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Adidas embracers the haters, the future of PR and how often do you look at your phone?

Adidas have launched a new pair of football boots, and with them, a campaign graced by none of the world’s best footballers. Seriously. Adidas sponsor the World Cup 2014 winning side and they don’t include any of them? Instead they bring back Suárez despite having distanced themselves from him due to his ferocious appetite for Italian. Continue reading “Adidas embracers the haters, the future of PR and how often do you look at your phone?”

Je suis Charlie – and yes, I do feel a bit silly writing about the digital bits and bytes this week

No words come close to the horror and sadness the events in France this week. I don’t have an explanation for it. However, I do think that what the team at Charlie Hebdo and other satirists around the world do is important. They hold up a mirror to ourselves and force us to look at us from a different perspective. As horrible as the events this week in France were, it is heartening and inspiring to see how the French and international community reacted to these acts of terrorism.

From the marches of solidarity, to people holding up pens and the now ubiquitous ‘Je suis Charlie’ posters – to the millions of Tweets voicing their support and condemnation.

Here are some that really struck me – because they fought back with humour, wit and determination: Continue reading “Je suis Charlie – and yes, I do feel a bit silly writing about the digital bits and bytes this week”

Looking back at 2014 and my top 3 predictions for PR, marketing and digital in 2015

So things have been a bit quiet around here.

A simple explanation really: I’ve gone from a long distance relationship to living together. A change that brought about a dramatic change in weekend priorities, one where geeking out over t’Interwebs and digital bits of interest slipped down behind spending time with G, long walks with the dog, doing the weekly shop, shouting at the telly because Arsenal are yet again throwing away a game.

But now, it’s the first day of 2015, I’m back from the traditional New Year’s Day run and what better way to get into this bits and bytes malarkey than looking back at 2014 and a wee peek at what could be in store. Continue reading “Looking back at 2014 and my top 3 predictions for PR, marketing and digital in 2015”

The World Cup of Memes, Twitter, errr, the USA?

The Cup of Memes

I am recovering from the relentless Brazil v Chile game. A game decided by the woodwork (both times in favour of the hosts), a game that neither team deserved to lose, a game that Spiegel Online reckons was Howard Webb’s application to also referee the final – after all, not many would have the stones to (correctly!) disallow a goal for handball. Also, he’s English.

It’s the Cup of Memes (stolen from the WSJ).

From van Persie’s diving header against Spain, the impenetrable wall of Ochoa, to, of course, Suarez loosing his balance against Italy’s Chiellini and falling on his shoulder. Hurting his teeth. Bless.

The Suarez incident in particular has received the most attention. Partly because it was just so predictable before the first ball was even kicked, but mostly because it provides so much fodder for wordsmiths to sink their teeth in. See what I did there? Yes. Very clever.

Twitter went into pundemonium…

… and finally had a use for a Vine of an Aussie chap imitating a dog attack

But it was brands that really went dental

Then there’s the fabulous Louis Suarez Biting Game by @usvsth3m

suarez biting game

#WorldCup

Twitter has been a key part of the tournament, at least from the perspective of the fans following the games, reacting to goals, incidents and saves.

The chaps at Twitter have kept a close eye on what we’ve been tweeting about during the group phase. Some of the highlights

  • 300 million tweets related to #WorldCup, with the opening game garnering the most Tweets (I suspect that will have been surpassed by last night’s game against Chile)
  • Marcelo’s own goal against Croatia was the most tweeted moment
  • Messi is the most mentioned player
  • The most retweeted Tweet was by @FinallyMario who would have like a kiss on the cheek from the Queen as a thank you to Italy for beating Costa Rica and keeping England’s chances of progressing alive. Italy lost, England went home

USA wins!

To finish off the World Cup round-up, for this week at least, is a look at the love of soccer in the US of A. Sparked by a team that is actually quite good (mostly because they have a German coach and mostly German players) the nation of cheerleaders has finally discovered the beautiful game.

