As a long-time viewer of the Daily Show, Jon Stewart’s announcement that he is to step down as host of the Daily Show later this year made me very sad. Which is weird and a little bit silly, but bear with me. Continue reading “Jon Stewart vs. Arby’s, Obama vs. Buzzfeed”
Amazon Prime Air vs. Waterstones’ OWLS, Christmas Tinner, SpaghettiOMG and this week’s bits and bytes
Amazon Prime Air: The perfect PR stunt timed to coincide with the craziness that is Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It gets people to think less about naughty Amazon (workers’ rights, working conditions in fulfilment centres and tax) and more about innovative Amazon. As Bloomberg notes: “The aerial drone is actually the perfect vehicle—not for delivering packages, but for evoking Amazon’s indomitable spirit of innovation.”
The goal of this new delivery system is to get packages into customers’ hands in 30 minutes or less using radio controlled drones. However, Amazon are quick to point out that putting Prime Air into commercial use will take time – mainly for the tech to mature and for FAA regulations on unmanned aerial devices to change – so don’t expect any drone deliveries anytime soon. The Guardian was quick to add their long list of problems with the idea.
The Internet, as ever, was quick to respond:
The best response however has to be from Waterstones, who reacted brilliantly to announce their Ornithological Waterstones Landing Service, or O.W.L.S. for short. As with Amazon Prime Air, this service will take years to get off the ground, as it takes a long time to teach Owls anything and, well, as appropriately named Waterstones spokesperson Jon Owls confirms, the retailer only just came up with the idea.
Christmas dinner in a can: The clever bods at Game have launched an ingenious product for dedicated gamers this holiday season: all your Christmas Day meals layered into one tin, from your scrambled eggs for breakfast, a couple of mince pies, the turkey dinner (there’s even a version that substitutes broccoli for sprouts), to, of course, the Christmas pudding. This spectacular culinary innovation comes after Game found that 43% of gamers in the UK intend to spend the majority of the holidays on their consoles.
Predictably, this £1.99 tinned temptation has caused outrage with The Mail calling it ‘stomach churning‘, while over at the The Metro, the Christmas Tinner has inspired a Buzzfeed-esque listicle of 10 foods that should never come in a can – after first reporting on the story without finding any offence a mere 24 hours earlier.
The Telegraph so liked the taste of this story, they must have dug into the habits of gamers at Christmas and found some ‘research’ by Dominos claiming that gamers will do almost anything to carry on playing: “almost half of male gamers admitted they have turned down sex to continue playing, while a fifth of female gamers said they had missed weddings and hen dos.”
According to The Mail, the product was trialled in Game’s Basingstoke store, and the gaming retailer plans to sell it in stores across the country if there is enough demand. Den of Geek meanwhile reported that the meal is available online. I am investigating – no response from Game yet.
SpaghettiOMG you said WHAT? It can’t be easy doing social for “a brand of canned spaghetti featuring circular pasta shapes in a cheese and tomato sauce and marketed to parents as ‘less messy’ than regular spaghetti.” But, the brave marketing bods at SpaghettiOs have managed to gain over 10,000 followers on Twitter, half a million Facebook likes.
Looking at their recent posts, the excel at creating tenuous links between their brand and favourite board games from the past, Thanksgiving and even Movember. These posts generate on average a couple of dozen interactions with their fans on Twitter and a few hundred on Facebook.
Having shown that they are a brand with their finger on the pulse, they thought they’d commemorate the bombing of Pearl Harbour on 7 December 1941 by the Japanese with this spectacular image of their brand mascot TheO holding aloft the Stars and Strips as it flutters in a patriotic breeze (HT @tomparker81).
This post got a few more retweets and favourites than some of their earlier posts – and from the looks of it has already been removed from Facebook.
Worry not, the helpful denizens of Twitter are on the case though, suggesting some more historic events that @SpaghettiOs and TheO could commemorate:
The Tweet has finally been removed and @SpaghettiOs have apologised
Facebook ups post quality: Facebook is tweaking its news feed algorithm to deliver “high-quality” content to people based on what their past behaviour on the platform. According to The Verge, Facebook wants to promote better content such as news articles instead of memes and over-shared viral content.
It’s all a bit shady as to what Facebook deems high quality content to be – to me it sounds like they’re looking to get more of a news driven feed à la Twitter and not just the viral crap (and baby photos? Please tell me baby photos will be filtered out?).
How to know when a post will go viral: While we’re on quality posts, the WSJ this week wrote up a feature on a chap they call the world’s most influential blogger. Neetzan Zimmerman writes for Gawker, posts a dozen times a day and almost every one of his articles goes viral. The piece looks at his system and thought process when picking stories to focus on, likening it to a biological algorithm:
The whole process happens very quickly. “Within 15 seconds, I know whether an item is going to work,” Mr. Zimmerman says. He usually has a headline ready to go a few seconds after that. “It’s a biological algorithm,” he says. “I’ve put myself into the system—I’ve sort of become the system—so that when I see something I’m instantly thinking of how well it it’s going to do.” Indeed, Mr. Zimmerman says he can no longer tell the difference between stories he finds interesting and stories that will be popular. “If it’s not worth posting then I’m not interested,” he says.
The secret then? Looking the story that plugs into the Zeitgeist of that particular day and elicits and emotional response that cannot be denied and competes people to share a story. Also, with Zimmerman’s post generating around 30 million page views a month – this article may also be the best CV ever posted.
Oh, and if Gawker isn’t your thing, The Evening Standard visited Buzzfeed UK for a lengthy feature on what you need to know about the social news site.
Instaforce: Star Wars this week joined Instagram with an image of Darth Vader taking a selfie (know your audience!). Since then they’ve posted a mix of behind the scenes photos from the original trilogy and the distinct lack of Jar Jar or material from the new trilogy does lift the spirits that the upcoming Disneyfication of the franchise might not be as crap as Episodes I-III.
The Force is strong in this one.
Videos of the week: To show that customers get quality advice and top value for money at camera retailer Jessops, Peter Jones dons a dodgy disguise to play a bumbling sales assistant. It shouldn’t work, but it does (although, as @a_little_wine pointed out when she sent this to me, the daily giveaway of a camera will have helped the #beardeddragon hashtag to trend on Twitter).
You may have seen what’s been billed as the most realistic finger painting in the world – a portrait of Morgan Freeman by Kyle Lambert. This clip of the painting taking shape is a mesmerising look at 200 hours of work in three minutes.
The film ‘Anchorman’ was so bad, I stopped watching after 10 minutes. Which is why I’m dumbfounded by how there is such excitement about the sequel coming to cinemas soon. You have to give it their PRs though, who organised for Ron Burgundy to co-presented the Sunday evening news show on KXMB in Bismarck, North Dakota alongside regular news anchor Amber Schatz.
And finally: Social Santa (HT @a_little_wine).