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Video on Instagram, hazy marketing, masterful UGC from REI and this week’s bits and bytes

Video on Instagram: Speculation about Instagram launching their own short form video service to counter Twitter’s Vine finally came true this week. You can now photograph and film your latte using Instagram.

(I swear I wrote that before I watched the video – WHERE SOMEBODY VIDEO INSTAGRAMS THEIR LATTE!)

Anyway, the differences between Instagram video and Vine:

  • you can take up to 15 seconds of video (rather than only 7 seconds on Vine)
  • the filters that made Instagram so popular are also available to videos shot with Instagram
  • when you post a video, you can select a particular still from your clip as the hero image

Vine responded by posting some videos of their own, featuring sneak peaks of new features for  revamped video stream categories and draft Vines (yes please!) – at least, that is what Techcrunch believes they are.

Hazy marketing: Remember when real-time marketing went mainstream? You know, when Oreo tweeted about being able to dunk an Oreo cookie in the dark after the lights went out at the Superbowl? And everybody loved it and wrote blog posts about how brilliant it was and how since then anybody working in comms has thought about how they can get their own Oreo moment?

Well, even the masters at Oreo don’t always get it right. You may have seen coverage on the BBC yesterday about the haze in Singapore from the forest fires in Indonesia (much like the ones 16 years ago when I was still in high school in Singapore – only much, much worse). The marketing bods decided that this message to their Singaporean fans would be a good idea.

Source: Oreo

Now, I can’t see the response to the image (the post is only visible to people in Singapore), but personally, I think this is in bad taste and I wouldn’t be surprised if the locals don’t see the funny side.

Bizarrely Adidas posted a similar effort to their Facebook page: offering 152 free gym passes on a day when the Pollutant Standards Index hit 152 at lunchtime.

Source: Adidas

Now, anything between 100-200 is considered to be unhealthy, so encouraging people to head out in that environment isn’t such a smart thing. In fact, on June 20, the PSI peaked at 371, a level of pollution deemed to be hazardous – but they are still posting similar content (although they’re no longer so keen on matching free gym passes to the PSI levels).

Am I getting too paranoid?

High street food chat: Research from Visceral Business and Synthesio found that 10 UK high street brands account for 96% of all social media food conversations. Those brands: Burger King, KFC, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, McDonalds, Subway, Greggs, Nando’s, Ben & Jerry’s and Dominos (HT @DigitalBlonde).

REI Member Stories: Recreational Equipment Inc (REI) make outdoor gear and clothing. Their clientele ranges from skiers, ridiculously inspiring iron-women (like @celia_cole), climbers, trekkers… you get the idea. A great post on PSAMA goes into detail about how REI works closely with their customers to create some stunning user generated content to market their products in intensely engaging clips (HT @jcolman).

Key advice from @Kelly_Ann_Walsh, Digital Equipment Program Manager for REI: “Don’t try to create a new behaviour. Try instead to integrate what your community is already doing.” And some key questions for any company interested in using UGC in their marketing:

  • What is your community doing and how can you leverage it to provide value to your audience?
  • What are your objectives for engagement?
  • How can you leverage current behaviour to create a community or connection?
  • How can you drive continued engagement?
  • Do you have the resources to moderate the content and scale?
  • What are the legal considerations?

Digital publishing ≠ paper publishing: “As we adapt to a world of connected devices, the way we think about our content publishing process and workflow must adapt too.” An excellent piece by @karenmcgrane in the Harvard Business Review.

Good news: “The noun and verb tweet (in the social-networking sense) has just been added to the OED. This breaks at least one OED rule, namely that a new word needs to be current for ten years before consideration for inclusion. But it seems to be catching on.

Would you hire these people? A post entitled ‘The Crazy, Creative Staff Photographs Of Ad Agencies’ and I really couldn’t say it any better. Some of these really are very whacky (HT @tomparker81).

