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Iceclimb, Royal Mail’s poultry apology, your brain going viral and this week’s bits and bytes

Greenpeace Iceclimb: In what was an incredibly literal interpretation of the term PR stunt, six Greenpeace activists scaled London’s Shard building to raise awareness of the negative effects of drilling in the Arctic. The news quickly spread on via Twitter (that’s where I saw that The Shard was trending) and media outlets quickly picked it up. By Thursday evening, #Iceclimb was still in the top trending topics and the Evening Standard had it as their front page with another double spread on pages 6/7 including all the key messaging from the Greenpeace campaign.

Poultry apology: A fascinating exchange between a disgruntled Nando’s customer, Nando’s customer service and the Royal Mail about a Nando’s voucher issued in apology that was (apparently) stolen by the postal service – all playing out on Twitter. The chaps running the Royal Mail account show great courage by rolling with the punches and following Nando’s suggestion of apologising to the customer for losing the voucher – by drawing a chicken.

Read the exchange for yourself (it’s worth it!) – all I wanted to point out here is: how bizarre is it that both the Metro and Poultry World ask permission to use the hand-drawn image of the chicken!?

Twitter Media Blog: I suspect that the Greenpeace activity and possibly even the Royal Mail chicken apology will make an appearance on the new @TwitterMedia blog – a place where Twitter promises to showcase the best uses of Twitter by the media industry, including marketing, advertising and journalism. And what better way to announce it than a quick Vine.

Journos going ever more digital: Broadgate Mainland surveyed financial journos and found that they are increasingly seeing digital popularity as a measure of success – while print is falling in importance. Key bits from the study:

  • Twice as many journalists now use digital means to source stories compared with 2012
  • Three quarters of financial services journalists increasingly rely on press releases and PR generated commentary
  • 87% of journalists prefer to be pitched to by email – phone pitches come in at 8%
  • 45% of journalists said Twitter is their favourite social media outlet for sourcing news (down from 57% last year – the novelty might be wearing off?)

This is your brain on viral: A fascinating post about the Temporo-Parietal Junction – the part of our brain that is most active in deciding what we share on social media. MRI scans showed that the TPJ lights up like a Christmas tree when we start thinking about how and who with to share a story, a video, an image.

Google Glass and retail: Google Glass is coming and while some use it to film bar brawls and the resulting arrest, But what could wearable computing mean for retail? Nothing much going by Econsultancy: Google Glass doesn’t offer any more customisation options than todays’ smartphones.

Meanwhile, over on Marketingland, they look at the privacy debate around Google Glass and how much of it has been driven by hype and fear. An interesting (and long read!), but good if you’ve been worried about the army of bespectacled geeks roaming the world and/or the NSA plugging in directly to your eyeballs.

Your Tour: I’m more of a runner, but even I have to admit that Google’s tribute to the 100th Tour de France is quite nifty. To begin with they had a great Google Doodle and now I’ve come across Your Tour a great site that combines Google maps, Streetview and other nifty gadgets to give you a handle-bar-perspective of some of the most famous sections of this year’s and past year’s Tour. Mashable have pulled together a little video to show what it Your Tour gets you.

Videos of the week: The brilliant @MrMichaelSpicer reckons he doesn’t need Twitter, he has a horse

Honda pays tribute the curiosity of their Honda engineers and some of the most successful innovations from the past 65 years

And just ‘cos it was so good, highlights of Murray’s Wimbledon win set against Biffy Clyro’s Victory Over The Serve

And finally: Go to Vogue.co.uk, enter the Konami code (for you non gamer geeks, that’s up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A) and keep hitting A (HT @a_little_wine)

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.

Digital Corporate Affairs – weekly bits and bytes

Poynter has pulled together the best and worst media errors, corrections and apologies of 2013. From CNN’s and Fox News’ epic failure to correctly interpret the US Supreme Court’s Affordable Care Act decision (guess who actually corrected the mistake and who just went with it) to some cracking examples from closer to home, including the apology of the year from The Sun and their coverage of the Hillsborough disaster – this is an absolute must read.

