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Rock solid win for UsVSTh3m, ‘Spineless’ Yahoo! and this week’s bits and bytes

Fast flooding cement: The Victoria Line was suspended this week because, somehow, a control room was flooded with cement. Twitter reacted how it always reacts, with a barrage of quick drying puns, visual gags and other silliness. And as we know, Twitter frickin LOVES a good pun.

@tomparker81 pointed out this beautiful flowchart from @TimeOutLondon on how the engineers were most likely dealing with the situation…

… while @a_little_wine sent me this brilliant response from @JobSiteUK, who not only had the time to think up a pun, but also put up a promoted Tweet for engineering jobs on their platform.

What struck me most about the story though was that it (technically) wasn’t the traditional media that broke the news, but up-and-coming, do-it-for-the-LOLz site @UsVSTh3m (an experiment funded by Trinity Mirror).

UsVSTh3m got their hands on a number of images of the cement-covered control room and (by using their  ‘old school media’ connections?) those photos were then not only used, but also credited on The Telegraph, The Evening Standard, The Metro, HuffPo, Mail Online and The BBC to name a few.

A big win for the experiment, and if you haven’t read @MartinBelam‘s take on the who, why and what behind UsVSTh3m, I recommend you do so immediately as it provides a clever and informative take on how traditional media can adapt to t’Interwebs and why it’s so important that the UsVSTh3m team can “write for the web, use Photoshop like a boss, and code”.

Big win?

Still, you’ll be glad to know that the Victoria Line is working again. The fix? Sugar, bizarrely. And while I’d like to think it was Fairtrade sugar from Sainsbury’s that sorted out the signalling room, I cannot confirm that.

Grow a spine, Yahoo!: Gmail was down for about 20 minutes on Friday, enough time for brands and organisations to jump in with some real-time marketing.

From the cheeky

to the worthy

to the own goal (is this the only time you’d watch an episode of NCIS?)

But then there was Yahoo!, who (I thought) simply tweeted the fact that Gmail was ‘temporarily unavailable’, quoting the Error 500 page. No further judgement or commentary – just a screenshot (although I imagine, behind the scenes, the Yahoo! Mail team was high-fiving and wooping).

The Tweet was quickly deleted and replaced by a confusing, two-tweet apology. It referred to @Yahoo being used by the editorial team to inform about news and events and that the Tweet “reflected bad judgment” (I guess you think twice about dissing your CEO’s ex-employer).

But if you see yourself as a news organisation, should you then not report on the news? There wasn’t any Nelson-esque “HaHa” (albeit implicit), they were simply stating fact. I wonder if they’d have gotten away with the @YahooNews account tweeting it.

As ValleyWag puts it: “Grow a spine, Yahoo!” – a sentiment that many people share, going by the responses to the apology.

Those cheeky chaps at Paddy Power are at it again: After Man Utd lost to Chelsea, the Paddy Power deposited a life-sized wax figure of Sir Alex Ferguson inside a glass box outside Old Trafford. The instructions are simple: “In case of emergency, break glass“. I have a feeling that after the hilariously pathetic penalty shoot-out against equally inept Sunderland this week, the glass might have been shattered. Perhaps by the same distressed fan who was so dismayed by the nightmare at the Theatre of Dreams, he dialled 999, demanding to speak to Ferguson.

Bits and bytes

Videos of the week: “You have elbows and you have knees. So touch them. VERY NICE.” Arnold Schwarzenegger visits Gold’s Gym in a dodgy disguise to support after-school sports. I doubt anybody was fooled as to whom they were talking to, but Ahnuld is just one charming dude.

What if Google was just some dude behind a desk (HT @TillieSeymour).

And two wonderfully cheese public service videos from The White House this week. Making the ‘Big Block of Cheese Day’ a virtual reality. And who better to do the promo than The West Wing’s Josh Lyman and Will Bailey!

And then there’s FLOTUS dunking on Lebron James. Oh yeah.

And finally: Physics paper Rick-Roll.

Another pun-off, TFL travel alert fail, say hello to Vice News and this week’s bits and bytes

Trashtag: Last week fish pun mania gripped the nation. This week, puns are still very much en vogue, even if they have turned trashy, as this exchange about a rogue trash can at a Sainsbury’s Local in London between @sainsburys and @Anthony_Hill. While perhaps not as epic as the previous effort, it’s good to see the various members of our Careline team getting in on the action. Anthony was good enough to save the conversation for posterity on his blog and tweet us the exchange.

Hell hath no fury like a social media geek scorned: Two guaranteed ways to piss me off.

The first: QR codes. Seriously. Just say no.

The second: Randomly include a reference to your social media account but not your handle.

I won’t spend any more time on why QR codes are a waste of time, but shouting about the fact that you’re on social by simply including a wee bird or a blue f? You’ve got to be kidding me.

So, I (along with many other like-minded individuals) were outraged this week when Transport for London put up posters notifying commuters about their travel alerts on Twitter. The poster has 4 wee Twitter birds making up the middle blue bit of the famous tube sign (so far, so good), it reads “Travel alerts on Twitter” (OK, still with you), and underneath that, in cheeky brackets, “OMG!” (stretching it chaps, but I’ll assume you were going for irony. Go on).

That’s it though. Not a single Twitter handle in sight.

OMG indeed.

But it get’s better. There is a link to TFL’s website, waaay down in the bottom right hand corner of the poster. But rather than taking you through to TFL’s social media page, it takes you to their page about the Tube. Now, to give TFL some credit, were you to do a search for TFL travel alerts on Google or Twitter, you quickly get to their Twitter channels.

