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Uber massive Black Cab own goal, Google Glass discrimination and the Flying Dutchman

Uber massive Black Cab own goal

On Wednesday, @a_little_wine and I were enjoying our lunch in the glorious London sunshine. At least until a long procession of Black Cabs showed up, honking their horns and clogging up Holborn Circus and the surrounding roads. Fellow road users weren’t impressed, a colleague missed their flight because they were stuck in traffic to Heathrow and cyclists were being smug as cyclists always are.

The following conversation echoed throughout the office all day:

What’s going on with all the cabs?

They’re on strike because of Uber.

They’re on strike because they can’t spell the German word for over?

No. Uber. It’s a mobile app that let’s you book cars to get you around London. It’s really very good and it’s actually quite a lot cheaper than taking a Black Cab.

@tomparker81 and @amyvwilson were too happy to tell us more about something that until that day we’d only heard about in passing. We learnt about  Uber, that it was cheaper than a cab and that it was very easy to use. I learnt that if I sign up using a code, Amy and I would both get £10 off our next ride. I signed up.

Also, as Rory Sutherland so marvellously puts it in (at 42 mins in this clip), human beings hate uncertainty. Uber takes that uncertainty away because you see the car approaching. You know exactly where and when that Uber car is going to show up. There’s no stress. A few taps and your off.

So Uber has many things going for it.

Now. Cabbies (and many other metered taxi drivers around Europe) aren’t complete idiots. They went on strike because they feel that Transport for London should not allow Uber cars to use a meter (which is essentially what the app does) as this is something only Black Cabs are allowed to do. TFL reckons it is something for the courts to decide upon. Unhappy, they decided to make their case heard.

Rather than help the cabbies, the strike has done the exact opposite:

  • it’s generated huge awareness of Uber on all forms of media
  • it’s caused a 850% spike in registrations to Uber
  • it’s pissed off a lot of motorists and people who spent an afternoon stuck in traffic
  • it’s generated more smug cyclists. This is never a good thing

I’m not saying that Cabbies don’t have a point. Rules and regulations for metered cabs should be fair. But as we’ve seen with Polaroid, HMV, Blockbuster, etc – if you ignore the way the customer is going, you’re going to have a bad time.

Google Glass discrimination

The Daily Show reports on the horrible discrimination Google Glass wearers – or Explorers as they prefer to be called – face every day. Harrowing.

The Flying Dutchman

The Internet loves an image based meme. And last night, after van Persie equalised for the Dutch with a glorious diving, looping, deliciously weighted header after a magnificent cross from Blind, the Internet had found new material.

Within hours, the ‘shopped images of RVP began appearing in all kinds of marvellous scenes:

Reuters’ Digital News Report

Reuters’ annual Digital News Report reveals new insights about digital news consumption based on a survey of over 18,000 online news consumers in the UK, US, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Denmark and Finland.

You can find the full report here, for a TL;DR summary, I give you some bullets:

  • Even though not technically new, mobile its seen as the second disruptive digital revolution creating new links between the audience and news outlets
  • People don’t and don’t want to pay for news but more news outlets are moving to subscription models
  • Although Facebook and Twitter are still the platforms of choice for discovering, sharing and commenting on news events, there are new players entering the game. Also: WhatsApp is a surprising big player in some countries – in India for example it was used to great effect to drive people the polls in the last election
  • Journalists themselves are turning into brands and just (if not more) trusted than the media outlet they work for

Bits and bytes

  • The biggest development in journalism has finally happened: Man bites dog
  • I hesitate to link to anything that bills itself as the ultimate guide to anything, but this guide to mobile social media by Buffer is not only good but also full of practical advice. Kudos!
  • No. A computer did not just beat the Turing Test. We have a bit of time yet until we battle Skynet
  • Scoopshot – the app that let’s you take on photography assignments from The Metro, Evening Standard or the Press Association and sell your work. Even brands such as Finnair are asking passengers to share photos from their flight

Videos of the week

VW in China worked with Ogilvy to create an ad that showed just how dangerous texting and driving can be.  Cinema goers were shown the ad as part of the usual build up of commercials and trailers: a monotonous scene shot from the driver’s perspective of cruising down a country lane, counting on them being bored by the clip. What happens next is very effective – if a bit dramatic.

You’ll have seen this during the first few World Cup games, Nike’s ‘Incredibles’ style animated film about a group of heroic footballers (and Rooney) playing the game of their lives against a team of perfect but predictable footballbots.

Why animate? Well, despite all the playacting on the pitch to get the other guy booked, footballers are actually terrible actors (with the obvious exceptions of Vinnie Jones and Eric Cantona), but also because footballers don’t nearly have enough of a sense of humour to actually agree to take part in this splendid little film.

Remember the Old Spice Guy? Of course you do. Turns out he actually was on a horse.

