Posts in the category: Media
Last week, subscription movie and TV streaming service LOVEFiLM premiered the pilot episode of its new series Vikings, produced by MGM and written by the producer of The Borgias and The Tudors Michael Hearst, to invited members of the media. The series, already commissioned for a second run having proven a success in the US, will run in the UK exclusively through LOVEFiLM rather than BBC or Sky. So what does such a content deal mean for the TV marketplace? Ruth Cartwright, broadcast director for media agency Maxus UK discusses.
Did anybody spot Viking longboat complete with Viking raiders sailing down the River Thames last week? Don’t worry, we’re not being invaded, it was just a promotional stunt by LOVEFiLM to publicise the news that it will exclusively broadcast US mini-series Vikings when it launches in the UK.
While LOVEFiLM might like us to think the deal is going to significantly impact on the TV market, I for one, am not buying into this latest round of pessimism. The effect of a one-off deal such as this (and yes, there will be many more) is but a drop in the ocean of the wider TV market.
Moves such as this (and already this year, we’ve seen House of Cards launched as a Netflix exclusive), are simply part and parcel of the way things are moving, and certainly won’t impact on advertising revenues for major broadcasters like Sky, ITV or Channel 4.
For starters, while a show like Vikings may have gone down very well in the US, we just don’t know how it will perform in the UK yet.
But the big issue here is that content still is, and should remain the key driver of any media decision. At Maxus, we encourage clients to view TV and VoD as complementary components of one campaign. Content is the common thread that weaves throughout all channels, and as such, the more excellent content out there that we can utilise, the better. In today’s climate, it’s more about understanding the opportunities across all platforms.
Naturally, every time a story like this breaks, the conversation over whether the UK TV market is being eroded by different platforms rears its head. It’s a perennial debate, but I can say hand on heart that TV isn’t dying in any sense. Yes, people are choosing to consume it differently, but broadcasters are adapting to that and as agencies, we simply have to grow and adapt, embracing the new opportunities coming our way.
I have no doubt that we’ll be seeing LOVEFiLM and Netflix going down this route plenty more in the coming years, but longboat stunts aside, programmes like Vikings will be but a drop in the ocean relative to the investment the major broadcasters are making into their own content.
More relevant now is the question of how to adapt and integrate VoD and all the other emerging technologies into TV, so as to present as many different opportunities to clients as possible in this space.
The way it’s moving now means that we’re buying VoD as an extension of TV campaigns. In fact, with all the research to support the extra reach VoD offers, we’re at a stage where clients need to justify why they wouldn’t use VoD rather than why they would.
Whether somebody is viewing Coronation Street on their TV, via their mobile or on-demand, the fact remains that they are watching Coronation Street. The more platforms and touchpoints that can be embraced, the better.
So as the Vikings invade London and no doubt provoke another debate on TV vs on-demand, let’s attempt to stay focused on the value of content without being distracted by the periphery. Regardless of platform, content will always be king.
Over the course of my career, I've had the pleasure of hiring, working alongside, learning from and mentoring an amazing group of people: working mothers.
This tenacious group not only attack their careers with gusto, but then head home to raise and take moral responsibility for the future generation. I take my hat off to them - and I value the unique skillset working mums bring to the table. Anybody who has observed a woman wrestle a toddler and shopping into a buggy whilst cradling a newborn in a sling and taking a call on her mobile will testify to the exemplary multi-tasking capabilities of mums. Negotiation and communication skills are par for the course, and networking nouse is not just a bonus...it is a survival skill. Just look at Mumsnet, attracting some 850,000 users who powwow on everything from politics to cooking tips. In fact, I'd love a Maxus Mumsnet group to become our own recruiting army within this powerful network of high achievers.
Being super-organised is another essential part of the package. Coordinating school drop-offs and pick-ups and after-school activities around the working day means that working mums have to focus and plan their time precisely.
Some might argue that such an impressive juggling act is bound to impact on productivity. Surely the sheer number of balls up in the air means that attention must wander from meeting agendas to tomorrow's packed lunches or missing sports kits?
I disagree. Working mums need to run a tight ship, and this is reflected in their work; they don't cut corners or look for quick answers. Every minute has to count and the media industry has its fair share of successful part-time poster girls as inspiration. The Harvard Business Review claims that 'motherhood is not a liability, but an advanced management program'- I agree! And take Nicola Mendelsohn, former president of the IPA, executive chairman at Karmarama and newly-appointed EMEA chief of Facebook. And all this achieved on a four-day week so she can also tend to her family.
The mothers that I work with at Maxus are there because they want to be, having made an active decision to use their brains and build their careers. Often, they are the most dedicated and focused amongst us.
Actively supporting and recruiting this highly talented, yet often under-recognised group, is very high on our people agenda. Ask any working mum what they really want from their employer and the conversation will turn to flexibility - and not the on-paper flex often over-optimistically promised in job ads.
For us at Maxus, flexibility is about listening attentively to employees so we can deliver tailored working patterns. This means taking a unique approach to each individual, which considers both the agency's and their short-term and long-term needs.
As an example, of the multiple applicants who applied for a senior management role recently, the successful candidate is a mother of two who works one day a week from home, built around her youngest child's nursery hours.
No two families are the same, and of course childcare responsibilities are not the preserve of women alone. All of our flexible working policies and support systems extend to fathers, as well as carers. In fact, we currently have a number of fathers who work from home when needed.
But I view this less as an issue of working mothers or working fathers as one of people. Our priority is to hire talented, passionate people and, naturally, many of them also happen to be parents. What a waste of talent it would be if we didn't do everything in our power to make it work.
I like to think that we've come a long way since the days of Miss World being a cultural highlight of the year. And in many ways, we have. For starters, the politically (and in every other way) incorrect pageant is now webcast-only in its native Britain since it stopped showing on TV here in the 1980s, following a brief blip when Channel 5 gave it airtime.
Fast forward several decades from the birth of Miss World, and The First Women Awards in association with Lloyds Banking Group represents a huge, progressive milestone for women pioneering in their fields.
Yet elsewhere, the way in which society judges women seems to have ground to a halt in the 1960s. Within just a couple of weeks we've seen the results of Glamour magazine's '50 Best Dressed Women', FHM's '100 Sexiest Women' and People magazine's 'Most Beautiful Woman in the World' continuing to pigeonhole women as objects, bypassing their professional talents in the process.
Of course, how we present ourselves as women in our daily working lives has nothing to do with beauty pageants or red carpets. That said, appearance is a component of the professional toolkit. When you look smart, you feel smart. The power of personal impact is huge and how we present ourselves, whether male or female, is part of that.
To advance in our careers, ultimately we need to step in front of the work. Naturally the work has to be good, but as we become more senior this is the entry point, the assumption. It becomes much more about you and how you front it. People buy into people; how they deliver, convince, sell, perform. It's a package.
Looking smart and polished is part of that package. So it is surprising just how many hugely successful businesswomen are still reticent to admit they put effort into their appearance; "This old thing? I've had it ages..." Julia Hobsbawm, founder of global networking business Editorial Intelligence, former First Women Awards winner and a friend, confided in me that it took her until the age of 45 to feel "ok about dressing up."
Since when did female empowerment mean denying our femininity? The masculine shoulder pads that defined the 1980s working aesthetic in many ways smacked of women emulating men. As the eponymous Working Girl, Melanie Griffith took the step from stockbroker's secretary to executive only after trading her long curls for a bob and donning a sharp power suit.
Corporate life in the '80s was still essentially a man's world where women had to fight to climb the ladder. Once named the most powerful woman in advertising and the first female CEO at ad agency JWT, Charlotte Beers says that she carried a briefcase as her 'armoury' when she was starting out in her career! I don't do that, but I certainly think about how I look.
Women have long since hung up their Yves Saint Laurent power suits, yet the concept of power dressing -- using style to project an air of confidence and authority -- is still relevant.
Applying for my last job, I knew I was the only female among 20 candidates -- then in the last six. So, I accentuated the fact by being 'more female'. I had a blow dry and picked a smart dress over trousers. Was it a blow to feminism? No. Did it give me extra confidence to deliver? Yes. I make sure I look my best for every important meeting. And I do it for nobody but me.
Having joined the digital team at Maxus about three weeks ago it has become abundantly clear that mobile devices are very much the future in terms of usage, especially in the UK. As we know, gone are the days of a mobile phone being used only for calling and texting with people using their smartphones for everyday tasks such as shopping, banking to watching TV.
Never have I been more aware of the power of mobile technology than last week when two of my best chums and I commenced the often arduous and time-consuming activity of looking for a flat. This was our first experience of undertaking the challenge (yes, we still live with mum and dad) and we’d been warned it wouldn’t be a smooth ride by any means. So, we began our research online, searching for places in south-west London and organised a few viewings on a Saturday. Unfortunately our budget couldn’t stretch to a second floor flat overlooking Clapham Common, but we were expecting to be shown around a little more than the dilapidated places we were.
So, back to the drawing board. We commenced our search again during the week, sending each other links for flats from our mobile phone browsers at our desks and calling landlords at lunchtime, most of which would say the properties had gone within a matter of hours. We managed to organise a couple of viewings in the same area after work on Wednesday and there was another potential viewing lined up soon after at a lovely looking maisonette, well within our budget, that I’d spotted while browsing on my mobile, phoning the landlady as a consequence on the walk to the first viewing. We went to both the properties we’d arranged viewings for and, as we’d experienced a few days before, they weren’t to our liking. Then, I suddenly received a call from the landlady I’d spoken to earlier on…she was still at the property and waiting to show us round. Perfect! We got out Google Maps and followed the route, arriving there in less than five minutes. You can probably see where this is going, but the place was perfect and we made an offer there and then. I still can’t believe our luck!
I started to think what would have happened if we hadn’t had our trusty mobiles on us. I certainly wouldn’t have seen the house while browsing on the way to catch the train, let alone been able to contact the landlady for a viewing! This is a good example of our growing reliance on mobile technology and a recent study claims that 66% of the population suffer from Nomophobia, a term used to describe the fear of having no access to mobile technology, with sufferers reporting symptoms including the inability to ever turn their phones off, always worrying about running out of battery and many won’t even visit the bathroom without them. After last week’s experiences, I can now officially declare that I am also a sufferer of the condition.
As arguably the most famous female in the world’s London leg of her tour comes to an end, I started to think will we ever get bored of seeing Beyoncé, or the recently rebranded Mrs Carter, on countless advertising campaigns?
Now don’t get me wrong, I have been a Beyoncé fan since her Destiny’s Child days and was one of those people trying tirelessly to get tickets to her world tour but had to settle for her appearance at the Gucci Chime for change concert.
The first Beyoncé brand extension that I can remember was her fashion collection ‘House of Dereon’. This was originally pitched at the high-end high street market with concessions in Selfridges and House of Fraser, but did little to set the fashion world on fire. Perhaps the range would have gained more traction if she had partnered with the high-street as we have seen with the Kardashians and Rihanna. Post that, Beyoncé moved into an array of low cost mass market perfumes, like the majority of her pop star peers.
It’s the countless brand endorsements that are making me question if we will tire of the world’s pop royalty? Already an established face of L’Oreal, and Armani’s diamonds perfume, perhaps the point of overkill is upon us as both the Pepsi and H&M campaigns launched at roughly the same time.
Interestingly, the singer has used both opportunities to launch new singles, both rumoured to be on her forthcoming album; with Pepsi, ‘Grown Woman’ and with H&M, ‘Standing on the Sun’. Personally, I think it works for both the brands and the artist - both gain additional exposure and those who love Beyoncé are entertained with exclusive content. Fortunately, both brands are non-conflicting and this currently hasn’t been overdone. I wouldn’t suggest that Mrs Carter releases her whole album via advertising endorsements and should consider the believability of the brands she ties in with. In my opinion, a third single with another brand would be a step too far, but for now Beyoncé can be forgiven for bombarding our media channels.
Last week I attended the latest in the series of Think with Google events which was delivered with the usual dollop of 'Google-ness'. Great venue, easy to access WIFI, flash freebies, lots of techy toys to play with and generally flawless organisation…save maybe for the failed attempts at energisers - being asked to mime a tennis serve in a crowded, hot auditorium was more Henman than Federer!
However as much as I like a bit of free stash it was the content that really delivered. As you'd expect we heard from plenty of very smart Google people, including Dan Cobley, The UK and Ireland MD who gave us an overview of performance marketing in a constantly connected world. Dan started off by telling us that we were all World Champions…because the digital economy in the UK represents 8.3% of GDP which makes us number one globally! The rest of his talk was peppered with stats – on average we check our phones 150 times per day, 32% of total shopping budgets are spent online and we switch our attention between different screens 27 times a day to name a few – no ground breaking thoughts here but impressive figures that make you sit up and think! Marry Burris, Mobile Product Specialist at Google announced the launch of the Full Value of Mobile Calculator, particularly important given that 65% of user journeys that start on mobile finish on laptops.
We also heard from engineers, measurement specialists, performance specialists and more, all interesting stuff but it was the two guest speakers that really inspired.
Peter Hinssen, author of The New Normal and Co-Founder of Across Technology Group gave an incredibly entertaining and engaging talk on networks as the new markets and how he believes in S Curves rather than exponential growth. He argued that digital is half way through the S Curve and it’s here that the market flips and the new normal becomes increasingly volatile, meaning that for brands to survive they have to be incredibly versatile and act in near real time. He gave a great talk on the subject at TEDx Brussels, here’s the link :
The final talk of the morning was by Nate Silver, Google described him as a 'game changing forecaster and data journalist' which he certainly is, but he's also an author and the political forecaster for the New York Times. In fact in 2008 he correctly predicted the outcome of 49 of the 50 States in the Presidential election and the full 50 in 2012! Nate talked about big data causing big problems, which was a refreshing change from the usual love-in on the subject we're so used to hearing. He cited the recently hacked AP News tweet that said Obama had been injured by bombs in the White House, the tweet, despite being deleted almost immediately, gained so much traction that it wiped 1bn off the Stock Exchange. He continued by talking about a range of different forecast models and how the art of prediction can be hugely beneficial to businesses and brands. I won’t go into detail here but his book The Signal and the Noise looks like it’s definitely worth a read.
All in all it was a great event that provided lots of food for thought, I’m trying to lay my hands on some of the video footage and will share if and when I do!
I was heartened to hear news of Marin Alsop becoming the first ever female conductor of The Last Night of the Proms. I confess, I'm no classical music aficionado and I don't know much about Alsop's path to this accolade, but I appreciate the focus and single-mindedness required to achieve such a pivotal career milestone in any field.
Almost immediately upon hearing this news though, my thoughts turned to why it has taken over 100 years for a woman to wield the baton at this slightly odd but still momentous occasion in the British cultural calendar.
And I wondered if perhaps there are some parallels to be drawn between the worlds of orchestral music and media in terms of women's journeys to the helm.
A glance at the senior management at Maxus, where I work, reveals a meritocratic gender division, split almost straight down the middle. Yet at global agency network board level, the media industry remains steadfastly male dominated. Why should this high-level barrier to entry, this glass penthouse ceiling, still exist, I wonder, when evidence repeatedly suggests that women excel in senior roles? Just last month we learnt that companies with at least a third of women in senior managerial positions perform better than their male-dominated competitors.
I was lucky enough to meet the awe-inspiring (and worth allegedly $1.6bn) Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook last week and her new book Lean In is a brilliant read. In it she essentially moves from simply blaming sexism in the workplace, which does still exist, but instead asks women to focus on pushing themselves forward, speaking up and sitting at the table. Lots of actions, but simply put... 'manning up'!
And I agree.
Women do need to lean in to their careers. But they need support and self belief to get there in a world where traditional roles of mother/wife/care-giver/household shopper are still manifest. Recently, I was honoured to be shortlisted for a First Woman Awards in association with Lloyds Banking Group. How? A friend, a supporter suggested I do it and a good colleague nominated me. The supporter was female. The nominator male. So that's a good start! But a nomination such as did make me press the pause button, just for a moment, to reflect and take stock of my career and how it meets with long held ambitions.
I've worked in the media industry for nearly 20 years now, most recently joining Maxus as the global media agency's first female CEO.
Let me start by saying that I am fortunate to work in an industry populated by some incredibly smart and successful women. There can be no doubt that young women embarking on media careers have a wealth of trailblazing female role models in senior management positions to source inspiration from. Charlotte Beers, Stevie Spring, Carolyn McCall, Tess Alps and Nicola Mendelsohn to name but a few.
It's an exciting time to work in media, as channels converge to totally redefine the consumer experience. It's also a particularly exciting time to be a woman in this sector, something I sense strongly from the remarkably ambitious rising talent I mentor as part of the Nabs Fast Forward programme.
At these sessions, attendees often ask how I overcame the assumed challenges to women realising ambitious career goals. My advice is not to perceive a challenge as anything other than an opportunity. Keep your goal clearly in mind - show resolute single-mindedness in pursuing this goal - and you will achieve it. Forget you're a woman and lean into your career. Put your hand up. And yes, man up!
Coming back to the Proms story, whilst I wouldn't know the first thing to do with a baton, perhaps Marin and myself have something in common after all. It's not a man's world, nor a female's; it's simply a world of opportunity. Step up and into it. Armed with unwavering focus in pursuit of a single goal, anything is achievable.
Lindsay is shortlisted for the 2013 First Women Awards.
For further information click here.
Twitter did a great job of exciting the guests at the #twitter4brands event by providing huge amounts of free swag, food and drink – there was even a vending machine which gave you swag in exchange for a tweet! But I also learned some valuable pointers from the speakers, including Gary Lineker, and a guy who turned a pub in east London into a hilarious online Twitter account.
An important learning from the first speaker about Twitter is that it works really well being in sync with TV programmes – did you know that 60% of UK Twitter users are tweeting while watching TV, and over 90% of public online conversations about TV happen on Twitter? Some pretty powerful stats which I can’t help but agree with as I constantly tweet throughout Made in Chelsea.
We were also shown patterns of behaviour for certain TV shows, which revealed that tweeters will tweet heavily throughout, but also long after the finish for news programmes, only tweet at the beginning and end of films, and again tweet constantly, but mostly at important spikes of entertainment and reality TV shows (Made in Chelsea again…)
The main point to note about advertising here is that Twitter and TV drive each other in a complimentary cycle – a hashtag on air can lead to engagement on Twitter, and a TV related trend can lead to recognition and discovery. Good content which aligns between the two mediums can increase brand recall and improve acquisition. You can also tie this back into the graphs on user interaction on Twitter while watching TV – put your TV ad in the middle of a programme which gets people constantly tweeting, and people will be automatically focussed on that brand, and be more likely to engage on Twitter. Surf did this by sponsoring The Only Way is Essex, and saw that twitter users who saw the TV ad with #surf, were more engaged on Twitter but also demonstrated higher purchase intent.
The next big thing to talk about, was ‘marketing in the moment’ described as “relevance of advertising messages being enhanced by the sweet spot of timing”. What I took that to mean, is that content planners and advertisers need to be alert, and at the same time as forward planning for events we know are going to happen, also be ready to ‘ad-lib’ a little when it comes to writing and replying to content. You need to be ready to jump on good trends, and deal with the jokes and criticisms that are undoubtedly going to come from other users/brands. A really good example of this was from Lynx: Anybody who watched ‘the dogging tales’ on Channel 4 will remember that one of the ‘doggers’ liked to spray himself with Lynx. Hardly the best programme to be associated with, especially when one user decided to make an image of a new brand of Lynx – Dogging. Instead of trying hard to ignore the image or fight back, Lynx comically decided to become the official sponsor of dogging on Twitter, increasing their engagement and boosting their brand image.
Other than quick response content, a more general key to the success of content is positioning yourself appropriately within trends. You don’t want to tweet about absolutely everything, as David Levin said “you don’t win on Twitter by being loud, you win by being good”. We were told that when you tweet, the purpose should be two out of these three things; informative, helpful and funny. Funny is good, but brands need to remember that they don’t always need to be funny – the top reason users follow brands is to gain information about future products, and the top reason people retweet is to get freebies – neither of these things are usually funny (although no. 3 on the list for retweeting was a fun comment, so it certainly helps).
So after giving out all this advice, of course they had to mention their new advertising product – targeting users by keyword. To be fair I’m glad they did talk about it, as it sounds like a great product and tied in so well with all the content from the event. It’s especially going to work well with advertisers looking for words which tie in with their trends and campaigns, but more importantly signals of intent, as it allows you to target them at precise moments. Early tests from advertisers such as EE and GoPro showed users were significantly more likely to engage with promoted tweets because they are suddenly much more relevant to them at that moment in time. It’s still early days for this new targeting ability, so it will be interesting to see how many brands test it and take advantage of this feature – I’ll definitely be testing it!
I’m relieved. Honestly. Really, truly, wholly, relieved. I’ve got The Call. From the Dark Side, no less.
And this time, I can happily answer to it, even more, can completely embrace it and make it my own… thanks to the rise of the so-called brand journalism.
As described in www.brandjournalism.co.uk “Brand journalism is the creation of videos, blog posts, photos, charts, graphs, essays, ebooks, and other information that deliver value to your marketplace. Brand Journalism is not a product pitch. It is not an advertorial. It is not an egotistical spewing of gobbledygook-laden, stock-photo enhanced corporate drivel.”
This trend is becoming one of the big things for digital marketing in 2013, with data gathered by Nielsen pinpointing the kudos of these journals look-alike online content portals from big corporations.
On top of the usual suspects (brand awareness, sites to publish your content to, hassle-free relations with your company’s L&C teams…), brand journalism can help companies to regain their audiences’ trust and respect and to become thought leaders and the go-to place for knowledge within their respective trades.
Interestingly enough, main media players are starting to feel less uncomfortable to cross to the dark side (with AP and Forbes on the front foot), setting the path to better sleep for a good number of journos who – as myself – have been feeling the guilt for having embraced this very same call before it was politically correct within the trade.
As completely tuned in to the journalist mode, some quick answers to the 5Ws (Who, What, When, Why and hoW) to see some really cool examples of what big corporations are up to lately:
Financial services / banking
http://www.openforum.com/ (American Express), one of the first companies to give it a try to branded content portals
http://www.thefinancialist.com/ (Credit Suisse) employs from financial journalists to experts that guest-blog on behalf of the por tal’s owner own competitors
http://www.businesswithoutborde rs.com/ (HSBC) aimed to bait the inter national entrepreneurs and wealthy business gang out there
A case study on Imperial Sugar (US) http://www.webinknow.com/2009/07/imperial-sugar-company-newsroom-brand-journalism-creates-an-authoritative-voice.html
Tech / Energy
http://cmo.com/ (Adobe) The veteran, up and running for over 4 years with 400K+ articles
This question formed in my head following an event held earlier this week by the organisation Firestarters – a great initiative by Neil Perkin who is a Digital Strategist, Social Technologist and founder of the blog Only Dead Fish.
What quickly became clear was the two discussed issues of, what innovation actually means and whether agencies are innovative at all, are not easy to define within a 2 hour discussion or blog post.
Scouring the web for relevant research, I found myself reading through a Forbes’ article which analyses how innovative leaders maintain their edge and why some companies are able to create and sustain a high innovation premium while others don’t. A scheme mentioned was the 3 P’s which touched on the importance of leveraging people, process and philosophies in the right way in order to succeed. This would eliminate one very popular way of making an agency more “innovative” through employing a Chief Innovation Officer aka the Most Innovative Person in the agency and expecting everything to change simultaneously. A CIO’s role is to instil a culture of innovation; to draw attention to the essentials of truly innovative work and then create programmess and initiatives that get the agency producing that kind of work as quickly as possible. However this is only valuable with the right overall philosophy and employees “buying into” it.
Coming back to how to define innovation and taking in the above mentioned points, I like framing innovation as being about creating change, either through the production of something new or the evolution of something that exists.
I think it can be seen as trying to take small steps, optimising day to day business whilst seeking completely new ways to grow in the future. It’s about making this chosen change or innovation strategy a core facet of an agencies culture and structure, which at best leads to a business that can adapt faster in this fast paced industry.
Twitter have confirmed it has bought We Are Hunted, a music app which finds the most popular songs trending across the world. Users will be able to listen to clips of music from inside the app, using third-party services like iTunes and SoundCloud; they will also be able to watch music videos provided by Vevo, the music video service owned by Universal Music and Sony.
They have created a new page, music.twitter.com, with the company’s logo and #music displayed in the centre (it is not yet active). So far it is known that Ryan Seacrest (American TV presenter) has been given a preview of the new service and is already promoting it to his followers “lovin the app…shows what artists are trending, also has up and coming artists.”
Twitter at the moment have limited music abilities so it will be interesting to see if they will be able to compete with other social networking portals who have heavy music backgrounds such as Myspace. I think Twitter will create an even bigger following by releasing a music app, they needed something new to keep people on-board and with festival season looming, they couldn’t of chosen a better time.
If you were still doubting it, research from Forrester has confirmed that the British are one of the most connected populations in Europe!
75% of European adults connect to the Internet at least monthly, and more than half of them own two or more devices, making the Europeans more connected than ever, however differences exist between countries.
The UK is the leader in technology, volume of connected consumers, online shopping behaviour and interest in mobile activities; while Germany has the largest online audience in Europe but there’s room to develop online shopping on social media and mobile.
Italy and Spain both have a small connected audience but they are very active social media users. And France is behind the curve, showing lower figures to adopt multiple screening and are less likely to own a device (laptop, tablet, smartphone, or netbook).
Despite the fact than Europeans are getting more and more connected, the digital consumption is heterogeneous between countries and International brands need to consider these cultural differences.
On Friday a new Soap hits our screens...but not in the traditional sense, Seven Sisters is the first attempt to play out a soap opera solely through social media, so when I say screens I mean, primarily your phone, tablet and PC...the idea is that you can follow the story in real time as it unfolds on Twitter and Facebook....and no doubt Pinterest, Vine, Instagram, Photoplay and so on and so on...
The 'show' focuses on the fictional lives of a group of young, diverse people all trying to make their way in the ever trendy landscape of North London.
The characters are all being played by real writers, and will include an ‘East London cool kid’ trying to keep his upper-middle class upbringing on the down low; his half-sister and the various men whom she encounters; a country girl trying to adjust to the city; and an alpha male ‘riding the wave of London life’.
According to Danielle Vanier, Artistic director at Awesix Media who are producing it: "People today want entertainment that is relevant to them. They don't want to look in from the outside, they want to feel like the show is happening around them. This is what Seven Sisters does. It uses social media, something each audience member themselves uses on daily basis, to deliver content that it is engaging, focussed on their own world and in real time."
But will it work? Do people really have the time to invest in what will no doubt have to be in depth content in real time? Think about it, our social feeds are crowded enough aren't they? It's going to take a fair amount of commitment to keep track of what I assume will be the massively hectic lives of the characters in real time. Will we care enough? Or perhaps the more appropriate question is will the content make us care enough? If it's good then you’d think sharing is guaranteed and it could take off.
Content is going to be designed so that you can dip in and out during the day or simply catch up all the feeds in the evening, but I’m still not convinced, I don’t want to spend my evenings searching for the stories of fictional characters…after all, that’s what TV is for right?!
It officially launches on April 25th so check it out…you know, if you have the time.
Last week, Brand Republic reported on the invention of Snap Fashion, a new iPhone app which lets users take a picture of an item of clothing, whether in a magazine or on the street, and instantly see similar items from high-street retailers. It effectively is the first fashion-focused visual search engine. This new development in shopping echoes sentiment of the US app Snapette but this time around it can be used in the UK. Is this a new way to shop? Are we soon going to be living in an era where shopping online and through apps is the norm compared to browsing through rails in traditional shops and retail environments?
We are constantly met with news stories of how the retail market is struggling and how retailers are turning to the internet to innovate and improve customer sales and service. Brands such as ASOS now thrive amongst a competitive retail space online and this new venture looks to include a catalogue of etailers such as these as well as high street giants Topshop, Uniqlo and French Connection.
Partnering up with an app like Snap Fashion would appear to be a smart move as this new mentality of shopping and browsing provides the user with instant access to the outfit of their choice. However, let us not be fooled into thinking this is something new and will be adopted by us all. The modern consumer has been defining their own style and clothing purchases over the last few years by following blogs, searching the internet for hidden gems and ‘liking’ pictures of well-dressed guys and girls on Facebook, Instagram and style sites. The most fashion conscious individual will also turn to pages of their favourite magazine or shop floor to build their own personal style. The advance of apps and the internet has made it easier for us to research and buy things, but there is still something special about walking around your favourite store and buying something tangible.
Shopping and the way people shop is changing. However, these new advancements in technology are enhancing the shopping experience not damaging it.
Last month American Express launched its pay-by-tweet feature in the US, in an attempt to turn Twitter into an online retailer, allowing cardholders to buy products using a hashtag contained in a tweet.
The scheme expands the Amex Card Synch programme, launched last year, which lets members connect their cards to social media accounts. Previously cardholders were awarded discounts and offers in return for sending tweets with certain hashtags. Now hashtags can trigger a physical purchase. Once the cardholder sends a tweet with the correct hashtag they receive a confirmation from Amex and if they respond within 15 minutes the product is shipped and a payment taken from the user's American Express account.
The scheme is currently restricted to the US and a certain number of retailers and products. The first items on offer include an Amazon Kindle Fire tablet, a Sony camera, Xbox 360 games consoles and Donna Karan bracelets. The various product hashtags will be listed on the Amex Twitter page.
By wrapping the purchasing process in a hashtag, payment becomes a much faster and simpler consumer experience. For the first time, Twitter users will be able to respond to an offer from a retailer, and make a purchase without leaving the Twitter site. In addition, the Amex partnership is a way for Twitter to provide direct proof that advertising activity on Twitter provides ROI. It offers the potential to turn a hashtag into more than just a conversation – acting as a trigger that sparks business. It could also provide an extra source of revenue for Twitter if it takes a slice of the purchase amount.
AMEX is in the process of creating similar card connection systems to work with Facebook, Microsoft's Xbox Live service and the location-based service FourSquare. As hundreds of thousands of people have already connected their cards to these services, it does seem the natural next-step is to use those cards to buy virtual goods.
So are social payments the future of commerce? Amex is one of the few organisations so far to experiment, but if this unique service takes off, it could open up Twitter to a flow of other retailers trialling with payment-by-tweet. In time we could expect to see hashtags for purchasing products as a common feature of TV and print ads too. Cool huh.
However as with many of the industries innovations, I believe the success of this service is dependent on consumer reception. Unless people warm to and feel comfortable with the proposition, low usage will prevent its progression. Indeed the platform is based on the assumption that consumers will want to make all of their purchases public and traceable. Although Amex says that no payment or billing data is shared, it will be important this service is nurtured closely to convince and support consumers along an unfamiliar but exciting journey.
Maxus was again well represented at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada earlier this month, and although this year’s show didn’t produce any jaw-dropping new innovations, it was nonetheless interesting to see the incremental progress versus last year in some key technology spaces. Here, our Global Chief Information Officer, Jason Harrison talks through his highlights.