Still.

Why make us work so hard to get the information that you’re trying to tell us about? We’ve barely managed to elbow our way into somebody’s armpit on a rammed Piccadilly train to Heathrow at rush our, so letting us know how long we’re to inhale a complete stranger’s body odour while hanging on to consciousness should be more straight forward?

Gonzo journalism for hipsters: I remember back at Uni, getting your hands on the new Vice was an event we all looked forward to. Having grown up in the rather more controlled environment of Singapore, the gritty photography and features in Vice were always an eye-opening read, and the wonderfully snide Do’s and Don’ts still bring a giggle.

Most recently, Vice has earned some serious kudos with its guerrilla documentaries and reporting: from Travel guides to the Philippines, to the epic three parter touring North Korea, and the surreal dinner featuring a Vice reporter, the Haarlem Globe Trotters and a cameo by Grand Marshall, Kim Jong Un. It’s no surprise that some of the more established media business have taken note and invested.

Now called Vice Media, Shane Smith’s media empire includes a massive website, a magazine, a record label, feature films, events (some of the best parties I’ve been to!), a book publishing division and, soon, its own news channel.

A news channel with that unmistakable gonzo journalism style, which puts the reporter into the story, an approach that Smith argues gleans the answers that young people seek. Something that I think many established media houses will keep a close eye on.

Creepy Emoji: French child advocacy group Innocence en Danger has given cute Emoji a creepy make-over in their campaign to warn parents and young people about the adult predators who might be behind online conversations.

Bits and bytes

  • Facebook adds trending topics to remind people that there are things other than cat videos and baby photos. While cats and babies enjoy permanent popularity, Facebook is looking to surface content that sees a sharp increase in popularity over a short space of time
  • Twitter now offers marketers the ability to target ads to specific users’ accounts, based on their bio information, follower count, verified status and past tweets
  • “At times, it felt like I’d put my head into my phone. Interacting with all of this information becomes much more intimate.” A quote from a shaky split screen video in a piece titled ‘I Became a Robot with Google Glass‘, shows a first person perspective of what it feels like to wear Google Glass and how people react to the wearer
  • How did BuzzFeed grow from a much-mocked LOL cat archive to a media giant for a new era? Wired magazine looks at the evolution in a highly entertaining piece. Interesting points: people don’t like fuzz (fake + buzz), we like to share and we like to share good news
  • You love/hate the selfie, but have you heard of the felfie? The Guardian looks at the trend amongst farmers to take a selfie on their farm (farm + selfie = felfie) and how especially Twitter is so popular with farmers as they can connect with their peers and friends in what is otherwise a rather lonely job

Videos of the week: A compilation of Vine videos from Zach King that will blow your mind. More on how Zach does it on the Indie (HT @MindyB_).

Puma partner with Thierry Henry, Cesc Fabregas, Marco Reus and Mario Balotelli to test their new evoPOWER football boots. Over the top CGI, terrible acting from Thierry, and a generous helping of cheese make for a rather enjoyable ad.

‘Prankvertising’ is back with this hilarious effort featuring a projectile vomiting, remote controlled, devil-baby. The stunt was to promote the release of horror flick ‘Devil’s Baby’ (HT @tomparker81).

And finally: Tom doesn’t like to shut his cupboard, or how you take passive aggressive to the next level (HT @tomparker81, who assures me that he isn’t the Tom in question)

Fish puns, ask Jelly and you shall receive, social news with the NYTimes and this week’s bits and bytes

Fishy goodness: If it’s one thing I’ve learnt during my time in the UK, it’s that Brits love a pun.

Yesterday, @TeaAndCopy tweeted @SainsburysI tried to buy some battered fish from @sainsburys but it didn’t have a bar cod!

David Smith from our social Careline team was quick to respond with this triple whammy: @TeaAndCopy Were there no other packs in the plaice, or was that the sole one on the shelf? Floundering for an explanation! David.

The resulting ‘punversation‘ is a joy to behold and quickly spread via Twitter and onto the HuffPo.

Also, it reminded me of this wonderful ‘Little Story‘ about Sainsbury’s sustainably sourced prawns.

Have a question? Take a photo: If you have a question, somebody out there likely has an answer. Combine that with the fact that most of us have an Internet connected camera in our pocket and you’ve got the premise of the new visual question and answer app Jelly. Jelly allows you to ask and respond to image based questions.

Here’s co-founder and CEO of Jelly, Biz Stone (yup, same dude that helped give us Twitter) who explains it far better than I could. If that’s not enough, there’s more info on Jelly’s blog.

Quick thoughts:

  • The app (at least for iPhone) is still a bit wonky. For example, the only way to switch between Twitter handles at the moment seems to be to delete and re-install the app. Also, it murders your battery life – I suspect this might have to do with the high number of push notifications from the app alerting me to friends in need of answers
  • Jelly works by tapping into your existing connections on Twitter and Facebook – and your connections’ connections – but it keeps all interactions contained within its walls. While they’re likely to open this up in future, it plays to the trend of a) mobile first and worry about the desktop experience later and b) it’s not about getting mass reach or fame, but to help each other out in small-scale yet meaningful interactions
  • Swiping through questions is fun and simple and the wide variety of different questions is astonishing but also confusing. There isn’t a search or sort function and once you’ve dismissed a question, you can’t go back to it
  • There doesn’t seem to be a way to block other Jelly users from asking or responding to questions, nor does the app respect Twitter blocks. Interesting to see how they deal with the inevitable abuse cases and ‘less welcome’ content

Finally, can those social comms bods, please agree to not go for the obvious ‘Would you prefer product a, b or c?’ questions?

