #SainsburysChristmas. In turn we posted photos and tasty Vines (shot and directed by our very own @a_little_wine) to show off the crimbo collection that will be coming to a store near you this Christmas.

Of course, we were all well chuffed when The Daily Telegraph’s Steve Hawkes tweeted his approval. Bring on Christmas!

Sum Ting Wong: Not long ago, an Asiana Airlines flight crash landed in San Francisco. In one of those ‘I can’t believe this actually happened’ moments, KTVU, a local news station, announced that the pilots of the Asiana flight had been named:

  • Sum Ting Wong
  • Wi Tu Lo
  • Ho Lee Fuk
  • Bang Ding Ow

I kid you not.

Soon after – and unsurprisingly – KTVU issued an on air apology, saying that the names were “not accurate, despite a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) spokesperson confirming them”.

Who was this spokesperson? This from the NTSB website

Earlier today, in response to an inquiry from a media outlet, a summer intern acted outside the scope of his authority when he erroneously confirmed the names of the flight crew on the aircraft.

The summer intern has since been fired, but I’d suggest the NTSB revisit their crisis comms procedures. Something is clearly not quite right there…

Above the cloud advertising: Staying with air travel for a bit longer – Ryanair has decided that sticking ads on every conceivable surface inside their planes and annoying passengers with ads blasted at full-volume on the PA system isn’t enough. After all, the whole outside area of the plane is still pretty much blank! It’ll only cost you £20,000 a year to get your creative on a Ryanair’s plane, for example the tips of the wings and the main body of the plane. Doubt BA or Easyjet will take them up on it.

Source: Business Insider

Facebook fangate: You know the bit you get on some Facebook brand pages where you have to “like” the page first before you can see the content? That’s a fangate. With Real Life Connect you can now set up a real-life fangate that uses RFID technology to identify your Facebook fans as and when they come into your stores and reward them with real life perks. The example in the clip below of showering customers with confetti and kisses is somewhat cheeseball, but you get the idea (HT @mike_mcgrail).

A nifty way then of breaking down those barriers between your Facebook and bricks and mortar stores. Although the key will be to come up with an in-store/real-life perk for the customer (discounts, free stuff, or even just the recognition) that balance with a benefit for the retailer (increased loyalty, personal connections).

The link between off and online will need to be seamless and automatic. Even with something as simple as Foursquare mayorships, which provide much the same mechanic and opportunites as Real Life Connect’s RFID approach, this approach to rewarding loyalty have found little pick up. Not once have I been rewarded for being the Mayor of a cafe or restaurant – and I’ve looked!

Combine this with existing loyalty schemes or apps however, and you might be on to something!

Tweet and thou shall be saved: In terms of rewarding fans for following a brand on Twitter, the Vatican may be on to the ultimate incentive – absolving Catholics of their sins. The Pope this week announced that anyone who follows his World Youth Day service on TV, radio or via Twitter will receive plenary indulgences.

When bylines go wrong: The heat might be getting to the subs at the Sunday Mirror. They carried a nib about a bridge funding scandal; and where you’d usually find the name of the journo that had written the piece, there was a rather colourful snippet of a sentence (HT @tabloidtroll).

How to use hashtags on Twitter: A great little 2-minute-guide to how you should use hashtags on Twitter by @garyvee. Instead of trying to make your own hashtags trend (as Gary notes, only The Bieber has that kind of power, infuriatingly), you’ll be much better off listening to what is already popular and then adding to those conversations and trends where you have the authority/content/right to play.

Videos of the week: Johannesburg Zoo were keen to get in on the social media action, but rather than hire a social media team, they decided to promote from within. Their resident honey badger “BG” got the gig (HT Alex Crouch).

A spectacular ad for Johnnie Walker starring none other than martial arts über-legend Bruce Lee. It took nine months to produce, with every shot, every detail was painstakingly assembled, animated and rendered through CGI. As the director puts it – a sculpture in a different medium (HT @KaiFischer).

A great little clip from Arsenal Football Club from the pre-season tour through Vietnam (not signing anyone or winning any titles, don’t be silly). A fan runs alongside the team coach for a good five miles, the bus finally stops and he climbs aboard. Dream come true (HT @stangreenan).

The Superhumans are back. No pressure.

And finally: Desk safari (HT @AndrewDumont).

PR is changing, ads using bone conduction, social coppers and this week’s bits and bytes

Sainsbury’s favourite tweets: This month’s instalment sees Tweets from the Tu relaunch, the start of the Summer Series and our tasty new pet food (so our furry friends tell us). Check out our favourite Tweets from June 2013.