The Year of the Phablet
2013 may go down as the year the “Phablet” was launched. A Phablet is a combination of a Phone and a Tablet, and Samsung appear to be the most prominent manufacturer to embrace the Phablet concept. I particularly like the Note II, one of several 5 to 6-inch devices that sit between an iPhone and a tablet and contain the full complement of functionality based around the Android OS. The device itself is really good looking and has some interesting functionality that I haven't seen before, like the ability to work in multiple windows - so you can compose a text while viewing a video or listening to music. And the screen is just big enough to make it viable for consuming content, yet small enough that it can function as a phone - although that bit is a stretch because holding it up to your face looks a bit weird because of its length (a good headset or Bluetooth earpiece would solve that issue). We're starting to see folks who are on the go constantly and who really need email and basic productivity apps, move towards tablets as their primary device, or if possible, a phablet. Samsung are also launching the ATIV, a tablet that runs Windows 8 and can dock into a mini keyboard - so carrying the ATIV and a small keyboard around reduces the amount that a person needs to carry as they would not need a separate laptop to interact with and/or author content. I think a barrier to further iPad adoption and perhaps iPad Mini adoption among Mac devotees has been - ironically - the Macbook Air. Its so small and portable that a person can use it for all the things where they would otherwise use an iPad - email, content browsing, media, etc. and its just as easy to carry around (the 11" version for sure). I was so impressed with the Samsung Note II that I'm seriously considering moving over to it as my primary phone device. A possible headache – but one that I’m willing to experiment around – is how I will get all of my existing owned-content onto the device. But I guess that would just be an excuse to find new content!
One of the more interesting trends at this year’s show was the strong emergence of automobile manufacturers exhibiting the electronics-based, in-cabin functionality of their newest cars. Audi, Ford, Chevy, Hyundai and Subaru all had major floor space devoted to their version of electronics-driven car technology, both for enhanced content and entertainment purposes and enhanced performance, and also for better safety. Ford in particular showcased the latest iterations of their Fusion line – introduced in concept last year – which feature Aston Martin look-alike designs and fuel economy reaching 100+ MPG for the plug-in hybrid model. This year, Ford was also featuring Sync, its on-board car operating system, that provides for mobile phone integration, on-board navigation and mobile connectivity.
But perhaps the most impressive auto company to exhibit at CES this year was Audi. Audi held a special presentation for GroupM and our clients where they took us through several innovations in on-board capabilities for things like enhanced sound, multi-media interface, navigation and communication. Their newest proprietary 360-degree sound systems – available next year – replicate movie theater-quality surround sound inside the cabin of the car. As well, Audi’s Multi-Media Interface extends your smartphone to provide integrated phone, text and email capability from the console in the cabin, much of it voice-activated. They’re promoting mobile hot spot capability such that an Audi car enabled with an active WiFi subscription would provide connectivity up to 1.5 mbps for up to 8 devices on an ongoing basis, opening up lots of possibilities for content consumption on the go from the cabin of the vehicle. This capability is particularly attractive for parents who will be able to stream kids programming on-demand directly to a screen mounted in the seatback, in order to pacify rowdy passengers demanding their SpongeBob. Another use case would enable enhanced navigation capability – so suppose you were driving in an Audi to meet a friend, but the friend didn’t know how to provide driving directions. That friend could simply snap a photo of anything – related to the destination or not – and email that photo to the driver. The photo file would have GPS coordinates embedded in the metadata, and those coordinates would be interpreted by the car’s operating system, and then fed to Google maps, which would then provide turn-by-turn directions to the location.
Audi has also been working on tech-driven innovations in the areas of safety – their LED lighting technology is evolving to provide coverage over a larger surface area of the car for things like rear and brake lights, to increase the car’s visibility to other cars approaching it from the rear. As well, their high-beams will soon be active at all times because they will be equipped with sensors that automatically see oncoming light – from oncoming headlights – and auto-dim. As well, Audi shared a not-too-distant future (apparently in-concept now) where a driver could pull up to their house, get out of the car, and then using a smartphone app, instruct the car to park itself. Using stored maps and sensors, the car would be able to navigate known obstacles (the mapping would have to have been done in advance) to park itself and shut down. Audi was apparently granted a license by the state of Nevada (where Las Vegas is) to operate “driverless” vehicles, on Monday of this week – just prior to the opening of CES. Other manufacturers showcased similar innovations – Toyota apparently showed off a driverless car capability as well, though we didn’t see it up close as with Audi.
No coverage of CES would be complete without a bit about the latest in Television technology, and this year didn’t disappoint. The 2013 crop of TV’s featured screens produce images in Ultra High Definition, which is also known as 4K, (since the resolution is 4x1080p). These new ultra hi-def TVs reproduce imagery with stunning detail and clarity, though content is not all that available and it will be a while before content makers produce it in any quantity, much like the advent of 3D TV a few years ago. Also, the TVs themselves are expensive – the lower-range sets from manufacturers like Hisense are going to be priced in the $4-5K range, and that’s the low end of the range! Organic LED, or OLED, was also a prominent innovation on display this year. OLED is an innovation in television display technology because it doesn’t require the backlighting of standard LED, so the TVs themselves can be extremely thin – 1/6 of an inch. Also noteworthy is the range of screen sizes that can be manufactured – we saw up to 90-inch diameter sizes. So as one might expect, the price points for these TVs are quite high – something like $10K for a 55-inch OLED, though as ever with the newest tech, this price is likely to fall precipitously in the next few years.
One interesting by-product of 4K television and 4K content will be its impact on bandwidth due to the much higher data transfer necessary for 4K programming. At the moment, 25% of all bandwidth consumed in the US during the prime-time television day part is for Netflix streaming. That’s interesting for several reasons, but if you consider that 4K programming will consume multiple times more bandwidth for streaming than today’s hi-def programming streams, you start to wonder whether overall bandwidth availability can keep up with that demand. Data streaming demand is already a problem on most 3G networks in the US, so it seems this will soon be true for terrestrial bandwidth providers as well.
Last year, we talked about the continuing evolution of “smart” TV technology, with several of the major manufacturers making improvements to their built-in content services and content navigation capabilities. We saw more of that this year, with a couple of notable evolutions. Samsung in particular has upped the ante with their Smart TV suite which for the first time includes the ability to control a cable set top box, as well as aggregate searching for on-demand programming across multiple sources.
As we approach the end of a year which saw a Diamond Jubilee, the Olympic Games in London and more rain than the end of the world, advertising bodies are beginning their usual annual round-up of the best and worst advertising of the year.
Youtube has recently revealed the ten most popular ads viewed on their own platform. Surprisingly, taking the topspot is Honda Civic's 'Spark Ad', followed by Peugeot's Nonstop and Durex's Vinyl execution. All of the top 10 feature content which drives high viewer engagement through interactivity and humour. According to Hamish Nicklin, Youtube's head of creative agency partnerships, "The power of choice and the opportunity for greater viewer engagement is driving more creative, entertaining video advertising than ever before".
Brands now have to work even harder to maintain market share and interest their target audiences. It would appear that funny and interesting ads (either shown on TV or watched on sites like Youtube) are now ways of engaging with these audiences, because content is king and users are actively searching for something different from their advertising.
Surely what makes a good ad is completely down to interpretation and personal taste. In a year where it was good to be British, the likes of British Airways and Adidas have created great ads which inspire and engage a nation, but also lived through social media channels, with additional content and hashtags. As Hamish Nicklin says "one of the best things about the web is that often viewers aren't just passively watching the content but can participate in it, combining the best of technology and creativity".
This would appear to be the model for future advertising campaigns. Whether or not advertisers choose to adopt this model, could determine whether their campaigns feature on the best or worst list next year!
Two weeks after our graduation I'm sitting at my desk trying to reflect on 6 weeks of Squared. Reflection was a big part of the training course, particularly in week 1. How do we act in certain siutations? What are our weaknesses? What do I expect of my team? The questions "how do you feel about this and what are you going to do to change it?" were asked repeatedly.
Moving from teambuilding and semi psychoanalysis into week 2,3 and 4, we were pushed into the 'real world'. The real world which consisted of big thinking, busy schedules and a lot of new territory. Insightful toolboxes, amazing inspirational talks, useful idea workshops, high profile debates and frequent mentor sessions helped us get out of our comfort zones to ensure we performed at our best in putting 3 business pitches together. These were presented to our training managers, senior Google employees aka "Googlers" and real clients. We received real and constructive feedback which motivated us to do better and of course learn from our mistakes.
Finally, we created the second version of the State of Industry report (goo.gl/wi8Zh) through interviewing influential personalities within our agencies. This gave us great insight and the possibility to understand the current media lanscape better.
Summing up the whole experience and what I have learnt in one sentence or even one paragraph is somewhat a struggle. The first word that springs to mind would be intense, followed by an amazing experience and finally feeling more confident about my own knowledge.
Squared is a brilliant program for young ambitious professionals who are keen to be part of a network, giving them the opportunity to be involved in exciting extra-curricular activities. It has taught us to boldly embrace the new, to take risks and learn from them and to take charge of our development in an environment that is constantly changing and evolving - whilst empowering those around us to do the same.
Ad:Tech was certainly an event not to be missed this year and was an excellent opportunity for brands and agencies alike to learn about new developments in the fast paced digital industry. With 13% of all purchases being made online, with this projected to rise to 23% by 2016 it has never been as important for brands and agencies to truly understand the internet and the role it can play in customer acquisition and retention. The internet economy was worth £121 billion in 2010 and this is growing year on year – brands need to keep up so they don’t miss out.
One very noticeable trend at Ad:Tech this year is the number of networks and suppliers prepared to work to performance metrics – it would seem that Cost Per Acquisition and Cost Per Click metrics are the way forward - when the end goal is to make a sale, then rightly so. The beauty of digital marketing is its measurability - buying on a performance metric challenges the supplier to optimise campaigns as quickly as possible at a fixed cost.
The GroupM University proved especially popular. Colleagues from GroupM agencies such as Mindshare, Quisma and MEC presented sessions on subjects such as Demand Side Platforms, SEO & PPC, Mobile Marketing and Performance Marketing. There was a brilliant turn out for the sessions with all who attended being very keen to learn.
The winner of the prize for most ‘interesting’ stand had to go to Orville Media who had an old school take on how to ‘pull in the punters’. They surrounded the stand with extremely scantily clad burlesque dancers with free flowing vodka from 10am onwards. It was all a bit ‘Nuts’ but needless to say the stand was surrounded by gents for the entire day – it pays to understand your target market.
Overall the atmosphere at Ad:Tech was great – it was an excellent opportunity to learn and to network with people with a shared passion for digital marketing.
SEO’s no longer a novelty for websites, but instead a necessity. More and more webmasters are beginning to appreciate the value SEO brings to their site and how important it is to engage in best practice Search Engine Optimisation. As the demand for SEO increases, the optimum practice methods also mature.
SEO is about allowing websites to gain exposure through non paid search listings via keywords relevant to a website’s offerings. The more websites that are realising the benefits of SEO, the more competitive and strategic it is becoming.
Google has always been milestones ahead of the industry. But why is it an industry leader over the likes of Bing and Yahoo? Google invests heavily in R&D and is constantly trying to find ways to improve search speeds and result relevance. This is why it regularly updates its algorithm which determines the order of search engine results. The one or two hundred variables which make up the Google algorithm are top secret but SEO specialists have a good understanding of what will give a website the edge to rank well for its target keywords.
An increase in SEO demand and competitiveness is positively correlated with the need for more highly integrated digital marketing strategies. In order to achieve maximum online efficiency and boost ROI figures, ensuring that a website’s marketing activity is not run in silos is key. Is offline traffic converted online via search engines? Are webmasters utilising the mobile platform effectively?
With internet user stats growing in excess of tens of millions of people, online exposure is a must! All in all, SEO is evolving at a rapid rate and now how it is synthesized with all other marketing channels both on and offline will determine a website’s success. Webmasters should aim to grow their online presence and bottom line by keeping up with industry trends, complying to search engine algorithm updates and operating with a fully integrated marketing strategy.
Making magazines is bad business. That’s what the numbers suggest, anyway. Overall revenue from print advertising declined 3% in 2011. Newsstand sales fell 9%. Subscriptions were flat, but most publishers offer steep discounts to retain the readers they have. The sobering, bottom line, in the words of the Pew Research Center’s State of the News Media report, is that in 2011, “for the fifth year running, advertisers cut back on the number of print ads purchased and consumers bought fewer magazines.”
Conversely as it stands, tablet users are rapidly increasing with now approximately 4million owners in the UK. Apple have a reluctance to release figures but iPad sales are estimated to be as high as 1million per year in the UK alone.
Hopefully the figures won’t demoralise former Chelsea footballer Ken Monkou decision to launch his new upmarket quarterly football magazine called ‘Football Life which mirrors similar moves made by Rio Ferdinand and Phil Babb to crack the market. The debut issue which was released recently retailing at £4.50 will be sold to football clubs along with distribution to WH Smiths and other channels. With a print run of around 100,000 copies all professional footballers in the UK can, if they want, receive a copy. It will also be available to 70% of WH Smiths in the country.
Football Life features a mix of "untold, human, stories" in the world of football. Former Liverpool star Phil Babb was editor-at-large at Football Punk, which was published by JF Media, the publishing company which folded after being crippled by debts of more than £1m!
Google has (and always will have?) a big presence in the media world. 80% search engine market leader, project Squared , Youtube and its power to make a 20 year old kid from a local south London estate Britain’s new media mogul trough a music channel – just to mention a few accomplishments. All of this is of course amazing but what impresses and astonishes me most, is their great sense for innovative and great projects.
Most recent and exciting example (if you are a cyclist like me) is Googles cycling direction addition to Google Maps. Journeys planned this way should take into account not just the fastest way to get somewhere but also the safest, with junctions and roads known to be dangerous for cyclists being avoided. It'll also, as a nice touch, try to avoid steep hills.
Another favourite of mine is the Google Art project. It’s an online platform through which the public can access high-resolution images of artworks housed in the world’s most popular museums including the Tate Gallery, London; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City; and the Uffizi, Florence. A really nice way to experience art with a minimal amount of effort and time.
In my eyes all of this just secures its market leading position and creates new and exciting challenges for us in the media world.
With the conclusion of the UEFA European Football Championships on Sunday 1st July, figures for viewing and consumption have been slowly trickling through from media owners with some quite astonishing findings.
Research conducted by Flash Networks has revealed that Euro 2012 stimulated a dramatic increase in live streaming in Europe, as well as a drastic growth in sports websites' traffic on the day of the tournament final.
In Europe, there was a 210% increase in HTTP streaming of live sports broadcasts during the EURO 2012 final match day, while in Asia-Pacific the increase was only 20%. These statistics were reversed for P2P streaming, with a 123% average increase in Asia-Pacific and a 42% average increase in Europe in June, the month of the competition, compared to the same timeframe during the previous month. These findings reflect the differences in the way Europeans and Asians view football over mobile networks.
Domestic figures published by Digital Spy showed that 8.3% of football fans in Britain used desktop PCs, laptops, smartphones or tablets to watch the games. Personally, I watched the majority of the games on TV, only once trying to watch a game on my smartphone. The experience of streaming over a mobile network and watching on the 35 bus to Dalston was a novelty at first but after continual buffering and loss of signal I gave up and watched the highlights on TV.
Now, analysts are suggesting that the 2012 Olympic Games in London is set to be the most data-heavy yet with approximately 60Gb travelling across the Olympic Park every second.
With only 16 days remaining until The Games get under way, I’ll be very interested to see how the games and Paralympic games are consumed both domestically and on a global scale. Call me old fashioned but after the o2 network buckling under the pressure of “normal” usage last week and BlackBerry’s BBM messenger failure of a few months back, I’ll be one of the many millions watching via the relative reliability of a standard TV so I won’t be missing out on seeing Usain Bolt get beaten in the 100m final due to my mobile network going down.
The first test of notable scale of NFC-enabled advertising launched in Reading in March 2012, led by outdoor media agency Kinetic and out-of-home advertising giant JCDecaux. An assortment of advertisers got involved in the pilot, including Morrisons, H&M, Universal DVD, Mercedes, ITV2, Lucozade, EA Games and Unilever's Lynx, Toni & Guy, Magnum and Vaseline brands. The findings showed 3,000 people scanned the poster sites during the trial (2-3 scans per person) – the equivalent of 1 million people if up weighted to national scale.
The verdicts of the research were notably positive - it seems there is growing consumer thirst for receiving fresh and novel experiences from engagement with advertising, particularly amongst the technically savvy youth. The brands that came out on top offered a blend of relevance, dynamic content and a clear call-to-action. Notably Lynx and Morrison’s stimulated the most positive responses – Morrison’s offers such as ’Free Tetley Tea Bags 40 Pack when you scan here’ were seemingly irresistible, and Lynx’s ‘Keep up with the chaos’ video content allured the attention of the youth (although only 6% wanted to share their interest on Facebook!)
NFC provides a gateway for delivering more information about brands; however the OOH study suggests that consumers expect a ‘value exchange’ in return for interacting with advertising – the most popular incentives being money or entertainment. Advertisers need to be careful not to deliver a disappointing experience. If brands strike it right by engaging on a deeper level they will benefit from positive word of mouth generation on and offline, and essentially gain greater standing in the market.
I expect the outdoor NFC advertising space to spiral quickly in the next few years - it certainly seems a hot topic in the industry. Key to its success will be the progression in smartphone manufacturers launching NFC supported models, combined with extending NFC-enabled posters to national scale, across a multiplicity of sites and formats. Already new territories are being explored, such as the recently launched ‘Amplify’ by Eye, whose NFC-enabled digital screens cover Gatwick Airport, offering a spot-on high-dwell time environment for the technology to live. And even more importantly, the launch of the iconic iPhone 5, fully equipped with NFC capability, will certainly by a fundamental catalyst for widespread adoption.
Squared has officially finished and although this brought (many) tears to my eyes at our graduation last week, I have started this week with a bright and positive perspective. Yes, Squared was one of the best experiences I have had in my life to date, but it has not left me with the same feeling that these tend to do; I have taken far more away than good memories and some nice photos.
I thought I would take this opportunity to share with you the tangible work that Squared has produced - our State of the Industry Report. Some of you lovely Maxus people gave us a helping hand with this, which was invaluable in helping all 83 of us collaborate on the finished product. For those of you that are not aware of what this task was, Squared have published a report on the current state of the industry, based around 6 questions that we all worked with our agencies to answer. The idea is that every year the Squared programme will publish a similar report, looking forward to the next 12 months and what the industry predicts will happen. As this is the first ever Squared, we are delighted to announce the first ever Squared State of the Industry Report!
The link to the website that hosts the PDF is: http://thesquaredreport2012.wordpress.com/
and to the video version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6o_l-vM8Ug&feature=youtube_gdata_player
I hope that this makes for an interesting read, as we certainly found it compelling to create. If you have any feedback or questions, then please feel free to come and talk to me or comment!
A report out today by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) confirmed that the number one most complained about Ad of all time is in fact a KFC advert featuring call centre workers singing with their mouths full. The 2005 television ad drew a record 1,671 complaints, with the majority objecting that it could encourage bad manners among children. The ASA said the complaints were all rejected, with the ASA ruling that although it was "not to everyone's taste", it was unlikely to change children's behaviour or undermine parental authority.
After watching/seeing all the top 10 most complained about adverts I can personally say that I think the majority could be seen as more ‘offensive’ then the KFC ad and baffles me how this has reached top spot in front of the Paddy Power 2010 ad where a bloke actually kicked a cat. I suppose this just goes to show how strong and effective ads are on the public. No matter if you love them or loathe them, if anything, this report certainly reveals what gets the public talking….
Furthermore there are some slightly disturbing, offensive and hard hitting government funded ads throughout the years that could have been seen as disturbing or offensive. One off the top of my head is the “Why Let Drink Decide? Government ad which you can see below…
A few of us at Maxus had the privilege of attending the WACL (Women in Advertising and Communications London) Gather event on Wednesday last week. The event, held every year, is billed as the ‘ultimate training day and networking event for women.’ And it didn’t disappoint!
The theme for 2012 was Future Proofing for Success, which means ‘thinking about how your role in both your professional and your personal life can be made more successful by thinking and building strategies around the future’. So a big remit then.
Without exception the speakers were excellent – the day kicked off with Louise Mensch, MP who gave an inspiring speech covering the many twists and turns her life has taken from music executive to MP - via the way of hugely successful novelist – all in a humorous and completely honest way. This theme of honesty and authenticity continued throughout the day with speakers such as Daryl Fielding (VP Marketing, Kraft Foods Europe) Fru Hazlitt (MD Commercial, Online and Interactive, ITV) and of course our CEO, Lindsay Pattison who sat on the ‘If I could tell you one thing’ panel and Q&A.
The day closed with the amazing Shelly Lazarus (Chairman, Ogilvy and Mather Worldwide) whose career began in the original Mad Men days. As well as giving huge amounts of useful current advice she also had lots of scandalous stories to tell about being a woman in the workplace in the 60’s – I am not too sure you’d be turned down for a position these days based upon the fact the (male) managers’ wives might not appreciate it!
It looks to have been coming for quite a while for poor Simon Cowell, but the wheels finally seem to have fallen off….in quite a big way! Year on year we seem to have witnessed numbers dropping from his flagship shows such as Britain’s Got Talent and X Factor. Where they were dropping off, they were still doing the biggest numbers across TV with highlights such as Susan Boyle and Leona Lewis helping to make the show the most popular programme for years! This year however has seen the BBC finally come up with a singing competition to rival that of the X Factor/BGT contingent and it seems to have stolen the lime light. The show in question is ‘The Voice’, which appears to have been developed and planned for a couple of years in waiting for the right time to release it. With a new take on the talent show format ‘The Voice’ judges Tom Jones, Jessie j, Will.i.am and Danny O'Donoghue decide whether to take the contestants through to the next round without seeing what they look like.
For the second week running The Voice on BBC has out done Britain’s Got Talent and it looks like it will continue to do so as people are getting bored with the repetitive format of BGT. The Voice attracted an average audience of 10.7 million viewers taking a massive 46% share of the TV watching public. By comparison, the fourth episode of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ attracted an average audience of 9.6 million viewers, a 38.0% share, on ITV1.
Cowell anticipated the threat and decided to put himself back on the judging panel for the new series. This emerging threat of the BBC, appears to have forced ITV to make an executive decision to move BGT to a later start time to avoid the clash with ‘The Voice’. The show will start at 8.30pm from this weekend.
Simon Cowell is now in despair and looks to be going slightly off the wall to say the least. Recent reports have quoted him as lashing out at contestants in last year’s X Factor, calling them the “worst ever”. Cowell has predicted his shows could get a “kick up the ass” from rival BBC singing contest The Voice.
With this all going on for the media mogul it seems as though things are going from bad to worse! Recent tabloid news of affairs with Danni Minogue to other weird questionable behaviour such as he uses black loo roll in his bathroom and owns a feature in his garden that gives the illusion that he can walk on water. This is not to mention the drip in his US bedroom which he uses every Saturday afternoon to pump magnesium, B vitamins and pure vitamin C into his bloodstream…...No wonder he looks so cool!
Only time will tell if Mr Cowell can pull another hit out of the bag with rumours circulating of an idea for a new music show called In The Mix — a competition to find the best disc jockeys in both America and Britain. The DJs would play music to up to 3,000 clubbers who would vote with their claps and foot stomps….
Smart TV’s and the rise in the second screen point to the inevitable evolution of television in the social age. Zeebox is the latest ground-breaking app to emerge into the digital market which takes this concept a step further. The team of 40 developers have joined forces with Sky with the aim of making TV better by bringing the power of the web to every second of live TV whilst making it a more immersive and social experience.
Zeebox is a free app that's with you on your laptop, iPhone, iPad or Android smartphone, while you watch your TV. It knows what you're watching, right now. Not only that, but it shows you what your friends are watching. It can give you more information about what you're watching, instantly. It lets you buy and download relevant content and it can tell you what shows are most popular, in real-time.
So far there has been 650,000 downloads of Zeebox, 70% of which were young adults with a slight male skew. The average time spent on the app is 30 minutes and the users are predominantly all heavy twitter and Facebook users. These figures are very promising with regard to opportunities for brand engagement.
I have recently downloaded the app to my iPhone and think it’s very clever and makes TV a whole lot more enjoyable - especially its integration with Twitter! I was watching the Grand National on Saturday (4th place for Cappa Bleu won me a free Nandos!) and was amazed by the detail of zeetags, I was able to find out information on all of the jockeys, horses and their trainers whilst also loads of information on the history of the event.
Now that Sky has secured the rights to Formula 1, they have capitalised on the opportunities behind the concept of the ‘dual screen’ viewing by using Zeebox technology. They are now able to provide users with a wide range of features such as maps of the race tracks, driver profiles, driver cameras etc.
The smartphone game, Angry Birds is a worldwide phenomenon. It has already been downloaded 700 million times and is estimated to be worth £5.6 billion, just two years after the game first launched. Its new product, Angry Birds Space, is already the number one game in nearly 100 app stores across the world. It seems that this was not enough for the company which is now preparing a 52 episode series later this year.
It has recently been announced that Facebook will be focusing on providing new search facilities within the platform. When you currently use Facebook’s internal search facilities, you cannot search by products or services and it doesn’t provide further suggestions to search queries. It’s fair to say that most people do not use Facebook to find new products or services.
The third coming of the iPad is upon us. Apple unveiled its most powerful iPad last night sharing details of its new features, from high-definition zoom to access to high-speed 4G wireless networks and the appearance of Siri, iPhone's speaking personal assistant. The iPad3’s ‘retina’ display will have a higher screen resolution than any other mobile device and a sharper screen than most 40-inch sitting room televisions. Apple even boasts that the picture resolution will be so crisp that words will appear sharper than words in print.
Tim Cook, the company’s CEO said the world was now in a ‘post-PC era’ and that ‘Apple is at the forefront of this revolution.’ Last year, Apple sold 172 million of what it described as post-PC devices - iPhones, iPads and touchscreen iPods and with this growing number of tablet computers and smartphones, the humble desktop computer is no longer the centre of our digital world. I’m not a digi whizz kid (but aspire to be!) however I have to voice that perhaps this constant growth of technology is muting our voices more than ever.
Having hailed from a background where we had analogue TV until I was 13 and being a proud child of a father who constantly complains that ‘The Times just reads better when you’re holding the paper’, is there an argument that our opinions now can only be seen and not heard? Don’t get me wrong, I’m fascinated by the evolution of technology but also value the need to physically hear what people feel. My team and I met with a research company last week who track offline word of mouth conversations and it struck a chord with me. According to this media owner, 82% of conversations are face to face and although the social media explosion has given these conversations higher visibility there is masses of insight that social media purely can’t attain. I think about what I put on my Facebook account, I voice the enjoyment of evenings, or how I’m worried for the size of my hips with all these free Kripsy Kremes at work, but I don’t genuinely express concern about things that matter. I go to my friends and family for that. So can we rely on technology to convey our true sentiment behind opinion? Do we just embrace the typing of our feelings? The latter question has to be answered with ‘yes’ but I’m not yet convinced the former question can be. Who knows, perhaps Apple has the answer…
Last week Barcelona played host to the Mobile World Congress, which is essentially a mobile focused version of the Consumer Electronics Show that’s held in Vegas each year.
There were a few highlights that are definitely worth sharing. Nokia launched the 808 Pureview. Exciting because it has a camera with a 41 Megapixel sensor!! Sure it’s a niche product with a pretty high price point (400+ euros) and it runs an out of date OS but it’s designed to be a demonstration of what’s possible rather than a mass market product and the results are pretty phenomenal. At the risk of boring you all to tears it’s not about the number of pixels but how you use them, Nokia is using a system called pixel oversampling and a completely redesigned zoom which means that the image quality does not alter regardless of how far you zoom in. Basically it delivers awesome photos!
The other big innovation in the handset space was the Samsung Galaxy Beam. Running Androids’ latest iteration, Ice Cream Sandwich it has a built in projector that projects a 50 inch screen onto any surface! It’s the first real push in the direction of heads-up mobile consumption rather than the traditional heads down model that it inherently anti-social when you’re physically with other people.
There is an entire Hall dedicated to services and applications at MWC, and once I’ve had a chance to have a good look at everything that has been announced there may well be some more media relevant stuff to share.
In the meantime, whilst monster imaging capabilities are unlikely to change current mobile marketing strategies built in projectors are a different story. If the Beam is the start of a trend that is built upon by the other key handset manufacturers then creative opportunities are going to be huge, it really will take sharing to whole new level!
And finally, the ipad 3 is set for launch tomorrow. The invites got sent out to the tech elite just after Google chief Eric Schmidt took to the stage at MWC…clever, tactical marketing from Apple or unnecessarily disruptive given their dominance?
Monday the 27th of February saw hundreds of the next advertising generation descend upon Central Hall Westminster, the reason for this was to take the IPA foundation certificate exam.
This was the culmination of months studying the course material, reading through case studies and practicing exam questions, which all led to this one moment.
This journey all began way back in November when several junior members of the Maxus family were asked to take the course as it would “provide a broad framework for understanding communications across a range of disciplines; advertising, production, PR, marketing etc”.
This included 20 hours or so of studying in our own time before a 2 hour exam where if we pass (fingers crossed) we will receive a well-earned certificate, some great knowledge that will help us all in our chosen discipline as well as insight in to how the other side works.
After countless weekends spent reading page after page of notes, watching videos of senior advertising gurus giving their point of view and discussing it with colleagues, some of whom were getting a little bit stressed….(you know you who are) It was finally time to take the exam and put all this new found knowledge in to practice.
As I sat outside waiting for the time to go in, I was surrounded by groups of ad land youth cramming in as much material as they could before we had our notes taken away and had to hope we could remember the right material, I was having Vietnam style flash backs of university all over again! There I was pen in hand ready to go.
2 hours later…..
Like most things we worry about the hype didn’t live up the reality, the most painful thing of the whole experience was every 5 to 10 minutes when my hand began to ache as I hadn’t written essays for such a long time, this seemed to be the case for a lot of others too!
The material we had slaved over was all in the exam and the only thing I would have wanted more of was time as I just kept writing.
Now all there is to do is to wait for the results to come out in the next few months and hope that I did enough to avoid the unfortunate 1% that do not pass.
Thanks to everyone for putting up with my bombardment of mobile immersion email invites yesterday. If you were lucky enough to attend one of the four sessions, you would have received an interesting insight into the topical and rapidly growing mobile market.
From the attitude and persuasiveness of each of today’s guests, it was obvious they felt, as many have in the past, that after a few false starts that ‘THIS’ is finally the year of the mobile.
It’s clear from media orientated firm’s business approaches that they too agree with Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt that, “if you don’t have a mobile strategy, you don’t have a future strategy”. The majority of us nowadays are socially integrated and connected courtesy of the revolutionary mobile.