Social media news: The team that runs the New York Times’ Twitter feed analysed some of their most successful tweets in 2013 (in terms of click-throughs and retweets), and looked at how they used Twitter to encourage a variety of types of reader engagement with their journalism. @michaelroston, staff editor for social media, sums up their findings and I strongly suggest you give the results your full attention.

For those of the TL;DR mindset (I doubt you’ll have gotten this far, but hey), here’s my take:

  • Managing breaking news is about sharing approved and verified sources. To ensure accuracy, @nytimes will retweet journalists who are directly involvement in events instead of relying un unverified, third party sources
  • They let their journalists break ‘news situations’ – even without links to the NYT: Letting our trusted reporters deliver some news first helps them connect directly with an interested audience, and delivers news in a timely manner without sacrificing our commitment to accuracy 
  • Using social for call-outs for sources
  • Automated tweets are OK (automated in the sense that a new article that’s published to the site is tweeted automatically), but Tweets send via @nytimes performed better when they were written by editors: Twitter is a platform that helps extend The Times’s journalism to an audience that is not always the same as the one that visits our website directly. When we fit our storytelling to the medium, we do the best possible job of connecting with that audience
  • Clearly stated tweets describing the gist of the stories work better than clever headlines

Minimal goodness: A lovely collection of minimal ads that make your brain work just that little bit more to get the point and provide that brief Eureka moment when you get the point. Sent to me by @stangreenan remarking that his favourite was the one for Haribo. I’d have to agree:

Bits and bytes

  • On Vine? Make sure you have your web profile sorted as the six second video app makes the leap from mobile to desktop
  • Don’t know where to go on your next holiday? You could use Sightsmap, a nifty heat map of popular places around the world
  • Why is no-one is outraged about the New York Times redesign (despite the horribly intrusive related story pop-up functionality)? A playful post, but one that will leave anyone who’s ever worked on redesigning a website smiling. Also, you’ll learn what a hamburger is in terms of web design speak (HT @alexcole71)
  • The San Francisco Chronicle will put all its reporters through social media boot camp in an attempt to to arrest circulation decline and remain relevant in the digital age. The two month (!) programme is all about introducing digital metrics and measurement tools. Let’s hope they’re also addressing the required mental shift from print to digital
  • The reason why Netflix walked away from personalisation? The novelty factor: the new and unexpected is what delights customers, not a similar version of what they watched yesterday
  • XKCD provides a brilliant comeback to the question: “Why can’t you just enjoy the view rather than always take photos”

    Source: XKCD

Videos of the week: A case study from Kirby Ferguson, on the back of his excellent 4-part series Everything is a Remix about how creativity resembles remixing. He looks at how when it was launched, the iPhone borrowed from conventions and ideas outside of the smart phone realm to when the recent update of iOS6 was released, it borrowed from ideas within the smart phone realm.

It’s worth taking a look back at the entire series, the first and second films make the point that not only is everything today a remix, creation actually requires influence and that it doesn’t take any expensive tools or even skills to do so (anymore). The third film looks at how innovations truly happen and the fourth finishes on how our system of law doesn’t acknowledge the derivative nature of creativity.

If you fancy a quicker summary of all that goodness, I’d recommend Kirby Ferguson’s TED talk that brings this all together – without the excellent films and animations mind you.

And finally: Movie Code, images of the computer code appearing in TV and films and what they really are.

Christmas in a Day is here, KLM excels at social customer service, pay with a selfie and this week’s bits and bytes

Christmas in a Day: The trailers had racked up over 1 million views on Sainsbury’s YouTube channel by the time I was fortunate enough to attend the premiere at beautiful BAFTA House alongside the film’s director and the many stars of the 47 minute feature made up entirely of user-generated content.

A true roller coaster of emotions, I found myself happily giggling away one moment and simply dissolving into tears the next. A genuinely heartfelt, charming  and entirely authentic look at Christmas in the UK.

Why this shepherd loves Twitter: A marvellous essay by @HerdyShepherd1 about why he loves Twitter. A self-confessed luddite and shepherd in the Lake District, Herdy admits that he never would have thought he’d take to Twitter. It was only after he upgraded to a smartphone with Twitter installed that he succumbed to the little blue bird’s charms.

“I suddenly had a camera and Twitter app in my pocket whilst I worked. And though it took me a while to realize it, I had the tools to connect to thousands of people around the world. I could now defend the old in my own quirky and probably misguided way.”

A charming read and well worth the follow.

How to do a Twitter Q&AEconsultancy looked at seven recent Twitter Q&As by brands that proved to be useful in one way or another. They key points they seem to make about what a brand should consider before agreeing to a Twitter Q&A:

  • Get your other Twitter accounts and platforms to promote the Q&A hashtag
  • Stick to your hashtag – it makes it easier to track questions and also potential reach
  • Don’t invite people to ask you question when you’re having a bad news day
  • Collect questions in advance of the Q&A via the hashtag, Facebook and email
  • Use a service like Storify to curate the Q&A so that you have a record of it for later

Transparent customer service via Twitter: @KLM now provides a live update on how long they expect it’ll be before they respond to queries. You’ll see this information when you make your way to KLM’s customer service centre and also directly on their Twitter profile. Really impressive stuff from a company that’s always pushing the boundaries on social and digital media.