Why the world of PR is changing: If you have the time, I urge you to read the transcript of former head of comms for Tony Blair @campbellclaret‘s speech at the Centre for Corporate Public Affairs Annual Oration on 27 June in Melbourne. It’s a few pages long, rambles at times, but if Alastair Campbell talks about why the world of PR is changing, it’s a good idea to listen. I won’t summarise the whole thing, but here are some thoughts that stuck with me:

  • Public affairs now covers any interaction between any two people or organisations
  • The product, large or small, is what will decide the strength or weakness of the PR
  • In a world of more choice and more information, people are getting better at knowing reality from spin
  • Too many decision makers define their reality according to that day’s media. It is almost always a mistake (that one is Campbell quoting President Clinton)
  • So good public affairs is not about spin; it is about strategy, and reputation
  • It is amazing what you can survive if you stay true to your own values and you stay strategic
  • So whether you call it PR, marketing, comms, public affairs, or a mix of it all, what I think matters is strategic advice and reputation support

Journalism is now something you do: A wonderful piece by @MatthewI about why it is more difficult than ever to decide who qualifies as a journalist, how it makes for a confusing media landscape and why that is a good thing.

Close to the bone: I found this first one in a list titled ‘10 new reasons to hate advertising‘. Unsuspecting train passengers – resting their heads against the window – suddenly hear an ad for Sky Go in their head. A little device sends vibrations through the glass and these are picked up and interpreted by the brain as sound. It’s called ‘bone conduction’ and it’s actually being used by Sky on trains in Germany to promote their service.

It also means we’re now no longer safe from advertising when we’ve got our eyes closed, dozing on public transport. It’s also why the this video was the only thing on the list of 10 new reasons to hate advertising – it’s terryfing enough to make up for nine other advertising sins (HT @usvsth3m).

Build it and they won’t come: But not all advertising is evil. In fact, there’s a strong argument that without it, even the best products (Rdio) don’t stand a chance against mediocre products (Spotify) because they still believe in that old adage: build it and they’ll come. That might (have) worked for Facebook and Instagram, but it shouldn’t be the rule. A lovely post from @AndrewDumont about how the core team for any product should be made up of a developer, designer and marketer (HT @jcolman).

Websites you visit will influence the Twitter ads you see: Over in the US, Twitter is experimenting with new ways of allowing advertisers to tailor ads for its users, depending on what they get up to when they’re browsing other websites.

Good for advertisers (they have more of a chance to reach the right people with the right message at the right time), but possibly intrusive for users. Mind you, is it not better to get ads that are relevant to your interests? Also, as much as I love Twitter, would I pay for it? Still, Kudos to the Twitter folks who in their announcement post also clearly note that as they support ‘do not track’, you can opt out quite simply from your account settings screen.

Source: Twitter

Note: as this is currently being tested in the US, the personalisation line reads “The feature to tailor Twitter based on your recent website visits is not available to you.”

Credit where credit’s due: A great example of how to win at social media this week from @Tescomobile (I know, those guys).

With their 140-character response to a derogatory Tweet about their service, the Tesco social team not only defused this troll, they received a bunch of kudos (10k+ retweets) and did it by matching perfectly their social tone of voice to that of their above the line campaign, thereby underlying their customer service credentials. Hats off chaps.

Social coppers: Not only have they got better weather and mid-afternoon naps are more or less obligatory, the Police in Spain really do get the benefits of embracing social. Officers in Granada have the force Twitter handle sewn into their uniforms and it’s also on their police cars. Why is this good@HelReynolds believes it demonstrates openness, legitimises social and it’s plain old common sense.

As the BBC has also noted, so-called ‘Tweet raids’ (where the official police account in Spain @Policia calls for witnesses and information on crimes) have proven to be very successful in bringing criminals to justice and have led to the arrest of 300 individuals in Spain last year.

For a British approach to social media policing, make sure to check out the wonderful @SolihullPolice and their best efforts.

Tech Nation: Turns out that according to the Newsworks/Kantar media’s Tech Nation quiz I am a ‘social addict’, one of the five personality types derived from answering 10 or so quick questions about what kind of devices you own and your attitudes to certain tech-related situations. The depressingly accurate definition is below and supposedly significant of the ‘lifestyle-choices’ I’ve made (HT @MindyB_).