They have the biggest set of travelling fans and after their dramatic win against Ghana in their first game, they coined a catchy new chant: ‘I believe that we will win’. A chant that fans in this pub were giving their all. See if you can spot the moment where Portugal equalises.

Then of course there was much confusion about how a game can end in a draw. Or that you’d advance to the next round after losing. Welcome, finally, to the world’s game, America.

Bits and bytes

  • A collection of the very best 404 pages from across the web. Kinda makes you want to build a broken website
  • There are blogs, Facebook groups and galleries dedicated to images of incorrectly spelt names on Starbucks cups. This exchange between a customer who reckons it’s just Starbucks’ way to get people to post free ads and @Starbucks is an excellent example how matching your counterpart’s sentiment and tone of voice can often lead to social media win
  • Rumour has it that Facebook is building FB@Work – possible competition to Intranets across the corporate Internet that will have in-house IT and Internal Comms teams freaking out over
  • Path doesn’t know it’s dead. Awkward.
  • Gallup reckons consumers don’t give a crap about what brands say on social media. Brands should listen and interact to make them care – two buzzwords and concepts that have been around forever, but seemingly ignored if this research is to be believed

Videos of the week

Remember the viral über-sensation ‘First Kiss‘ from a few months back? A black and white film for fashion company WREN showing strangers kissing for the first time? It spawned a number of parodies – including, this week, a surprisingly tender and lovely version by Max Landis called ‘The Slap’. Initially a parody, Landis also posted a making of clip where he refers to it as an experiment. The slap as a social interaction. Both worth a watch.

I love this mind-bending video for the track Kodama by 20syl.  Minimal electro beeps and bloops that end up in a Dali-esque landscape. Trippy. More on how it was made on Creative Review.

And finally

World Cup players folding their arms because they are cross about things (HT @VictoriaDove).

Net Neutrality explained, CIA goes social, Sainsbury’s and Google launch Food Rescue

John Oliver explains Net Neutrality…

Veteran Daily Show and Senior Britishness Correspondent John Oliver has made a name for himself in the US during his time on Jon Stewart’s (more or less) daily comedy news show.

Oliver recently landed his own weekly show on HBO called ‘Last Week Tonight‘, essentially The Daily Show, but longer and without studio guests.

In a recent episode, Oliver produced the best summary of Net Neutrality I have seen. Period. From how and why it came about, to what it actually means, how ridiculous and wrong it is and – here’s where it get’s interesting – to what people can actually do to stop cable companies and ISPs from ‘fixing a system that isn’t broken’.

Utterly brilliant and this week’s must watch clip:

Not only is Oliver’s summary bang on, but his call to action to “Internet commenters, monsters and trolls” is likely to have been the cause of the FCC’s website going down, as he directs viewers to unleash their vitriol on the FCC which is accepting feedback on the proposed changes until July 15 (or, as it’s called in FCC Doublespeak: Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet).

… or why I get my news from satirical news media

It is bizarre when a comedy news show such as Last Week Tonight does a better job of explaining what’s going on in the world that ‘traditional’ media.

In fact, a study found that another Daily Show alumni, Stephen Colbert, did a better job of teaching viewers about the role of money in US politics on his satirical news show than the actual news. The University of Pennsylvania found that viewers of ‘The Colbert Report’ were more informed about campaign financing than viewers of CNN, MSNBC and FOX News (OK, no surprise at the last one).

Now, I tried finding a clip of Colbert apologising to his viewers about actually informing them about the news. What I found instead is a clip of Hapless CNN Anchor and Marginally Less Hapless Media Pundit ‘analysing’ how Colbert does a better job of what CNN and news outlets should be doing.

My favourite part is when Hapless CNN Anchor says: “[Colbert] has this certain je ne said quoi, if you will, right, but, but, but, they dedicate, like, chunks of time on that show to something such as [campaign financing] and he pulls it off!