Screen Shot 2013-11-28 at 20.54.07

Pay with a selfie: Last week I shared with you my thoughts on the word selfie making it into the dictionary. The South African retailer Urban Hilton Weiner went a step further to celebrate the new official word and launched a one-day campaign encouraging customers to share a selfie of themselves wearing some of the brand’s clothing in order to in order to contribute to their payment.

The hashtag #UrbanSelfie quickly saw a number of in store customers tweeting, Facebooking and Instagraming their outfits from inside the store’s changing rooms for a chance to win some money.

https://twitter.com/arabellazz/status/404573185934635008

Clever URL shenanigans: I don’t understand a great deal about Eggball other than there’s some sort of World Cup going on, England lost (as usual?) and the All Blacks are both terrifying with their pre-game Haka and also nigh on invincible.

Videos of the week: Ze Germans and Adidas celebrate their new footie kit (whether they’ll actually win anything in Brazil remains to be seen).

You won’t look at Jelly Beans the same way after watching this short film.

I have a feeling that Harvey Nichols’ ‘Sorry, I spent it on myself’ campaign might make secret Santa that little bit less festive (HT @LisaJHarris).

And finally: The brilliantly bizarre Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball (Chatroulette Version) has racked up over 31 million views in two days (HT @a_little_wine)!

Little Saino’s Stories, BA looks up, an ode to the selfie and this week’s bits and bytes

Little Stories, Big Difference: Often it’s little things that make a big difference. At Saino’s, those little things are often what customers don’t see, so we thought the best people to tell these stories would be our colleagues. Together with our Internal Comms and product teams, we worked with @SAS_Creative and @Green_Lions to create over twenty microfilms: all speaking to the value of values and all featuring our own colleagues. The first ten of these films are live now on our corporate site.

From reducing packaging, to homing bees, and tracing the origin of our bread – I really do think that these films go a long way in bringing our values and sustainability commitments to life in a customer friendly and playful way.

Meerkat moment: At this week’s Marketing huddle, @PoppyShute talked about the Coca Cola ‘Small Worlds Machine’ campaign. Poppy was kind enough to write a quick summary of Coke’s campaign:

This award winning online video campaign communicated the optimistic and feel-good message that what unites us is stronger than what sets us apart, and the result was an incredibly touching video that went viral on You Tube, with 2.4 million views to date. In March this year, Coca Cola set out to connect the people of India and Pakistan – communities only several hundred miles apart, but separated by decades of political tension and mutual hostility. Using state of the art, touch screen vending machines that acted as ‘live communication portals’ in Lahore (Pakistan) and New Delhi (India), they invited consumers to put their differences aside, complete an interactive task togehter, and share a simple moment of connection over a coke.

This is a great demonstration of a company using new technology to great effect, being locally relevant, and building brand values much bigger than just their product. Brace yourself to feel a bit teary.

#LookUp: A digital screen, live flight information and a wee clip of a nipper pointing up at the sky. Three rather simple elements that @British_Airways have brilliantly combined to deliver ever-changing billboards under the flight paths around Heathrow Airport. Such a powerful idea – after all, who hasn’t sat there looking at planes flying overhead and asked themselves the question: “I wonder where they’re going” (HT @G3Bowden).

Word of the year: “Selfie” has been named as word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries. The official definition:

A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website: occasional selfies are acceptable, but posting a new picture of yourself every day isn’t necessary

The self-portrait has always been a part of art, Van Gogh created many self-portraits in the 1800s (he loved that straw hat) and when photography was invented, the obligatory mirror photo wasn’t too far behind (if Kubrick does it, it’s gotta be OK). Fast forward to today, and you’ve got Jon Snow Vining about the news

I’m sure that anybody with a camera has taken a self-portrait. Either with a front facing camera on a smartphone or the classic out-stretched-arm-click-and-hope snapshot. The Telegraph’s claim that ‘no man should ever be caught taking a selfie‘ is utterly daft and ignores years of art history.

Gratuitous use of one of my self-portraits in conjunction with some of the greats. I have no shame.

Perhaps it’s to do with the word ‘self-portrait’ bringing with it a certain level of artistic expectation. A selfie on the other hand feels more of the moment, more fleeting. The Oxford dictionary notes in its definition that a selfie is typically taken with a phone or webcam – by that logic, a photo taken with a proper camera is a ‘self-portrait’, not a selfie. Phew).

I suspect however that the problem with selfies is not so much their existence, but more about that most horrible of poses, the “duck-face” and those people that keep posting a new profile photo to Facebook every five minutes.

But then there’s a new horror on the horizon: The Sparrow Face.

A couple of guys a trend doesn’t make: Stalking the rich is a simple hobby nowadays with social media platforms allowing you instant access to celebs and their lives. The Mail has picked up on a “trend” where rich Arab who accessorise their obligatory super cars, powerboats and mansions with lions and cheetahs – photos of which are then posted to Instagram. Now, the images are no less bonkers and animal rights activists are bound to be up in arms about this, but what I love about this story is that The Mail shows a whole page of photos from two of these rich Arabs (HT @HelenRI).

http://instagram.com/p/cbTVRzgFwp/

View this post on Instagram

Simba ♥ ♥ #lion

A post shared by Humaid Abdulla Albuqaish (@humaidalbuqaish) on

Clever Hobbitses: Those chaps at Google have put out another one of their Google Experiments – a must see for any Tolkien and The Hobbit fans out there. An interactive map of Middle Earth, featuring characters and locations from the upcoming ‘The Desolation of Smaug. A taste in the video below (epic soundtrack included) and this way to Middle Earth (seems to work fine on Safari too).