Facebook is believed to be the catalyst for mobile usage, as our demand to post on walls and ‘poke’ random people on-the-go broke down the fear barrier of accessing mobile internet. This desire for anytime social networking has catapulted mobile advertising and marketing to the front of everyone’s thoughts.
The myth of mobile’s only being used by youth has been dispelled, so much so, that last year, for the first time ever, mobile usage overtook TV usage. Hard to believe, considering that this couch-potato nation spends a whopping 4hours and 18 minutes watching TV on average each day (for adults).
Not only was today’s immersion insightful, it was a frightening reality check on our mobile dependency. A study of 1000 UK citizens, it was revealed that 66% admitted to having Nomophobia, ( fear of being out of mobile phone contact).
SecurEnvoy also cited in a recent survey that we check our phones 34 times a day on average. For some, losing their mobile, would make them feel lost, lonely and naked! Let’s say, you misplace it at your brother’s wedding…what happens next? You panic, you lose your bearings, then a slow realisation of knowing you won’t be able to use your Samsung 4.8-inch display, 8 megapixel camera on your sibling’s special day, what a catastrophe….picture that! (Pun intended).
One can only wonder what lies ahead of us during this smartphone revolution. There’s even talk of phones in the years to come having the ability to emit smells! Nothings more appetising than a mouthful of ‘Febreze’ on the phone to your boss. On the upside, we could have a field day with a ‘human body smells’ app on the way to work.
But is this ‘exciting electronics revolution’ actually healthy? Although our mobiles are likely to do everything and anything for us in years to come, and the world will be nothing more than our oyster…How long will it be before phrases like “Let’s have a catch-up” or “fancy a pint down the boozer?” are no longer from your friends but your mobile instead….
It has been an exciting couple of weeks on the Barclays team with the launch of the Pingit app, Europe's first money-sending service that allows UK current account customers to send and receive cash through their mobile phones. Any Barclays' current account customers can download the banks Pingit app to their smartphone and start making instant money transfers to anyone with a UK-based mobile phone and a current account with any UK bank. The app will be extended to all UK banking customers in March and is free to use.
Payments are made via the app by selecting the recipient’s telephone number and specifying the amount which can be up to the value of £300 (the daily total value limit set for the app) and is available on the iPhone, Blackberry and Android operating systems. Pingit has the potential to revolutionise the way in which we send and receive everyday payments eg paying your share of the drinks bill, dinner, hen do as well as paying your plumber.
Whilst many other providers will be launching their peer to peer payment systems within the coming months (O2 wallet, NFC launches Eg MasterCard’s Boku PayPass system), Pingit has established Barclays as the first to market with peer to peer payment system, adding to the banks heritage for being innovators.
This Sunday the 26th of February sees the launch of News International’s Sun on Sunday. We certainly expected Rupert Murdoch to launch a new Sunday product at some point, however, the announcement last weekend somewhat shocked the media industry, as previously there had been no hint or mention that it would be so soon. The last four days have seen the NI sales teams frantically trying to inform the agencies of forecasted print-runs, cover price, advertising rates and any other information that wasn’t confidential prior to launch.
Supported by a £7m advertising campaign, the early rumours are that the Sun on Sunday will be priced at 50p. This is certainly a declaration by NI in terms of its aggressiveness as the Sunday market has typically enjoyed considerably higher price points – the Sunday Mirror being priced at £1 and The Star on Sunday 99p. We obviously expect some level of retaliation from both Trinity Mirror and Desmond’s Northern & Shell, whether this be a straight fight on cover price at the news-stand or via clever marketing tactics, both parties will be keen to hold onto their new and bigger readership base.
The popular market has always proven to be extremely price sensitive and this cover price will certainly ensure that the Sun on Sunday has every opportunity of winning back some of its lost readership since the close of the News of the World last July. It is anticipated that this cover-price will rise to £1 in future weeks, but as of yet, we have no idea on what time-frame this will fall within.
There is certainly no guarantee of success with this impending launch, there is still a considerable amount of “bad-taste” from the general public with regard to News International. The Sun recently recorded its lowest circulation since the 1970’s and the both the Times and Sunday Times have been haemorrhaging circulation for the last 12 months.
NI are re-assuring the media industry that this will not be a re-hash of the NOTW. The Sun on Sunday will be a totally different proposition and will be a much more campaign-led and family focused product which is more in tune with The Sun Monday-Saturday product. The journalism will certainly be less scandal based, less intrusive and certainly within the law, but will this effect copy sales?
The Sunday market has always been one for exclusives and the market is conditioned to expect this; there is no doubt that there is a desire from the general public to know which footballer or pop stars “dirty laundry” is being aired each weekend.
Only time will tell how successful the new Sun on Sunday will be, early circulations will certainly be big and we are forecasting a minimum of at least 2.6m at launch. However, there is often very little correlation between the sales of a strong daily title and its Sunday stable mate. For example, over the years the circulation of the Daily Telegraph never quite fed across to the Sunday proposition.
The Sunday market has always been a completely different animal to that of its Mon-Sat counter-parts and is a day that has always behaved differently, is subject to tradition, inertia and as a result, has been in greater decline than the weekday market.
We will watch this space and wait for Murdoch’s next move.
London Fashion Week kicked off last Friday and this year it’s not just Burberry leading the charge in social media. For those of us not named Alexa or cannot count Stella as a BFF, fashion and media brands participating in the glamour are bringing the fashion week experience live to the average consumer through a number of interactive ways.
New York Fashion Week alongside show partner YouTube live-streamed 25 shows for consumers and London is following suit with a record number of 46 shows being streamed from February 17th – 21st via the British Fashion Council. Fashion followers can watch the shows online or via the outdoor LED screen currently set up outside Somerset House. Screens in the London Underground have also been showcasing highlights, including live Twitter feeds and behind the scenes shots from a dedicated backstage photographer.
Fashion magazines are also getting involved with Vogue’s British edition taking over a giant digital screen at Westfield London shopping mall for the week and Grazia is providing fans with complete behind the scenes access to its editorial process on YouTube. Grazia editors are being followed 24 hours a day, to form a series of week-long videos called Grazia’s Fashion Issue…. Live, with videos from fashion darlings like Olivia Palermo going through her fashion week wardrobe (amazing) and Victoria Beckham talking through her design process and about Harper (adorable). The special issue hits stands tomorrow and is accompanied by a 30 minute version of the documentary.
Big name stores are also participating in the fun, with Topshop producing an upgraded app where users can live stream shows such as Peter Pilotto and Mary Katrantzou directly to their mobile phones. Harrod’s is taking inspiration from US store Bergdof Goodman last season, allowing Facebook fans to make the buying decisions for AW’12. Every look from the Burberry show will be posted on the Harrod’s Facebook page with the image with the most Likes featuring in the store’s buys for the next season.
Not everyone embraces the all access approach and it wouldn’t be fashion without some levels of exclusivity. Tom Ford has a strict no photographs and reviews policy for 3 months and Phoebe Philo at Céline calls for no shots or tweets from backstage at her shows. Although met with mixed reception, these decisions are attempting to maximise the hype of a new collection and the time (approximately six months) until it is actually available in store. When you’re Tom Ford or Phoebe Philo the backlash of creating this level of exclusivity is likely to be more minimal than your less well known designers– but it’s interesting to see how different brands are behaving in the social space. As I don’t have a handbag named after me I’m definitely a fan of the more open and social approach to Fashion Week – but will still always love you, Tom.
Social media is growing up and growing fast, Facebook, the largest of pack is dusting off its suit in anticipation of its highly public IPO -a record breaking initial offering if the press is to be believed. According to researcher Emarketing Inc. Facebook doubled its revenues last year to over $4.5 billion dollars. 2011 was the year the Twitter broke the $100 million dollar revenue barrier and more importantly made a profit. MySpace has turned its fortunes since parting with News Corp – with a strong start to 2012. In the first 30 days they have signed up 1 million new users – averaging 40,000 new users per day. Google + burst on to the scene and the best is yet to come from them. Social media had a tremendous 2011 and it’s expecting to have a more colossal 2012 and this will be fuelled by mobile!
Social networks are focusing on mobile this is being led by Facebook. According to Facebook globally 44% of its traffic is via mobile so a vast opportunity to target a global audience of the 800 million users whilst on the move. Currently Facebook does not offer mobile targeting on their ad platform but this is all about to change. Twitter however is designed for mobile and not just the sleek and sexy smartphones but any mobile device via their SMS to tweet offering. Twitter is fully integrated into the new iPhone iOS5 operating system which makes tweeting even more seamless.
The world’s largest sporting event, Super Bowl highlighted the presence of social sharing via mobile, research from Clearspring shows social sharing via mobile is up 500% year on year at the SuperBowl.
There’s a wave of Mobile only social networks appearing rapidly. Path, which describes itself as a social journal, recently re launched itself as an android/iOS only platform and had a staggering 800% increase in users in their first month after re launch. Their user base grow from 30,000 to over 250,000 in the same time period and now has over 2 million users globally - highlighting the opportunity for social networks on mobile devices.
As mobile technology is growing (at a very fast rate) so are the possibilities of social media. Will 2012 be the year social has more presence on mobile vs. computers? Who knows, all we know it’s going to be interesting so watch this space.
There are few surprises in the latest round of ABC results, with the general trend continuing to be downward, and the same sectors taking a heavy kicking. Most men’s monthlies and weeklies appear to still be dead men walking; the celebrity weekly sector has suffered more heavy losses YoY. Hello and OK also posted significant PoP losses, meaning they have failed to hold on to the extra sales generated by the Royal Wedding in the first half of 2011. Undoubtedly the doom-mongers will cite these results as further evidence of the death of print, while publishers will blame their favourite catch-all: the recession. But is that what’s really going on here?
Take everyone’s favourite whipping boy (or girl), the Celebrity sector. This recession has certainly proved that the existing magazine marketplace and the volume of publications isn’t sustainable in its entirety. There are far too many publications providing similar content badly! Gone are the days of each magazine having a unique USP on the newsstand and the ability to compete purely on the content it provided or the exclusives it could land. The battleground has become “how many magazines can I fit into a single polythene bag and flog them for a quid”, while neglecting the most important element of what they stand for – differentiated, valued content! Similarly, compare the brand strength of some of these titles to what they were even five years ago; brand identity been eroded by multi-packing and constant redesigns- and readers pick up on this.
The sectors that post big declines make the headlines, but look deeper and we see some positive stories: the mature women’s lifestyle sector (GH, Prima) showing growth; the Home Interest sector (Good Homes, Country Homes) showing growth; and the luxury sector (Tatler, Harpers) holding its own. These successes yet again prove there is an appetite for the written word when quality publishing is at the forefront- but the same three factors still have to be right: brand, price and content. The market is very quick to talk about the demise of print, and the industry is equally as sharp to isolate TV, digital, VOD, tablets, mobile and the other means of communicating to our target audience. However, in a world that has experienced a rapid rate of media proliferation in all channels, there are still 2000+ magazines consumed per minute in the UK. When publications are much more than just their print edition – with touch points in tablet, mobile, online, events – the strength of the brand proposition trumps the pure circulation number. Shouldn’t this be what’s most important to clients?
The relative success of free magazines in recent years adds a fourth factor for success: convenience. Although they are far from reaching critical mass, the emergence of iPad editions makes ‘convenience’ easier to deliver than ever; the publishers that get all four factors right will always find an audience; those that don’t will continue to be a bad headline.
So what’s more addictive than alcohol, tobacco or coffee? Well according to researchers from the University of Chicago Business School, fighting the urge to check Facebook updates or tweeting apparently proves more difficult to resist than a cigarette, a glass of wine or cup of coffee, which all prompted much lower levels of desire despite their addictive reputation.
Now, I don't smoke or drink coffee so I can’t empathise with such a statement … but wowzas! This simply demonstrates the addictive characteristics that lie within social media. In today's cyberworld having a social networking account could be said a MUST, and this research takes it a step further.
The survey of 250 people also highlighted that sleep and sex were the two things people most longed for during the day, but that the urges to keep on top of social networks were the hardest to resist.
For advertisers this is surely a great thing, but the challenge is how to become part of this irresistible urge rather than intruding on it. For the everyday consumer, these are not only cheaper past times but also healthier!
Now that the humiliation of the shameless Z-list celeb schmoozing has subsided, I feel able to share with you our night at the Celebrity Big Brother 2012 Final last Friday (27th Jan). A few Maxus bods were lucky enough so get VIP access to the last live show, along with Plusnet who were proud sponsors of the series.
In October 2010, Marketing Week ran an article on the impending rise of Google TV, with their ‘expert’ commentator concluding that “This will spell the end of the 30-second TV ad during Coronation Street" and "It's a great time to be in the business of data, and a bad time to be a traditional media planner or buyer". He claims that On Demand content fed through an Ethernet cable will completely replace scheduled programming within 5 years. A lot of people, quite rightly, dismissed this as sensationalist nonsense, but a year later - is there anything to suggest if he was on the right track?
Well, the technology is certainly here. Large companies like Samsung are pouring money into their Smart range, which integrate the existing On Demand platforms like iPlayer, 4OD etc into a user friendly experience. Hooking a product up to your Wifi is hardly rocket science these days, and as 7.2% of UK homes already have a Smart TV this is a good rate of early adoption for an expensive product, especially when considering they’ve only been properly pushed for a year.
So, perhaps the continued rate of adoption will be slow, preventing his 5 year prediction? Considering most of these TVs are adopting an app-based operating system / interface, then probably not. Most people are used to this functionality by now, with pretty much every mobile / tablet device utilising it in some form or another, and with Apple and Google being major players in this space it’s safe to assume it’ll be easy to use. A lot of people have computers for nothing but Facebook and iPlayer, so building this into a TV makes sense – quickly check your Facebook during an ad break or have Twitter streaming down the right hand side with relevant #hashtag conversations to the programme you’re watching, your iPhone integrated as your keyboard. I don’t think any of this would be hard for the masses to get their heads around?
So is the demand there for On Demand to surpass scheduled TV? This is what I think makes his prediction seem ludicrous. As we stand now, 60% of people watch On Demand content. 15% of people will watch this content in the same way as traditional TV (on their TV set) through a connected device (laptop, console etc). Although this is quite a sizable chunk, and I definitely think this number will grow, I just don’t think it will grow that fast. The vast amount of On Demand content that we consume is ‘catch up’ content; things we have been introduced to by TV but just don’t have the time to watch every single week. Importantly, there’s also relatively little content created to solely be broadcast online, and it’ll be far more than 4 years before there is enough investment to make this content good enough to completely change the way programmes are viewed (let alone commissioned and created). Only then can the balance tip toward consuming content designed to be On Demand rather than scheduled.
For me, the basis of his statement isn’t too ridiculous. Smart / Internet enabled TV will become mass market in the next 5 years. A third of all people are looking for some kind of Smart function in their next TV, and once a simple, more affordable product comes out people will flock to it as the ‘future-proof’ alternative to a normal TV when upgrading (especially if there’s an apple logo on it). What won’t happen in the next 5 years is that scheduled viewing will be eradicated by On Demand content.
I think it’s inevitable that broadcasters will ditch the airwaves for the broadband cable, but this doesn’t mean that they won’t still focus on scheduled programming. It does mean that suddenly there will be limitless targeting options & opportunity for innovation. There won’t be a ‘winner’ between buying 30” slots on scheduled programming or a number of impressions against a vertical. What I do think we’re likely to see in the next 5 years is the advent of personalised 30” TV slots in Coronation Street; the whole country watching different, more relevant ads during the X-Factor final based on family viewing habits rather than the BARB panel.
Following on from other successful initiatives where points have been rewarded to customers for watching movie trailers online, on the 30th November 2011 loyalty card scheme Nectar teamed up with Adpoints to conduct a three-month trial to incentivise customers to view ads online. The trial website was launched to an invite-only panel of 7,500 Nectar collectors, giving them the opportunity to earn a maximum of 850 points per month (4 points per video watched). Additional points can be earned for answering questions about brand preferences and habits, by visiting the advertisers’ sites and by sharing activity on social networking sites. To encourage participation, Nectar offers a selection of over 400 advertisers’ videos to choose from, and 1000 points just for signing up! The trial has appeared to be tremendously popular with all places filling within the first few days of its launch.
Adpoints are innovative leaders in what I think will be an inevitable movement in which online advertising becomes a consumer-driven space. Advertisers are constantly seeking ways to win the attention of their audiences with their creative campaigns. By daring to break away from a conventional online strategy and effectively paying consumers to watch their ads, positivity towards advertising will be raised and advertisers may finally see the engagement levels they desire. In particular, provision of incentives in exchange for user interaction will be crucial. In a time when social media is spiralling and when consumers are increasingly motivated by special offers, advertisers will capitalise from using content which drives their compensated viewers to interact with the brand after the video content has ended.
Nectar will be focusing on analysing viewing behaviours during this trial, and ultimately I think this is where the greatest benefit of this type of scheme will lie. Offering viewers monetary encouragement to complete a corresponding survey regarding their attitudes towards the ads that they view, will allow advertisers to build very meticulous audience profiles, which will be invaluable for future targeting.
Adpoints is expected to roll out to the remainder of Nectar members later in 2012.
The popular US streaming service Netflix launched last week in the UK. Now people of Britain have even more variety of choice to watch the TV they want, when they want. Most of us are now familiar with all the main broadcasters VOD services; Smart TV’s market is getting bigger and bigger as the technology becomes more affordable and Home DVD rental and video streaming service Lovefilm has now reached 1.6 million customers in the UK. So where does this leave the counter rental business?
Back in 2004, this industry (dominated by Blockbuster) was worth £350m. However in 2011, the figures dropped to less than £75m (Screen Digest data). With newcomer Netflix, 2012 is more likely to be a declining year in revenue for video rental. But are Blockbuster the only company that should be worried? Netflix are a direct competitor to Lovefilm and their aim is to overthrow Amazon’s DVD rental and streaming service in the UK. If we are to compare like for like, Lovefilm are cheaper as their online viewing option is only £4.99/month while Netflix fixed cost is at £5.99.
Netflix have been a household name in America since 1998. Stateside Netflix follow the current Lovefilm format by offering both online streaming & DVD delivery service but only plan to offer the streaming service in the UK & Ireland.
With more than 20 million subscribers in the United States (6% of the total population) Netflix would be hard pushed to match the same percentage in the UK given they have a lesser offering than Lovefilm for a similar price.
From a viewer’s perspective, Lovefilm’s product would appeal to a wider audience given the wider platforms available to view upon: on top of online streaming, tablet and consoles, the service allows you to rent DVD & Blu Rays to watch on TV with friends and family. With Netflix being only available online & via game consoles, one could consider that the service would be intended for individual use (watching movies on a laptop or a tablet). Although online VOD viewing figures keep on growing, people still consider TV as the best device on which to watch a film or TV programme.
Selection is also a current negative for Netflix with limited ‘stock’ amid a growing army of online films available on Love Film (5,500) but Netflix has contracts with all the major UK broadcasters which could turn into a strong VOD offering.
The other player in this market and the most established (and most expensive) is Sky Movies sitting at a cool £16 a month not including box office movies which are £3.50 a pop!
The positives of Sky are quick release to Sky customers following the cinema period (due to their deal with the major Hollywood studios), multi-platform viewing (TV, online, mobile and tablet) & available in HD & 3D. The negatives are obviously price, on demand selection is very limited, as is the period in which a film is available.
Taking all of the above into consideration Lovefilm remains in a very strong position in the UK & Irish market given the strong marketing support & crucial backing from Amazon.
Netflix requires wide broadband coverage to really establish critical mass which in some areas of the UK such as the Northern regions & Ireland is an issue as regards distribution plus, there are already two well established multi-platform brands in the market.
Aside from the obvious, December brings us lots of things to smile about - Pigs in Blankets being top of my list. It is a time when we reflect on the year gone by; mistakes that were made (Charlie Sheen may have some thinking to do) and things that have been achieved (a certain Media Network of the Year award, perhaps?) Whilst I do not profess to spend a great deal of time doing this personally; in fact it pales into insignificance next to the amount of time I spend prepping my New Year’s Eve outfit, I do enjoy pouring through the ‘Best and Worst of…’ lists that seem to crop up everywhere.
So here, I share with you Campaign’s Top 10 TV and Cinema Ads…
It will come as no surprise that John Lewis is straight up there at the top (and probably not too far off the top of the big spenders this year either) with its so-cute-it-forces-you-to-smile Christmas advert. Yeo Valley’s ‘boy band’ campaign has also made it in there, and with over 3 million views on YouTube and even numerous ‘Get Yeo Valley Farmers to Number 1 at Christmas’ support groups on Facebook, it’s fair to say that this has been one of the more successful adverts of the year. I, for one, have never before found milk so appealing.
Some of the other adverts on this list have escaped the media hype, and my notice, completely. But having watched all 10, I was pretty impressed with the quality of the creative this year. Alright, there wasn’t a ‘Cadbury’s Eyebrows’ in there, but Lucozade and Tinie Tempah make celebrity endorsement look cool, Barnado’s tugs at the heart strings and Weetabix absolutely hit the nail on the head with family comedy.
Did your favourite advert make it into the top 10?
I'm sure most people have been in meetings where creating events which can 'go viral' and 'generate buzz' have been discussed. Here's a couple of nice examples of how it should be done. Nike launching a trainer in New York using holograms on the Hudson:-
Secondly, Nokia which dominated the mobile market in the 90's, but fell out of favour in recent years needed to launch it's new smartphone. Checklist to launch a new handset:-
Big 3D projector - Check
World famous DJ - Check
Huge building in the shape of a phone -
Check Over 100,000 people there to watch - Check
So far they have clocked 2 million impressions in a couple of weeks on you tube and still counting
Apologies for the obvious topic, but after the numerous blogs we’ve written on X Factor this year, I thought it almost rude not to write about this weekend’s final. After what seemed like a particularly long series, Little Mix, the band so ‘cleverly’ put together by the X Factor (and I say this because of their outstanding talent as a group, and not because I think that it was in any way a publicity stunt) emerged victorious.
Rewind 5 years and the morning after that tense Sunday night final, the papers were filled with headlines such as ‘Leona Crowned Winner of X Factor’, yet this morning the BBC ran with ‘X Factor Final Loses 4 Million Viewers’.
This year’s show may have seen viewing figures fall to an average weekly audience of 11 million, but it has not attracted any less media attention; although for perhaps the wrong reasons.
Let me be the first to say that I am a huge fan of these shows – they are my ‘Pub Quiz’ speciality category and every year I am glued to the screen, willing my favourite to win. This year, however, I can’t help but feel that the scandal surrounding the show has come at the expense of finding a star. True, I have devoured the weeklies and their ‘Frankie Coke up the Nozza’ puns and the reported trials and tribulations of Kelly and Tulisa, but not once did I feel compelled to lift the phone and vote for an act – which I am sure was the original aim of these talent shows.
It remains to be seen whether Little Mix will break the curse of the previous few winners (Joe McElderry anybody?) and I hope that they do – it would be nice to have a bit of ‘girl power’ back in our lives (and not of the Cher Lloyd variety) But whatever future lies ahead for the girls, and the inevitable 3 other contestants who will be handed a record contract, this year’s series has certainly provided a lot of talking points (as per below posts!) We certainly won’t be forgetting the drama that Kitty brought in a hurry, nor the weird and wonderful outfits of Misha B, the controversy surrounding Frankie and his ‘singing ability’, the sudden re-instatement of Amelia Lily and the cries of ‘FIX’ that followed, the many strange lip movements of Craig and, of course, the fitness that is Gary Barlow.
Many advertisers this year have taken their TV ad to social media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook before launching them on TV, thus providing their loyal ‘fans’ with an online exclusive and opening up a new exciting topic for discussion with their most engaged form of audience. So far this Christmas we have seen Marks and Spencer embed and launch its Christmas TV ad (featuring X-Factor finalists) through its website incorporating social video technology called Chatter, streaming in relevant tweets using specific hashtag #MandSadvert or mentioning X-Factor or M&S.
As the nights draw in and the clocks go back the sofa holds a stronger appeal then heading out in the cold on a Saturday night! Luckily for me I am an X-Factor fan which provides endless entertainment over the weekend and often results in a late appearance at events I can’t get out of…
I know I’m not alone, I am one of many sofa-squatting X-Factor experts nationwide, so this year I was surprised to hear that the viewing figures are down almost 2 million vs. 2010. In fairness lots has changed since 2010 – mainly the judges -
* It seemed like a crazy suggestion to think ex boy band member Gary Barlow could fill Simon Cowells authoritative shoes.
* The loss of Danni Minogue, replaced with Destiny’s Child member Kelly Rowland who the UK audience knew little of.
* And finally the controversy over the nation’s sweetheart Cheryl Cole leaving to host the US version only to be axed and replaced in the UK with the grittier version, Tulisa Constostavlos of N- Dubz. Love or hate the new judges it definitely sparked a debate on Facebook and Twitter and after all isn’t it about the music not the judges?
There has been a lot of debate over whether the contestants are as talented as previous years and if the producer’s decision to make each judge kick off one of their own acts in the first live show was fair. If the public are so concerned about the welfare of the contestants, are they willing to vote for their favourite act which ultimately results in another getting the boot?
After failing to hit viewing figure targets in the USA, Simon Cowell is encouraging viewers to vote for their favourite act via Twitter or the official Facebook page. Perhaps this could be a way to engage once again with the falling numbers in the UK. Despite being a huge X-Factor fan I have never picked up the phone to vote, but am happy to update my Facebook status about my favourite act or who I want to be voted out. By having this option surely it will make the voting system more open? No more phone line scandals and a cost free option. It seems like a great option for most people but it will come with drawbacks, by utilising social media as a voting tool how will that affect the contestants? It could be argued that the show is already more of a popularity contest than a talent show but by adding this element will it be more about the contestant’s tweets and how entertaining they are to the audience via their updates rather than how well they perform on a Saturday night? Not to mention possible sabotage by the rage against the machine twitterati!
Personally I think this is a step in the right direction, Twitter and Facebook are already key platforms for discussion about the show, why not open it up and see the increase in votes? Perhaps it will mean that the contestants need to spend more time updating statuses/tweeting but surely this is just good practice for what lies ahead?
Spanish start-up PadInTheCity offers iPads for rent in Madrid. Squarely aimed at tourists, a 3G iPad can be booked online for just 25 Euros a day and delivered to your hotel at the time of your choosing. It comes pre-loaded with a constantly growing number of relevant apps such as maps, tourist info, car rental, weather and hotel booking as well as various others to keep you entertained such as Angry Birds, Hootsuite and even BBC News. Once you’ve spent a day (or more) checking out the city with all the information you need at your fingertips, it gets picked up again, from your hotel (and soon from a pre-determined location chosen by you). Brilliant.
Not being a massive Apple fan I’m unlikely to buy one so I love the idea of being able to rent one in exactly the situation when it’s going to be properly useful. I also think it could be great for families, use the likes of the iSpain app to help you have great experiences during the day and then Angry Birds and Youtube can keep the kids quiet in the evenings!
But can’t you find and use all these apps on your smartphone? Sure you can but a couple of full days roaming for data abroad it’s more than likely going to cost you a fair bit more than the 25 Euro cost for the iPad.
Assuming it all goes well in Madrid they plan to role it across other major cities. What do you think? Would you use one?
With the announcement of Netflix to launch in the UK and Ireland it will be interesting to see how their entrance into the TV market will affect the UK TV & film market. Lovefilm is already well established and present across numerous platforms, Facebook is dipping it’s toe into letting content owners ‘broadcast’ content from their facebook pages and the main broadcasters mostly have established a strong VoD offering, so is there really a need for another service which is providing similar or the same content which is already accessible?
Hulu has been rumoured to be launching in the UK for the past 2 years but has yet to take the plunge possibly highlighting that the UK broadcast space is fiercely competitive and they are less than 100% confident they could establish a UK operation which would make financial sense. The day after Netflix announcement of a UK and Ireland launch their shares dropped 27% in the US highlighting even further that the digital on delivery broadcast landscape is a perilous one to enter.
I think the crux of being successful is for Netflix to launch across as many platforms as possible with a flexible subscription service allowing people to choose the devices they want to access content across as well as competing on price with their closest rival LoveFilm.
Whether this is the direction they take or if it’s successful we’ll only know in time, but as a consumer Netflix seems to be a great US service so it’s nice to see it coming to the UK and giving us consumers more choice.
What does everyone else think?
A year ago almost to the day I blogged on here about the launch of Windows Phone 7 and how it could well represent genuine competition to the Apple and Android ecosystems. Adoption from manufacturers has been slow and over the past 12 months its’ played only a bit part in the wider mobile landscape. Until now.
This morning Stephen Elop, the new CEO of Nokia took to the stage at Nokia World in London to announce the first two Nokia/WP7 handsets. The Lumina 800 and Lumina 710. Make no mistake, in the smartphone space these two companies are one fry-up away from a heart attack, but together they present an entirely different proposition.
Nokia, famed for its hardware and lambasted for its operating system and Microsoft, revered for its new Window Phone 7 OS but hamstrung by the fact that none of the big handset manufacturers have been willing to devote their full attention to it (favouring Android instead) have come together to offer something genuinely different to the current smartphone formula of grids full of App icons.
At the heart of WP7 are live tiles, the purpose of these are to put what is important to you front and centre of your experience, for example social media updates, weather updates, email are all available at a glance. The people tile is especially cool, selecting a contact not only gives you access to the usual details but also lets you view all their latest social media updates and gives you the ability to reply to them straight from their contact info. No opening separate apps. Add a Karl Zeiss 8 megapixel camera, quality finish, best in class maps and excellent battery and we’re looking at highly desirable handsets from Nokia once again.
These phones will be on sale next month with the Lumina 800 costing 420 euros (without contract) a clear signal to the market that this is not a direct iPhone competitor (it’s much cheaper) and that the best is yet to come.
Talk of genuine convergence in the mobile space has been seriously over estimated. We are no closer to seeing any one ecosystem dominate the market place than we were 1, 2 or even 3 years ago. From a marketing perspective we need to embrace multiple ecosystems and plan for them. Battle will rage for the foreseeable future and this is a good thing because inevitably it breeds innovation and progress.
Back in May, YouTube launched online film rental services in the US and Canada as it endeavoured to expand from an online locale for sharing homemade videos to a commercial site for online film and television streaming. Now, the Google-owned video site has undertaken the same notion over in the UK, with over a thousand full-length feature films now available for rent in the UK at youtube.com/movies. YouTube are placed in direct competition with Amazon’s ‘LoveFilm’ which offers a pay-monthly subscription service for DVD rental. However YouTube has an advantage with an average of 100million unique monthly visitors in its reach and with the unique offering of a pay-as-you-go rental there is no pressure to watch a certain number of films to get our money’s worth – the no commitment option we all irrefutably prefer. YouTube has also quickly cottoned on to cleverly using its huge database of existing footage to help sell its film rental service: when browsing for a film to watch, users are linked to trailers, making-of documentaries and highlight clips hand-picked from the site’s content archives to help make decisions and enhance the experience. Google has even launched a new film rental service for Android phone and tablet users so UK users can rent films via the Android Market.
