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Content strategy, #GrillMOL, Gifpop! and this week’s bits and bytes

Brandopolis: I came across this spectacular in-depth investigation of content strategy at top brands by @lydialaurenson: this epic, four part report covers everything from content strategy basics, how this obsession with content came about, to the hyper contextual future this trend of ‘all brands are publishers’ is heading towards. Chock full with case studies from some of the world’s biggest brands, I’d rate this as one of the best pieces of writing on digital content strategy I’ve come across.

If nothing else (and for you TL;DR fans) scroll down to the conclusions – best four bullet points you’ll read all year.

GrillMOL: A few weeks ago we welcomed @Ryanair to Twitter. You may recall that I wasn’t to impressed with their second tweet, outlining why they wouldn’t respond to customers:  because, gosh darn it, there’s just too many of them.

This week, they decided to go from one extreme to the other: #GrillMOL was the official Hashtag used for a 1 hour 18 minute live Twitter Q&A with Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary.

I’ve had a quick look at some Sysomos data and the Q&A session from this week did put up some solid numbers: over 1,800 mentions, generating more than 4 million impressions. Interestingly, 72% of the audience was male – which, going by one of the first Tweets that MOL put out during the Q&A, doesn’t surprise me:

Absolutely daft.

However, the majority of his responses had O’Leary responding honestly and quickly to a number large number of questions ranging from that annoying fanfare when their planes land on time, to their shockingly horrible website – all with a healthy does of self-depricating humour.

The Daily Edge has a great summary of the things we learned from the Q&A, the Indie on the other hand thought it was a ‘crash landing‘ (much like their headline).

Ryanair’s reaction?

They thought it was so successful, they did it again today.

Gifpop! Everyone loves an animated gif. Well, I do. They’re particularly perfect for communicating specific emotions such as apoplectic rage, disgust or joy – often using scenes from films, TV shows or popular YouTube clips. Sites like the brilliant London Grumblr wouldn’t exist without them and online communities such as Reddit, 4Chan or Imgur – heck, the Internet – wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.

And no, it’s not just silliness.

Have a look at Zack Dougherty’s beautifully trippy gif art.

Source: Zack Dougherty

Problem of course is that these mesmerising, animated, forever looping, wonderful gifs only exists on digital screens.

Not for long though, as a Kickstarter project by @rachelbinx and @shashashasha that uses lenticular printing to bring gifs to life. Called Gifpop!, the service has already crushed its funding target of $5,000 less than 24 hours of going online – with over 400 backers donating over $15,000 (The Atlantic has more about how it all came about).

Can’t wait!

Source: Gifpop! Also, OMG, it’s a gif of a Gifpop!

Jonathan Perelman from Buzzfeed doesn’t like banner ads: Or, to quote him: “You’re more likely to summit Mount Everest than click on a banner ad.” From the Guardian’s take on Perelman’s speech at the the Abu Dhabi Media Summit 2013 – it sounded like many other people in the room agreed with his view that banner ads are (on the way) out.

He goes on to talk about ‘native advertising‘ – that dangerous amalgamation of content and advertising – an area that Buzzfeed excels in and has earned them 85 million unique visitors a month.

How do journalists use Twitter? Great little Q&A with @jenniferpreston about how to verifies Tweets when a story breaks and some of the principles she applies to source fast-moving stories.

Mobile or beer? Amstel, the Dutch Brewery company, has developed a clever little app that rewards you with free beer – if you don’t touch your phone for 8 hours. Called ‘Amstel‘, the app simply tracks how long you haven’t touched your phone.

Source: Amstel

Fast Company has more on the campaign – meanwhile, the question remains: could you go eight hours without touching your phone? (Or could you just turn it on when you go to bed and wake up to a free Amstel?).

Videos of the week: “Russell Brand, who are you to edit a political magazine?” So begins the interview on Newsnight between Jeremy Paxman and Russell Brand and my word is it good. That Brand is one eloquent customer.

Never not, part 2 – a beautiful 50 minute short film by Nike featuring some of the world’s top snowboarders, tricks, flips and a hell of a lot of snow.

A fantastic animation by Blank on Blank of an interview with Kurt Cobain on identity.

And finally: Workw*nkers

Commander Hadfield rocks, Capcom’s Internet of you and this week’s bits and bytes

7 future comms trends: Last week @drewb spoke at CIPR Wild Wild Web about the seven future web trends that brands should know about – all with a comms slant.

AP social media guidelines: The Associated Press posted an update to their social media guidelines, looking to balance the need for speed in reporting, warning journalists to avoid spreading unconfirmed rumors through tweets and posts.