Beware of who you follow: The Register gleefully pointed out this week that David Cameron’s Twitter account @Number10gov was following a high-class escort agency on the social network. Suspect that the social media manager who runs the Twitter channel received a bit of a bollocking (HT @a_little_wine).

Twitter motors on: They’ve launched a considerable revamp of their mobile app. Interestingly though, they seem to roll out slightly different versions to different groups of users, test which ones work best and then go with the most popular option. Techcrunch has some more on this agile, highly iterative and data-focused platform roll-out strategy.

Twitter this week also rolled out their Alerts feature to the UK. Rachel from @AllThingsIC has a brilliant round-up of what you need to know.

Videos of the week: My favourite film from a series of three that tell the story of Sainsbury’s relationships with some of their suppliers. The Cow Whisperer is about how our Dairy Development Group works with over 300 British dairy farmers to help them look after their cows and secure a long future for their British Farms.

What do you get when you cover The Beastie Boys’ ‘Girls’, construct a colossal machine out of girls’ toys and film it all in the style of ‘OK Go’s ‘Needing/Getting’. Over 6 million views on YouTube in just a few days for an ad by toy company GoldieBlox and perhaps a generation of girls that will grow up to be engineers.

And finally: Histagrams

#ChristmasInADay, custom timelines in Twitter, JCVD’s epic split and this week’s bits and bytes

Christmas in a Day: I grew up with Christmas in the tropics, a plastic tree, a Nativity that we assembled every year. On Christmas Eve it’s always mum’s super-special, home-made salmon pate and deviled eggs and other tasty cold cuts before we all rip into our presents (yes, in Germany it’s the Christkind that brings the presents, and as with many things in Germany, the Christkind is efficient and delivers things a day before Santa gets around to homes in the UK).

162_8264111783_3419_n
Decorating the Christmas tree

I’ve had the pleasure of celebrating Christmas with @tomparker81 and his wonderful family – who introduced me to the wonders of a cheeky Baileys (or three) before Christmas lunch. Then there’s my lovely future in-laws who – year after year – look to get the biggest Christmas tree available. Last year, my brother came over to London from Berlin and we celebrated Christmas by watching some festive footie and heading off to the pub for a Christmas lunch.

The point I’m trying to make is that every family has their own tradition and way of celebrating Christmas and that is exactly what Sainsbury’s have highlighted in their stunning new TV campaign for the festive season, the film Christmas in a Day.

From the fantastic kid, to the radiator keys, to Twitter’s new favourite, Spreadsheet Man – these 3:30 minutes are full of laughs, giggles and right at the very end, it takes such an emotional turn that I still well up.

The full length film airs on 29 November on YouTube and who knows, it might become a Christmas tradition in some households across the country. If you can’t wait until then, there are some more trailers on Sainsbury’s Christmas hub and there’s a great blog post by @MarkJGiven on the story behind the campaign and how it came about.

Screen Shot 2013-11-14 at 21.54.02

Right, right, right… what about the reaction then?

Monumental would be one way to describe it. I was lucky enough to be invited to AMV’s offices for a little launch party for the trailer’s first airing on ITV – taking up the entire ad break on Coronation Street.

It was brilliant to have a room full of chatty, happily knackered advertising, comms and marketing people from AMV, PHD, Blue Rubicon and Saino’s go quiet when the ad started – only then to hear them gasp, woop and cheer at the immediate and massive reaction to the trailer on Twitter.

A quick look at the Buzzgraph for mentions of “Sainsbury’s Christmas ad” shows that words such as “emotional”, “amazing”, “tears”, “crying”, “lovely” and “cute” are being used in combination with the clip.

There are also some rather high profile fans…

… but the star of the trailer however has to be Jonathan ‘Spreadsheet Man’ Proud who has clearly struck a chord with a lot of viewers:

https://twitter.com/Chardeedaa14/status/400955997868793856

Some people would be happy to have him over for Christmas

https://twitter.com/sam_bessant/status/400984242056089600

And it wasn’t long until people were calling for the actual spreadsheet

For those who are interested, The Telegraph’s @Steve_Hawkes has the details

The Co-op were very happy to have spotted some of their Christmas puds in the Spreadsheet Man bit – leading them to tweet our ad to over 30k of their followers.

The Saino’s response was relaxed…

… but Ian Burrel from the Indy said it best in his piece titled “Why Sainsbury’s featuring Co-op items is a triumph for Christmas adverts

“In the manipulative world of modern television – where content is so often subject to the brand police and the political spin doctors – it’s nice to know that the “real life” footage used in Sainsbury’s Christmas in a Daycommercial is just that.”

Proud to be a part of it

Some of the most powerful responses though have come from our own colleagues. Not only is their reaction overwhelmingly positive, but colleagues from around the country are saying how proud they are to be a part of Sainsbury’s. I think it’s a testament to Sainsbury’s Internal Comms team and to all those lucky few who were able to go along to Sainsbury’s annual colleague conference two months ago to be among the first in the company to see the footage and NOT SAY A WORD about it and that the story didn’t leak.

https://twitter.com/delboy2510/status/400885199418167296

Bloggers – full disclosure: Last week, I wrote about why we work with bloggers at Sainsbury’s. Interesting then to see a post on the ASA’s website reminding bloggers of the advertising guidelines that “any blogger who is paid to write positive reviews or comments about a product or service that they must be up-front with their followers by making clear that it’s advertising.” Turns out the ASA has been receiving feedback from bloggers that some social media and PR companies are apparently offered them money to advertise on their behalf while encouraging them not to declare that they’re doing so.”

Who’s in trouble when this happens?