Videos of the week: This Russian commercial for Tampax takes an unexpected turn (HT @KristianWard29)

Russell Brand makes a mokery of MSNBC’s Morning Joe (not too hard, but still, pretty good television)

And finally: Textatrosphe

#NowThatchersDead, monetising spam and this week’s bits and bytes

Twitter and the death of Baroness Thatcher: Wall to wall coverage, equal parts mourning and vitriol, and many, many tweets. The hashtag #nowthatchersdead started trending shortly after the news was announced – some people misread that as ‘now that Cher is dead’. An Oddbins manager tweeted that Taittinger was on offer for £10, down from the usual £29 – the message was quickly condemned as ‘shameless’ and ‘sick’ and the manager suspended. The Met Seargeant who tweeted that he hoped Thatcher’s death was ‘painful and degrading’ resigned a few days later. And then there’s Ding Dong, the With is Dead. There’s more and the Beeb has a great post on how the news was reported online.

Was it really such a surprise though? Nope.

Is the vitriol a neat summary of everything that’s wrong with Twitter? Absolutely not.

People have their opinions – with or without Twitter. The fact that any comments you make on the Internet without first activating your brain can (and will) come back to bite you is something that should be a part of media literacy courses in school. Perhaps that would have saved Paris Brown’s job as Yout Crime Commissioner?

Is the scoop dead? That is the question @Marcousleroux and @Steve_Hawkes discussed after a comment from Kevin Ryan, co-founder of Business Insider:

Marcous argues that market forces are driving people away from news gathering, while Steve believes Twitter and scoops, more than ever, are a must. Here’s the full thread (HT to @antsilverman).

Retail geekery: A bakery in Tokyo has implemented a new scanning system that scans food by recognising the shape and colour of each item, no need for a barcode or human assistance, while New Balance launches Its Own 3D-Printed Shoes. Still on 3D-Printing, our very own Rob Fraser recently spoke about 3D printing saying that we have to prepare for the fact that consumers may soon not want to buy pre-packaged iPhone cases, but build and design their own. This lovely little animated clip from GrafixTV shows how 3D printing is changing retail:

http://youtu.be/NiOKDOnJ3VE 

Facebook looking to monetise spam: Would you pay $15 to direct message Justin Bieber on Facebook? I wouldn’t, but that’s what Facebook are looking to do in the UK. The prices are staggered at $1, $10 and $15 (depending on how popular the person that you’re looking to message is) and Facebook say that it is an attempt to cut down on spam. Looks like a brilliant way to monetise millions of terabytes worth of Belieber spam. I wonder how long until artist management bods demand their cut.

Facebook Home: Facebook are serious about their new immersive mobile experience. They moved quickly to address the privacy concerns about having your entire private life display on your home screen on their newsroom blog (if you don’t want Home to appear as your lock screen, you have the option to turn that off) and they’ve launched their first ever TV ad. But is it going to be enough to get kids excited about Facebook again?

Social media investor relations: a great post from Edelman on what the SEC rule on disclosure in social media means for IR.

Crowdsourcing products: Nissan is using its social channels to allow fans to help customise and name a one-off version of the Juke Nismo. At Saino’s, we’ve crowdsourced feedback on our 20×20 sustainability plan with Green Mondays and our 20×20 event last year. We’ve also asked our fans what cookie flavour they’d like to see in store and put the results to a vote.

Source: Sainsbury’s Facebook page

Econsultancy looks at what other brands are crowdsourcing.

InstaAds are here: The Internet was up in arms when Facebook bought Instagram for $1bn because it though all photos would now be used in and as ads against their will. It’s been six months and the InstaAds haven’t materialised. Obviously, things aren’t moving fast enough for brands because they are advertising on Instagram – and neither Instagram nor Facebook are seeing a single dollar for it. Unilever and Pepsi have teamed up with celebs such as Beyonce and Nicole Richie (OK, ‘celebs’ might be stretching it a bit) for sponsored posts.

Video of the week: Dove hair care for men

and Samsung test their new washing machine in the extreme of conditions – with unexpected results.

And finallyVinetune.com

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 toothbrushing.net, sodabottle.com and techrockstar.com 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 http://avc.lu/1097xcB (HT @tomparker81).

Happy Easter everyone!