And finally

Tweets from 1998 (HT @tomparker81)

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

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

BVB’s PR masterclass mobbed by Puma, Guardian Coffee and this week’s bits and bytes

BerryLove: Judging by the weather today and last weekend, it looks like Summer might actually be happening after all. The @SainsburysPR team (thank you to @MindyB_ for the art direction!) decided to post our first Vine to celebrate the arrival of British strawberries into our stores. Wooo!

Sing when you’re winning: Dortmund and Bayern played out the first ever Germanic Champions League final last weekend and even though Dortmund lost the game, they clearly won the PR battle. Their Deckchair Tour of London in a big, bright yellow bus was particularly brilliant, placing the chair in strategic locations around the capital (including, of course, the obligatory beach towel).

Source: Borussia Dortmund

Before the game, The Guardian published their excellent interview with Dortmund’s coach, Jürgen Klopp. Even after Bayern were crowned champions of Europe, the indomitable spirit of Klopp shone through in his press conference and the way he summed up the game.

But then came Dortmund’s kit sponsors Puma with probably the world’s worst flash mob: Defeated by the Lederhosen-clad Teutons of Bavaria and on their way back to Germany, the Dortmund squad were greeted at Stansted Airport by a troupe of Puma clad street-stylers (is that what they’re called?), beat-boxing and break-dancing to an audience of utterly nonplussed BVB players.

Again. This was a good 12 hours after the final whistle. So I have to assume that the marketing bods at Puma knew their team had come out second best but decided to go ahead regardless. I suppose the performers had been paid and everything was ready to go. After all, it can’t be that easy to get permission to do this kind of thing at an Airport.

Unsurprisingly, the video bombed and was shared for all the wrong reasons.

But it gets better.

Two days later and in response to some rather colourful language and malicious glee on Twitter, Puma decided to put out this promoted tweet (fair play to them for engaging with the conversation and not just hiding away):

The Tweet takes you through to a poll on their Facebook page where Puma acknowledge that the best time for a celebratory flashmob is when you have something to celebrate. I suspect they deserve some brownie points for apologising – kind of – but I cannot understand why they went ahead with the flashmob in the first place.

Just to finish off on the Champions League final, here are some facts on the match from Twitter: 4.8 million Tweets with Robben the most mentioned player.

The long tail of the press release: Research from PR Newswire shows that the average life span of a press release is about four months. While findings like this from a company that distributes and hosts press releases should be taken with a pinch of salt, it does also show that good stories and releases will be found by interested readers and remain relevant long after they’ve been published (HT @CorpCommsMag).

#GuardianCoffee: Following in the footsteps of TAZNRC daily and the Winnipeg Free Press News Cafe, The Guardian launched their own coffee shop this week. No, really. Aptly named #GuardianCoffee, the café popped up in Shoreditch’s Boxpark and is meant to provide journalists a place to work. The reception’s been mixed: GQ thought it more suited to “those more interested in Instagramming their latte art rather than enjoying a conversation”, while Vice felt “the vibe was sterile and deathly”. The best summary of events though goes to Us vs Th3m (HT @stangreenan).

Still, it’s got nothing on the Czechs and their Newsroom Cafés where local newspapers are produced jointly by editorial staff and guests of the café.

Tumblr launches ads: Yahoo didn’t waste any time in getting ads onto Tumblr, rolling out sponsored posts to their entire platform (they’d already been live for about a year on Tumblr’s mobile app). Somewhat predictably, the reception has been negative with some users quick to post ways to remove the ads from their pages.

Updates to both Twitter and Facebook: Twitter updated its mobile app, refreshing the tweet composer screen, making it easier to tweet images. The new layout also makes it easier to see which account your tweeting from (useful for those people who don’t want to mix their work and private Twitter accounts).

Facebook meanwhile took a leaf out of the Twitter playbook (read: flat out copied) and launched verified pages. They’ve not even bothered to come up with their own symbol – they’ve just gone and used Twitter’s blue tick.

What’s in a ringtone? A good one for the next time you’re down the pub with your friends. Did you know that the sound that Facebook makes when you receive a video call is made up of the notes F, A, C and E (HT @stangreenan)?

Google MotoX: Google have announced plans to build a smartphone that will predict what you’re going to do before you do it. Gyroscopes and other sensors will continuously track the whereabouts and movements of the phone so it will know if you’re walking around your neighbourhood and pulling it out of your trouser pocket or if you sitting in the back of a cab on your way to the airport. Expect to be out of battery by the time you get to work (HT @TreebD).

Videos of the week: A brilliant stunt from Samsung in Zurich to promote the new Galaxy S4 and its ‘smart pause’ function.

You and nine of your mates happen to be in flat, open area and have a hankering for some 5-a-side footie action? Nike’s ‘Mi Pista’ app/campaign has got you covered (HT @stangreenan).

Aussie brewer Hahn is working to put an end to all those beer spillages on dance floors around the world.

And finally: Beardvertising. Yes. This is real.

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