Later in that same clip, Hapless CNN Anchor goes on to concede, that of course a 24 hour news channel like CNN is at a disadvantage, because Colbert has an audience that keeps coming back and a room full of writers who helps him write the jokes!

The mind boggles not only at how oblivious Hapless CNN Anchor is to the words that are coming out of her mouth, that this actually aired on CNN, but that the clip below is hosted on CNN’s YouTube channel!

The CIA goes social

The @CIA joined Twitter and Facebook this week. Looking past the fact that they’ve had a presence on Flickr and Youtube for a while and, let’s face it, have been following all of us for longer than that, it seems they’ve definitely learnt a thing or two about the appropriate tone of voice on social, especially Twitter.

According to the CIA’s website, their new accounts will be used to share “the latest CIA updates, #tbt (Throwback Thursday) photos, reflections on intelligence history, and fun facts from the CIA World Factbook“.

Let’s have a look then, shall we?

It’s generated well over 250k retweets an a wave of public support and praise for an organisation that in recent time has had its fair share of cock-ups.

Despite the brilliance of poking fun at the Glomar Response and thereby harking back to (arguably) the golden days of spying during the Cold War, I really was very surprised at the almost exclusively positive reaction to the tweet.

Well, except for WikiLeaks.

And Gawker – their reaction is perhaps more eloquently put, by Vice.

I find the reaction, especially to the Tweet, immensely disconcerting. Almost as if that cheeky message somehow absolves the CIA from all the other controversies surrounding the Agency. Just have a look at their Twitter bio:

5JOHPoGTfq7OxdjlVU97-j8IwPr95buLZQZnPSXPmXM

Far less cuddly and cute now. We get shit done. That sure gives their first Tweet a slightly more sinister edge.

Over on the CIA’s Facebook, the reaction to Big Brother getting on board has been a little more tempered – both in terms of numbers but also fan-girling. This will be due in part to the nature of Facebook being more of a closed network but also down to the more serious tone in their first posts about the anniversary of D-Day.

Still, the reaction on Facebook is much more in line with the cynical tone that I’ have expected on Twitter:

Yu-Ds7P3NpXEj7pArc2oRrbltB_jhGTb_gHQBzTqggY

Still, spy-hats off to the spooks for a genius PR move – I’m looking forward to more unclassified content and a peek under that trench coat.

Sainsbury’s Food Rescue

We waste 4.2 million tonnes of food and drink each year in the UK. That translates as a loss of £60 per month for the average family.

Searches for recipes using leftovers have surged by 1/3 compared to last year, with 2/3 of those searches made via mobile devices.

This is why Sainsbury’s and Google have launched Sainsbury’s Food Rescue. The tool gives people practical help and inspiration on using up ingredients that can often lay forgotten at the back of the fridge or cupboard.

Food Rescue will also provide some insight into what food the UK saves and how that differs across the country:

  • the most rescued ingredient is a potato
  • 176 Feed Rescue recipes have been made since launch
  • £1.30 aAverage saving per recipe

Bits and bytes

  • Whole Foods uses an internal photo sharing community where staff shares images from stores to glean insight into which displays work well without giving away a competitive advantage
  • Google now treats brand mentions as links. They’re not like ‘express links, things you can click that will take you some place else, but rather ‘implied links’. Which means that every brand mention is now a link to your website. Or, more succinctly as this marvellous info graphic from MC Saatchi puts it: PR = SEO
  • Twitter is in trouble: losing users, inactive accounts, too much noise. It has lost more than half its market value, a staggering USD18 billion, since late December.  Here’s how Twitter can avoid becoming irrelevant
  • Bit of ad-porn? Cannes Lions 2014 top 100 contenders, compiled by Per Pedersen, Deputy Worldwide Chief Creative Officer at Grey

Videos of the week

Mexican retailer Coppel teams up with world freestyle champion @seanfreestyle to play a little prank on some unsuspecting kids.

