Bits and Bytes

Thoughts on digital, running rambles and photos


harlem shake

Flipboard 2.0, collaborative marketing and this week’s bits and bytes

Back from hiking the Grand Canyon – more on the actual hikes in the next few days when I’ve digested the Garmin data. What I found out since coming back: Google has mapped the Canyon and you can enjoy the views from the comfort of your couch. I’d rather enjoy them first hand, but here’s how they did it.

Sainsbury’s on Flipboard: this week, the super-slick content aggregator Flipboard announced their 2.0 version. The big news being that you can now curate your own magazine. Excited to try it out, I quickly put together a Flipboard Magazine about Sainsbury’s. Let me know what you think and if you’re on Flipboard – subscribe! You can find out what’s else is new with Flipboard 2.0 in this video.

Budget screw up: The following is from @tomparker81: During last week’s budget announcement, the Evening Standard tweeted its front page about 20 minutes before the Chancellor had even stood up, thus giving away all of the detail in the Budget. Bit of a screw up really and someone at The Standard has been suspended for it.

Damian McBride, former chief spinner to Gordon Brown, has written a really interesting blog post about it which should be of interest to anyone doing our job. It describes how you brief a paper like the Standard to get them in just about the right place but without enough detail to give too much away.

Paywalls vs. free: The Telegraph and then The Sun announced they’d be moving to a metered model where readers would be able to read 20 articles a month for free before having to pay for access to the online paper. Meanwhile, the DMG Media, presented their latest financials: the MailOnline is set to make £45 million in 2013 and that that figure will reach £100 million in the next three to five years.

Brands can learn from newsrooms: How can a brand keep up conversations that are fresh, relevant and interesting? Our friends at Dare thinks we should learn from the Newsrooms, think like journalists and keep asking those important W-questions.

Bots artificially inflate site stats: brands such as McDonalds and Disney paid millions of dollars a month to show their online ads to websites that had their traffic numbers artifically inflated by automated networks of computers (aka bots). Spider, a London based analytics firm, found that sites such as, and were showing 20 to 20 million ads in a month – and that these sites were all linked to a network of botscalled Chameleon. Can’t imagine the marketing teams were very happy…

Tracking Facebook: Still on metrics, a quick and sensible guide to what you should be tracking on Facebook.

Remember the Harlem Shake? Only a few weeks ago, the Harlem Shake seemed to be everywhere. It exploded out of nowhere, annoyed the crap out of the Internet for a good two weeks and has since disappeared (if nothing else, please read the ‘What has changed‘ paragraph)

Social chocolate: A case study of how Cadbury does social.

Fashion rules Instagram: a quantitative look at the top 25 brands on Instagram shows quite clearly that fashion brands have embraced the hipsters’ image sharing network of choice. Victoria ‘s Secret (unsurprisingly?) tops the list with over 1.3 million followers. Other fashion staples in the top 25 include Nike, Forever21, Burberry, Top Shop, asos, H&M, Adidas and Gucci. Playboy (surprisingly?) comes in at no.20.

Collaborative marketing: social media, digital, web 2.0 – call it what you want, it is changing the way brands communicate. Simply put, customers want a meaningful conversation and the stage is set for social tech to begin creating real value for companies through deep collaboration with consumers. Fast Company has listed 5 trends driving the shift.

Videos of the week: Remember the flick ‘Catch me if you can’? Spielberg based the film on the true story of Frank Abagnale and in a speech at Adweek, Abagnale talks about how, as a runaway 16-year-old he spent two years defrauding Airlines of 1.3 million dollars, constantly shifting his identity. Without glorifying his actions, he talks about how he did it and how he was caught. After serving time in France, Sweden and the US, the FBI offered him a role in their fraud division. In the Q&A at the end, he provides some fascinating insight into how you can protect your privacy, from when you’re on Facebook to when you’re paying for petrol. Absolute must watch (HT @JoTomlin).

‘Grumpy Cat’ stars in Friskies Youtube campaign.

And finally: a headline and story so chock full of WTF? you just know that it has to be true (HT @tomparker81).

Happy Easter everyone!

The Harlem Shake and this week’s bits and bytes

Sainsbury's Giraffe Bread
Source: Sainsbury’s

What does Sainsbury’s have in common with Apple, Zappos, Trader Joe’s, the Ritz-Carlton and Lexus? According to Business Insider, they’ve all shown examples of big businesses actually getting it right. Some really wonderful stories, all showing that going above and beyond customer expectations will generate a lot of positive sentiment towards a business.

I’ve talked about the growing trend of second screening. 80% of Twitter users in the UK us the service via their mobile – or to put that differently, they tweet from the sofa and while they’re on the move. Twitter recognised this and even published a book on the link between TV and Twitter – how people talk about what is happening on telly while it’s happening. Not a big surprise then that Twitter acquired a social analytics start-up that measures just those two things what’s happening on TV, and what’s happening on Twitter.

The Harlem Shake is the newest Internet meme to take the world by storm. The 1-minute videos have already amassed over 44 million views on YouTube in two weeks. The meme is a combination of a track by Brooklyn-based DJ Baauer that was released in 2012 and the popular dance move from the ‘80s, both called ‘Harlem Shake’. It all seems to have started with a video by DizastaMusic where a group of people wearing bizarre outfits dance to the an extract of the track. Since then, the meme has mutated slightly, with videos now following the pattern of one person dancing while the rest are either going about their business or there’s no one else in shot. Then, once the lyrics kick in, everyone goes into a frenzied dance off. Completely mental but obviously brilliant fun for those taking part – and YouTube. There have been versions from Westpoint Cadet’s, the Norwegian ArmyWestern Uni students and the British Army. My favourite has to be this one from two DJs who incorporate their entire audience.

Cheeky Valentine’s Day advertising from Ikea in Australia: a free baby cot (some assembly required, I’m sure) for babies born on 14 November 2013. All you need to do is show them the coupon and a birth corticated.


A great stunt from Nivea in Germany for the launch of their new ‘Stress Protect Deodorant’. Titled ‘The Stress test’, the stunt plays out in real time as an unsuspecting passerby is photographed and their image used to create newspaper splashes and breaking news reports showing that same person as the main target in a nationwide manhunt . It’s an idea that’s been done before in different guises but I think this execution in a German airport, bringing together a host of extras is excellent. You can really see the panic in their eyes increase, especially when the PA system announces in minute detail what they are wearing. And they say Germans don’t have a sense of humour…

Econsultancy provides a good overview of some of the common pitfalls for brands and their social media initiatives. In summary, stay away from campaigns that are only geared to gaining followers, promoting a purchase, offer a lame prize, or only serve to make something simple more difficult.

And finally: Love reading the Guardian but can’t quite come up with an appropriate comment? Try the random Guardian comment generator.

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