As these films have the potential to be supported by unskippable ads, and offer advertisers guaranteed audiences through analysis of consumer search history – will Google capitalise this opportunity by placing this media space on the market to advertisers?
I also question whether the rise in DVD rental ‘on demand’ will lead to the disappearance of DVD stores? And whether it will ultimately lead to a decline in cinema attendance, or will cinema hold onto its novelty as an experience?
I must admit I feel a little unsure about the current offering. The crop of films presently available is not especially stellar – including missable titles such as ‘Bachelor Party in the Bungalow of the Damned’ and ‘Blackberry Babes’. And given that it represents Google’s entry into paid, on-demand content delivery, this is sure to be the tip of the proverbial iceberg? YouTube has stirred controversy by adding profitable content onto a site which has long been a platform for YOU the users to upload free videos and content. But people can’t expect to uphold their assumed right to free music and media endlessly. YouTube has smartly taken the initiative to try and establish itself as a leader in a market that was realistically always going to form. And as we’ll soon likely be able to watch a new-release for £2 through a personal laptop without any pop-ups or viruses, I can see no reason to complain.
As far as DVD stores go, I guess they’ll go the same way as most clothes brands. Selfridges London is split into brand concessions which are typically relatively small. They know that customers will go there, look at a pair of shoes, then go home and buy them online instead. Essentially you still need the showroom, but you stock less and have less staff because it really just becomes another form of advertising.
I guess time will tell how successful online film rentals will be…
A couple of weeks ago I blogged about Paris trialing the use of NFC to allow commuters to use their Smartphone like an oyster card, well now they’ve just launched a car hire scheme with a difference. All the cars are electric. The scheme is called Autolib and comes off the back of the hugely successful Velib (Paris’ version of Boris Bikes).
It went live on the 2nd and has started with 66 cars and 33 stations around the city; a deposit is required along with a driving license but from there it costs as little as 5 Euros per half hour. Not only that but there are 300 people in a call centre and another 1,200 on the streets in the early stages as support, oh and it has a parking aid that helps you locate the nearest free parking/charging station. Brilliant.
I’m really not a fan of electric cars, but I reckon I’d definitely warm to the idea of being able to swipe a card or touch my phone to jump into a small, Pininfarina (an Italian car designer better know for Ferraris and Maseratis) designed one that will do over 80mph and 150 miles on a single charge, at a moments notice.
Sure we have Streetcar and the like but the volume of cars simply isn’t enough to remove the planning ahead needed when booking, so the scale isn’t there to actually reduce the number of privately owned cars (let alone reducing emissions or having the convenience of a Boris Bike), but Autolib is a Government scheme so if it works, expansion will be rapid. 250 vehicles by December and 3,000 by the end of 2012.
This is a big risk for the Mayor of Paris, they city has invested 200m Euros in the infrastructure (the cars and running of the scheme has been tendered out to the private sector) and he is already facing serious politically motivated criticism which makes it all the more impressive that it’s happening.
Surely this is exactly what we need, great ideas actually being executed. Again, take note Boris!
What do you think? Would you use an Autolib type scheme in London?
“The British have a knack for comedies about social awkwardness. That’s only natural, given that we have a knack for social awkwardness full stop.” This quote is taken from an article published a few weeks ago in The Telegraph, reviewing the new Channel 4 comedy ‘Fresh Meat’ and examining why us Brits (or some 2,352,000 of us who tuned in to watch the first episode) get a certain sort of masochist pleasure out of watching people squirm uncomfortably.
Ironically this show premiered around the same time that I started at Maxus; so for my first blog (ever!) I thought it seemed fitting to talk about how it feels being the ‘fresh meat’. Thankfully, my experiences have not been at all comparable to those of the characters in the sitcom. At no point have I found myself rambling on about my Egyptian cotton sheets and so far there has been no sign that Rigby has Russell Brand’s head hidden in her drawer.
Nevertheless, it is always nerve-wracking starting out somewhere completely new – like your first day at school all over again, but your parents aren’t there to drop you at the gate and without the comfort of a school uniform, there is the inevitable panic about what to wear. My first day feels like a very long time ago now and my sleepless night before that first day seems ludicrous because, as I came to realise almost immediately, once you step through those (very heavy) doors, you are part of the Maxus family.
There has been a lot to learn, both on and off my training checklist, but it is surprising how much you can pick up in 3 weeks. I’ve pretty much got to grip with what a TVR is and I know that Stuart likes menus, especially ones with the calories listed on them. One thing that I have picked up on though is how many opportunities there are to learn or OTH (eh!) both inside and outside of the office; whether sat at my desk, in a boardroom, on offsite training or in the pub on a Friday evening, there are always people around that are willing to share with you what they know. As a new starter to media and a London ‘fresher’, this has been invaluable, and often insightful.
All in all, these first few weeks have flown by in a blur of media jargon, planning systems and free Krispy Kreme’s. I am sure that by my next blog I will be a much more seasoned member of the media crew, but for now I’ll just carry on making notes on everything I can and thanking my lucky stars that (so far) no one here has offered me a bowl of “special Munge”.
After the heroics of Steve and Howards crisp eating contest last Friday I thought it best to see how the professionals did it so we have the world hot dog eating champion taking on a bear in an eating contest.
Last week the F8 conference for developers saw Zuckerberg announce some pretty significant changes to Facebook. The most interesting of which is Timeline.
A few new things have been implemented already, the Ticker on the right hand side of the page that delivers ALL updates from your friends in real time and the revamped friends lists. What is on the way though represents something of a step change.
Timeline, set to replace your profile, aggregates and organizes your life into chronological order, all the things you’ve posted on the site, starting with your D.O.B. when you first registered, are available, you can then jump into individual years for more detail. It can also be filtered by different actions, so you can view your timeline just in photos or just in status updates and so on. Of course for most of us there is going to be a vast jump between date of birth and actual Facebook activity so you are of course able to add pics, videos, narrative and so on to fill in the gaps and create a complete digital documentation of your life.
Privacy I hear you say? Well not that it’s ever really stopped them before, but yes of course, you will able to select exactly who is able to see your timeline.
Inevitably some will love it and others loathe it but before long it will simply be part of our daily life and we’ll struggle to remember what profiles even looked like.
Another major change is around frictionless sharing, the aim here is to make it as easy as possible to share content, ie websites or apps only needing to get permission once and then everything you view/do within them will be shared…umm, not sure about that!
But back to Timeline, is Facebook missing the point? Hasn’t it always been about communicating and distributing content and data? Not archiving it? What do you think?
It should be live to all users by the end of week.
STIF – Frances’ Public Transport Authority - are trialling the use of NFC enabled smartphones as travel cards on the Metro and on buses in Paris.
Bravo Les Francais…Boris, pay attention!
NFC (near field communication) has been a hot topic in the mobile industry for a while now; we use the technology every day in our Oyster Cards. Without going into unnecessary detail it’s a short-range wireless technology that involves an active chip (like the one in your oyster card or smartphone) and a passive receiver to transfer data. Its potential is huge with wide ranging applications, however, it’s been rather slow to get off the ground. The main reason for this is, with payment as its focus, there are currently far too many stakeholders making far too much money out of the current credit card system. Banks, credit card companies, transaction handling companies, data companies and so on…and on…and on…
This is why launching mobile payment in a controlled environment like city travel, where the technology already exists, is a great idea. I love my Oyster card, I think it’s great. What massively frustrates me is that I rarely ever know when it needs topping up, not too bad when you’re using the tube and you can top up round the corner from the gate but getting on the bus, having waited an age, only to find that you’re out of credit and with no change in your pocket? Rubbish! Being able to glance at your phone on the way to the bus to see what your ‘mobile oyster’ balance is, or even better not having to worry about a balance at all because it gets charged straight to your phone bill? Yes please!
Think how much easier we could make travel in London; no more hunting for coins, cursing the person ahead when their Oyster doesn’t work or fiddling around with cards and PIN’s when topping up. Want to hop on the tube? Touch your mobile. Want a Boris bike? Touch your mobile. A Bus or train? Yup, touch your mobile. Even taxis could benefit hugely, no more stopping at cash points, waiting for change etc, even your receipts could be digital and sent straight to your inbox ready to go on an expenses form!
Outside of paying for stuff, smart posters are the other use of NFC that people, especially OOH media owners are raving about. With the poster acting as a receiver, touching your phone against a 6-sheet at the bus stop will deliver all matter of extra info instantaneously, making QR Codes look, well, a touch prehistoric.
Granted that we need all our phones to be NFC enabled and that’s happening at the moment. Most smartphones already have NFC functionality, they just aren’t activated. So outside of mobile payment and smart posters, what other cool/useful functions can you see for NFC? How about instant customer feedback? Touching your phone against a smiley face or frowning face as you leave a shop depending on your experience. What about transferring content from different media devices? Putting your phone on top of telly when you get home to transfer the web page/video you were viewing onto the big screen for example. How about from a marketing perspective? What are your thoughts?
A hot topic that has always been debated when it comes to the world of Facebook pages is the value of a ‘Like’, and in the advertising space there are more than enough blogs, tweets and discussions about the cost associated with this seemingly innocent measure to brand favourability.
This year we have seen a dramatic increase on Facebook’s take of their ‘Like’ ASU ads, with networks offering cost per ‘like’ models and even now sites offering nothing else but ‘fake fans’ such as buyrealfacebookfans.com (a site offering 10,000 likes for $297)!!
Personally I think there is something pretty questionable when you get into the realm of buying likes and brands are at risk of entering a very murky world if not careful. Now I am not completely discounting the network offerings, but I do think it is crucial we are asking how these ‘Likes’ will be aquired and where they are coming from (a fan is for life, not just for a post campaign analysis).
I think that we as agency folk need to consider a ‘like’ in a similar way to any other brand measure, and realise that fans are earnt and not bought. What are your thoughts?
A recent survey in the US, conducted by TeleNav, has shown that a third of all Americans would rather give up sex than give up their mobile phone! An alarming 70% would prefer to give up alcohol and a rather grubby 22% would give up their toothbrush - see image below.
I’m convinced that us Brits are less attached to our handset devices so I’m throwing the question out there - What would you be more willing to give up so you could still have your mobile phone?
Quite a lot has happened since this seemingly visionary product was first announced in May 2010. The vision was to create an interactive television overlay on top of existing internet television and WebTV sites. The possibilities of such a system were endless, and so the excitement that grew around this product was not difficult to stimulate. Essentially anything online could be integrated with your TV experience; blog posts alongside the latest episodes of your favourite show, twitter alongside political debates or general elections or sporting events, or responses to ads to play online games between viewing. The software is fully compatible with android, meaning it’s open to developers to build or adapt relevant apps, such an integrating voice recognition to change channel. Google TV officially launched October 6 last year in the US with devices from Sony and Logitech.
Google TV: can run on multiple TV connected devices
The outcome of this excitement and endless list of possibilities for our television based media consumption? Nothing short of a flop. In May last year it was estimated that Logitech sales of Google TV boxes had come a shocking 72% under target, resulting in a drop to less than half original price in July just to shift the stock. Rumoured to have cost Logitech $34 million in losses, the product was dropped unceremoniously.
But after the pre launch possibilities, why such failure? Many have blamed the “desktop” based reliance on a mouse pointer and text input. Wall Street Journal labelled it “an over-complicated geek product”. Not only this but the product has actually been heavily criticised for its search functionality, in that it is text based and cannot deal with the complexity and huge volumes of web video. For me this is an example of convergence between channels, platforms and devices going wrong. Convergence should only be driven to benefit users, taking the best features of one thing and combining them for ease of use, convenience or to open up brand new possibilities. Users comfortable with web TV are comfortable using their desktops or laptops. Those users are skilled in the nuances of finding this content. When we consume television, it is very much part of our routine and as such we expect the same comforts – notably that of scheduled and regular programming controlled by the trusty TV remote. The fact that this Google product got search wrong just highlights how far out of their comfort zone Google have ventured with this product and it shows.
Anyway, you can all judge for yourselves as Eric Schmidt, rather than withdraw completely from this market as expected, announced a few days ago that the product will be released in the UK shortly. I for one expect a similar failure but something must be keeping Google optimistic that we can’t yet see.
It’s obvious that more and more companies are pushing for all our data to be in The Cloud. Let’s take Google for instance: Calendar, Gmail, Docs, Maps and more recently Chrome OS just to name a few. Every software that Google creates is created with one purpose in mind: to allow their users to access it from pretty much anywhere. There is however a major problem: Try to search all the data you have stored in Google’s Cloud from one single place: It’s impossible. That’s where Greplin comes in!
Greplin’s idea is Uber simple: Once you’ve created your account, you can connect most of your cloud based services for Greplin to index allowing easy search. Let’s say you want to search your Gmail messages, Dropbox data, as well as your Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter Stream at the same time, it’s now possible at a click of a button with Greplin. I have been using it for a few months now and I can say is that It’s lightning fast and Uber smart.
Now on the iPhone.
You can now search your life on the go too as Greplin launched its long awaited iPhone App yesterday. After a quick test, I am convinced that Greplin has the potential to become really huge as there’s simply no competition. And all assumption apart, it is definitely one of the must have iPhone Apps of 2011.
You can download the app here, see it for yourself and let us know your thoughts.
And yes, Android users must be really, really grumpy...
According to researchers writing in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, watching TV could take more of a toll on your health than smoking.
Every hour of TV viewed after the age of 25 can on average reduce life expectancy by 22 minutes. This compares to 11 minutes off your life for every cigarette smoked.
The research into sedentary life styles warned that watching TV is a “public health problem” comparable to smoking and obesity.
Bearing in mind we spend circa 6 hours staring at a screen albeit the content isn’t mysteries or comedies (although some of Benny’s schedules…….) but data and spread sheets we are losing 2 hours and 12 mins off our life expectancy for this sedentary activity.
If however, we were to get up and go for a cigarette every hour we would lose 1 hour 6 mins for the smoking but save 2 hours and 12 mins for not sitting still a net saving of 1 hour and 6 mins on our life expectancy per day.
Pass the fags
In a somewhat ironic bow to pressure applied via a Facebook petition, the Government is currently reviewing the rights of rioters to receive public benefits. Though a potentially extreme move, this does call in to question what may be deemed the ‘positive’ use of social media to start a movement (such as the glorious ‘brooms-up’ restoration work) and what may be deemed ‘negative’.
There is no doubt the looting and violence of the past few days has been abhorrent, however, a careful path must be trod when considering what restrictions may be applied to social media connections, and by whom they may be applied. The house has called in representatives of the major social networks with a view to revising Government access to private messaging platforms (such as BBN) and the restriction of access for those seen to be ‘abusing’ those platforms to organise criminal activity. Certainly, in recent online history, should a user have been seen to be demonstrating aggressive or unwelcome behaviour on internet chat forums, that user would swiftly find themselves ejected from said forum. Similarly, the file sharing services that enable illegal music downloads have seen not only themselves, but their users, receive punishments ranging from copyright infringement court battles, to removal of personal subscription to an IP.
However, where do we draw the line at ‘abuse’? In Egypt, protesters circumvented the communication restrictions applied by their Government by organising themselves via Facebook et al. Though this behaviour may have formed the template for the, frankly apolitical behaviour we have subsequently suffered in the UK, the protests in Egypt have been viewed, by some external parties, as a move to overthrow an oppressive regime. Naturally any individuals found to be breaking the law should be correctly prosecuted, however, does that mean being informed is the same as making the choice to act? The best course of action might be to wait for fires to die down and the dust to settle on the cities of Britain before we move forward.
The country has seen devastation this week as youths run riot in the cities looting and destroying high streets. For what reason? No one is entirely sure… what started off as a peaceful protest regarding the shooting of a man in Tottenham has escalated into anarchy!
Social media has been credited for playing a huge part in the story for both the organisation of the riots and also the reporting of it. As events happened, trending occurred on Twitter giving users second by second updates of where the rioting was taking place and also what was happening from all perspectives. Clapham residents even organised a clean-up meeting via it, 7 hours after the riots finished!
Social media has changed the news reporting landscape, making news stories emerge as they happen. The problem being though – which bits are true? As Twitter is totally unpoliced and gives everyone, rioters and your average blogger alike, the freedom to say exactly what they wish. So on the positive side the public have access to up-to-the minute news, changing the way we consume and respond to news stories. However, negatively, there is no proof as to which information is true or false!
Should this be allowed? Twitter thinks so “Our goal is to instantly connect people everywhere to what is most meaningful to them. For this to happen, freedom of expression is essential. “ So like it or not, the use of Twitter for both good and evil is here to stay. How you choose to use it is down to you…
Today the ASA upheld a complaint against L’Oreal against two of its current campaigns (Lancome Teint Miracle featuring Julia Roberts and Maybelline’s The Eraser Foundation with Christy Turlington) for the over use of digital retouching.
The complainant, Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson said that images of both celebrities had been digitally manipulated and were "not representative of the results the product could achieve". Swinson is the Co-founder of the Campaign for Body Confidence and has said that she wants to ‘tackle body image pressure by requiring advertisers to label all adverts, disclosing the extent of digital retouching of images of people’.
However, Swinson won this time due to a technicality. The complaint was upheld on the grounds of misleading advertising and exaggeration. Basically, the retouching made over claims on what the product could actually achieve. Apparently due to contractual obligations with the stars L’Oreal failed to supply the ASA with the ‘before and after’ pics that would allow them to see what affect the touch-ups had on the final images so they had no choice but to uphold the complaint. In fact, had the image been for a product not related to a visual reference (for example perfume) the ASA would have had no grounds on which to ban the ad as the retouching wouldn’t directly relate to the claims of the product.
So although not the body blow against the use of retouching that Swinson is pushing for she has gained valuable PR for her campaign.
The whole discussion is complicated by where you draw the line – improve the lightening here a bit, get rid of a spot there, removed all wrinkles and any signs of aging here – opps gone too far. Check out these great celebrity shots of before and after to see what can be achieved with a couple of clicks of the mouse. Bizarrely retouchers seem to dislike lower eye lids! http://sastha-knowyourledge.blogspot.com/2010/12/celebrities-before-and-after-photoshop.html
Ok, so first up, let’s me just say that of course what they did was bang out of order. Disgusting, grim, puke in the snow, just plain nasty. But was it shocking? From the paper that wheeled out the Fake Sheik? Well, it didn’t shock me. Or at least it didn’t surprise me.
It’s interesting that Twitter has brought down a media empire, but further to Martin’s blog below, I’m not sure if it’s all good. The NOTW was a poisoned brand and needed to close. Fine, and no doubt a replacement will ghost up from its ashes, built on new firm and unflinching journalistic principles. But here’s the thing:
I think we all knew that Bad Things went on at the NOTW and other papers too. We didn’t want this wafted up our noses but every morning we smelt it- and we quietly ignored it because we wanted the stories to keep coming. Partly because we are nosey, but partly because, in a world where politicians, the police, councils, companies and almost everyone in fact, is trying to cloak or spin the truth, it’s a relief to read the words of organisations who make money out of telling the you (largely) the truth.
It’s cracking that the press profits from getting its hands mucky on our behalf, and on countless occasions they have revealed things that the police and other public bodies have not been willing or able to do. They have done this by posing, hacking, lurking, lying and with a kickass dressing up box full of fake tan and adhesive goatees.
Fair enough, the NOTW got lost in its dressing up box and came out looking like Darth Vader. As the whole saga is tucked up to bed, I pray that, in this age of injunctions and twitchy twitterati, editors will have the balls to use their humanity as a lens through which to bend the rules. For instance hats off to Sunday Herald editor Richard Walker for putting Ryan Giggs on its front cover – thereby putting the poor sod out of his misery.
t the Superbowl 2011 (or XLV as it’s affectionately known), Volkswagen released their Passat ad featuring a young boy dressed as Darth Vader.
Greenpeace however came back with a response, piggybacking the ad’s success to highlight Volkswagen’s resistance to cutting their CO2 emissions. They released their own video ad that went viral across the internet featuring the Darth Vader boy being met by Luke Skywalker, Princess Leya, Yoda and the gang. In addition to this, Greenpeace were extremely clever in using social media and the power of the internet to gain support for their cause by allowing users to ‘Join the rebellion’ on their website as well as connect to their social media channels on Facebook to voice their opinions.
And then, just when everybody was getting excited with where Greenpeace were going with this, LucasFilm, copyright owners to all that is Star Wars, stepped in to ruin the fun and used their force (sorry) to make Greenpeace remove all videos for copyright breach.
Now that Greenpeace have shown that they aren’t afraid to attack big brands on a big scale, we can only wonder who will be the next target. It could even be our own Kate and Wills for all their recent jetting about!
The past week will be long-remembered for the way in which the previously slow-burning News of the World hacking affair suddenly caught light.
Many hands were at play as the flames were stoked (step forward The Guardian and Mumsnet, amongst others), but I was struck by the role that numerous voices on Twitter – many of whom household names – acted as lightning rods for collating information and inciting the masses.
Maybe it’s just my penchant for following politicised, liberal individuals of a certain level of public renown, but the way in which the likes of @DaraOBriain (500,000 followers), @RufusHound (285,000), @SuePerkins (105,000) , @LaurenLaverne (92,000), @Prodnose (Danny Baker, 75,000) - and even, in a gentler way (@Wossy, 1.1 m) - launched into the NotW and its management in such an angry, public, tub-thumping way struck me as being a first for Twitter. These are mid-major level public figures, all borne of the BBC, who temporarily held back from posting anodyne musings and witty asides and instead decided to try and mobilise the public behind a common agenda. They had a fair wind at their backs, but they succeeded all the same.
To date, Twitter has always struck me as being about the individual – it was a way of one person broadcasting their news, or for another to follow. Naturally, you can extend this to include the way that groups of individuals, organisations and media outlets broadcasted more widely, but the recipient still felt part of a one-to-one communication at some level.
Twitter has also long been used as a means of addressing customer service issues – for many service companies, Twitter is a simple and direct way to engage with consumers and their grievances (@BTcare, etc.).
But here’s the thing, last week we saw these hitherto benign public faces align behind a topical and politically charged cause, with the sole view of using their public leverage to bring about change. And this change wasn’t ‘for the good’ in the way that support for a charitable or environmental cause might be; this was to bring down a major player in the UK media landscape. Their influence, in my opinion, was considerable.
Their output was also not without significant individual risk – invoking the wrath of News International comes at an almost guaranteed cost – how long till The Sun exposes Dara or Rufus for some matter of major public interest?
I’m not to judge whether their actions were worthy, or if they will have a lasting impact on the methods and output of the UK media, but I do believe that their actions brought Twitter to the top table for the first time – it has now proven itself to be an agent of change.
Encouraged by their success, we can expect to see more of this. I note with interest that in the last few days @The_SteveCoogan (1,000 followers) and @GrantHugh (7,000) – both of whom voiced strong opinions on Newsnight in the past week - have now taken to Twitter for the first time.
The week that Twitter grew up? Maybe, but most definitely a fascinating time.
When I first received my Sky+ HD box, I thought to myself this was really TV at its best: I would never miss my favourite programmes; I would be able to pause live shows, record entire series. Could I really ask for more? I didn’t think so until the Smart TV came in.
We have all heard of Internet or IP TV in the past, manufacturers like Sony have been making them for years now. However, Smart TV goes one step further: not only you can surf the web via your TV but like a mobile, you can get access to hundreds of apps which open you to a whole new world of entertainment. With this new piece of equipment the viewing experience becomes something else altogether: you can rent movies via Lovefilm, use social network applications such as Facebook or even chat with your friends on Skype. With VOD being part of our day to day TV consumption, the market of TV apps has become the next best thing. Samsung predicts that by the end of 2014 70% of all TV’s will be Smart TV’s. I remember when I first started in the media industry people kept saying “TV is dead”, “Video on Demand is the end of TV”. In reality VOD is simply another way for people to watch even more of the TV that they love. Gaming consoles are already challenging laptops and PC’s with BBC IPlayer, ITV player, 4OD and Sky Anytime all on Playstation and Xbox. Yet, Smart TV will bring television back in to the heart of the home and bring a whole new viewing experience. This new technology is not just about watching TV but also sharing and connecting with the world.
So to those who were quick to say TV is dead, I would say TV has risen from the ashes!!
This week it was announced that Jonathan Allan is to become the new sales director of Channel 4. Having never met the man I can't personally comment on his suitability for the job (questions have been asked about his lack of sales experience), but the challenges awaiting Jonathan are plain to see. The appointment has been greeted with a mixture of criticism, applause, and surprise in the industry. It was widely expected that the role wouldn’t go to a traditional TV sales person and the appointment of an agency’s forward thinking Managing Director demonstrates the broadcasters eagerness to embrace a “new digital generation”. The plethora of excellent programming available on 4OD such as Misfits, Teachers, and Shameless, mean the online sales team have plenty to work with under his stewardship. But then there are also complex issues for Jonathan to take on, such as the delicate state of Channel 4's ad sales contract with UKTV.
Having written a hugely optimistic blog last year ago about my excitement over the new TV drama series The Event (Clearly not enough people shared my enjoyment of the show as it was cancelled after the first series having first been moved to the early hours of Tuesday mornings) I am now trying to get excited about The Killing, which begins tonight on Channel 4. With the Danish series of The Killing (Forbrydelsen in Danish) being such a huge success, it was only a matter of time until a US version was made. If it is able to get me anywhere near as riveted as Sky Atlantic's fantastic Game of Thrones did, I'll be an instant fan. Centred around the murder of a young girl and the subsequent police investigation, it sounds like the sort of plot one can expect on a Monday or Tuesday drama on ITV. I've watched a few clips though and it certainly seems to have an edgy appeal. Just a pity Sean Bean isn't in it.
Channel 4 has had recent ratings success with Camelot and Embarrassing Fat Bodies, but Big Brother's move to Channel 5 this summer leaves questions over just where Channel 4 will go to for guaranteed ratings. With Friends ending its 15 year run with the broadcaster in Autumn, the schedules will be unrecognisable from last year. With ITV expecting a strong autumn thanks to the return of The X Factor, new Ant and Dec fronted show Red or Black, and The Rugby World Cup, the former Managing Director at OMD faces a tall order, and could certainly do with a new success to match the likes of Undercover Boss or 24 Hours in A&E, or a drama series to capture the publics attention. Perhaps The Killing will be just that success...I'll hold on for a few weeks before i get too excited though.
This new Social Media thing has been on the rise for nearly a decade, so much so sports stars have taken to using it. But the ultimate pat on the back for the simple way Social Media makes interacting is even professional footballer's get it. Phil Neville and Seamus Coleman recently had an argument on Twitter (possibly in jest), and Rio Ferdinand & Wayne Rooney nearly fell out over Rooney's recent hair transplant, again on Twitter.
But now it seems a footballer is using Social Media for good, well, some good. Owen Hargreaves has been beset by injury for the best part of 5 years. He was released by Manchester Utd this summer and is currently without a club. In an effort to prove to the footballing world his fitness, Hargreaves has created his own Youtube channel and is updating it daily with videos of him going through his (very tough) paces. A personal favourite is this one showing him sliding around with some weird contraption attached to his wrists and thighs. Very strange.
Hargreaves bucks the trend for most footballers and actually comes across as a nice guy, so I for one hope he is fully recovered and makes a return to a top Premiership team (preferably Arsenal) and the England squad. Watch this space for updates.
"Sex and Zen" - a remake of a 1991 Hong Kong movie featuring full nudity and camouflaged lovemaking has attracted viewers from Hong Kong and mainland China to cinemas for their “popcorn surprise”.
Set in the Ming dynasty, the film tells the tale of a sexually frustrated scholar, who after being introduced into the world of an aristocrat, realises his ex-wife is the love of his life.
The saucy production took £219,852 on its first day, eclipsing the previous record for Hong Kong set by James Cameron's 2009 3-D sci-fi epic Avatar, which earned £207,638 and nearly seven times the total Hong Kong take so far for Scream 4.
According to producer Stephen Shiu the film “met people's expectations” so if you’re eager to duck flying body parts, you need to get yourself over to Hong Hong and join the steamy queues.
After weeks of speculation it has been confirmed that the X Factor returns again later this year minus its one real star, judge Simon Cowell.
Cowell's famously high trousers, tight t-shirts, bright white teeth and acerbic tongue have been a fixture on all of our Saturday (and Sunday) nights for years, so how will the nation cope?
The X Factor is ITV's biggest hit with as many as 20m viewers each week in the run up to Christmas. Cowell now sees the opportunity to translate this success into an even bigger cash cow across the water in the USA where American Idol has been a roaring success for years and made Cowell a household name. Fans should know that the US incarnation of X-Factor is due to start in September on Rupert Murdoch's Fox Network but repeats will no doubt appear on ITV 2 at some point.
So with Cowell gone (and no replacement named as yet) we are left with a beautiful shampoo saleswoman, a M&S model and sweet but stupid Louis Walsh to keep us entertained. So we wait on the edge of our seats to see who will is big enough to fill Mr Cowell's trousers.
Hearts are racing, palms are sweating, nerves are shot. Now, when many of you hear these words the first thing that comes to mind might be the thought of an upcoming pitch or deadline. Well, to other non-Maxusites it could- just maybe- be referring to the London Marathon. I don’t know much about marathons, which could be due to the fact that I have never attempted to run one - I know, shocker. This might be a good thing though since I would probably spend more time picking out my running outfit rather than actually training. That being said I didn’t really know anything about the London Marathon, except the obvious of course, until just recently.
Since 1981, the London Marathon has raised over £500 million, making it the biggest annual fundraising event in the world. This has drawn much attention to the event from many different companies. In fact, as the main sponsor, Virgin Money is aiming to help runners raise more than £250m within the next 5 years. Other companies such as BT are also setting up charity services to help marathon runners raise even more money. BT’s MyDonate makes it easy for the public to contribute to different charities while also not taking out any cuts of the donation.
Social media is also becoming a major influencer in this year’s race. Many charities are trying to incorporate social media sites in their PR strategy as much as possible in order to help raise large sums of money. Diabetes UK for example, plans to send out a large number of local emotional stories on their social media pages to promote the charity’s key messages and encourage people to donate towards their cause.
Raising money for charities is very important for companies because it not only helps their image in the public eye, but it also actually is a pretty good thing to do. The London Marathon is helping many companies reach out to individuals and optimise on raising large amounts of money.