On the slightly less skilled front, we have Zidane, Bale and Moura smashing up Beckham’s house while looking street in their Adidas gear.

And then there’s this fantastically bizarre clip by Polish window maker Drutex featuring Philipp Lahm, Andrea Pirlo and Jakub Blaszczykowski showing students who’s best at keepy uppy only to then find out that great footballers not only have great skills in common, but also great windows. Windows for champions. Seriously. That’s the actual slogan (at least in the German translation).

And finally

Billy Jean on beer bottles

Start Believing with Puma; Agile marketing; The Golden Age of Bullshit and this week’s bits and bytes

Another update on a Sunday – mainly due to being pre-occupied with  Arsenal finally ending its 9-year-wait for silverware. And how brilliant is it to then have them win The Wenger Double of the FA Cup AND Champions League Qualification? The Gunner’s cup truly runneth over…

Right is pink, left is blue

On Wednesday this week, the image above popped up in my Facebook newsfeed. Posted with nothing more than a mysterious smiling emoticon by a good friend who works at Puma, it caught my attention.

Was it a way to help footballers remember which boot goes on which foot? I suspected there was more to it.

Off to the Google I clicked and landed on a Mail Online article published that same day: Arsenal’s boys look pretty in pink ahead of Hull FA Cup final (not only pretty in Puma pink, Santi’s new boots obviously helped him score this belter and Giroud’s new boots helped him set up Rambo’s glorious winner with this cheeky back heel).

The article had some images of Arsenal players Giroud and Flamini wearing mismatched boots, where the left one was blue and the right one was pink.

Source: Mail Online

 

While an assault on the eyes, it did quite quickly then solve the mystery of why Puma had decided to give its flagship store in London’s Carnaby street a bit of a make-over ahead of the FA Cup Final.

Source: Mail Online

Also embedded in the Mail Online article, the video celebrating the release of Puma’s new evoPower and evoSpeed boots.

Replete with international superstars Fabregas, Reus, Aguero and Balotelli, a rousing speech about believing in yourself as said stars are cheered on their walk through pink and blue coloured smoke – lots of smoke – into a stadium in their new boots, the clip takes a rather different approach than Nike’s action packed #RiskEverything approach that launched last month.

But back to Puma’s effort – the clip ends on the hashtag #StartBelieving – which, when I pulled it up on Twitter, delivered messages by the stars of the film as well as other Puma footballers.

No mean feat to get anybody to stick to the script, not to mention an embargo – no matter if it’s a journo of footballer. So kudos to the Puma marketing team for pulling that off.

To complete my brief look at Puma’s superbly executed, multi-channel launch of their new boots, I’ll finish on Puma’s campaign page where you’re driven to purchase the new boots as well as other Puma kit as well as voice your social media support for the different Puma-kitted players and nations.

Well played, Puma.

Agile marketing

A cheeky case study on Econsultancy about how Cancer Research UK went about reacting to the recent #nomakeupselfie to drive a huge increase in text donations caught my eye this week. It talks a bit about how they are set up to make it happen and mentions two rather nifty techniques used in agile software development that help teams deal with change and by enabling them to reprioritise and shift resources quickly and effectively.

  1. Stand up meetings: daily meetings where everyone stands up (no surprise there) and update on what they did yesterday and what they’re doing today. The fact that you’re standing up keeps meetings short and you have a good idea of what people around you have achieved and what they’re working on next

    Source: Econsultancy
  2. Kanban boards: a just-in-time business process originally from Japan that visualises workflow to show what is coming up, what is in progress, and what is done

    Source: Wikipedia

The golden age of bullshit

Marvellous talk by @AdContrarian Bob Hoffman positing that everything you’ve heard about advertising in the last decade is baloney. He states quite clearly that he intends to achieve three things: contradict everything you’ve heard about advertising; annoy you; and to leave the listener a little less comfortable and a little more skeptical.