Screen Shot 2013-07-05 at 08.29.42

Newsworks/Kantar have put together this simple tool to promote their research into the tech habits and landscape in the UK. They found that the UK spends more than £50 billion a year on technology products. Unsurprisingly then, £1.5 billion was spent on tech advertising in 2012, up from £1.4 billion in 2011.

Videos of the week: The eMart flying store (or how a Korean convenience store chain promotes home delivery to their tech-happy, mobile-savvy and time-poor customers)

Rory McIlroy competes against an extremely sassy version of HAL (or a Golf Laboratory Computer Controlled Hitting Machine)

And Geico tell us why camels are so happy on a Wednesday

And finally: The Samsung Apex (definitely NSFW, HT @ghensel and @TheOnion).

Hacking Burger King, social content and this week’s bits and bytes

It’s finally happened. The awesome colleagues in Sainsbury’s Washington have pulled off a great version of the current Harlem Shake craze. Even better: it’s for Red Nose Day so watch it and donate!

The advertising campaign is dead – A must read article in the Harvard Business Review about how the campaign-based model of advertising, perfected over decades of one-way mass media, is headed for extinction. The Oreo moment at this year’s Superbowl is seen as just another reason why advertisers should act more like newsrooms, reacting to current events not only in real-time but with useful and appealing content. What to do? Create just the right piece of content at the right moment by bringing the day’s zeitgeist together with your brand ethos and your audience’s expectations.

Memories and brands – A fantastic and inspiring report by Franck Sarrazit, Global Director of TNS’s Brand & Communications practice about how we make memories and what that means for brands.

Bang with Friends – Remember the scene in ‘The Social Network’ where Jesse Eisenberg’s Zuckerberg hot-flipflops it back to his dorm to add the ‘Relationship status’ field to Facebook profile pages after realising that in real life, there’s no easy way to see if someone is available or not? Well, I can’t believe it’s taken this long, but there’s a new Facebook app called ‘Bang with Friends’ that takes things one step further. Boasting to have already generated 100,000 ‘hook ups’, the app allows you go through your friends and mark the ones you’d like to, well, bang. Unlike other Facebook apps, this one works in private, matching friends that have expressed a mutual interest in, you know, banging each other. Once matched, the two prospective friends with benefits are notified by email and go about their business…

Source: Bang with Friends

Meanwhile, people on Facebook are hiring fake girlfriends so that they can change their relationship status to ‘In a relationship’ and make their lives seem romantically complete – even if it’s just virtual. WTF.

Social content that works – An excellent presentation by @JeremyWaite from Adobe about the social media purpose pyramid – or why social media does six things really well: emotional messages (entertain, challenge, inspire) and rational messages (inform, solve, educate). Jeremy notes that understanding what motivates people to share is at the heart of every successful social marketing campaign.

You could argue though that there should be one more element to the social media purpose pyramid, one that LinkedIn capitalised on these last few weeks. Social media provide you the perfect platform to brag about how great you are. A simple enough email then from LinkedIn to their users congratulating them that they are one of the most viewed profiles on the network. That ego boost was gratefully accepted and shared by many LinkedIn users, resulting in over 80,000 tweets mentioning individual greatness. TechCrunch takes a closer look at the LinkedIn email campaign (HT @tomparker81).

The King is hacked – Another week, another Twitter disaster. This week it was Burger King’s account that got hacked (apparently their password was ‘Whopper123’) and while it did get them 30,000 new followers in one day, it probably wasn’t worth the hassle/brand damage. Of all the many articles, Gizmodo probably has the best summary, including the wonderfully smug tweet from McDonald’s saying they had nothing to do with the hack. The lesson is clear: use a strong password, change it regularly and don’t use the same password for all your accounts.

How to create a strong password? XKCD has the answer.

Source: xkcd

A quick side note on hacking – this interview on the BBC with Jeff Jarvis was supposed to feed into the usual media panic of ‘oh my God, we’re all getting hacked’. It doesn’t quite go to plan. You can almost hear the Facebook PR team cheering in the background…

Also: is the Beeb really that precious that it feels it needs to cut an interview short because the interviewee has used such vitriolic insults as “crap” and “BS”?

Creative CVs – Could you get your whole CV across in 6 seconds? Aspiring journalist Dawn Siff has published her CV on Vine. Other recent advances in CV formatting have brought us Philippe Dubost’s Amazon page and Sonya William’s eBay page. Meanwhile, Enterasys – a wireless network provider – is considering applicants for a six-figure senior social media position, but no paper résumés will be accepted. Instead, the company has decided to recruit solely via Twitter.

And finally: You had one job.

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