There’s no doubt that you have all either caught on to or noticed the Royal Wedding frenzy that seems to be taking the world by storm. You’ve surely seen the souvenirs at every tourist spot in England (which guiltily enough, I may have collected a few myself) as well as seen an increase in news coverage regarding the event. So, as you can probably guess, this is affecting the media industry in a huge way. According to Google, searches for phrases such as “royal wedding souvenirs” and “royal wedding collectibles” have increased by 25% in just the past two months. And that’s not all, online searches regarding Kate Middleton’s wardrobe have also increased since the announcement of the engagement. Unsurprisingly Advertisers have noticed this increasing trend and are jumping on the “William and Kate” bandwagon, and for good reason. According to Brand Republic, during the weekend of the wedding “77% of females” will be spending either the same amount of time or more “reading magazines, newspapers or watching TV.” Coincidence? Definitely not, it’s clear that this increased interest in media is a result of the wedding.
Vogue is an example of optimising on this advertising opportunity at its finest. This year the May edition of Vogue has increased its advertising pages by about 36% or 40 pages in order to allow for more space to keep up with the increase in media attention. In addition, for the first time Vogue is offering three separate covers for this issue in order to commemorate the wedding. By focusing on royalty, weddings, and romance, it will be interesting to see just how many additional readers Vogue will attract come April 29th. Maybe it’s just the American in me, but what could be better than combining magazines and weddings with royalty? I know that I’m hooked.
Everyone loves a fairy tale, and as we can see, the advertisers are taking full advantage of that.
As the producer of Cake Club, we expected good things. He didn’t disappoint.
Brought to the table this week was an orange and poppy seed cake with the added extra of melted terry’s chocolate orange pieces. I know, it was a surprise for us as well. The cake was moist and not too sweet. The only downside was, we all agreed, not enough chocolate pieces. Those little delicious extras really made the cake and unless you were lucky enough to have a big chunk in your slice the cake could have been lacking. More Terry’s we cry!
All in all, a very good effort. We ate, we drank milk and we were indeed merry.
Well done Lukey. On to next week.
We have had trials, we have had tribulations, we have experienced joy and we have experienced pain but nothing compares to this week’s emotional rollercoaster. It was Emily’s week. She has never baked. We weren’t even sure she would bring anything in. Behind her back we would whisper ‘underdog’ and I personally had her down to be the loser of Maxus cake club. After my disastrous week last week, I was miserable but I always thought, ‘Hey! Don’t worry, Emily will be last.’
How wrong could one baker be.
She brought in honey cake. Little cakes tasting like heaven. We were all secretively crest-fallen. Not too sweet, but just right. Moist in the middle, a slightly crunchier exterior and an after feeling of wanting more. I hate to say it, but Emily is now one serious contender. She is the most opinionated of us all in the club and I am ashamed to say, I was hoping she would fail. She didn’t.
She called our bluff. She played the game.
Next week, the inventor of Cake Club one would say – Mr. Luke Hills. Things are hotting up - I can’t wait. Can you?
From an American girl just studying at University to an Intern at Maxus, I have definitely experienced a lot of change in the past few months. I go from Tennessee, which contrary to popular belief is not just a bunch of hillbillies drinking whisky on the front porch, to London, England, which really doesn’t have as bad of weather as Americans tend to think. All of this change that I have experienced has definitely helped me learn a lot so far; I have learned to always make sure to look both ways at least twice before crossing the street just to make sure I don’t look the wrong way, I have learned that if I want to blend in with the locals wearing a North Face jacket and Sperry’s might not be the best idea, and I have also learned that the not so pleasant looks I get on the tube aren’t anything personal, I might just want to be more conscious of how loud I am letting my conversation get next time.
My first two months in London were great, but the real London experience and the real learning that Maxus is giving me are even better. My first week at Maxus was full of jumping on to projects hoping I wouldn’t mess anything up too much while also getting to know everyone I work with. I couldn’t have asked for a more welcoming company, everyone has been so nice to me and has made me feel as if I have been here for months. I also really enjoy all of the projects I have been helping with. All of these projects have been very eye opening and are helping me understand so much more about the media world than I ever thought I would know.
Maxus is making me love the media world, the people are fun, the work is interesting, and the social life is great! After the next few weeks of interning, I am not going to want to leave.
Joining the Maxus team has been a great new stage in my London experience and I am very excited to see where it takes me.
So it’s that time of year again when the nations’ tattiest briefcase is paraded around with a reverence more befitting the crown jewels.
So what’s in store for us all this time around? Here are the highlights:
* Let’s start with some good news – alcohol duty is to remain the same!
* Tobacco duty is set to increase by 2% above inflation, that’s up to 50p per pack of 20
* April’s inflation rise in fuel duty has now been postponed until 2012 and the annual 1p ‘fuel escalator’ rise has been scrapped until 2015 – a start but is it enough?
* More good news – no personal tax increases and a long term plan to merge income tax and national insurance
* Council Tax to remain the same or be reduced in 2011 across the board – given the general reduction in Council services this seems the least they can do!
* 10% inheritance tax discount……but only if you give 10% to charity
* Road tax will rise in line with inflation
* Air passenger duty to be frozen for 2011 – thumbs up, cheap fights may actually remain cheap!
* Private Jet users will have to pay a levy for the first time – looks like the Maxus Senior Management Lear Jet might have to go on the back burner!
* Corporation Tax is dropping by 2 rather than the planned 1% - nice to see the new Government isn’t biting the hand that feeds it….
* In fact Corporation Tax will be cut 1% each year for the next three, but bank levy will be adjusted so they don’t pay less tax as a result – umm, maybe not!
* And finally, possibly the best news of the day – for those of us that cycle anyway - £100m for repairing potholes…whoop!!
So overall it looks pretty good for small business and there is at least some movement in the right direction for your average consumer. I did a straw poll of the Mercedes Team to see whether the Government has done enough to reduce escalating fuel costs, and well the answers varied from ‘I don’t have a car so don’t really care’ to ‘I don’t know but there should be tax breaks for those whom speak Latin’ and ‘Chatsworth Estate rules - give things [alcohol, tobacco, petrol] to us cheaper and we’ll kill ourselves quicker and be less of a burden on society, colourful bunch…..and who says you can’t get a straight answer out of media people!
Caught out by Facebook: Why ‘Checking In’ sucks and what I really want from a location sharing serviceBy Un-named User on 23/03/2011
Last Saturday a few of us managed to book a small table in our favorite pub for the rugby. It was a 5pm kick off but we had to be there for lunch in order to have the table, so we’d said to everyone else to come down in time for kick off. Fair enough right? But inevitably there’s always someone you forget to tell. Usually this is not a big deal and more often than not goes unnoticed.
Enter Facebook Places. Whilst waiting for our food my phone pings with an email, I’ve been ‘checked in’ to the pub in question by one of my mates at the table. I think nothing off it until a while later when, yup you’ve guessed it, a friend bowls in and straight off the bat has a go that they weren’t invited and only found out we were watching the game around the corner on Facebook. An innocent mistake and I get a grilling, not after the event but during the event. Rubbish!
I want to be able to share my location but I want to have complete control over it and I really don’t want to have to remember to manually share it, especially not on a social network. Sure I could have a massive cull of who I’m ‘friends’ with on Facebook so it’s more like my phone book, sure I could probably turn off Places but why isn’t it so much easier and controllable for all of us? Why can’t I just set up groups from the contacts on my phone and select those I want to share my location with, then when out and about my location (via the GPS we all now have on our phones) is available for those I’ve selected to view, and vice versa.
Easy, controllable and useful. Not to mention the obvious benefits of being able to market offers based on real time GPS rather than manual, probably out of date, ‘check ins’.
Following Tara's fantastic heart shaped chocolate and banana cake last week, this week saw Alice's turn to cheer everyone up with a Monday cake. Or rather cakes as she turned things on their head and went for a cupcake formation. Interestingly they were banana flavour (I use that term loosely) which was a surprise considering she berated Tara for exactly that last week. Anyway thanks for the cakes Alice and who knows you might be Come Cake With Me Winner*
On Tuesday the 8th of March it was National Women’s day. Hurrah!
As we all know, the Suffragettes campaigned for women's right to vote and International Women's Day honours the work of the Suffragettes, celebrates women's success, and reminds of issues still to be redressed.
The first ever International Women’s day was held on the 8th March 1911, so this year the Metro decided to run a poll of who the British public think has been / is the most influential LONDON women over the last 100 years. The competition was tough. You had Princess Diana, Tracey Emin, Emmeline Pankhurst (leader of the Suffragettes) Dame Judi Dench and Margaret Thatcher. Any one of these women undoubtedly could be called the Century’s Most influential woman but who did we pick? With a staggering 70.9% of the votes, we picked Leona Lewis, 2006 X Factor Winner.
As a slight feminist (when I say slight, I like a man to open a door for me but hell no, he shouldn’t get paid more than me) I find this disgusting. Disgusting that the Metro even put her in and disgusting that we voted her the winner.
So, although I am very proud to be a London women, I am very ashamed that Leona Lewis is at the top of our lists. My heart is bleeding – Baboom.
As we were having a quick cup of tea the other week, someone (um Luke) came up with the fantastic idea to start a Maxus Monday Cake Club. After all, who likes Mondays and who doesn't like cake?
In true, Come Dine With Me style, we meet at 11.30 for a quick sampling and are anonymously voting each week based on the two criteria of taste and appearance. Votes go into a sealed envelope and at the end the winner is revealed. Prize is TBC - but it might involve cake.
Kate Milligan was up first with a fantastic white chocolate and raspberry number, which had only fallen apart slightly. Still it tasted great. This week was Tara's turn and she outdid herself with a chocolate and banana cake, shaped into a heart! Alice wasn't too keen on the banana element but hey it's her turn next week so we're expecting big non banana-ry things.......we'll keep you posted!
When the internet came about, some geeky types thought they might be able to remake the world online; make a better, virtual world. I'm not sure if it's working. In a month where a wave of social change has rippled the Arab world, partly fuelled by Facebook it's clear that the internet is changing the real world in ways never imagined possible.
More prosaicly, the latest ABC's came out a couple of weeks ago, and once more the men's monthly market took a terrific thrashing. FHM, once a cultural icon of British Manhood, now languishes behind The Week. In the late 90s Loaded and FHM used to sell over 1.2m copies combined. Together they now sell a miserable 200k. What's changed? Well for one there's internet pornography. Men don't need to buy these mags any more - they come from a more innocent age. But attitudes have changed as well - it seems fantastically quickly. Not many brands (apart from maybe Lynx) want to be associated with this kind of non-family content. Supermarkets became squeamish about showing their front covers. People just didn't want to see it anymore. They'd had enough. "Put it away" they cried. And we have put it away - online.
So naked girls have packed up their things and gone online. I wonder what else will soon go down there. Gambling maybe? I just don't want to see bookies on my high street, please,they devalue my house - put them away. For that matter I don't want Chicken Cottage, the "breast is best" brigade, politicians, Palm Oil, Asbestos, The Weakest Link, or Colonel Gaddafi (why did he only rise to Colonel?) out here in the real world either. Put them all away.
I'm personally a very big fan of this style of video infographics, and so here is an excellent little snapshot of some incredible Facebook usage stats. Regardless of the fact that the video mainly focuses on US usage, I think this is still worth a watch.
Video - The World Is Obsessed With Facebook
My personal favorite stats from this are that apparently 57% of people talk more online, than they do in real life, and that 48% of young Americans said that they find out about what is happening in the news via Facebook.
As Mashable quite rightly points out, long gone are the days where YouTube was purely a destination where teenagers could watch skateboarding dogs, and kittens falling from things. The below list is a collection of perhaps some of the most inspirational moments in history, which just goes to show how far Youtube has evolved in six years. Now a destination where users can view music videos, on-demand TV content, and independent films it really is going to be interesting where the site goes next.
And there’s me thinking Katie Price’s wedding was one of extravagance…Her wedding to Peter Andre had nothing on the weddings the nation has been tuning in to watch on C4’s Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. The UK nation has experienced some jaw-dropping viewing as we've had the chance to enter the secretive world of traveller weddings. The series is an observational documentary and made predominantly from the perspective of Gypsies and travellers talking about their own experiences. Warm, intelligent, engrossing and funny, Big Fat Gypsy Weddings tells intimate stories on an epic scale, laying bare an exotic unseen Britain that exists right on our doorstep. Having watched this series I can say that, there’s no wedding like a gypsy wedding – amazing attention to detail, celebrations on a grand scale - and dresses with lights on! I particularly enjoyed the story of 17-year-old Josie, who married 19-year-old Swanley. Her enormous wedding dress weighed over five stone, but that didn’t stop her from dancing provocatively as she prepared to leave for the church accompanied by her friends, who were somewhat chaperoned, yet still wearing saucy outfits containing less material than a hanky.
Whatever we think about the show we are all watching it and were all talking about it. This has been illustrated in the fact that The Brit awards suffered its lowest ratings for five years after an average of only 4.8 million viewers tuned in to watch the ceremony. ITV1's coverage was overtaken by the final episode of Big Fat Gypsy Weddings, seen by an average of 6.5m on Channel 4.
So, what’s being discussed in the mobile industry this week? Nokia, Nokia and well Nokia. It’s Nokia’s Capital Markets Day on Friday where their new (ex Microsoft) CEO Stephen Elop is widely expected to announce a tie-up with Microsoft’s mobile operating system, Windows Phone 7.
The chatter started this week with an open letter from Berenberg Bank analyst Adnaan Ahmad to both Elop and Steve Ballmer urging a partnership that would see Nokia ship devices using WP7 software and has continued at Pace. Today a ‘leaked’ memo from Elop to Nokia staff has found its way on to Engadget and been quickly syndicated across all major news networks. Surprise surprise Nokia’s share price has been steadily rising.
Elop talks about Nokia being in crisis thanks to being caught out by the likes of Apple and Google, adding even more weight to the prediction a Microsoft tie-up is just days away. Reactions have been numerous and varied. It’s been called everything from ‘the industry’s new powerhouse’ to the ‘coalition of the defeated’.
Given that this is still just a rumour at the moment, and we’ve no idea of what a potential partnership would look like (a couple of high-end handsets rushed out to appease a baying marketplace or a five year role out strategy across all of Nokia’s mid to high end devices?) It’s far too early to pass judgement but the potential is huge.
I’d bet my house that pretty much all of you had, back in the day, a Nokia or two that you absolutely loved, their hardware has always been class leading and despite poor software over the last five years they still have the best cameras available. WP7 got great reviews on launch and backing from the biggest device manufacturer in the world is just what they need to see it take off. We might even see the first device at Mobile World Conference in a couple of weeks.
Of course it could be another unmitigated Nokia disaster, but I hope not. Roll on Friday!
A handful of lucky – although that depends on your point of view – subscribers to Wired magazine recently received their latest issue, but with a difference…..the front cover was hyper personalised. This personalisation took the form of a letter, the contents of which consisted of all the data the Wired team were able to find (from publicly available sources) about the individual.
The majority of info came from sources like the edited electoral register, Companies House, the Land Registry and of course good old social networks. When these data sources are cross referenced with each other it can quickly build a pretty detailed profile, from mobile number, home address, location, annual earnings through to your kids’ school reports and the videos they post online. It’s all out there and readily available to anyone willing to do a bit of digging.
Now sadly this is not the first step for Wired in actually providing tailored content per reader but more a demonstration of how much information there is and how relatively easy it is to get your hands on it. Our data is out there now. Forever. Whether we like it or not. After all, posting information online is akin to getting it tattooed on your forehead…visible to all, permanently, so we might as well embrace it, sit back and enjoy the hyper targeted, personalised ad campaigns that data sufficiency will bring….never having to watch another ‘We Buy Any Car’ advert? I could live with that.
This Sunday the Super Bowl will take place in between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers in Dallas and whilst the sport is the main draw for pulling in record breaking viewing figures the ads are almost as much an integral part of the event.
We know all the big brands such as Coke, Apple, McDonanld's etc will have an ad, the alcohol brands and car manufacturers will be involved as well as many ads for the up coming summer blockbusters but I think the most entertaining and creative ad will come from a brand no one has really heard of who will be hoping for some TV fame and for consumers to wonder how they never knew about it before.
Unfortunately in the UK we'll have to wait until monday morning to catch the latest big budget ads desperate to entertain us, but the question is who do you think will have the best ad during superbowl?
So, the Consumer Electronics show has been and gone again for another year, setting a host of records in the process. Held in Las Vegas every January its location is glamorous enough to attract the cream of the technology crop from around the world whilst being close enough to the valley to ensure the hottest start-ups are only a short hop away. And let’s face it, what better way to blow away those January blues than a three day trip to the ultimate grown ups’ playground on your company’s dollar?
This year saw 140,000 delegates passed through the doors of the Las Vegas Convention Centre with over 30,000 coming from abroad and there were a hefty 22 CEO’s participating in Key Note speeches. Add to this 2,700 tech companies and CES (now in its 44th year) has never been bigger.
The key themes that emerged were 3D (again), tablets, connected TV and 4G/LTE. I wrote about the need for all parties to continue their investment and development of 3D in a post last year and the industry’s appetite for it certainly hasn’t abated. HP’s 3D Envy laptop is quite a bit of kit and the screen technology aiming to serve up an immersive 3D experience without glasses is progressing rapidly. Toshiba are pretty far down the line.
In terms of tablets, well there where over 80 launched at the Show proving that once Apple open the door and show the industry where to go, the rest are never far behind. Samsung’s TX100 tablet with slide out keyboard looks particularly cool. It runs Windows 7; we like this because it shows Samsung are choosing their OS’s to fit the product, rather than a product to fit the OS.
We know connected, or ‘over the top’ TV has been gathering pace in the States for some time now and it definitely appears to be on the cusp of a significant break through as the major TV manufacturers, including LG and Panasonic, jump on board, as well the likes of Yahoo making a renewed push and even Cisco getting in on the act.
However LTE (the Long Term Evolution of 3G) which will in turn lead to proper 4G, is probably the most exciting technology of them all. Why? Because it’s the technology that is going to enable consistent use of properly smart applications on handsets and bring actual scale to smart phone marketing. It’s going to (hopefully) solve the data capacity issues that are currently strangling operators and in turn our ability to be genuinely ‘always connected’ on our hand held devices, regardless of where we are or what our data plans can offer. Granted role out will take some time but to give it some perspective there is currently a 4G network available to a handful of testers in Slough and its data capacity is higher than the entire UK 3G network. Roughly translated that means 4 seconds to download a song and 6 seconds to upload a photo. Verizon is already rolling out what it calls 4G LTE in major cities in the States.
So all of these technologies have serious implications from a media perspective, the immersive experience of 3D advertising, the targeting potential of connected TV and the increased data capacity of mobile networks…. All are set to make our jobs pretty exciting in the near future.
The film based on the creation of Facebook was one of the main winners at the Golden Globes at the weekend. The Social Network won Best Film Drama, Best Director (David Fincher), Best Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin) and Best Original Score, indicating that it is likely to be a winner at next month’s Oscars ceremony.
The beginning of the year is typically the season for film hype and buzz of potential Oscar winners and to some it may come as a surprise that a film about the social networking phenomenon that we all know and love, Facebook, has become so critically acclaimed. Personally, I have not seen the film, so cannot comment on how good it is, but it is telling of our times, that a film based on social media is now making the media headlines. This news is likely to be tweeted, re-tweeted, watched on Youtube and possibly even written about on Facebook, which exemplifies the power of the social media platform.
How long is it before we see films based on Apple and films streamed live on Youtube where people can comment and affect the ending of the film they are watching? The media landscape is constantly changing and developing, which has meant that media innovation and the way people use and review social media are becoming stories themselves. The key to a successful film is an engaging story and The Social Network has proved that there is more to Facebook than a site which allows you to connect and comment on your friend’s lives.
So recently I saw an article discussing the most annoying adverts on TV in 2010. Top of the list? … Go Compare with the opera singer. We all recognise him...his kinked moustache, his voice, his tux. However, it seems it is not the first time that the Ad was awarded most annoying as this was also the case in 2009. Thanks to its irritating strategy it has definitely increased brand awareness. I know that when I go to compare prices, Go Compare will at least be one of my top 3 choices.
Some may not agree, but for me one Ad that I can still watch over and over again is comparethemarket.com. I don’t know if it is the cuteness of the meerkats or just the fact that it was a pure genius idea, but it is one Ad I’m still not sick of, in-fact I think it is one of my favourites!
Other Ads that topped the irritating list include: Webuyanycar.com, injurylawyers4u.com and Halifax. Interestingly, 7 of these top 20 were Ads which targeted people struggling during the recession. Maybe as the economy recovers we’ll see these Ads begin to disappear?
Smart car buyers are nothing if not involved with the brand and this festive period smart have decided to offer their facebook fans an opportunity to design and build their ideal smart car....albeit in mini origami form. Naturally team Mercedes had to have a go, not only did we build the car in Maxus colours and put ‘Maxus’ on the number plate but we also went a little off piste and included a spot of snow.
Can you do better?! ‘Like’ this page to have a go...
There's nothing better than a cracking bit of tactical advertising:
Veno capitalised on the trial of the cough-prompted major who cheated his way into winning on Who Wants to be a Millionnaire with cough mixture ads positioned around editorial covering the case. Burger King captured the public mood over David Blaine's starvation stunt by running ads with an empty perspex box by Tower Bridge with the headline "Got the urge"... more prosaicly Pizza Express has begun to send half price tokens out online every time there is a tube strike entitled "we're not on strike!" which the team here regularly swoop on: very effective.
On the whole though, tactical advertising is quite underexploited - it's hard to think of anybody who does it very well. And its a shame because England is very predictable. It was obviously going to snow this year: where are the pop up Absolute igloo bars? I'd love to drink voddy in an igloo. Here are some sure fire bankers.
- Spineless England batsmen crushed by Aussies
- X factor final tearful breakdown amid voting fix as contested gives it "impossible" 111%.
- Turkey shortage as bird flu hits Norfolk. Cameron calls on nation to unite.
well, there's a starter for 10.
C&A's new ad with Beyonce aired for the first time last night. The timing of the ad, and the announcement of her new clothing range with C&A, couldn't have come at a better time to draw attention away from the furore over Beyonce's banned ad for her new fragrance "HEAT". The ad, which shows Beyonce in a number of provocative poses, has been banned from being aired during the day by the ASA. As you can see from the video below it's not appropriate for everyone but I can guarantee half the population will enjoy it - the other half might buy the perfume.
It's not the first time sex, or the implication thereof, has been used to sell a product and it certainly won't be the last. But whereas ads such as the viral for agent provocateur (see below) have an element of humour to them, Beyonce's ad is as subtle as a brick.
Do you think the usually homely C&A are overly impressed with Beyonce's new controversy?
Last week I attended a Microsoft presentation on their latest introduction to the Smartphone market, the windows Phone 7. The expanding Smartphone market has grown by 95% between Q3 of 2009 and Q3 2010 with Android seeing the largest increase in market share. Growth in this market has previously been driven by Apple, blackberry and HTC.
Microsoft Windows currently has a small market share within the Smartphone arena. The introduction of the Windows phone 7 will not only increase their market share but with its integration of Bing ensure that the increasing number of Smartphone users using search on their mobile are doing so through Bing. Paid for search on mobile accounted for 54% of mobile advertising spend (£20.2m) in 2009 (IAB). Paid search on mobile was worth more than mobile display advertising which was worth £17.4m. Bing within Windows phone 7 allows Microsoft to obtain more of this mobile search spend.
Windows Phone 7 provides some tough competition against the Android and iPhone. Its’ close association with social networking activity and ‘people hub’ makes it more personal to the user. As it is also integrated with Microsoft office products and you can sync it to your outlook giving you the perfect work/life balance. It is also the only phone on the market which you can link up to your X-Box live avatar and game on the go. Something bound to be desirable to passionate gamers following the launch of Kinect or the X-Box 360 last week.
It will be interesting to see how this introduction into the Smartphone market will impact the recent market share growth achieved by the Android.
Many of us have been in a situation where we have had to sell ourselves, sell our business or sell an idea. This requires us to make someone believe every word we say with personality and conviction. All of these things crossed my mind whilst attending the Media Business Course last week in Brighton. How do I sell myself, but more importantly my idea to the client? This led me to think about what makes the perfect pitch?
When thinking about what makes the perfect pitch, several things cross your mind. How should I present my ideas, who am I talking to, what is the objective of the pitch, how can I convey all of the important information effectively and how can I get the client to buy into every word I say? For some people, it’s all about the data – facts and figures tying every point back to a statistic. For others, it is about creating an emotional connection– telling them a story through ideas generated to fulfill the brief. For me, it is probably a bit of both. What is clear from last week’s course is that style over substance does not work. Ultimately, a pitch needs to follow a clear structure. Points need to be made clearly and early-on and the first 15 minutes should not be spent relaying a funny anecdote of a drunken uncle which bears no relevance to the brief that has been set. On top of this, you should be yourself and make sure that you are confident in the message you are delivering.
Being yourself could ultimately be one of the key learnings of the course. Pitches can be stressful and challenging, but ultimately what you say and how you say it dictate the final outcome. Things will inevitably go wrong - your computer may crash, you may be a bit shaky delivering your opening sentence, that coffee you have to settle your nerves may end up being splashed across your freshly ironed shirt. However, all of these things should not distract away from the message you are relaying – the idea you are getting the client to understand and ultimately fall in love with. Sometimes the old school flipchart is a better way to express a point compared to a flashy presentation. Youtube can be used to promote a message, but it must be relevant to the brief and when things do go wrong you ultimately just need to go with flow.
From what I’ve learnt, structure is key, personality vital and making sure insight and objectivity is clear throughout the course of the presentation will really help you excel in a pitch environment. I am by no means an expert, so these are just a few observations of what I think makes a good pitch. I would be interested to hear your ideas…
Yesterday it was announced that Facebook are unveiling Deals to their Facebook Places offering on mobile, bringing local businesses the opportunity to promote offers to passing trade. Currently only available in the US and rolling out over the next few days, local business deals in relevant areas are highlighted when a user checks in via their handset.
This new offering gives brands a unique opportunity to get onto the infamous Facebook App, something which many brands have been chomping at the bit to tap into given the massive amount of users which have downloaded and use the application on a daily basis.
To date advertisers have had to make do with existing geo-location services such as Foursquare in order to showcase local offers or create branding opportunities (such as Starbuck’s Barista Badge), however with ‘Deals’ this potentially opens up a new window of possibilities to engage users via one of the World’s largest digital brands.
The video below outlines the service, which will no doubt make its way across the pond to the UK in the coming months if successful in the US.
Video – Facebook Places bring local deals to the US
I read recently that Bauer Radio have applied to Ofcom to network their three existing Kiss FM licences, creating a national service (www.mediaweek.co.uk). It would mean local content on the Greater London, East Anglia and Severn Estuary stations would disappear and the service would become available on more DAB multiplexes across the country potentially giving access to 4 million people across the UK.
Digital Radio UK continues to insist that everything in the digital radio switchover arena is ticking along nicely, whilst oblivious to the fact that the majority of radio listeners simply could not care less about DAB. The headlines for all radio listening via platforms in Q3 2010 were:
· Analogue radio’s share of listening up from 67.0% to 67.6% quarter-on quarter
· Digital radio’s share of listening up from 24.6% to 24.8% quarter-on-quarter
· DAB radio’s share of listening down from 15.8% to 15.3% quarter-on-quarter.
It is clear to see that the quarter on quarter decrease of 0.5% percentage points perfectly illustrates radio listeners are not as engaged as we once thought in DAB. Consequently I fail to see the benefit of removing locally produced programming for nationally produced content. After all, this makes it harder for advertisers to have the "truthful dialogue" with an audience in a language they understand, spoken by local name they know and trust to have local interests at heart.
It will be interesting to see what Ofcom decide.
When 24 and Lost ended earlier this year with questionable final episodes (Lost especially...what was that all about?!), I felt a certain void in my life - my US drama viewing life that is. Having invested hundreds of hours into Jack Bauer's heroics, and the adventures of a bunch of people on an island but not on an island, dead but alive and fighting polar bears, pushing buttons and fighting against 'others', suddenly I was left with a vacuum. What was next? I found myself searching for the next 'must watch' big budget drama from America. Nothing has truly filled that void though. The rapidity with which American networks cancel under performing shows has taught me to be cautious when committing myself to a new drama - remember The Black Donnelys? The Mountain? No, thought not! I dabbled in Flash Forward and embraced Spartacus- Blood and Sand, only to find no one else was watching. Any mention of being a big True Blood fan was met with suspicion that I was into vampire porn. Yes Mad Men is brilliant, but where’s the violence and suspense or the escapism? Yes The Wire made me feel edgy, feel part of a special smug group of people for watching (much like the feeling you get when joining club iPhone), but The Wire also got me gripped then spat me out after only five series. However, something about The Event, Channel 4's new Friday night drama, drew me in. As names go, it’s quite catchy isn't it?!
So it was with great excitement that I prepared for the much advertised premier on 22nd October of The Event. Over in the States the show had premiered on 20th September with a promising viewing figure of 11million individuals. Of the 13 million Americans who saw the Lost finale on 24th May, It seems a fair few had been willing to give The Event a go. Back here, the first episode reached 2.3m - up from the 521,000 that Davina McCall had pulled in at the same time the week before. Big budget dramas can still be reliable to pull in the viewers evidently. However, Lost premiered on Channel 4 with 6.4m back in 2005 and was down to 1.4m in 2006 when it moved to Sky1. Its final month then attracted between 550,000 individuals and 575,000 on Sky1. It is difficult to comprehensively analyse and compare the success of such shows, what with increased audience fragmentation, the purchases of boxsets and illegal downloads being as they are.
Three episodes in and I have to confess I'm a little bit hooked. Without giving too much away - I was intrigued when I saw a plane suddenly vanish (Lost?), fascinated to see a man racing against time to evade the authorities to protect his loved ones, whilst the President of the USA takes a very hands on approach to his country’s problems (24?), and I imagine I will soon be shouting at the end of an episode "no way!" in the same way I would after an episode 18 cliffhanger from 24. As it is sponsored by BT Vision, let’s hope the British public embraces this big budget drama. I certainly have.
Virgin have launched their latest "cheesy" ad campaign partnering with the Looney Tunes classic Speedy Gonzales.
Taking time out from his busy schedule of Youtube appearances and Cartoon Network re-runs he has found the time to appear alongside a woman with a sponge in a bid to re-associate Virgin with the speedy broadband crown.
With BT Infinity rolling out and boasting speeds far in excess of Virgin's existing network, the time is nigh! However, BT have responded through the straight to market medium of Paid Search and taken control of Speedy Gonzales right out from under Virgin's feet.
Using Tom & Jerry to send a ransom for this all important spot, we will be keeping an eye out for Road Runner, Bugs Bunny and any other speedy critters making a claim for the fastest speeds on the net.
So, the nations beloved liberal-loving paper The Independent is set to launch a new daily title next week with a focus on "time-poor readers who want a quality read."
i goes on sale nantionwide from Monday 26th of October, with a cover price of 20p - cheap as chips.
Andrew Mullins, managing Director of The Independent, says:
"Quality newspapers provide a highly valuable audience for advertisers, but recently print circulations have been in decline
and the average age of the audience has been increasing" "We are creating a newspaper for the 21st century that is designed
for people who have a thirst for information and entertainment in the limited time they have available. i is a reader-led newspaper
with a broad reach and intelligence," he adds.