He doesn’t mince his words either. To the people who think that consumers are in love with brands, or who have things like ‘I’m passionate about brands’ in their Twitter profile and actually believe that people on social media are there to talk about their brands, he says: “What? Dude, get a fucking girlfriend.”

So please, take some time out to listen to Bob and his eloquent rant against bullshit and his plea for all of us to return to the facts.

Bits and bytes

  • Stanford and Facebook have published a study called ‘Rumor Cascades‘ full of advice for public bodies on how stop the spread of misinformation on Facebook. @HelReynolds wrote a great summary in the Guardian and the full study is available for download via Facebook Publications
  • New to Twitter? The lovely @girllostincity has a fabulous guide to Twitter etiquette
  • To launch their new album “Ghost Stories” Coldplay’s marketing team launched a good old treasure hunt to win some exclusive memorabilia
  • Snapchat’s USP of being able to send images to friends that disappear from the ether after looking at them, um, disappeared this week, when the company was forced to admit that images as well as other information like usernames and locations were being saved indefinitely. Also, Snapchat’s non-apology really is quite something: rather than apologising and fix the problem, they’ve ‘improved the wording of their privacy policy’
  • The crazy shit people search for on Google: from how to hide a body, whether or not Lady Gaga is a man, to people using Google to search for the phrase “how do I use Google”. The mind boggles

Videos of the week

David Beckham, Sainsbury’s Active Kids ambassador, made a surprise visit to his old primary school in East London for first time since leaving 30 years ago. He meets the school football team who are off to play at Wembley, joins in at lunch time and catches up with lots of very excited kids.

Crass marketing or genuine gesture? To give labourers in the UAE a few extra minutes of happiness, Coca-Cola created the Hello Happiness Phone Booth — a special phone booth that accepts Coca-Cola bottle caps instead of coins for a free 3-minute international phone call, helping them connect with their families back home more often.

Viewed in isolation, a heart-warming clip – but knowing even a little about the working conditions of labourers in the UAE and the decision to use them as a marketing hook does look like a ballsy (silly?) move. The campaign has been met with strong criticism in the the comments below the film on Coke’s YouTube and on Twitter (via @richmelton).

And finally

Rap shirts for white people

Heartbleed explained; Why you should never leave a journo hungry; Twitter’s new profile pages and this week’s bits and bytes

Less than 24 hours to go until the London Marathon – no better way to get my mind off the 26.2 miles that lie in wait than write my weekly bits and bytes.

This week I’m looking at the biggest threat to the Internet since the Y2K bug, how banning a journalist from a media dinner is a recipe for disaster, how Costa Coffee did a great job with engaging bloggers (but then forgot to tie that good work back into their social profiles), and the new Twitter profiles that will be coming to a screen near you.

Continue reading “Heartbleed explained; Why you should never leave a journo hungry; Twitter’s new profile pages and this week’s bits and bytes”

My April Fools’ round-up; thoughts on organic reach; Honey Maid loves the haters and this week’s bits and bytes

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.

Continue reading “My April Fools’ round-up; thoughts on organic reach; Honey Maid loves the haters and this week’s bits and bytes”

Why Facebook bought Oculus VR; why Twitter is becoming Facebook; and this week’s bits and bytes

Oculus Facebook: The Zuck got out the chequebook again this week, signing off $2bn for a virtual reality headset called Occulus Rift (for those trying to keep their .com acquisition exchange rate up to date, that’s two Instagrams, but only a 5th of WhatsApp).

Essentially, the Oculus Rift is an IMAX theatre squeezed into giant, blacked out ski-goggles. Particularly popular with gamers, the goggles allow you to immerse yourself fully into a 3D game landscape, where your movements in real-life are mapped to the pile of pixels you’re using to destroy other pixels with.

Continue reading “Why Facebook bought Oculus VR; why Twitter is becoming Facebook; and this week’s bits and bytes”

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