Digital Corporate Affairs – weekly bits and bytes

We start with what for me was the biggest story of the week: Instagram’s terms of service über-fail. Hipsters, cappucino and selfie photographers the world over freaked out on Tuesday, when Instagram allegedly announced it was planning to sell the crappy, filtered, rectangular photos of people’s lunches to faceless corporations the world over.

I admit, I too had one foot on the InstaBashing bandwagon. But I wasn’t the only one. Users deleted their accounts, articles about how to remove all your photos from Instagram were popping up everywhere (mainly linking to the rather useful http://instaport.me) and the Guardian made the point that: “Instagram makes you the product” – but failed to realise that this is true of most other social network/platform/app out there).

So why the InstaRage?

The BBC’s technology correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones, put his finger on the main issue: “Real story on Instagram is incompetence (again) of Facebook in framing its privacy policies. Don’t think they’ve any plans to sell photos but they should have made that clear in the t&cs.

But I think that the second element is one that Paul Ford started writing about waaay back in 2007, when he talked about the web being a powerful platform for people to voice their discontent for then they had not been informed of changes relating to their lives. Why Wasn’t I Consulted, is the fundamental question of the web. It is the rule from which other rules are derived. Humans have a fundamental need to be consulted, engaged, to exercise their knowledge (and thus power), and no other medium that came before has been able to tap into that as effectively.”

Facebook changes settings, removes features, even redesigns their website without consulting their users. And you can understand them – they simply wouldn’t get anything done. Instagram though are a lot smaller than Facebook. They haven’t reached that point of total domination where – if you’re not on Facebook you basically do not have a social life.

So I think the combination of incomprehensible and confusing legalese and not even making it seem like they care about their users privacy led to Instagram losing even more of that loveable upstart karma they started to lose when they were acquired by Facebook.

In other news this week, The Mail Online cracked the 7 million daily unique browsers mark. Guardian.co.uk comes in at just under 4 million and Telegraph.co.uk at just under 3 million. Meanwhile, CIPR looked at the top newspaper Twitter accounts and found that the FT had the most followers, The Telegraph tweeted the most, The Sun received by far the most retweets and The Guardian receives the most replies.

In what Marketing Week called “a shift in social strategy”, Tesco this week launched their first Twitter campaign that encouraged users to pull virtual crackers by tweeting the hashtag #pullacracker. Followers who reply using the hashtag will be sent a unique link to an animation showing a cracker being pulled and revealing their prize. http://www.tescopullacracker.com

Jamaican beer Red Stripe teamed up with director Greg Brunkalla and Hirsch & Mann) to transform Best Supermarket on Kingsland High Street into an interactive music box, where products were rigged to create a plethora of instruments – a food can xylophone, jumping box drums and clinking bottle bells to name just a few. The finished clip has been viewed over 350,000 times (make sure you also check out the making of clip).

Buzzfeed have again done a great job of pulling together 5 of the best PR/advertising stunts of the year. The entirely epic Red Bull Stratos features, of course, but the other 4 aren’t to be sniffed at.

In a series of short webisodes (Fresh Meat fans will be amused) the cheeky buggers at Google look at what what bad web practices look like in real life – using the example of supermarkets. The point being: if it is annoying in real life, you can be sure that it is also annoying when shopping online.

The London Fire Brigade might actually want you to tweet about a fire before leaving the building, after it announced that it is looking to set up the world’s first 999 emergency Twitter feed. Given the amount false positives I see every week about fires at Sainsbury’s, I suspect (hope!) that it’ll be a while before this is implemented.

Starbucks are still having a rubbish time: not only was their #SpreadtheCheer Twitter campaign hijacked, the tweets were displayed on a big screen at the Natural History Museum. Ouch.

A different look back at the year: Spotifiy’s Review of the Year, with the top 100 tracks by country. Gotye’s Somebody that I used to know at no.1 in the UK. For shame.

And finally: the entirely NSFW ‘Epic Chef’, a new online cooking show from the deranged geniuses behind Epic Meal Time. This is totally and utterly mental. One of the secret challenge ingredients is a “mother-expletive-deleted case of bacon”. One of the contestants opens a jar of mayo with a chainsaw. Just watch it.

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