It has been reported that the title, described as a "concise, quality daily paper" will be targeted at readers in their 20's and
will include new content, seperate from the main title.
Now - I personally don't feel huge amounts of excitment about this new daily, i'm more of a 'good book' reader, but will it work? Will you be buying it?
When you look at Insights such as:1 in 5 YouGov respondents are prepared to forgo paying for newspapers altogether, agreeing with
the statement 'why pay when I can get one for free.'Is it really possible to revive or create a successful brand to compete and come out the other side victorious?
Looking from a different perspective: Nearly half (44%) of UK consumers prefer paying for a newspaper because 'the free ones haven't got as much real content.' argues a different consumer logic which is in line with the Independents ambitions to 'compliment and improve' the need for quality press.
So lovely London Commuters, will you be i-ing it up next week or passing up a new 20p daily bargain?
Answers on a postcard......
Last week Microsoft has finally unveiled Windows Phone 7, their most anticipated announcement in mobile since, well, Windows Mobile 6.5 a couple of years ago. 6.5, like all previous iterations, was pretty much an unmitigated disaster, one last final attempt to cram a PC operating system into a handset. It barely made a ripple in the consumer consciousness.
But will Windows Phone 7 put Microsoft firmly back into the mobile game?
Some would argue no, recently TechCrunch commented that “it’s an iOS, Android and Blackberry world now and there isn’t room for anyone else” but this seems to be a pretty narrow minded and extremely U.S. centric view. Nokia’s smart phones (much maligned in recent years) still out strip all of the above in terms of market share so I reckon we’re some way off an Apple, Google and RIM dominated market place, especially when you consider their are 5 billion active mobile users globally!
WP7 has a couple of tricks up its sleeve that could prove extremely useful. The obvious being the Windows recognition factor. Whilst the Windows brand may have taken something of a hammering at the hands of Apple their success does not depend on converting Apple or Android for that matter, fanboys. There are millions of people currently using ‘dumb phones’ who are looking to upgrade and this is where the familiarity of Microsoft and Windows will play a significant role in drawing people towards WP7.
Its other major strength is that Microsoft has imposed significant quality control on its hardware partners. Essentially they all have to conform to the same guidelines and the great thing about this is that it ensures the WP7 experience is almost identical on all handsets, weather it’s an HTC, Samsung, Dell etc. Without this quality control user experience can vary hugely from handset to handset, a problem Android is somewhat familiar with.
Developers like this too because it means they don’t have to worry about the varying performance of their apps depending on the handset. So if uptake is good developers won’t hesitate to take up WP7.
However, with iphone, Android and Blackberry taking up all the’ mind share’, Nokia releasing a raft of new handsets and doing 2.5 million downloads a day on Ovi store, Microsoft must get it right first time. There is very little room for error.
The mobile market is vast and smart phones are a continually growing part of that, there is plenty of room for WP7 and initial impressions are that it has every chance of succeeding. Competition is not only good but vital in this sector; it pulls innovation along at an ever increasing pace and drives greater smartphone reach into the consumer mobile segment. The greater the choice available, the quicker the sector grows and sooner we’re able to plan to genuinely mass reach mobile campaigns. Now all we need is the network providers to focus on improving their networks rather than on providing additional services nobody wants!
After recently attending a YouTube presentation we were taken through a number of best in class examples of brands which are leading the way with their brand channels, all of which are well worth highlighting and checking out if you have a spare minute or two.
This was a great example due to the fact that the videos are populated by the staff of each store, showing off to users the expertise of their employees. Videos are broken down by mobile model and give simplistic reviews, allowing viewers to use the integrated channel search bar to find their desired phone. There are also additional tabs such as Top Tips, Wow me, and Demos to further inform users to find out more. http://www.youtube.com/user/eyeopeners
Eon - Talking Energy
Talking Energy apparently came about by Eon's desire to own the energy debate online, this was a very brave move as it was a subject users were quite passionate about. The crucial thing this can teach brands is that although the commentary can start negatively, as with Eon, with time the conversation can turn around with active users actually defending what the channel stands for. http://www.youtube.com/user/talkingenergy
Virgin Media - Powerful Stuff
The Virgin 'powerful stuff' brand channel is slightly older but still a good example of what is possible. Promoting Virgin Media's faster Broadband proposition this channel allowed users to upload their own videos and then edit them with special effects in order to at that extra 'pizazz' before sending them to their friends. http://www.youtube.com/user/powerfulstuff
Annotations - Californiacation 'Fill in the Hank'
This is definitely worth checking out as an excellent example of YouTube Annotations, which invites viewers to take part in a quiz to guess how a number of scenes from the show play out. Not only is it very well executed, but very funny and well worth a look. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G96sxmrJMOg
At my recent Media Circle training we were told that anything is possible with outdoor!
And thanks to my friend’s amazing example we are now beginning to see how digital technology can be used to enhance observation of target audiences and circulation of advertisements.
Face recognition software is being developed to research consumers. It acts by placing cameras behind posters to register the age, sex and even mood of those who view them. This enables researchers to study who these advertisements are actually reaching and at what time of the day/week etc. It’s a new revelation that could alter the face of outdoor advertising and enable brands to target their consumers more efficiently. There is even awareness that as a result of this technology, advertisements could be more personalised by instantly changing the creative to suit the age, sex or mood of the viewer.
But with consumer cutbacks in spending taking place across the country, is this the best time to launch this technology? Or as some might say, could these personalised advertisements be just what we're looking for to increase targeted advertising and as a result lead to increased spending.
If you are a regular Twitter user and have been feeling a bit down in the dumps lately, a bunch of flowers could be on their way to you!
Interflora have begun a new social media campaign to approach online communities and increase brand awareness. Their campaign involves monitoring Twitter users to find those who are feeling a bit low then contacting them to get their address which they then use to send them a bouquet of flowers.
It is a unique idea that spreads the message of the power of the flower for cheering people up. Virtually every woman would love to receive some! So much so that it’s tempting to tweet lots of sad messages in the hope of being selected!
As Sky launches Europe's first 3D channel today it seems like a good time to take a look at the format as a whole. There are a lot of 'naysayers' out there who simply dismiss it as just another fad, probably aided by underwhelming 3D cinema experiences and the thought of having to wear special glasses, or 'face furniture' as I’ve heard them called, when sitting down for an evening’s TV. However it certainly has the backing of the industry, as one tech blogger eloquently put it, you couldn't "spit on the CES Convention floor without hitting a 3D HDTV". 3D was most certainly 'in' at the Consumer Electronics Show back in January, a pretty sure fire indicator that the format is headed for wide spread commercial success.
I’m sure Sky will do an excellent job with their channel, although the suggestion in Stephen Fry's promo video that the glasses should become fashion accessories is probably a step too far! All the major television manufacturers have 3D ready sets on the market and we've already seen cinemas and pubs showing sporting events in the format. However 3D is still in its infancy and there are number of factors that have to be taken into account and issues resolved before it becomes a wide spread consumer and commercial success.
The two biggest hurdles are the expense and the actual need for glasses. Until these are resolved it is likely to remain a niche product with limited, all be it creative, advertising routes. Firstly the expense, it takes two cameras for everyone to shoot in 3D (one for each eye) meaning significant investment is needed from the broadcasters themselves. The lenses in the active 3D glasses decode the image to create the 3D effect and as such are not cheap, circ £70-100 each (the passive glasses are far cheaper but don’t provide such an immersive experience). The sets themselves are also prohibitively expensive for your average consumer. However aside from the cost, the need for glasses also presents a number of real world problems. Losing them, breaking them, ease of replacement, scratched lenses and so on.
The industry is working hard to resolve these issues, filming and production will inevitably become more efficient and costs will reduce, 3D HDTV sets will, just like HD ready, tumble in price as take up increases, but the real key to success lies in screen technology, manufacturers and technology companies are in a race to produce viable 3D screens that can be used without any glasses. Intel demoed their technology at CES and whilst there are serious limitations, namely where you can stand/sit in relation to the screen, when stood in the right place the experience is reportedly excellent.
Sky 3D should have a good take up, the fact that all Sky HD boxes are 3D ready will certainly help and those in the market for a high end plasma telly will find it hard not to justify paying a little extra for 3D given the now ubiquitous nature of their HD ready predecessors. In fact it’s essential that Sky 3D has good take-up, people need to rave about it, people need to talk about the vast difference in quality between programming made in 3D and programming converted to 3D because it’s this that will give broadcasters the confidence they need to continue to invest in proper 3D programming which will in turn start to create genuine momentum across the industry as a whole. Increased content should drive the market.
Nevertheless 3D as a format will struggle to break through in the same way as HD until the need for glasses can be removed. Once this happens, and given that a large number of the key TV manufacturers also make mobile phones, laptops and general tech gadgetry, the possibilities are huge. How long before we see the first properly integrated, cross-platform 3D advertising campaign? It may very well depend on the take up and success of Sky 3D...no pressure then!
It’s often said that by the time a technology gains mass relevance it’s no longer cool or interesting, let’s hope then that 3D losses its ‘cool’ factor sooner rather than later because it’s the natural next step in mass visual entertainment.
After weeks of speculation, the company behind BlackBerry have finally lifted the lid on their tablet, the PlayBook. The PlayBook is expected to rival the iPad and the soon-to-be-released Samsung Galaxy Tab, as well as the stream of rival tablet computers on the way.
At the moment it is very much “work in progress” but on paper it looks good, particularly for businesses. It is smaller and more portable than the iPad (for now) and among the features promised are front and rear facing cameras to enable video conferencing, and HDMI video output. They are optimistically suggesting this could mean business users may leave their laptops behind in future.
They claim it is designed to sync with your BlackBerry Smartphone, so in theory customers will be able to switch between the two seamlessly, whatever their needs. From a personal point of view, it will be interesting to see whether the synching feature works properly, as I have great trouble synching my BlackBerry to my email!
Unfortunately it won't be available in the US until early 2011 and Europe in the second quarter of next year. While they may have missed the boat by not getting it out for this Christmas, they have timed their announcement to encourage loyal BlackBerry customers to hold off entering the market yet.
See here for the official press release.
Experts estimate upcoming launches and the continued success of Apple’s iPad could lead to worldwide sales of 50m next year. It is the same for Apps, with sales estimated in the region of £5bn in the next 5 years. It’s worth considering the Apple Store offered 500 Apps at launch and there is now in excess of 250k, with over 6bn Apps downloaded.
While the growth in Apps provides an opportunity for brands, too many advertisers create them for the sake of it, without really understanding what their audience wants. The huge numbers of Apps out there makes it important to create relevant, engaging material people will want to come back to. Here are a couple of examples we like:
• Ocado and Tesco Groceries - Allowing you to purchase shopping on the move
• Sky Player - Allowing users to record their programmes on the go
• Stella bar finder, Urban Spoon, Last minute.com - Using geolocation and Augmented Reality to find relevant bars/ restaurants/ POI
With Google fast becoming synonymous with the word ‘instant’, and the list of spin offs ever growing, what better time to give you an update on our favourite search engine and what the future of real time results holds for advertisers and searchers alike.
Launching last week, Google Instant helps users find information faster by showing relevant results as a query is typed. As a user starts to type a search, Google Instant automatically shows results for a popular search that begins with those letters.
Although Google Instant won't change the way ads are served, ads and search results will now be shown for a new "predicted query." This has led to a change in the way Google counts impressions, with the addition of impressions being counted outside of the norm when a user stops typing for three seconds or clicks anywhere on the predicted results page. This has implications for paid search advertisers, with an anticipated shift in impression volumes on certain keywords and lower overall click through rates. However, the shift is not expected to affect paid ad quality scores as these are derived from the industry norm.
On a slightly less consolatory note, Google now has the power to lead searchers, being able to push them down routes which can be as basic as typing in "hotel" and Google automatically producing results for "hotels" or typing in "broadband" and retuning results for "broadband speed test". This means that there will probably be a reduction in the number of keywords receiving traffic, allowing Google to push competition on certain keywords.
There is also scope for Google to be brand biased, for example, just typing in “a” produces results for “argos” with “amazon” coming in second, and this could force brands to bid competitively on other brands so that they have a presence on the initial results page.
The new results page has not yet triggered a game change in search engine marketing strategy with many industries sticking to their guns in an almost gentlemanly way and the feature being largely dependent on the user’s ability to touch type. However, with Google’s latest release focusing consumer attention and making “instant” celebrities of future developments such as YouTube Instant, iTunes Instant and Instant Mobile Search, the impact of real time results on the online world is yet unclear.
An interesting partnership has developed between Yahoo and Nectar which enables the user to benefit by gaining a Nectar point for every two searches made and rewards them with 100 points for the initial download. This an interesting concept as it gives the user personal benefit for choosing to use Yahoo for their searches.
This may work out quite well for Yahoo if the word gets out as any money savers, reduced isle people, or supermarket point collectors may see this as an easy way of earning points and would probably download this just for the inital 100 points - I already have. Time will tell how many people use this as their everyday search engine tool and not just make a random 100 Yahoo searches as a quick method of earning the maximum 50 points each month - I've already done this and still have Google as my default. Will any success stories come from this?
I love it when people get all end-of-the-world-is-nigh about developments in technology. There’s always a good headline or even a book deal to be had from making the point that things are going to hell in a handcart and were much better before. There’s a new target every year or so.
For example, in 2007 Wikipedia took a beating from “The Cult of the Amateur: how today’s internet is killing our culture”, while in 2008 Atlantic magazine made lots of noise with an article titled “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”. The arguments have been raging back and forth ever since.
Recently there has been even more of it than usual. Social media is on the receiving end this time, possibly prompted by Facebook announcing their 500 millionth user. Amid the Facebook PR fanfare a few dissenting voices have been heard. Firstly, a survey stating that although Facebook is still the top social destination for online teens, 19% of those who have created a Facebook profile say they no longer visit the site, or are using it less.
Another survey, measuring customer satisfaction with websites, shows that social media has the lowest satisfaction score of any category, with Facebook coming bottom in the social media rankings.
The Washington Post got in on the act, with an article filled with anecdotal evidence of Facebook fatigue. Too many friend requests, too many updates, too little real-world contact. Etc etc.
Complaining about new stuff isn’t new. People have been complaining about new-fangled technology ever since the ancient Greeks decided that writing things down was a bad thing as it would make people lazy. But because of the technology we have now, we can use technology to make us all nostalgic about the good old days. For example, this website that makes any website look like it was made in 1996 by a 13 year old on Geocities. Good old days.
Yesterday Maxus’ very own David Fineman was highlighted as one of the industry’s prestigious Media Week 30 under 30. In his winning entry David is promoted as the youngest digital lead for a top 20 media agency, helping to secure and transition a number of new accounts into Maxus. I hope you will all join me in congratulating him on this fantastic achievement (and let’s not mention the John Travolta line).
You can catch the full article here
Over the last year social gaming on sites such as Facebook has exploded, with millions of people logging on and playing every day, and millions of pounds spend on virtual transactions to enhance their game play. Well now social gaming giant Farmville (currently with 65m users, and 20m playing daily) has teamed up with Green Giant placing Farmville Cash coupon stickers (for ‘5 free farm cash’) on selected products in 4,000 supermarkets across the US.
It was reported on Mashable that in the six week pilot for the promotion, which was launched in Target Fresh Grocery and Super Target stores, there were more than 100,000 in virtual Farm Cash redeemed using the stickers which appeared on 25 different Green Giant products. The promotion was then expanded to supermarket nationwide as a result of the success of the pilot.
It is great to see how the social gaming space has seen such a fantastic increase (despite the hundreds of daily updates in my news feed), and will be interesting to see how it evolves. So, what do you think about the rise of social gaming? Do you think something as mainstream as the Green Giant promotion would take off in the UK?
That’s right, it was announced yesterday that Facebook has registered it 500 millionth user (UK Facebook users currently at around 26m). Metro newspaper dedicated its front page to the fact today along with a handful of other facts, truly proving the dominance of the social network. In case you missed them the front page can be seen below.
* Facebook Facts: from Metro Front Page
* Globally Facebook has 500m Users
* 26 million Britains use it (that’s more than a third of the population)
* More than 3 million pictures are uploaded every month
* There are more than 60 million status updates a day
* On average you create 90 pieces of content every month
* The average person has 130 friends
* Collectively users spend 700 billion minutes a month on Facebook
* 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news, blogs etc) are shared each month
This comes at a very good time for the social network as the trailer for the film of the creation of Facebook ‘The Social Network’ (recent trailer attached below) was released recently again showing the magnitude of the site created in 2004.
Midst gentle chatter, as it grew dark,
Balls rose and fell with merry thud
Onto gravel caked in mud
Twelve teams began, eyes lit up
With childhood dreams of raising the cup
But hopes stooped, crumpled and fell
While ours grew stronger, stately and well.
Until at last, in the fading light
Waghorn threw the shot of the night
By gum we'd won it! Triumphant cry:
"Maxus the champions!" Enscrawled on the sky
Last night Maxus fielded a team of 5 (aptly named "One for the Road") at a Mercedes + agencies endurance Go Karting competition at the Daytona racetrack, Milton Keynes. With what appeared to be limited experience amongst the drivers, there was some initial hesitation. Little did we know how event filled the evening would be.
The evening kicked off with a practice session, during which time all team members had to complete at least one lap. At this point Milly discovered ballet pumps were not suitable go kart shoes and that borrowed, oversize trainers give you the kind of cramp that means you cant move your feet to operate peddles. The go kart spent a large amount of time with its nose firmly rammed into crash barriers.
Straight after practice, the heavens opened to what can only be described as a monsoon-like lightning storm. We thought that must be game over. We hadnt counted on the astonishing persistence of the track owners and within 20 minutes of the rain stopping they'd got the track ready. Team Maxus were back on the grid, lining up for the real race - the endurance section, 90 minutes of constant racing, aiming to clock up maximum laps.
Little did we know Paul Capleton was the secret Go Karting weapon. From a starting grid position of 14th, he shot us up to 2nd place during his spell on the wet track ("like driving on ice"). A red light and required ambulance break (nothing serious) somehow resulted in us moving up to 1st place. Victory was in Maxus's sights! An ambulance incident was certainly not enough to stop the race for long and soon we were back in the car, moving onto to the rest of our drivers. Without naming and shaming, things got a little slower from here, with one black flag incident from Team Maxus ("arms and feet out of car") incurring us a time penalty. We fell down to mid table. With a burst of speed in the final few laps, we clawed back up the standings to finish a respectable 7th - and, crucially, ahead of our agency rivals.
Well Lindsay Lohan will be surrendering herself to the Centrury Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood. California, where she will start her 90 day prison sentence for repeatedly violating the terms of her probation following her 2007 drug charge.
Am I the only one that thinks that this will be possibly the best thing to happen to Lohan since she started to derail at the age of 19?
Her live court hearing was watched by 2.3million people online. This - and don't quote me here - is probably 10 times as many people that have collectively paid to see Lohan in anything prior to Mean Girls back in 2004.
Since becoming jail bait, Lohan's career has rocketed and she is finally famous for being something other than Samantha Ronson's girlfriend.
A-List celebrities are giving her advice, TV Channels offering up millions for interviews and even her lost love Samantha has met her for a secret dinner somewhere in the hollywood hills. Seriously, I bet she is loving it.
So, what do you think? Will this be the reinvention of Lohan? Well, in 90 days we will see. Enjoy your time in the Big House Lindsay, just don't drop the soap.
A couple of us went along to the 4D Men presentation by Bauer yesterday. It focused on the evolution of man (caveman voice). As a man/boy at heart, I found myself sat there listening to the exact way i have evolved over the past 10 years in terms of my style, outlook, behaviour etc. It is quite scary to think that it was 16 years ago (1994) since the first Loaded was published. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was 11 years old, maybe slightly too young for boobs and rock and roll but it beat reading match of the day magazine.
One of the points that I found particularly interesting was that it's not alright to be a dumb, tribal, loutish FHM reader anymore. Todays man has to be a bit more intelligent, a bit more in touch with fashion, food, culture etc to get barely noticed by anyone. It also made me think, did you girls ever really fancy the 'Lad'?
"Try to learn something about everything and everything about something" was one of the ending quotes of the presentation. To start with I could not get my head around what this meant and why some English biologist from 1825 preached this. Now I get it, I think Bauer were trying to tell us that todays man needs to live by this quote to get the best job, the best style, the best personality and ultimately, the best girl. Thanks Thomas. H. Huxley, your quote, from now on will be the first thing I say to myself every day.
Yesterday saw Twitter announce the launch of Twitter ‘earlybird’. This is a new account that will re-tweet offers from certain advertisers, which (in the words of Twitter) will offer “special time-bound deals, sneak-peeks and events”.
At the moment, this is something that is just available to users in the US, but if this works (as in makes Twitter some money) I am sure we will see this over in the UK.
So far, considering this launched yesterday, there are over 19,000 followers, who are eagerly awaiting offers from advertisers, so it will be interesting to see what is offered. I would expect retailers and FMCG especially will trial this first as it seems like a great way to entice new customers in, then once they have bought into the brand keep them interested by offering more tailored offers through their own Twitter feed/Facebook page.
This is another interesting move from Twitter, following the promoted tweets announcement that we saw a few months ago. They have waited a while to monetise their site and it seems as though they have finally worked out a business model so watch this space....
So 6music has won a reprieve meaning it will no longer be closed, as originally proposed by the Beeb's senior management team. This is good news for all those who campaigned for its survival- from high profile celebs through to listeners who, like me, filled in the loooong public consultation form (that took me back to my essay writing days!)
However, although plenty of people filled in the official consultation, the campaign for 6s survival was also an excellent example of using social networking to galvanise people’s support. Group after group sprung up on Facebook and every time it cheerily told me a friend had signed up to save 6music I felt that little bit guiltier that I hadn't got around to tackling the long form yet. On Twitter, alongside becoming a trending topic, I found I could attach a readymade ‘twibbon’ to my picture telling others to 'save 6music.'
I was a little concerned that all this meant people were shouting publicly to save the station but that no-one would actually fill in the all important official consultation and therefore it would amount to nothing. In fact 78% of people submitting the form were arguing to save the station and on top of this, even if many people failed to go through official routes, it seems the sheer voracity of online campaigning may have swayed the officials' opinions. At last I joined a Facebook group that had an effect rather than ‘if 500 people join this group, I’ll marry my hamster!’
England finally kicked off their World Cup campaign on Saturday evening with a 1-1 draw against the mighty USA. Although ITV would have been disappointed with the much publicised HD slip up, viewing on ITV1 would have pleased the broadcaster. England’s 1st game of the 2010 competition drew an average audience of 17 million during the match, a 66% share of viewing, peaking at a touch over 20 million. The programme, which ran from 18:15 to 21:45, attracted an average of 13 million, a 56% share. These numbers are the largest attracted for football since England took on Sweden in the 2006 World Cup.
The opening game of the competition, again on ITV1 saw Mexico take on host nation South Africa. Generally afternoon kick off’s attract smaller audiences, especially when none of the ‘glamour teams’ are involved. Friday’s game drew an audience of 4.2 million, the first match of the 2006 World Cup, which featured Germany and Costa Rica, attracted 5.5 million, however, this kicked off 17:00, so you would expect audiences to be larger.
The late game on Friday saw France take on Uruguay. For those who didn’t see, it was a particularly boring match, that said, the BBC’s first game of the tournament attracted an average 6.2 million, greater than the like for like match in 2006, Poland v Ecuador, which gained an audience of 5.7 million.
Sunday saw three further games, including the opening Germany match. In what was probably the pick of the competition so far, Germany demolished an Australian side, backed by some as dark horses, 4-0. ITV’s second peak game of the weekend predictably delivered a smaller audience than the England game, but was still widely viewed, with an average of 7.5 million viewers, a 31% share.
The success, or failure, of the World cup from a broadcast point of view rests heavily on the progress of England. On Saturdays showing, a quarter final exit, as many people predict may be the best we can hope for. If we can however progress further, Saturday’s viewing figures are sure to be beat....
So who watched the first Big Brother on Wednesday? Did you watch it because of it being the final season or because you genuinely love Big Brother?
I didn't actually watch it and no I am really not bothered! In the past, when it was half way into the series I would start watching BB and become addicted right through to the end, however year after year they seem to shove in absolute weirdo's which were very awkward to watch. Each year getting worse!
For example - the visually impaired guy, (cant remember his name as it really is irrelevant), I don't know about you but I found him very painful to watch - rude and abrasive and wondered if the sole reason he got into the Big Brother house was down to him being blind. I wanted to hate him as he got on my nerves but couldn't because I felt sorry for him being such an idiot!
Then there were the twins (one dated that Brian guy who didn't know who William Shakespeare was) - again strange creatures. The list of freaks is endless.
In the first few series BB put contestants in who were just normal people but a little bit stupid ie: that welsh Helen girl! But as the years rolled on they threw in wild card circus freaks - I think that's when we saw the BB viewing figures start to decline. Personally I would prefer to watch stupid people and laugh at them rather than idiots who are trying to break out of the norm and annoy me.
All this aside, last night’s C4 90 minute show averaged 4.6 Million viewers, around a 12% fall on 2009. Big Brother attracted a total share of 19.5% of all TV, well below the 43% Britain’s Got Talent delivered. Last year’s launch had a 21% share.
I am not ashamed to admit, I am "telly Addict". I recently read that Big Brother (BB) bosses have announced that a live internet feed is to return for fans from the 9th of June, but at a cost. Last year channel 4 dropped the usual 24-hour streaming so devotees were only able to monitor the show on TV. For those early adopters who have embraced the sky+ revolution, this meant thousands of us up and down the country were able to fit in spying on our beloved big brother house mates in our own time. Never missing out key moments such as when In the first series of Big Brother. The scandalous moment in the shows history when 'Nasty' Nick Bateman was kicked out because he had influenced nominations. TV history .... needless to say, I was one of these Big brother obsessives watching religously! However in recent years I have felt that the show has began to lose its spark!
Channel4 decision to "milk" as much as possible out of the last series is understandable but may lead to the BB brand becoing commoditised. Making it no different than, Im a celebrity get me out of here. If fans forked out for daily, weekly or whole-series passes.Channel 4 said charges would go towards covering the increased costs of providing the service. Streaming will cost 49p by the day, £1.99 for a week or £14.99 for the entire 13-week series at the official site www.channel4.com/bigbrother. This will be a real financial test of our obsession with around the clock surveillance? Given this will be the last ever series on channel4, who can actually blame them.
I've been watching a bit too much TV recently. I get home exhausted, give a cheery wave to my wife, kick off the shoes and settle in to the telly. No recordable TV for me, so it's a diet of whatever the channels choose to serve up. It's an old school, passive experience punctuated by lazy flicking up and down the Freeview channel list - glorious, mindless stuff. This is TV as it's meant to be consumed - absorbed, not chosen. I watch a lot of TV ads - and though I love it, something's been bothering me.
There is a terrifying chart from TGI that shows how many people now find TV ads more annoying, versus 15 years ago. And it shows that Britain has steadily fallen out of love with TV advertising in a very short period of time - 40% of us now profess to finding them annoying. There are a number of mitigating factors here: TV on demand services mean that consumers don't need to see as much advertising as they used to, and there has been a proliferation of commercialisation generally in our culture. Consumers are receiving more and more commercial messages. But I wonder if there is more to it than that.. What if TV advertising really IS getting more annoying?
Everyone remembers the glory days when most ads had a decent punchline to keep us entertained. Now many of them seem to be deliberately set up to annoy me. And it must be working, because I see more and more of them - I swear if I see that cheeky chappy from the Jobsite ad one more time I'll throttle him. My own father started to sing "Go Compare!" when I saw him at last week.The people who make these ads aren't stupid, so I can only assume that these ads are helping achieve business objectives, regardless of how they tear families apart.
As an enlightened marketer I believe in building relationships between brands and consumers, but there is something refreshingly anarchic about a marketing strategy built around the platform GET everyone TO buy brand x BY making them seethingly annoyed with our communications; and since the creatives are at it - why not us media planners?
It's actually already begun: Crazy Frog pioneered the 30 OTS optimised TV plan, and pionerring media owners are catching onto the opportunity. Last year's annoying media gold award goes went to ITV, who forged a neat partnership with Tic Tacs whereby they cut away from their live FA Cup broadcast stream to show a minty ad while Everton scored the only goal of the match. It's a start. I'm hoping we can all raise the bar in 2010.
Times for a change? A makeover for The Times websites- but will you be handing over your £2 each week?By Nina Christensen - Media Manager on 26/05/2010
This week saw the launch of the new-look Times and Sunday Times websites. This marks the first time that the newspaper brands have had separate sites.
They will be accessible for registered users for an introductory four-week period before the paywall comes into effect. Access to the digital service will be included in the seven-day subscriptions of print customers, however, in a month’s time will cost non-subscribers £1 a day or £2 per week.
Search engines will not be able to display articles as the sites will only display their respective homepages to search engines.
News International has not disclosed specific subscriber targets, though it is undoubtedly prepared for a major drop in user numbers of its websites.
Those that choose to enjoy the new-improved sites can make their payment by direct debit and the £2-a-week charge will auto-renew, which is not the case for the daily charge.
I think they’ve done a great job and that the sign looks great- but is it great enough for £104 a year?
Do Wenlock and Mandeville get you excited about Sport?
This week saw London 2012 launch their Mascots Wenlock and Mandeville.
The two Mascots, Wenlock for the Olympics and Mandeville for the Paralympics, represent two drops of molten steel spilt in the making of the last steel girder used in the Olympic Stadium. In the animated video which accompanies the mascots and will form part of a series, a grandfather, George, picks up the two drops of steel on his last day at the Bolton foundry before he retires. Once home, he fashions the steel into the two figures and gives them to his grandchildren. Brought to life by a rainbow, they turn somersaults for the children before disappearing off on the road to London.
Their design is full of symbology including a headlight to represent the light of a black cab, the five Olympic rings worn as wristbands, their one eye as a camera lense and the colours gold, silver and bronze to reflect the medals. Their names are also meaningfully chosen. Much Wenlock in Shropshire is considered by many as the birthplace of the modern Olympics and Stoke Mandeville’s famous spinal injuries unit was where the Paralympic movement began.
The designs are also flexible, and the charcters can be customised into recognisable costumes and even celebrity identities. The characters also have digital potential and will tweet, have a presence on facebook and tap into the London Education Project where pupils will be able to lobby for them to visit their school in person.
It’s clear that a lot of thought and hard work went into the development of the mascots, however, they have met with much criticism over the last week from the press and the public.
Their task, however, is to resonate with children and inspire a generation to get involved in sport. They are also intended to persuade parents to contribute the £15 million the mascots are expected to raise in merchandising revenue. With merchandise going on sale in July to mark two years to the London 2012 opening ceremony- perhaps this will be the first indication of whether or not the design is a success?