“Under the Advertising Code, although the blogger would be named as part of any ASA investigation into misleading advertising, ultimately the buck would stop with the advertiser. If a paid for entry on a blog wasn’t disclosed we would investigate the advertiser and hold them accountable.”

So, be good and encourage the bloggers you work with to clearly note what kind of incentive they received from you.

Custom Timelines: Storify took a deep breath this week when Twitter announced a new feature that allows you to build a Twitter feed  by picking certain Tweets. The interface is still very clunky and basic functions like sorting these so called custom timelines chronologically doesn’t yet work (or at least I couldn’t figure out how to do it) and it seems to only work via Tweetdeck – but, it’s a move in the right direction and one that I think will worry Storify (aka the social curator’s tool of choice).

So, what can you do with them? Well, the chaps at Twitter have pulled together a custom timeline of, yes, you guessed it, custom timelines!

How much does Twitter owe you? Time built a wee calculator that analyses your Twitter handle and determines how much Twitter owes you after their IPO (if you lived in imaginary fairyland then you might have a case – sadly, this is just a silly tool). Apparently I’m owed a meagre $134.

Twitter is a weird and wonderful place: Sometimes, the stars align and people come together and create something wonderful. Even if it was started by @TescoMobile, this is up there with best Twitter thread of the year (and yes, you need to open this link in your browser to appreciate why this is every social media manager’s dream).

Tumbling Tesco: Continuing on with the Tesco theme, this week sees two brilliant Tumblrs about Tesco. First there’s ‘Worst Place on Earth‘, a masterpiece of Comic Sans and ALL CAPS outrage at the horror that is the Tesco Express in Haggerston and then we have the direct opposite, a love letter to the St. Tropez of Tesco Express in North Poole.

New technology: A marvellous list by XKCD of simple answers to questions about how the next big technological development will impact our lives.

Source: XKCD

Video of the week: Jean Claude van Damme helps Volvo demonstrate the precision steering capabilities on their lorries by pulling off this epic split. And yes, it’s all real.

And finally: Meet @JohnLewis, the nicest, most patient man on Twitter (and no, he’s not a PR stunt, and yes, @JohnLewisRetail have responded).

Blogger relations, changes at Twitter and Facebook and this week’s bits and bytes

Tasty blogger relations: At Sainsbury’s, we cultivate a tasty relationship with around 100 food bloggers. Our delicious community is full of food obsessed people who love nothing more than rising to culinary challenges ranging from creating something with our by Sainsbury’s ready rolled puff pastry or sharing their kitchen hero recipes with us.

More often than not, @a_little_wine and I will sit there going through coverage alerts and fight the urge to lick our screens, so scrumptious are the creations from the community.

We refer to them as our food blogger community – but you could also refer to them as brand advocates. Which is why I thought this post about the power of brand ambassadors was a great summary of what these kinds of communities can do for a brand: generate trust, credibility, engagement and impressions – and I’d add a fifth to the mix and that would be high quality content. We regularly share creations from the community with our Twitter followers to inspire them to try a new product or recipe they might otherwise not have come across.

#TwitterIPO: Twitter’s share price went from the initial public offering price of $26 to $45 within minutes after shares were finally made available on the New York Stock Exchange. That means the company went from being worth $18bn to a wee bit over $30bn. CNBC reckons it’s worth exploring Twitter’s business model and prospects and whether “a community of ephemeral messaging” can morph into a serious, profitable venture.

Storify + Twitter: My favourite development of the week (besides Arsenal beating both Liverpool and Dortmund) comes from Storify. The go-to-tool when it comes to curating the web in just a few clicks has just made it easier to then share your digital collages with your followers by allowing a sort of slide show to embedded into Twitter. Extremely nifty and an excellent way to take advantage of Twitter embeds as it effectively allows you to go waaaaay over the 140 character limit in one tweet.

Who better to demonstrate than President Obama himself.

Is Facebook’s walled garden coming down? Facebook and Twitter are coming ever closer in functionality, freely copying features from each other. Facebook adopted Twitter’s hashtags, Twitter adopted Facebook’s way of displaying links. Twitter copied the share button with its retweet button. Twitter also copied the idea of the favourite button from Facebook’s like button. Twitter even copied the idea of an IPO. Sheesh.

The one big remaining difference between the two networks though is that they are at different ends of the public vs private scale: On Facebook users tend to share a lot of personal information with a smaller group of friends, while on Twitter users share very little personal information with pretty much anyone.

That big difference might be changing with Facebook’s announcement this week that it is removing an old setting called “Who can look up your Timeline by name.” This will mean that anyone will be able to look up your Facebook profile using your name and see what they already have permission to see. Facebook explicitly states that “removing this setting doesn’t change who can see your photos, status updates or other things you’ve shared.”

I do hope they keep that point of difference alive – I know I will be keeping my eye on Facebook’s privacy settings quite closely when this feature rolls out soon. Inside Facebook has a 5 step guide to protect your Facebook privacy (for what its worth).

The thumbs up gets the axe: Say goodbye to the Facebook thumbs up – the iconic symbol for digital approval is getting the chop, in favour of a more corporate and cold Facebook F. The change will happen over the next few weeks, according to the Facebook developer blog.

Source: Facebook

Books still relevant to youth shock: In my final year of high school, I received a pager for Christmas. I was well chuffed. No my friends could call my pager and I would see the number and I could call them back. We developed codes. 999 meant call me back immediately. 143 meant I love you. Yes, we spelt out boobs. It was the first portable digital screen in my live and it was awesome.