Google’s still got it: Google’s 6th annual developer conference Google I/O is happening right now in San Francisco. The main event of this 3-day-developer-marathon though was Google’s 3.5 hour keynote where they announced a whole host of new features, updates and even some new hardware. Nothing major, rather an interesting mix of new features as well as leveraging and connecting existing products in Google’s massive portfolio. My faves:

  • Google+ saw a redesign adding a new chat that syncs across all platforms and a new focus on image manipulation called ‘Image Awesome‘. No, really. Awesome. The new in-built photo gallery enhances, categorises, styles and retouches your photos. Oh, and it does this automatically.
  • Spotify, Rdio and other music streaming services will have taken note of the terribly named Google Play Music All Access. The service will cost $9.99 a month but doesn’t have an ad-supported version (yet).
  • Google Search will soon receive a makeover in terms of input: you’ll be able to just tell Google in Chrome to search for something by saying “OK, Google“. No keystrokes or clicks required. The walls are growing ears.
  • My favourite new Google feature though is the combination of Google Wallet and Gmail, allowing you to send and receive actual money to people as an email attachment. So simple, so useful.

There’s always money in the banana stand: Netflix are using the infamous banana stand from ‘Arrested Development’ to generate even more buzz around the show’s highly-anticipated return to the online streaming service on 26 May. It’s already made it to Tower Bridge and Leicester square in London!

Huggies’ Tweetpee app: Not sure if this falls into the category of ‘WTAF’ or ‘pure genius’, but Ogilvy Brazil has come up with a sensor/app combo that tells parents when their babies need a diaper change. The sensor attaches to the baby’s diaper and tweets the parent when moisture levels become too high. But, before you just leave your baby pee, Kimberly-Clark confirmed in a statement that the clip-on humidity sensor is intended merely as a concept device and will not be made available for purchase. Back to manually checking those humidity levels.

The history of Typography: Ever wonder what the hell is the difference between serif and sans serif? Why Italics were invented? No? Well, to be honest, neither did I. Still, this animated short provides a great summary of the history of typography from its invention by Gutenberg through the horror that is Comic Sans, to today’s proliferation of different typefaces in word processing software (HT @willio).

BBM on iPhone? In a move that (to me) smacks of desperation, Blackberry have announced plans to make Blackberry Messenger available on iPhone – thereby removing the last reason for actually buying a Blackberry in the first place.

The Internet of things: The idea of a future where your fridge will order another pint of milk before you run out isn’t new. In fact, Wired Magazine’s @billwasik believes the programmable world is already here, writing in his excellent essay that soon we’ll be able to choreograph them to respond to our needs, solve our problems, even save our lives.

Remember me: Take the ‘Internet of things’ idea a giant leap further into the future and you land smack bang in the world of Capcom’s new sci-fi action/adventure game ‘Remember me‘. Rather than connecting inanimate objects through the web, this futuristic dystopia (think Bladerunner) has society connecting people’s memories, sharing them instantly via the web. The internet of you, as it were.

Source: The Art of the Game

 

To promote the game’s central idea, Capcom partnered with Youtube videographer Devin Supertramp (famous for his clips of attractive people swinging through giant arches) and produced a clip with scenes from Devin’s very own archive of work together with a speech of Antoine Cartier-Wells, the founder the corporation in Remember who has developed the technology to connect people’s minds. Trippy, geeky – I know what’s next after Bioshock!

Here is today: An incredibly simple, yet brilliantly effective and beautiful site to tell the story of the creation of the world, the universe, everything – across all time.

Gran’s cooking: Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti recently finished a 18-month trip around the world during which he completed a wonderful photographic project called ‘Delicatessen with love‘. A homage to grans’ cooking from around the world, the photos show portraits of grandmothers and their signature dish. The outcome is a cookery book of detailed recipes that mix love, photography and travel amongst the many exotic ingredients from Peru to the Philippines.

Source: Gabriele Galimberti

Satellite imagery time-lapse: Last week we had hyperlapse videos created using Google Maps imagery and data – this week I discovered the Google Earth Engine. Using satellite imagery from Landsat, the chaps from Google have put together a number of time-lapses spanning almost two decades from 1984 to 2012 showing everything from lakes drying out, palm-shaped islands popping up off the coast of Dubai, to the deforestation of the Amazon. Amazing and terrifying to see the often devastating effect we humans have on nature – and in such a short time.

As you’d expect from the search engine, you can also Google any other location – I found the Singaporean landgrab particularly impressive. Keep your eye on the South-Western and Eastern tips (Changi Airport) of the island.

Singapore timelapse
Source: Google Earth Engine

Video of the week: It had to be the video of International Space Station Commander Chris Hadfield singing David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ while orbiting our planet. Hadfield has tweeted throughout his mission, sharing everything from Space Station sounds to stunning images of earth from outer space – but to finish it off with the first ever music video recorded in space? Well played.

Acknowledgement from the original Spaceman

I love that this gloriously ‘tached Astronaut has helped NASA land arguably their biggest PR coup since the moon landing – all by engaging the world through social media with fascinating insight into what life in space is all about, a willingness to have a conversation and a healthy dose of Canadian charm.

Here’s a little ‘best of’ compilation of Hadfield in action.

And finally: Ryan Gosling won’t eat his cereal (HT @a_little_wine).

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