Video sharing website, YouTube, is celebrating its 5th anniversary; Google acquired the site in 2006 in a deal worth $1.65 billion. The site is now boasting an impressive two billion views per day. Five years ago Chad Hurley, the site's co-founder and chief executive, said he had pinned his hopes for YouTube on the basic premise that "everyone in the back of their mind wants to be a star".
For the five year anniversary, YouTube have launched their, “YouTube Five Year” channel, it features the “My YouTube Story” project, which is a series of videos about individual experiences on how YouTube has had an impact on their lives. Comedian and TV host Conan O’Brien and American journalist Katie Couric are among those selected to curate the project.
My personal top five videos are:
1) Charlie bit my finger – again!
2) The sneezing baby panda
3) Battle at Kruger
4) Evolution of Dance
5) Diet Coke + Mentos
Please contribute your favourite videos, there may be some I haven’t seen and my top five could change!
If you were- you were among the nearly 10 million viewers who tuned into BBC One, ITV1, Sky News and Channel 4 between 10pm- 12am on 6th May. So, who chose to watch it where? According to recent figures, BBC One drew in the largest number of viewers with an average of 5.3m tuning in between 10pm-12am. This equates to nearly 29% share of audience. Channel Four had an average of 1.9m viewers in the same time period beating both Sky and ITV1. Their satirical take on the results called ‘Channel 4’s Alternative Election’ hosted by Jimmy Carr and David Mitchell was most popular with a younger demographic and drew in the highest proportion of 16-34s. ITV1 had an average of 1.7m viewers and Sky followed with an average of 550,000.
Attracting the audience:
A number of media owners staged experiential stunts in a bid to court viewers.
The BBC projected graphics onto Big Ben and Sky Broadcast onto Battersea Power Station. The Daily Mirror projected an image of The Mirror Chicken onto the Houses of parliament, while Channel 4 teamed up with Embrace media to use a 425,000 square foot helicopter banner to promote their ‘Alternative Election’ show.
With the global economic downturn, those in search of their dream jobs have had to think outside the box in order to get noticed - and get a foot in the door!
Most of you will have read about David Rowe. He was the history graduate, who spent five days last year as a human sandwich board roaming the streets of London proclaiming his availability for work as well as his willingness to work his first month for free. After generating much media attention and interest from various employers he was hired by JC Decaux.
That was a brilliant example of confidence and determination which paid dividends. But he’s already done it. So what next? Enter Alec Brownstein of New York. Working as a Copywriter and dreaming of a career with one of the top agencies in NY, he created an online ad campaign for only $6 which has proved to be a masterclass in online marketing! He created a campaign, in which, every time Gerry Graf, Tony Granger, David Droga, Ian Reichenthal and Scott Victrone Googled themselves, an ad would appear which read: “Googling yourself is a lot of fun. Hiring me is fun too.” He ended up being interviewed by four of the advertising chiefs and was offered a post by Reichenthal and Victrone of Y&R New York. Genius!
With the election underway, and lots of conflicting views on the role of social media in politics we thought we’d share the Maxus view!
Following on from Obama’s strong use of social media in his campaign for presidency, the UK election has tried to follow suit with parties setting up Twitter feeds and Facebook pages to encourage the masses to vote for them. But have they had an effect..?
While social media is still only reaching a smaller percentage of the population, rather than the millions reached by traditional media, it has still been testament to drawing in a younger demographic - bringing it into their social media networks on a daily basis and getting them to engage with it and form opinions of their own, a problem which has long been faced by parties previously.
While there is no doubt that social media is still becoming more relevant within our day to day life, traditional media still influences the wider population with the live TV debates drawing in approx 9 million viewers in the first airing. Work’s leading research panel found that TV registered highly at 87% with social media lagging far behind with only 7% on Twitter, 13% on Facebook and 9% on Blogs.
But social media helps create word of mouth, and influence is one of the most important factors for brands when trying to increase awareness and likeability. Friends discuss what they have seen on Facebook or comments favourite stars have made on their Twitter feed bringing the subject to the forefront of their minds and encouraging opinion forming.
Social media has certainly added a new dimension to the way political parties are campaigning and has drawn in the younger population to the debate which can only be a good thing. However, the election hasn’t been the social media election that was promised with many mistakes being made. I think political parties have a lot to learn for next time as its very difficult to control this form of communication.
In his book, Chris Anderson proposes an advance on the 80/20 Pareto rule; suggesting that any market is dominated by a few leaders but consists mostly of numerous smaller firms in terms of volume. The internet is obviously no exception with a notable few very large sites responsible for huge levels of web traffic. Among these are of course Facebook and Google, the latter of whom owing much of its commercial success to Bill Gross, who’s highly successful search advertising formula is now being applied to the third giant of the internet, Twitter.
Tweetup works on the same principle as Google’s paid-for search results. Advertisers on TweetUp will be able to bid to have their own tweets displayed when users search for particular keywords in the company's Twitter search engine
Certainly it can be difficult to sift the good twitters from the bad, and this model should at least provide people with more relevant content. However you have to wonder; if Tweetup’s ambition is to “make Twitter more relevant for everyone” at what point will their paid-for service compete with Twitter’s own plans? Surely Twitter’s co-founder, Biz Stone, wants to achieve exactly this with his own search algorithm. After all you don’t have to look very hard to realise that Google’s natural search far outperforms its paid-for counterparts in terms of volume and consumer trust.
In the short term it could really make a difference to the user experience, but how much brands will be prepared to pay for this service, and for how long, is worth considering.
The transition of newsprint editorial on to digital platforms has transformed the way consumers discover news. Readership is moving online and advertisers are not too far behind.
Rupert Murdoch recently announced his plans to charge for access to News Corporation's UK newspaper sites - a day’s use would amount to a fee of £1, while £2 for a week’s subscription. Although the model of free content supported by advertising is clearly flawed (many successful news sites produce minuscule revenues), users have previously voted against the paywall model, simply migrating to another paper that decided to go with an advertising-based revenue model.
So with declining print circulations, declining print ad spend, a tradition of supplying free content online and users migrating as soon as sites do start to charge, how are companies going to finance their good, in-depth, quality journalism? Will it be a case of interrogating those consumers who do sign up for the paywall so that they are better understood from a marketing perspective and therefore a huge premium can be charged to advertisers? Or will the micropayment model come into force? Whatever the future holds, finding a way to monetise the huge readership newspapers and magazines is the Holy Grail for online publishing.
My first day at Maxus was my best first day at a new company ever.
Being welcomed with a great breakfast and some really friendly faces made it all seem so much easier. You always feel at a bit of a loss on your first day but the welcome packs made it really easy to find out how Maxus do things. The atmosphere is lively yet dynamic and hard working - a great balance of fun whilst still ensuring work is achieved and completed. A pub lunch with the team helped cement how nice everyone was and gave the opportunity to speak to people not just about work, and a cake delivery from a supplier made my afternoon.
All in all, a pretty relaxed first spent acclimatising and making sure I was all set up and raring to go on day two. The agency is heading for some exciting times and this is reflected in everybody’s enthusiasm - I look forward to being part of whatever may lay ahead for Maxus, I feel certain it will only be good things.
In the UK, as globally, social media usage is growing exponentially, making its importance as a consumer touchpoint within a marketing strategy ever increasing.
To quote John Burbank (CEO of Neilsen Online):
“Social networking has become a fundamental part of the global online experience.”
In the UK roughly 1 in every 6 minutes spent online is on a social networking site. Accordingly all BBC News journalists have been told social media must now be used as their primary source of info with the Director of BBC News telling them: “...If you don’t like it ... then go and do something else because it’s going to happen. You’re not going to stop it.”
With some brands this seems to have translated into a race to create presence within the social sphere. The challenge we face is ensuring our clients understand exactly what social media means, the pitfalls and principles of usage as well as the potential benefits before they dive in.
A recent case study - for Nestle - can be held up as a clear example of “when social media goes bad.” The gist of the tale is that the brand – who have not been without their share of controversy in the past – apparently asked for YouTube to remove a Greenpeace video which had quite graphically suggested how Nestle’s use of palm oil harmed orang-utans. YouTube did.
In enraged response to this removal Greenpeace supporters took to Nestle’s official Facebook site in droves. These new “fans” covered Nestle’s Facebook wall with angry commentary, with some changing their profile pictures to nasty variations of the consumer giants logo. Nestle, perhaps having missed the 101 on how to behave in the social sphere, responded on its own Facebook wall to tell “fans” with altered logos that their posts would be deleted, that Nestle in fact had control over their own Facebook page so they could delete as they saw fit and adopting a tone that some commentators have called “juvenile; heavy-handed and insulting.” This approach activated one of the key benefits of social networking – the exchange spread like wildfire onto Twitter, Blogs and Wikis creating a serious PR headache.
Whilst Nestle have now capitulated, publicly apologising on their Facebook page for being rude and confessing that they are “learning” about social media, they still have some 100,000 fans on a Facebook page full of anger to determine what to do with. So how could they have handled this better?
There are some basic principles they should have considered in the first place:
- What are you trying to accomplish with social media?
- Why social media?
- How will it incorporate into the overall customer experience?
- How are you setup internally to deal with it?
- Are you prepared to let go of some control?
- Are you looking at it as a long term project?
- How will you measure and evaluate the results?
It is the “control” element that seems to be the particular fail for Nestle, from the YouTube incident onwards. It is also suggested that, internally, they gave the maintenance job to a junior marketer, hence the tone used in their comments. This should act as a cautionary tale that we can pass on to all our clients – make sure you are prepared before you enter the social media sphere.
Ok, well I'm not going to write about compulsive eaters but I am going to have a little rant about cheaters.
Tiger Woods, Vernon Kay, Ashley Cole, Little Mark Owen... the list is endless.
Now, I don't want to tarnish every man with the same brush but come on boys. What happens? You wake up one day lying next to Cheryl Cole or Tess Daly and you think... God, you repulse me. You have a great body, a beautiful face, you look after my children & support me but I am going to ruin it all by cheating on you with the nanny / page 3 blonde / any girl that shows me affection, and then, if that is not clever enough, I am going to leave a string of texts / illicit photo's behind so you can find out?
Is that how it happens?
I am not naive enough to think that beauty is everything and I am sure that you don't get as much attention as you used to and maybe even the spark that - 3 years ago was very prominent and very exciting has dulled but what I can't understand is why you risk everything for, well... nothing. A stroke of the ego, a compliment and you're gone. Flash forward 3 months and it's tears, remorse and public displays of guilt-ridden apologising. The best outcome, your wife stays, but never trusts you again. The worst outcome is you lose, literally everything.
So, can someone maybe explain something I'm missing? Or, girls, are we just better at hiding our affairs? Do we cheat like men but are more clever? Or do we rationalise things in our head so the pros of cheating are too weak compared to the cons? I need answers.
And the winner is……
As the year is coming to an end there are always awards to be won, presents to receive, and lots of turkey to eat.
Across many of the media websites there are the ranking of the top 10 agencies, ad campaigns, and even the worst. But what do those specialists really know anyways? The real voice is the people from the agencies….Maxus. So in usual fashion let’s put it up to have a list.
What media campaigns stand out in your mind from the past year? They do not have to be maybe an entire campaign but a neat implementation idea.
For me it has to be Virgin Atlantic TV commercial with the flight attendants in the overly red suits. However, I did like the expansion of comparethemeerkat.com online to a facebook page that had new information up every day or so.
ITV1 has a new drama and it's promising to be the new Cold Feet.
Married Single Other is a six part-er with and ensemble cast featuring amongst others, Lucy Davis (The Office) and Ralf Little (Two Pints and Royal Family)
First aired on February 22nd it made a promising start with 6.2 million viewers and a 25.5% audience share in the 9pm slot however, I am cynical and dubious about it ever becoming or having the success of the highly acclaimed Cold Feet that had 5 series and won 20 major television awards during it's 6 year stint as one of ITV's major rating success stories.
I have watched both episodes and I have to say I am not hooked. Yes, there are 6 of them, and yes, they are all friends but that is the only comparison I can make between MSO and Cold Feet. The casting director must have been having a laugh or on medication when he decided on the role of Ralph Little as the 'stud' because everytime I see him on screen with his circa 1993 M&S suit and his greasy boyband hair i find it completely unbelievable that he has girls swooning over him. Also, Babs' the middle aged married lady stuck in a rut with her gambling addict husband is the Malteser advert girl. She will ALWAYS be the Maltese girl and therefore it's very hard to concentrate on anything she is saying when she is trying to act.
Maybe I am being a little harsh, give it time I hear you say, but frankly I have a feeling this may be Married Single Other's first and last outing at ITV1.
What do you think?
He's one of the most iconic men in the world, the face of many an advertising campaign, and recently a new member of the philanderer club. He now keeps company with famous footballers, singers and actors as he airs his dirty laundry in the newspapers and websites of our information hungry and celebrity driven society.
The issue is not that he ever did this necessarily, more what does he now have to do as a husband, and also a public figure.
Like many others in his position, should he be provided with the privacy that you or I would demand as individuals? Or does he owe a duty of care to millions of people that consider him a role model? Lest we forget, it is us that put him on this pedestal, is it also our right to be involved in his private affairs?
Should Tiger Woods be forced to make a public apology?
There has been an interesting development from Warner music who appear to be about to stop their music being streamed for free on the likes of We7, Last.fm and Spotify. What will be interesting to see is whether they are alone in making this move or if other labels will follow suit pulling all of their music or even just certain artists.
The economics for record labels obviously aren't stacking up for Warner and the 'freemium' model isn't delivering the sort of revenue they were hoping for and this must also highlight some of the pressures of streaming costs on the music services as well.
It seems the record labels are yet to find a way to regain even a small percentage of the perceived lost revenue by illegal downloading and with the mounting losses and debts could it be that 2010 could start the decade with the biggest shake up ever to the music industry and one of the big labels goes into administration or worse? Surely they can not continue losing money as they are forever?
The final "Celebrity" Big Brother closed its doors on Friday with Jordan's better half crowned champion to the delight of a reasonably substantial 4m audience. Not quite to the levels of the Shilpa Shetty series but no-one in this years had the same audience pull that you get from violence and racism.
Now, all we have to do is get through a final series of regular punter Big Brother and Channel 4 can finally lay this demon to rest.
For about the first two series, Big Brother was a geniunely interesting programme that could justifiably be described as a social experiment. For a good 5 or 6 series too long its dragged on to easily fill their Summer schedule, with increasingly wierd contestants looking for a platform to dubious fame (Kinga "bottlegate" Karolczak / Michelle "i now present on the adult channels" Bass for starters).
My hope is that, for this Summers they'll return to a mix of people who aren't the most bizarre fame hunters in the country, have a bit of fun with it, wave it a fond farewell and get back to some cutting edge, exciting programming for Summer 2011.
Or does anyone disagree and are going to be sad to see it end?
So a quick thought for Friday; oranges, mandarins, clementines, tangerines or satsumas, which to have, what's the best? Me, I'm a clementine or satsuma person, but what are other peoples thoughts? Dan apparently likes oranges, but which would you choose.
This decision puts me in mind of the funny but factual stand up comedy of Eddie Izzard:
Share your thoughts, which fruit, questions on fruits, any random Friday fruit thought you might think of.
Another quick random thought: how many of your five a day can fruit cake account for and does it work out that the more slices you have the more it accounts for? hmmm
Did anyone see the Guardian's feature on the top 50 TV dramas of all time? Some classic old shows to help get through these wintry evenings if you can find them on DVD, but some controversial choices and a clear pro British bias me thinks (or maybe Americans have only learnt how to make good drama in the past 10 years) .
The top ten were:
1. The Sopranos
2. Brideshead Revisited
3. Our Friends in The North
4. Mad Men
5. A Very Peculiar Practice
6 .Talking Heads
7. The Singing Detective
8. Oranges are Not The Only Fruit
9. State of Play
10. Boys From The Blackstuff
So 8 Brits and 2 from the U.S. Can't argue with no 1,3, and 10, all of which were outstanding. But surely Hill Street Blues and The Wire should be in the top 10?
If you haven't seen the many advertisements and if you haven't heard the hype for the new American show Glee then....where have you been!
Glee is the latest sitcom to come out of America and it aired on E4 last night.
I had sky plus-ed it, because obviously, I work in media and therefore I am out every night partying and networking but low and behold, I found myself, bathed and fed by 8pm and ready to watch it.
Glee is a show about a high school glee club (for those of you not American, Glee Club is our equivalent of a choir club) that is failing and in need of a new, cooler type of person to join. Think High School Musical for adults. This is no normal Glee Club - this is Kanye West Singing, attitude bringing amazement.
I wont spoil the fun, but Glee was a huge hit for me. If you didn't see it last night make sure you 4oD it or catch it again on E4. It is not one to miss.
It’s that time of year again where we all set ourselves, usually unachievable goals for the New Year ahead.
The most common resolutions are losing weight, getting fit, giving up smoking and alcohol. This year I’ve decided to do all of the above – hoping that I’ll at least manage one of these, but as if you’re like me these will probably last through until the 10th January (or to the end of the month if I’m lucky!)
Maybe my new year’s resolution should be never to make a new year’s resolution again – at least I’ll be able to actually achieve that.
Perhaps we should give ourselves some less painful and more achievable goals – like learning a new word each week, learn a new skill or simply to tidy out the drawer that everything gets thrown in. Wearing a piece of clothing that contains colour once a week or making sure I eat breakfast every morning.
New Year’s resolutions should be more about setting goals for the year ahead – it’s a time to put the past behind you and look forward to the future with optimism.
I want to know if anyone has any unusual resolutions for 2010 – why not share them it may help you to keep on track?
Best wishes for the New Year ahead!
As the year is coming to an end there are always awards to be won, presents to receive, and lots of turkey to eat.
Across many of the media websites there are the ranking of the top 10 agencies, ad campaigns, and even the worst. But what do those specialists really know anyways? The real voice is the people from the agencies….Maxus. So in usual fashion let’s put it up to have a list.
What media campaigns stand out in your mind from the past year? They do not have to be maybe an entire campaign but a neat implementation idea.
For me it has to be Virgin Atlantic TV commercial with the flight attendants in the overly red suits. However, I did like the expansion of comparethemeerkat.com online to a facebook page that had new information up every day or so.
Now, I like Christmas as much as the next guy, but I am becoming more and more annoyed by the Christmas holiday season. Every year its starting earlier, this year I saw Sainsburys putting out their xmas stock in September!
I do enjoy this 4 month slog and festive crescendo of adverts,shopping and Christmas songs but I have to admit that I find it increasingly hard to listen to any Christmas songs on the radio (especially those cuddly and lovsie Heart FM ones). In the past I would listen and try to conjure up nice images of christmas mornings, but now I can't turn to the next station fast enough. And why is it that every man and his dog thinks they should produce a Christmas album that invariably features the same songs that have been covered by other artists
Although their is one shining light at the end of this musical Xmas tunnel, that is the impeding release of X-Factor's guaranteed number 1 super ballad.
Personally I cant wait!
After more than a year of repairs, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) finally collided some atoms this week. In the experiment the LHC created similar conditions to those that occurred after the Big Bang. The project had been plagued by problems, from it over heating, to a bird dropping a baguette into the machinery. But now we are one step closer to discovering the 'god particle' and the existence of further dimensions.
Although I am not 100% sure about what happens in the 27km collider, I think this is an interesting advance in science. It may prove that there are more dimensions than we currently know about and why gravity is a relatively weak force compared to others in the universe, which is pretty cool!
Now for the Competition:
First person to properly answer the question: below will win a chocolate bar and soft drink of their choice.
"Who postulated the existence of the elusive 'God' particle that the LHC looking for "
It's been quite a year for media, and one topic that's never been out of the limelight is the ongoing debate on whether content (especially print) is moving to a free model or whether the majority is always destined to be paid-for. Three years ago, the free-era came into its own with the launch of thelondonpaper, London Lite, Sport magazine and then subsequently Shortlist the following year. The Evening Standard suffered because of it and everyone was heralding the freesheet era.
However, three years on and a lot has changed; both thelondonpaper and London Lite have closed while the Evening Standard remains the lone evening freesheet, but who's to know how long that can survive? Meanwhile Shortlist has been the success story, going from strength-to-strength culminating in the launch of Stylist last month.
From my view, the afternoon freesheet market does not work but with the likes of Sport, Shortlist and Stylist, if you have strong content that is more tailored to a reader so that it focuses on his/her interests that is where the real potential lies and enables freesheets to exist and become successful business models. So what next? I don't think there are many other verticals that have the scale and durability to work in the market, but with the proliferation of technology and gadgets I wouldn't be too surprised to see a fortnightly tech freesheet on the horizon.
At the same time as this all happening in the print landscape there is talk of online doing the complete opposite and going from an established free content ad-funded model to a paid-for medium. Spearheaded by Rupert Murdoch, where online is concerned, this year has been about the potential of micro-charging, with a particular focus on newspaper websites. It takes a brave man, in my opinion, to think that people who have been accustomed to receive something for free for a number of years now will be happy to pay for the same level of content as before. Unless everyone agrees and follows suit users will surely just move on to their next favourite site that is still free? I think it is a really interesting concept and model but from my point of view I think content would have to be exceptional and unique to the site for there to be any chance of users moving to a subscription or micro-payment model from the current free one.
Are there any sites out there that are currently free that you would pay for? I'm not so sure.....
I am on the bench with Christmas as a whole. I like it as a holiday away from work and as an excuse for the general public to just be a bit nicer but we all know Christmas is the best when you view it through the eyes of children.
Seeing kids get excited could not fail to bring a smile to even the most scrooge - like of human beings and the creatives behind the newest Christmas advert for John Lewis obviously knew this because this year, they have (in my opinion) delivered a belter.
The concept is simple but effective: children opening presents that are gifts that you would give to a grown up and being ecstatic about it. The tag line is: "Remember how Christmas Used to Feel? Give someone that feeling" and believe me, by the end of the ad you remember how good Christmas felt.
The final selling point for me was the beautifully sung version of 'Sweet Child O Mine' by Taken By Trees.
Watch it and let me know if it made you feel as happy as it made me!
I was out at dinner last night and I was thinking how lucky we are within our industry that we get the opportunity to go to some of the best restaurants in London. But which is the best? There are over 5,500 restaurants in London according to the Yellow Pages, but let's face it, none of us have time to find the golden nugget within that vast list and our exercise regime would be seriously compromised if we did! So, I want to create a Maxus and Friends Top Table, if you will. Where have you been, what restaurants do you like, and why? I will list my Top 5 London restaurants and also my most over-rated restaurant as well and I want you to do the same. Looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with!
My Top 5 Restaurants in London
Le Gavroche 10
The Greenhouse 9.5
Corrigan's Mayfair 9
L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon 9
Pied a Terre 8.5
most over-rated restaurant
Cipriani's 0 (Never go there, it's terrible, although I did see Mathieu Flamini, who I proceeded to call Michel for 10 minutes......not cool......)
Well, I am surely not the first person this morning to put hand to keyboard and write about this weekend's X Factor results. Twitter, facebook and numerous blogs are filled with ecstatic / outraged X Factor fans feeling happy / sad of last nights outcome.
Now, don't get me wrong, I see a certain (tiny) amount of appeal for the big haired, high-top wearing duo that is Jedward and I think the onslaught of abuse they received at the beginning of the show was over dramatic and uncalled for but musically, Lucy Jones was better. Everyone that has two (or even one) working ear drum knows that Lucy is in a different league to the twins but her getting voted off by the public was not the shocker, it was Mr Simon Cowell choosing to take it to the public vote.
Like most people I know, I have a weird 'thing' for Simon Cowell. He is nasty and pompous but that has always been counter-acted by the knowledge that he could pick talent. Whatever he said or did I knew that he appreciated music and could pick the talent from the talentless.
What a hypocrite.
'I will leave the country if John and Edward win' was just one of the comments Cowell exclaimed after one of the performances by the twins. Words like mockery, ridiculous and talentless were constantly uttered when asking for his opinions of the two and then, stop the press! Britain like them? They bring in the ratings? You could almost see his brain thinking - Simon Cowell + Jedward = another £10milllion house? And that's what I feel was in the forefront of his brain last night. No longer was he a talent scout, he was a sell out.
Lucy Jones will no doubt fade into oblivion now, like most reality TV stars do, but to have her 5 minutes of fame cut short because of money making opportunities and to always be remembered that Simon Cowell sent her home in favour of Jedward must be a bitter pill to swallow. Simon has lost my vote but what about you?
[cue slow music and sensuous female voice] These are not just any baked beans.... these are M&S baked beans. ... err .. No wait, sorry, they're Heinz.
The sensuous-voiced food narrator is not mistaken. Following a successful 16 month trial, M&S are to roll out 400 branded products across 600 stores. These will include many of the top household names such as Coca Cola, Heinz, Kellogg and Marmite.
Despite their high standard when it comes to culinary delights (and those famously mouth watering 'food-porn' style ads), M&S have admitted that there were categories where "we could simply never compete". Their chairman, Sir Stuart Rose, uses Tabasco as an example when talking to BBC Breakfast News: "You either have genuine Tabasco or fake Tabasco - which tastes awful....Our customers deserve the best and that's what they shall get; without having to shop elsewhere." Quite a turnaround for a company which until now has followed a strict own-label-only policy.
Finally! Now you can get a real can of Coca Cola with your M&S lunch and grab that impulse KitKat while standing in the queue! Even their chairman found the lack of such brands frustrating. It seems to be an obvious move and I wonder why it hasn't been done sooner. Pricing will also be competitive. M&S plans to combat the perception of their high pricing with an advertising campaign comparing prices to Waitrose.
However, I have to say that I've grown to respect M&S's stance on own-brands. I think it served to enhance the impression of exclusivity and quality communicated in their food ads, and you knew where you were with them. Also, is 400 brands enough? Waitrose have already hit back saying that M&S "does not have 1,200 comparable lines".
Only time will tell. Anyway, what does it matter if there are brand gaps when only M&S have Percy Pigs!
With video now being readily available online the use of searching for information on sites such as You Tube has inevitably gone up. Only the other day I searched You Tube for instructions to some DIY job where instead of just reading a 10 step how to guide, I was able to watch a 3 minute video clip showing the whole process start to finish.
You Tube has now begun the presence of promoted videos giving you the control of when your ads can appear on the site. Much in the same way of managing your keywords and ad text for activity in the search engines it is now possible to manage your ads on You Tube. The natural listings and sponsored listings on You Tube appear in the same order as you would expect to see on a classic search engine layout with the added thumbnail image next to your ad text. The positioning of the ad also works in much the same way using an equation of quality score and your bid level. With online video becoming readily available I feel this will hold some great potential for some clients, using the powers of sight, sound and motion to educate and engage with the users driving brand awareness and increasing conversions.
Has anyone else been watching True Blood? Well, judging by the viewing figures, a lot of people think its fang-tastic (sorry)
The first episode of the vampire drama, which stars Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer, pulled in 1.56m viewers (10.2%) between 10pm and 11.20pm and a further 145k (1.9%) tuned in on timeshift.
Not only am I little obsessed with the programme, I also love this innovative use of outdoor in New Zealand to promote the show - ready made stakes!
Climate Chief Howard Stern 'of the Stern Report Fame' has stated in an interview with The Times that People will need to turn vegetarian if the world is to fight climate change. In the interview, Lord Stern said: “Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases. It puts enormous pressure on the world’s resources. A vegetarian diet is better.”
He predicted that people’s attitudes would evolve until meat eating became unacceptable. “I think it’s important that people think about what they are doing and that includes what they are eating,” he said. “I am 61 now and attitudes towards drinking and driving have changed radically since I was a student. People change their notion of what is responsible. They will increasingly ask about the carbon content of their food.”
UN figures suggest that meat production is responsible for about 18 per cent of global carbon emissions, including the destruction of forest land for cattle ranching and the production of animal feeds such as soy.
Having recently become a meat free convert it has opened my eyes to lots of things connected with meat and our insatiable need to consume it. We know it’s bad for the planet, vast amounts of studies suggest it’s bad for us http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/jul/01/vegetarians-blood-cancer-diet-risk, it’s certainly not good for the animals. So why do we continue to consume it on an industrial level.
I would contest that we are addicted to meat?
The other week I engaged in a conversation which brought back a flood of memories. The conversation started with me and a friend in that all too well known situation of sitting and watching the telly but being too lazy to turn the channel having of course lost the control (which I later found I was sitting on).
After a great viewing of ‘Sponge Bob Square Pants’ we were faced with some very lame children’s programs. The topic which inevitably followed was a comparison of today’s children’s telly against the stuff we remembered back from our childhood. Of course the stuff we remembered was far better with some brilliant programs we that we managed to recollect.
Favourite 5 were:
This then brought us onto the best characters from these programs.
Penfold- Danger Mouse
Morph- Hart Beat
Gorden Gopher- Childrens BBC
I believe that’s a pretty good list but I got to say I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten some good other ones (like Roland Rat that has just sprung to mind!). Feel free to add to the list and help prove things were better ‘back in t’day’.
Given all of the furore surrounding the BBC's decision to allow BNP Leader, Nick Griffin, to appear of last night's edition of Question Time, it was always going to be a high-profile show.
Interest in the show was clearly demonstrable, both at the BBC TV centre, with angry protestors reaching near the 1,000 mark at one stage, and also by the audience viewing figures. Initial overnights suggest the programme pulled in around 8m viewers, approximately 50% share of total viewing and almost three times their usual audience draw.
Whether a poorly veiled attempt by the BBC to boost their ratings, or a genuine demonstration of freedom of speech, it really was one to watch.
It’s a Friday morning, Boyzone are the latest musical talent to be mourned over the airwaves, and I'm scrolling through the list. The track list to be exact. The track list to our expertly compiled Spotify playlist; entitled Rocktastic. For months we have been pooling our collective knowledge and tastes to form what is arguably becoming the greatest Rock collection of all time. So there I am, deciding whether or not to retrace the glory days of the late Stephen Gately - when I notice a new button! This may not be news to some of you, but I've not seen this arrow-through-circle logo before. So I click it, to find that those chaps at 7Digital have secured a deal with Spotify, enabling users to buy and download tracks. This is the very same 7Digital that agreed a similar deal with Blackberry (http://bit.ly/3lLvSF) and the same 7Digital that are now half owned by HMV (http://bit.ly/lRFdZ).
I think we all agree that up until now i-Tunes has done a decent job of making a lot of money from their transactional service, charging about £8 per album, and has had no real reason to fear this particular challenger over any other. However Spotify’s trump card now comes into play. For £9.99 a month, premium subscribers now have access to an “Unlimited Download” feature (http://bit.ly/8jhiC) which essentially allows an unlimited number of tracks to be stored on a PC for a temporary period.
Now consider that Spotify premium is available on the iPhone (http://bit.ly/bR5RK), and you’ve got one almighty game of digital paper-scissor-stone...