Fast forward to today and 17% of children in the US under the age 8 use a mobile device at least once a day. This stat comes from a recent Common Sense media study. If anything, I’m surprised (and relieved?) it isn’t higher and that books still play such a big part.

Hang on, I’ll get you some ice for that burn: Pepsi celebrated Halloween last week with some creative depicting a can of Pepsi dressed up as a can of Coke. The line reads: “We wish you a scary Halloween”.

In response, Coke quite brilliantly used exactly the same image, but changed the tagline to “Everyone wants to be a hero”.

Ouch.

While we’re on burns: Betty Productions ask musician Whitey if they can use his music in a new TV show for free as there is ‘no budget for music’. He, um, declines (HT @tomparker81).

Video of the week: Meet the Footbonaut, a 360-degree-ball machine that fires footballs at players from all angles, requiring them to control and dispatch the balls into the appropriate square. Cutting edge technology currently in use at Borussia Dortmund – but still not as good as having an on-fire Aaron Ramsey in your team.

And finally: Hats off to @TescoMobile for the masterclass in Twitter sass (it’s OK. They only made it into Buzzfeed. We made it onto Time Magazine, thanks to @tomparker81).

Internal brand ambassadors, gamification at work, the power of Google Maps and this week’s bits and bytes

Halloween is coming: They’re carving some pumpkins in the food centre, fancy coming along and making a Vine? Ummm… Yes! Off I went this morning to Sainsbury’s ground level food centre (yes, I love my job) and watched @BethanyJStone carve this gruesome scene of a Ghost Pumpkin eating a wee Munchkin Pumpkin.

We thought we’d have a bit of fun and encourage our followers on @SainsburysPR to tweet us a video, photo or Vine, showing us how they carve your pumpkin. Our favourite entry will walk away with a £50 Sainsbury’s voucher.

The first entries have come in already, and we’re saving them all in a spooky little Storify.

Socialise your people: A wonderful post by @anitaloomba about one of the most overlooked and underused resource in the corporate social media space: the people that work for your company. Why don’t companies empower their people to use social media for their jobs? Why block people from accessing social networks or blogs from work?

The answers take many forms: Everyone will just waste time on Facebook. They’ll give away company secrets. How can we control the message? Make sure that what’s being said is in line with company policy? But we have to protect our network’s bandwidth – what if everyone is just streaming clips from YouTube? Viruses. Hacking. Where’s my tin foil hat!

In the end they boil down to the fear of losing control. Losing control over people and over what they say.

Newsflash.

That control is gone. It started crumbling with the advent of the smartphone and continues to fall apart as people become more comfortable bringing digital into their lives because it helps them plan their lives, communicate with the people they care about – and wait for it – work more efficiently and collaboratively.

Three massively important things that you have to keep in mind when going social: training, encourage sharing, and lead by example.

Games are everywhere: While we’re on digital/social trends in the HR space, have a gander at an interview with Adam Penenberg – author of ‘Play at work: How Games inspire breakthrough thinking’ – about gamification at work and how some Fortune 500 companies are using games to engage employees.

What makes games so powerful?

“A good game gives us meaningful accomplishment, clear achievement that we don’t necessarily get from real life. In a game, you’ve beaten level four, the boss monster is dead, you have a badge, and now you have a super laser sword. Real life isn’t like that, right?”

Giving up on social ROI: An interesting story on Business Insider this week touting the death (how original) of social media ROI. Usually one of those that I ignore as click bait, but this one was shared by my friend @kaifischer who tends to not share (too much) rubbish.

The article is about a new report by BI Intelligence which shows that marketers are moving away from expressing the return on investment in social less in monetary terms and favouring metrics that speak to audience building, brand awareness, and customer relations: reach, engagement and sentiment.

I wish I was there: Buzzfeed picked posted a story about an Instagram feed powered entirely by photos taken from Google Maps. Sounds pretty mundane, but not through the eyes of graphic design student @mmeghan who scours the world for beautiful places on Google Maps.

There aren’t many places that the Google Maps cameras haven’t been…

In what essentially is a simple process, Meghan drops the wee yellow man on a location that’s been photographed, takes a screen shot, transfers the image to her phone, and uploads it to the I wish I was there Instagram, using one of the many filters.

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Interstate 10, Arizona, USA

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Meghan’s eye for photography, composition and design clearly play a factor in her eclectic mix of images.

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Antarctica

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Any airlines or travel companies looking to hire a social media manager out there listening?

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206 Rodovia MA-026, Codó, Maranhão, Brazil

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Fight the Price: Hats off to the chaps at Co-op Electricals, who’ve come up with what I thought is an interesting twist on that old classic, a Twitter Retweet competition. Rather than just have people retweet a message to spread a message, the Co-op are allowing the number of retweets to push down the price of selected home electricals.

Twitter users are encourage to tweet something like: I’m driving down the cost of a Hotpoint Dishwasher with @thecooperative Electrical. Visit http://www.fighttheprice.co.uk to help #FightThePrice

fight the priceAs of this morning, I was tracking about 1,100 mentions of the #FightThePrice hashtag since it went live in September. From the three spikes, it looks like they’ve had three campaigns, all running for about a week – at which time they release a discount code that customers can then input on the ecommerce website and purchase the product.

FF Mark: One for typeface/design/Parallax scrolling aficionados. You’ll want a trackpad for this rather than a scroll-wheel.

Videos of the week: Last year Felix Baumgartner jumped from the edge of space and hurtled towards the earth – breaking the sound barrier on the way. The world watched as the event was broadcast live on YouTube. Relive those bonkers 10 minutes from the perspective of Baumgartner in this epic point-of-view video just released by Red Bull.