Ever since Google published their first Zeitgeist summary, there is no better way to have a quick look back at the year and see how we searched in 2012 (especially as this year’s clip is put to the wonderful track “All I Want” by Kodaline).

Not to be outdone, Twitter have pulled together their own little look back at the year 2012 in Tweets. They’ve even partnered with Vizify to allow you to create your own personalised look back at your year on Twitter. Turns out I swear about Arsenal. A lot.

Twitter however did not include my favourite tweet of 2012 (and quite possibly of all time). Robbed.

The guys at Buzzfeed have done a great job of pulling together the best print ads of 2012 and the best commercials of 2012.

A quick pitstop in the present with an entirely marvellous clip featuring a somewhat angry German dude (Martin Oetting, MD of Word of Mouth agency trnd) in conversation with a rude French Fox. Bear with me on this one: the point that word-of-mouth marketing is all about putting the customer on stage, rather than your brand of product is an interesting one and worth thinking about. Tune in from around the 9 minute mark if you want to skip the build up.

But what about next year?

David Armano, Managing Director at Edelman Digital, has again compiled his traditional look into the future at the top 6 social/digital trends for 2013. Most interesting personally, I find the co-dependency of social and mobile (Armano calls it ‘Smobile’): A smobile Web means your customers, co-workers and colleagues expect their digital experiences will be optimized for mobile/social sharing and as a result spend less time tethered to a PC or television.

And finally: it’s time to break up with the native iOS6 maps app (you won’t able to delete it, but you can now install the free Google Maps app).

How’s foursquare? Any good?

How's Foursquare? Any good?

That was the Twitter DM I received from a good friend this morning. Well, I quickly realised that 140 characters wouldn't cut it, so here are my thoughts on the location based mobile application that is creating buzz all over the media and that I have been using for a few months.

A quick excursion into my life: As a frequent patron of the lovely C'est Ici, a lovely French cafe near Barons Court Tube Station and George's Cafe, a down-to-earth builder's cafe behind my work that does marvellous beef and chicken curry, I expect a certain level of customer service. I expect to walk into C'est Ici, have the guy look up, recognise me, remember my usual order and simply say: "Good morning sir, that'll be 2.20 please." The same goes for George's. When I rock up, I expect the staff behind the counter to recognise me and sort out my chicken curry with rice and mixed veg without me having to actually verbalise the order. The guys at George's get this right. Down to the important detail of giving me a spoon to eat my meal with. The French cafe on the other hand, rien du tout. I have to actually order the same thing, every time. "A large skinny latte to go please." Extremely annoying.

What does this have to do with Foursquare?

The app rewards you for repeat check-ins with the chance (goal?) to become the mayor of a certain location. Some cyber savvy venues in London have begun to see the potential here to reward their regular customers with discounts or other perks.

The app has a number of other rewards or badges to unlock: checking in 10 times in a day will get you the "overshare badge"; check in on four nights in a row and you're awarded the "bender badge"; if you manage to hold the mayorship at 10 or more venues at the same time, you may call yourself "super mayor". These badges are nifty and do give you a weird sense of satisfaction. Of course the goal is to steal the title of mayor from other users. Still, without real-world perks like the above, the app does become boring. To become really interesting, fun and possibly even useful, Foursquare needs two things: more users and more venues giving real life incentives to their mayors.

Why do the guys at George's get it right and the staff at C'est Ici don't notice the same guy order the same thing ever time? Probably because when I get my coffee I am half asleep and incapable of social interaction before my first dose of caffeine. At lunch time on the other hand, I'm awake, I chat with the George's staff, we have a bit of fun.

Bottom line: social media and location based apps should support but on their own will never substitute good customer relationships. Is Foursquare any good? Not at the moment, but I think it has the potential to become something that helps you meet up with friends and score some freebies at restaurants, pubs, cafes and other venues.

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