For more than a quarter century, Saroo Brierley searched for his family before finding his way back home with the help of Google Earth.

A spooky bit of baking magic from Sainsbury’s with this how-to video for a spooky Halloween pumpkin cake. If you think you’re up to the challenge, you can find the full list of ingredients and instructions on the Live Well for Less site.

And finally: Fullscreen Mario (only works on Google Chrome)

Twitter biogs, TV ratings, storms; and this week’s bits and bytes

Quiz time: How many Sainsbury’s basics blurbs can you match up with the product they describe? As you’d expect, Lee, Sainsbury’s basics brand manager, scored a perfect 10/10. I scored a respectable 7/10. More of a by Sainsbury’s shopper, me (HT @G3Bowden).

Not enough?

How about testing your knowledge of Ikea and black metal bands in this brilliant (and genuinely hard) ‘Ikea or Death‘ quiz (HT @a_little_wine).

The future of journalism: Katharine Viner, deputy editor of the Guardian and editor-in-chief of Guardian Australia, gave the AN Smith lecture in Melbourne this week. Her speech about journalism in the age of the open web is an absolute must read. And no, there isn’t a TL;DR version of this one.

Remember Mr Cake? You know, the chap that resigned from his job at the Stansted Border Force via a ‘resignation cake‘ in order to pursue his passion for baking and cake decorating. Well, he did go on to launch his own business and now he’s up for a Smarta 100 award for Best us of Marketing. Go on. You know you want to vote for him.

The Twitter bio – a postmodern art form: The key to Twitter is all about compressing your thought, insight or story into 140 characters. It’s a skill that – much like everything else – you learn through practice. The more you tweet, the better you get. But what many people don’t spend as much time on is their 160 character Twitter biography – along with the profile photo and background, the bit that let’s people know what you’re all about.

The New York Times takes a look at the art of the Twitter bio, from @HillaryClinton “Wife, mom, lawyer, women & kids advocate, FLOAR, FLOTUS, US Senator, SecState, author, dog owner, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, glass ceiling cracker, TBD…” to @TomHanks‘ “I’m that actor in some of the movies you liked and some you didn’t. Sometimes I’m in pretty good shape, other times I’m not. Hey, you gotta live, you know?” – the article looks at pitfalls and cliches to avoid.

While we’re on short form content, here’s a great slideshare by @GinnyRedish about writing for the small screen. It’s well and good to think about responsive design for websites – but what does that mean for content?

Twitter is not real life (well, TV): An interesting bit of data published by Twitter and Nielsen this week shows that the most popular shows in terms of TV ratings and the amount of Tweets they generated do not correlate at all. as the Wall Street Journal points out, it shows that Twitter’s user base “has a very different makeup than the mass-market TV-viewing audience that marketers spend tens of billions of dollars each year to reach. Twitter’s 49.2 million U.S. users generally skew younger and are disproportionately in cities, for example, according to marketers and media analysts.” The full report is out on Monday.

Social is the new coffee-break: Many brands and companies have moved chunks of their budget from traditional marketing channels to digital and social channels. Nothing new there. At the same time, many corporate networks block access to the same social network. The schizophrenic relationship between a select group of individuals who have access to social and are creating beautiful content and social campaigns and with those who don’t have access from their work computer has always struck me as particularly bizarre. Why put all that effort into building a social media following around your brand if you won’t allow your own people to look at it?

Andrew Keen pulls together 5 reasons not to ban social media in the office. And what do you know – they all make sense!

  • It’s self-defeating – everyone has a smart phone, so they’re doing it anyway
  • Banning something that excels at undermining traditional hierarchies? Yeah, right.
  • It’s today’s version of the water cooler
  • Multitasking actually makes us more creative
  • Social media makes us more productive because it opens up our minds

Bullet Journal: For the past two weeks I’ve been using a note taking system devised by @rydercarroll called ‘Bullet Journal‘. Described as an analogue note taking system for a digital world, I thought the video was really well done and the system works perfectly to capture all those wee actions and events that make up my disjointed and disruptive day where I get pulled from meeting to tweet to discussion to blog post – all in the same hour.

I’ve moved away entirely from Evernote and my iPad and now only use this ‘old school’ system and I love it. There’s something to be said about that great satisfaction of ticking things off a to do list, but also for the elegance of how the Bullet Journal system also allows you to build specific pages for projects or collections, track events on a day to day or monthly basis. And all you need is a notebook.

The Twitterstorm: Hats off to BuzzFeed UK for pulling together their post on the 29 stages of a Twitterstorm – based on the recent kerfuffle around online retailer Price Hound selling a rather ill advised kids fancy dress costume.

From initial discovery, anger, confusion, boycott, petition, satire, trending on Twitter, the media catching up, politicians getting involved, social media expert analysis to the official apology – all in the space of a few hours – the post takes us through (HT @G3Bowden).

Scarlett Johansson Falling Down: A year ago, Scarlett Johansson was photographed falling down while filming in Glasgow for the sci-fic flick Under the Skin. It’s taken the Internet a year, but the resulting photoshop meme is rather worth the wait. Knowyourmeme looks at how it happened (the meme, not the fall).

Videos of the week: How do you promote a remake of the classic horror flick Carrie? By creating a telekinetic coffee shop surprise and scaring the pants off of some unsuspecting customers – all while amassing over 30 million YouTube views in four days.

Downside – the mobile app that will get you talking to your friends again.

And finally: The Penis Beaker that brought Mumsnet to its knees.

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