Soon, Last.FM will join the fray through their partnership with XBOX (http://bit.ly/2xFFUa), enabling those gamers to stream music via their console. So where does this leave the others; Pandora, MySpace, Grooveshark, we7, even Youtube! Surely without innovation or a unique proposition, without awareness and loyalty, their days are numbered.
Have your say here. What do you think of the future of online music? And what of digital radio? Or music television stations? Is there room for this many outlets?
In the meantime; here's the Rocktastic playlist link... enjoy
I've just come back from a road trip through California and (perhaps a little tragically) I couldn't help but notice and compare their advertising to that of ours over here in the UK.
One thing that struck me is the sheer amount of TV advertising - ads before the programmes' introductory titles and then again straight after, before the content has even started, no restrictive minutes per hour for them it seems. Apart from the volume, the content is also very different, lots of prescription drug advertising (not allowed over here) with at least half the commercial dedicated to terrifying side effects. They also have far more political advertising - NHS bashing seemed to be a key topic in the light of Obama's proposed reforms!
Magazines didn't appear to hold that much difference in terms of volume or style but radio ads were far more localised than over here. Personal addresses from small town business' were not unusual - for instance Jonathon from Pahrump telling us he had lived there all his life and therefore was best to defend us if we happened to get caught DUI was typical.
Perhaps the most innovative use of outdoor media that I haven't seen over here was a huge 'wanted' billboards detailing which murders, rapists etc were on the loose in the local area. Very reassuring.....
Just as one free London title closes, another two arrive. As we all know, The Evening Standard is set to become free very soon but in the meantime the first female targeted free title has launched. 'Stylist' will be distributed in London, Brighton, Leeds, Manchester, Glasgow and Birmingham and the publication has already created debate within the Maxus office.
Personally, as I read the 'Welcome' on the first page I became increasingly frustrated. Verging on the patronising, it included one typo and three, yes three, mentions of chocolate (in an article of c.150 words)! It seems the editor can't do a hard days work without a bar of Green and Blacks at her desk! I read on and came across the Elsewhere section. This focuses on World news in one compact page. Now bearing in mind that within the 'Welcome' it stated that the editorial would focus on thoughtful journalism, dealing with issues that matter, I was surprised to find the first piece of World news to be on how the Russians are the vainest nation - putting more pictures of themselves online than any other European nation. Other articles referred to dating in the US, nude hiking and weddings. Now they are the issues that REALLY matter to us women, are they not?!
Others in the agency, however, really liked it and are glad that there is finally free title that targets women. I guess it is only meant to be a quick read whilst your sat on the tube and therefore I may be getting a little over-sensitive.
Anyway, I better get back to work.......now where is my Dairy Milk??
At the moment with advertising money under pressure and web sites trying to find alternative methods of achieving profits plenty are looking at putting all or some of their content behind a pay wall. In theory this may be a viable route for some but unfortunately for the countries major newspapers it may speed the impending doom for some of them based on some research by Harris Interactive. They have found only 5% of people surveyed would pay to continue reading on their favourite news site with the most common behaviour to find an alternative free resource.
This got me thinking about which websites I would actually be willing to pay to access myself and the answer is not many. We already pay for the BBC in a round about way and the only other sites I would consider paying for are those which I have a particular affinity for such as nufc.com and aintitcool.com
Entertainment Weekly in the US is doing something a little snazzy with it's latest issue by having a video ad in it!
Is this the begining of magazines shifting to a more dynamic creative media solution I wonder?
The ad take the form of an insert so opportunities are limited, plus the production must be eye wateringly expensive but in response to the right strategy for the right client it could be just the ticket.
I wonder which UK publication will be the first to give this a whirl?
Taylor Swift, Beyonce Knowles, Kanye West. Three names that between them have over 60m search results on Google. Each a successful artist in their own right, and all the centre of the latest celebrity controversy to plaster tabloids, and the internet, across the country. Of course I am referring to MTV's VMA awards incident that has caused much debate (or not) among the Maxus office.
This led me to think about our general fascination with celebrity and specifically what we find so appealing with it. With this in mind I'd like to pose the following question:
If you could work with any one person or celebrity for the remainder of your life (living or dead, fictional or non-fictional) who would it be?
Gcse and a level time has rolled around again and- bring out the trumpets- its the best results ever. This obviously provokes the annual debate. Are the kids of today the cleverest ever or are exams getting easier?
I'm sure some of you will disagree... But its got to be option2 for me. Education is so geared towards exam results that you can be pretty much told what the questions are going to be and, if your enterprising witha good memory, learn a response by heart to trot out in the exam. That's all very well and good for nailing that a* but how practically useful is that type of learning in the real world and isn't there some relevant skills that should be taught that would equip kids for the rest of their life?
E.g. In maths- why don't they teach you about getting a mortgage and balancing debt rather than algebra?
I'm not belittling the hard work that goes into achieving good exam results, it just doesn't seem the best way to advance the race.
Just a thought. Now where's that gordon brown?
This week it has come to light that the 1984 Video Recordings Act was never enacted. Most of you will ask, "so what? I've never heard of it." Well you should have.
The act prohibits the sale of 'adult' material (eg. 18 rated films) to minors.
Apparently the Home Office in 1984 failed to notify the European Commission of the existence of the Act despite being required to do so under an EU directive. The mistake was not spotted on two subsequent occasions, in 1993 and 1994. As a consequence, effective immediately, police are being told to halt any existing, and to not bring any new, prosecutions for selling 'adult' material to minors until the Government passes emergency legislation to re-enact the 1984 Act.
Until then, retailers will be able to sell 'adult' material to under-18s without fear of prosecution.
Obviously the larger retailers, especially those in the Entertainment Retail Association (ERA), have vowed not to benefit from the news. Kim Bayley the director general of the ERA said “We are of course surprised that this news has come to light, but we are confident that all ERA members will act responsibly – and will continue to ensure inappropriate material does not get into the hands of children. However, I can’t speak on behalf of smaller video and video games retailers who aren’t ERA members.”
Kids must be having the best summer holidays ever...
To help raise awareness of the importance of relationships within the work place (something that we all know too well is of paramount importance, especially in Media), recruitment firm Tip Top have launched a national 'hug your boss' day which will take place on Friday 22nd August. The idea behind the day is ask yourself if you would feel comfortable hugging your boss...if the answer is no then you perhaps need to re-address your relationship and try a bit harder.
Tip Top are hosting a microsite (www.nationalhugyourbossday.co.uk) to promote the day and are encouraging people to upload their affection filled photos to share with the nation. I hope that we can get some Maxus hugs up there - group hug Mercedes team?
In light of the Fourth Plinth campaign by Antony Gormley I have had a media enlightenment!!!....or just a really bad idea that can only go one way. There seems to be a good amount of unused Underground as well as other outdoor media spaces. Instead of letting these go to waste why don’t we let the always creative public have a go.
What I am proposing is we can have all the ‘empty’ spaces bought up by one company (or rich person) and sold on the cheap to the public, Maybe £30-£50? People can submit artwork, poems, thoughts, promotional events, model pictures, CVs, etc. (all approved beforehand). These entries can then be allocated across stations and outdoor places. I think as a parameter we should keep religion and politics out of this as people are unable to cope with the idea that people might have different ideas than them.
What would you put on a XTP, cross track, 6 sheet, or even the Colossus?
Sadly enough, I would put up a recruitment poster for my Rowing Club (Thames Rowing Club) for all those who are interests…and should join!
Picture the scenario.... A friend comes over for a TV and take away night. You put the TV on your favourite (embarrassing) programme is on. You REALLY want to watch it but you know that if you admit this out loud it could quite possibly ruin whatever reputation you have been trying to promote and you could become subjected to immense ridicule.
Not. With. Sky. Plus.
It allows you to always be prepared. From the comfort of my desk, I can use my Iphone to sky plus any cheap / tacky / wrong / weird / rude programme I want, it then tape it (in secret) and stores it ready for my alone time, therefore allowing me not to disclose any of my private viewing habits.
However, for the means of the blog, I will let you in (only partially) to my Sky Plus library and what my guilty pleasures are:
- Behind Bars. Documentary of prison life. (this is on Bravo. Its amazing, they have a different theme every episode, so sometimes it discusses prison relationships, sometimes prison violence etc)
- Total Wipout USA (on Watch and its a mix of a surreal gameshows like Takeshi's Castle, Gladiators and Krypton Factor. I'm addicted to it. Americans running around a man made obstacle course, falling in mud and jumping on BIG rubber balls over water. I love this show.)
- Women who Kill (this is factual and on the crime and punishment channel. Its usually the stories of three separate real life women killers. Worrying I sometimes put this on when I try and fall asleep)
Anyway - what are your TV guilty pleasures?
I went to see 'Moon' at the cinema last night (not great in my opinion) and on my way home I went via Trafalgar Square to have a look at Antony Gormleys 'Fourth Plinth'.
For anyone unfamiliar with this project, the Fourth Plinth is the name given to the empty plinth in the north-west corner of Trafalgar Square in London. Built in 1841 there were not enough funds available at the time to create a statue and so the space remained empty. This summer, sculptor Antony Gormley has invited the people of the UK to occupy the plinth - a different person every hour, 24 hours a day, for 100 days without a break.
When I went last night, the chap on the Plinth was dressed as Henry VIII, talking to the assembled crown about his life and times. As I type this, the current inhabitee is a girl whose objective on the plinth is to "invite people in the crowd to create statues or shapes with their bodies to translate abstract concepts into visual metaphors or mudras". Hmm, not to everyones tastes then.
You can see this for yourself by visiting www.oneandother.co.uk and watching the live streaming. To date, the live online coverage has clocked up 2,900,000 page impressions, 658,000 visits and 407,000 unique users. The average time spent on the site is 10 minutes and 18 seconds.
To date, over 29,000 people have applied for one of just 2,400 place available - me included. If I get picked I'm taking bets/dares for what I should do. Any ideas?
This Wednesday (22nd July) marks the inaugural Maxus softball tournament. With the agency being split into three teams, (Milly's Masochists, Emily's Extremists and Louise's Lunatics) you can practically feel the adrenaline as you walk through the office...... Waggers and Jonesy have come up with a feasible sounding game-plan, Milly is confident that she has the strongest team and P.Rick, well P.Rick is American so is genetically programmed to do well!
For those of you less familiar with softball rules and regulations you may find the following useful: http://www.ehow.com/facts_5184173_basic-softball-rules-regulations.html
Now we just have to hope that the current forecasts for 22oC of glorious sunshine ring true.
The new series of BBC's "Strictly Come Dancing" is expected to hit our screens in September and there already seems to be quite a bit of controversy surrounding the show.
After last years voting debacle (in which irrespective of how many public votes he won, Tom Chambers could not be saved from the dance-off; high drama indeed) one might have thought it would take a few episodes before people were given a reason to start complaining.
This time around however, the furore is surrounding the judges, not the contestants. It seems that Arlene Phillips has (allegedly) been given the elbow for being too old (she's 66) and will instead be replaced by Alesha Dixon (30), the 2007 winner. The BBC denies accusations of ageism, though accepts that they are trying to pull in a younger audience than their average 52 year old. Slightly mixed messages? I'm not really sure, but what is clear is that out of the 5-strong regulars (Brucie - 81, Len Goodman - 65, Bruno Tonioli - 53, Craig Revel Horwood 44) it was the lady of the show who was shown the door.
Given previous allegations of the BBC treating the more mature lady rather unfairly (namely Moira Stuart being axed from her Sunday morning news bulletin) you can understand the consternation surrounding the decision. I for one am not really sure whether it is about ageism, or a pre-show publicity drive or just that Arlene didn't really add anything extra to the judging panel. What I am certain of though, is that throughout all of these discussions Ms Dixon is being lauded as a "youthful" creature, giving hope to fellow 30 year olds everywhere!
Welcome to news at your Fingertips-uk
Fingertips is a news and interest RSS aggregator, that gives users the chance to create a unique newspaper 'homepage' (think iGoogle homepage) based on their individual preferences.
Its quite easy to set up and gather all of the RSS feed you like. It went live in April ‘09, and claims to monetise the product through selling adspace that, targets usership via age, gender, location, interests etc. They claim " they can enable Fingertips users to develop strong and lasting relationships with your company and your products"
It appears to be a good product and easy to use and set up but I don't think it will catch on in any major way due to the amount of work involved in creating your homepage. In addition to this people may have 1 or 2 preferences of content providers but across the board are willing to buy into an existing provider for their news and interest i.e. Skynews and The Guardian
In addition to this it doesn't seem to be marketed very well, unfortunately there SEO isn't very strong as a search for "fingertips" ranks Psoriasis at Your Fingertips: The Essential Reference Guide to Dealing with Psoriasis: Amazon.co.uk: Tim Mitchell, Rebecca Penzer, Gillian Clarke, ... 2 higher places higher.
This is just my opinion - have yours.
The Reputation Institute have published the results of their 'Global Reputation Pulse Study' with some interesting results. The study uses a sample of 5,000 British consumers and calculates how reputable they believe a company to be against 4 key areas; trust, esteem, admiration and good feeling. All pretty obvious stuff if you ask me, however highly subjective which leads me to question what, if anything we can take from this.
The top 10 companies ranked by reputation are;
1. Marks and Spencer
2. Smith and Nephew (Specialise in medical equipment and technologies)
6.Tate & Lyle
Anyone surprised by Smith and Nephew?
Interestingly, WPP came out at number 25.
Here at Maxus we have opened our arms once more and welcomed our lovely new work experience boy, Dan into our office. Dan's arrival made me think back to when I did work experience which actually I guess wasn't that long ago in comparison to some of the true Maxus Veterans.
I was lucky enough to secure a place at Headlines Hair Salon on Essex - the epitome of cool. Whilst all my friends spent their days dusting filing cabinets and sticking stamps to envelopes I was watching brunettes transforming into blondes bombshells, curly locks being straightened and most exciting of all is that I got to hear all of the juicy gossip - it really is true that people tell their hairdressers everything!
This led me to think...did I take anything away from my work experience? did it provide me with an increased understanding of the working world and what I might wish to achieve with my career when I grew up?
If you are lucky enough to know what industry you might wish to go into at the tender age of 15 then it is the perfect opportunity to test the water. But if like me, you were a little naive and didn't have a clue what you wanted to be, then work experience can be a great starting point to help you to understand which aspects of working life you do or don't like which in turn should help to get those creative juices flowing. In my time at Headlines I discovered that whilst I didn't want to become a hairdresser, I really enjoyed working in a creative and energetic environment but couldn't stand the smell of bleach and somehow I ended up here at Maxus which coincidently doesn't smell like bleach at all and is really quite a fun and energetic place to work.
It will be interesting to see what Dan takes away from his time at Maxus....
Wimbledon will officially start on Monday and there is already plenty of drama unfolding from the qualifying matches.The Williams sisters are both fired up for stealing Safina's title, Nadal is contemplating not defending his title due to a knee injury and no-body knows whether the weather will stay as glorious as it has been recently.
However, the most interesting subject for most of us is Andy Murray, the Scot (who we all call a Brit when his wins) who is now seeded 3rd.
It seems as though he may have a decent chance this year as Nadal (seed 1) is a limp-a-lot and Roger Federer (seed 2) could be exhausted after winning the French open. Murray has said that if he plays well then he has a good chance against most guys but he is wary of the dark horses like Ivo Karlovic.
The other hot topic this year is the new roof on centre court which means the showpiece matches cannot be rained off. 1.6million viewers tuned into the 'unveiling of the roof' show on BBC2 in May where the glamorous Katherine jenkins performed - they obviously couldn't afford to get old time favourite Cliff Richards on the show.
Since 2001, telecasts have brought in average audiences of 2 - 2.5million, in the true glory days (when Cliff would entertain in the rain) the audiences reached 8.42million viewers but that was way back when digital TV was unheard of and BBC ratings were sky high generally.
With our hopes pinned on Andy Murray, and centre court under cover perhaps the ratings will bump up this year.
Will you be watching? As an incentive, a prize will go to whoever can name Nadal's irritating habit?
As lovers of the show will know, last night saw the inevitable climax of the 5th season of the Apprentice with Sir Alan Sugar “Sralan” announcing his new apprentice. Yasmina Siadatan, a restaurateur, who beat Kate Walsh (the blonde one) in an exciting finale.
The series which saw record audiences with the debut episode drawing in 8.1m viewer. As the show is now over I thought we would take a look at the some of the quotes from one of the ‘most belligerent men in business’.
1. "You are not here to enhance some form of media career, so if any of you gentlemen are thinking of prancing around in your Calvin Kleins, showing off your three-piece-suite bulge, you can forget about it."
2. "I've written books on advertising. Cheque books."
3. "If you survive here, I promise you this: as sure as I've got a hole in my bloody a**e, when it's down to two of you, people that are nice about you now, will not be."
4. (after Ben’s indecision over who to take back into the boardroom) I hope you're bringing in people for the right reasons. I hope you're not thinking about James, that there might be a village missing an idiot somewhere...
5. I don't like liars, I don't like cheats. I don't like bullshitters. I don't like schmoozers. I don't like arse-lickers.
6. I was born in Hackney. When you're born in Hackney and you do well in life, you move to Chigwell.
7. "Could be you’re here because you’re good with words and know the right thing to say at the right time. I know the words to Candle in the Wind. It don't make me Elton John."
8. "Howard I'm thinking whether I should get you a cushion because sitting on the fence there you could get a sore arse. So are you gonna talk up?"
After another successful Friends of Maxus event this week I have been left pondering the evening's topic. It revolved around the speaker's belief that "News is the new rock 'n roll" especially for the youth generation. The part of the talk that left me intrigued is, if this is true, how has this happened? Are the youth of today more interested in news than they were ten, twenty, thirty years ago? I don't believe that there would be such a shift in such a short space of time.
However, one thing I do believe though is that the availability of free online short form content may have heightened the youth generation's interest in news. An interesting comparison is that the Sun, a popular newspaper, outsells The Guardian, a quality newspaper, by almost 9 to 1. However, in terms of online, guardian.co.uk has over 2.2m more UK unique users than thesun.co.uk. The availability of free bitesize news at our finger tips in digestible chunks whether it be video, image or text has revolutionised the way we consume media. However, with the talk of micro-charging for online content, especially prevalent with NI's plans to launch the Sunday Times online, is this good thing going to be taken away from us?
Anyway back to my main point. From this, it has to be said the youth of the today have it pretty sweet. I'm not going to go into the whole, "back in my day..." (maybe a little), but the modern "yoof" has a mobile, a PS3, a netbook, fibreoptic broadband, a digital camera, a PVR, online bank account, three social network profiles and easy access to any content they want whenever they want. When I was younger, I had an amiga computer with sensible soccer and a time allowance on the home phone! Surely the current youth generation can't look back in fifteen, twenty years and say the same thing can they?
First broadcast in the United Kingdom in 1964, the Granada Television series Seven Up!, broadcast interviews with a dozen ordinary seven-year olds from a broad cross section of society and inquired about their reactions to everyday life. Every seven years, a film documented the life of the same individuals in the intervening years. The series was structured simply as a series of interviews with no plot. However, it did have the then-new effect of turning ordinary people into celebrities.
45 years later, reality tv is a global phenomenon and most of our current celebrities have either started their career, furthered their career or ended their career as a reality tv star. The thing that baffles me is WHY anyone would NOW subject themselves to entering a reality tv show knowing that it has become a platform to show abuse, racism, bullying, homophobia, prejudice, tears, tantrums, sickness and even dying - don't we have enough of that in our "real" worlds!
Big Brother returns this week for it 10th cycle with what I can only presume will be another set of contestants so eager for fame that they will literally make themselves hated by millions of people to get it. And is it their fault - no - it is ours. I guarantee that none of use will watch BB hoping that the contestants just sit around and laugh and chat and have lovely philosophical conversations about happiness and life. We will watch it to see who fights who, who lies the most, who is the most obnoxious and who will cause the most friction. We, the viewers have shown in our ratings figures that we are hungry for the really nasty aspects of reality, and the contestants know that. They know that they will get notoriety but at a price. That price is for them to become our personal hate figure, and they would prefer to be a disliked ‘someone’ rather than just a “no-one."
What I want to know is who is still going to watch it or who, like me, has decided that they like no-one's better than someone's?
Youtube has been a big part of our lives for many years now. Whatever the use for it, UGC, comedy, adult material, etc, we all have a selection of videos we can show friends or family that will make us happy, laugh or cry (and in some cases all three). So what are your three favourite YouTube videos / moments? In no particular order my three favourites are:
I'm a sociable kind of girl, I like my parties, I like my drinks and I love to have fun so it shocked me more than anyone when I found myself over this bank holiday with no plans from Saturday morning through to Monday night.
Could I really go through one of the most popular long, work free weekends without drinking in the sun, dancing until 3am and waking up each day with a hangover?
Well, I did and it felt marvellous!!!
I cleaned, I sunbathed, I pampered, I slept, I woke early and made gourmet style breakfasts, it was bliss.
Most of all, I caught up on my favourite thing in the whole world - TV.
I watched hours and hours of the stuff;
Saturday Kitchen (someone swore on air and it added to the excitement of the omelette challenge)
House series 4 - ALL of it (the new series is starting next weekend)
The Wire - My language now contains so much profanity that I should come with an 18 cert
Home and Away omnibus - yes, people do still watch it.
Hollyoaks omnibus - so much tragedy for one small town
Britain's Next Top Model - Is it wrong to want the recovering anorexic to win - Go Jade!
Behind Bars; The Story of women serial killers - Aileen Wournos; serial killer, or misunderstood hooker, I am yet to decide
I'm a changed women. I have realised that staying in is the new going out. "What about your friends?" you may scream at me, but I simply found new, better friends -
Mr. Wide screen TV
Miss. Sky Plus
Sir. DVD player.
Who's with me? Who's going to say boo to boozy nights and yah to box sets, omnibuses and documentaries?
Has anyone had a look at WolframAlpha yet? I've just had a look at the intro video, and in a geeky way it looks like it should be amazing! The goal is to “make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone”. It’s in very early stages on first look seems groundbreaking.
Despite its search style functionality, it’s not actually a search engine. It’s a “computational knowledge engine”, which uses its internal knowledge base rather than searching the web. The variety of information is vast; nutritional information, geographical facts and figures, comparisons, financial info. The list goes on. It’s easy to see what a difference this will make once this really gets going. Mundane and hard to find facts will be there at our fingertips. No more sieving through countless links on Google. AQA will be left to deal with the stupid questions like “is that barman single” or “what should I call my dog”.
Try typing in your birthday. You’ll then know exactly how many days and seconds you have been in existence. (Although it did say “no known major notable events” for my birth date, so it obviously has a long way to go).
Go and have a gander. Prizes for the most interesting random fact! (or not)
Google Street View has now covered over 100 cities world wide but has had lots of concern. Lots of complaints have been made such as a couple from Pittsburgh who lost their court case claiming Google Street View was a reckless invasion of their privacy.
Recently Google has agreed to re-shoot the cities in Japan with lower angled cameras after many privacy complaints.
On Tuesday Greece’s data protection agency banned Google from expanding its service pending additional privacy guarantees on top of the blurred faces and number plates that Google already offers. Britain has seen Google’s camera car get blocked in by residents of Milton Keynes in April as it was taking pictures of their houses, and heard such stories as a wife filing for divorce after finding a picture of her husband’s car parked outside another women’s house. Britain’s Privacy Watchdog has rejected calls to shut Street View down but have said the Greeks' decision would set a precedent for other nations.
I myself have enjoyed the embarrassing and sometimes weird pictures caught of alien phenomena ( ET phone home!), crime in process, and blokes just exiting their local adult store. Some people were even ready to pose as the car drove past as you will find in Putney with the ‘Where’s Wally’ character (I won’t tell you where in Putney as it might ruin the fun for you)…. All rather amusing I think. Yes, some images such as car accidents and indecency have been found to appear on it but can be removed once reported to Google. I find the tool most useful, especially during my search for a house where I was able to scope out the local areas without leaving my front door.
I’m sure there’s a lot more to come on this topic though as a lot of people don’t share my view.
ET Phone Home!
Last week Grove and I were taken to the restaurant in the dark - Dans Le Noir?
It was certainly an experience and we had a great time. I was obviously expecting it to be quite dark but nothing could have prepared me for the thick blackness we were to dine in. I couldn't even see my hand in front of my face and this was only after one gin!
The theory behind the restaurant is to 're evaluate your notion of taste' and that it did. Although instead of heightening my sense of taste it made me realise how much sight enhances taste. I mean, what good would an amazing chocolate cake be if you couldn't bear witness to the oozing chocolate icing melting into the cream that have been lovingly poured all over??? (goodness me I'm salivating)
There was also the slight indignity of having a napkin tucked into my top and having to feel around my plate to check whether or not I'd found everything - oh well no one could see me after all.
The pitch black also seemed to affect how we broke the ice with complete strangers. Everyone was far more open than they usually would have been. I for one think it's rather romantic that somewhere in Switzerland there is a charming chap called Marcus that Grove and I will never lay eyes upon, but we will always have loving memories of all the farm yard animal impressions he can do. His fond memories I'm sure will be of the game strike out. It started out as peer pressure but soon enough he got the hang of it.
Our lovely Trading Director Andy Benningfield recently informed me that an old class mate of his sent him a photo of when they were at school. I was intrigued to say the least to see what Mr Benningfield looked like pre-media... well actually, pre-puberty.
Had he changed?
Well, I want you all to be the judge of that.
Can you spot him below? I couldn't.
Congrats to Andy, Angela, Charlotte, Dan, Kate and Louise who all passed their IPA certificates - a sterling effort by all!
Particular congrats go out to Kate R who passed with a distinction - a level achieved by only 4% of entrants!
A glass of wine or two is surely in order tonight!
..... has been a cause for consternation to me, for quite some time. My main concern lies with the whole kissing thing. When and where does it become appropriate to kiss? Now I'm not talking about going in for a full on lunge, but just your run of the mill, polite kiss on the cheek - which in itself is a potential social minefield. Should it be one? Two? Or (if you're just being ridiculous) 3? As a Northerner I favour one, but this doesn't seem to get the popular vote in media-ville.
Also, who should you kiss? Clients? Media Owners? Would it just be at lunches/more social occasions or before and after meetings? Surely, if people opt for the meeting kiss it could all get a bit ridiculous - especially if you're having about 3 meetings or so a day....
I don't know. Maybe kissing etiquette is something which should be imparted in the early days of your career - at media circle or such like. Or maybe the standing back and waving with both hands approach is the way forward and though this may look a bit odd it could potentially save hours of angst for everyone.....
I'm not one for faddy diets.
I'm actually not one for diets at all - a basic philosophy of "eat less move more" seems to work well.
The thing about media, though, is that due to its incredibly social nature it sometimes leaves you feeling, how can I put this nicely, a little bit horrible inside.
So when a currently unnamed colleague suggested following the cavemans diet. I figured, I cant properly slate it until I've given it a go. The principle is, you eat like a caveman would - nothing processed. So - wave bye bye to the bacon sandwiches, dim sum lunches and platter dinners. Hello fruit, meat and... well... anything which has only just left the animal / tree.
This morning I had a banana and an apple for breakfast. I'm already hungry again and its only 9:20. A week? Already feels like a lifetime......
I think the front page of The Sun seems to sum up the feelings of the nation with 'At least it's sunny'. That's right, when the state of the country is in a complete and utter mess, when unemployment is at its highest and families struggle to make ends meet, the good old British resolve comes out and we focus on the positive.......the weather??
You know how bad things have got when the only good news is the British weather!
Then this could be just for you.
A company called Alcoholic Architecture has just opened the first walk in cocktail and it's London! I can almost hear the ladies on the light side scampering towaards the lift already!
Admittadly it's quite a gimmick, but for £5 you can spend an hour inside the breathable cocktail. Yep the inside of the venue is made to look like a cocktail glass, quite how you do this apart from it being a lot of glass is anyone's guess, and get to breathe in gin and tonic fumes.
All I can wonder is what's the point, and would anyone really want to spend an hour gagging on a variation of an alcoholic airfreshner?
What next? A restaurant that's full of sunday roast scratch and sniff smells?
Oh dear it looks like the folks at Amazon have made a bit of a "cock-up" with one of their latest ventures. Quite ironic really given that the root of said boob was their apparent de-ranking of any literature deemed a bit rude or too "adult" in content, or indeed any LGBT literature, which then resulted in the titles not appearing in any Amazon.com searches.
As well as authors such as Jaci Burton and Stephanie Tyler, being in the firing line, classics such as "Lady Chatterley's Lover" and "Tipping the Velvet" were also de-ranked. Whilst this may very well provide a great excuse for VI formers across the UK not to do their reading homework, it really does seem a little bit on the crazy side -i f not disturbingly big-brotherish.
Quite understandably the backlash against this has been rife. People have been twittering and blogging about it left, right and centre, Wossy has got involved. There's an online petition (now boasting over 15,000 signatures) and there's an online campaign to start a "google-bomb". It seems a pretty big PR nightmare, for something which Amazon are trying to pass off as a "technical glitch"...........
We've been talking a lot this week in our team about the G20 riots and whether or not they are in any way worthwhile etc.. However, the team's overarching opinion is that perhaps these riots would not have taken place on such a large scale had the media not banged on about them and how big and scary they were going to be for the last 2 weeks?! It seems that if it had been kept between the few small extreme groups and the police it would have remained on a much smaller scale. However, with the papers and news channels screaming the topic from the rooftops every day, they have basically been advertising the event to the whole country and encouraging p*ssed off people to join the movement!?
It is quite interesting/worrying to consider how much the media has the ability to change and shape world events. We all know that one of the most important factors affecting the state of the economy is consumer and business confidence. The rumours of a recession started quietly a couple of years ago until the papers grabbed hold of it and increasing media coverage started to tell us on a daily basis that the world was destined for doom. Surely it is then no surprise that everyone freaks out, stops spending, sells their shares and sacks people due to fear of future profit issues? Obviously, mass borrowing and irresponsible banks also had an impact and, I'm not suggesting that we should live in a censored society, but it does make you wonder if the economy would have been less screwed if the papers and TVs didnt permanently tell everyone to expect the worst?
The country appears to have gone April Fool’s Joke mad today. I can understand companies trying to cheer us up in these recession ridden times but whilst some of them do just this, others are just not that funny.
I am enjoying Google’s new launch CADIE which is a new ‘Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity’ who appears to currently be a panda obsessed with other pandas. They have carried on the joke on a large scale with CADIE the panda appearing on their streetview (instead of the normal person) with a ‘panda mapplet for humans’ and hosting a You Tube page - currently populated solely with panda videos.
You Tube itself appears to have thought less about being clever as they have simply flipped a number of their videos upside down – how is this an April Fool’s joke?
The Guardian’s annual hoax is slightly more funny but altogether too immediately unbelievable with the headline being that they are moving from print to Twitter as ‘every story can be told in 160 characters.’ Amusing but the sign of a truly great AFD joke is one that you need to check out is actually a joke.
The most bizarre one I have seen so far though came into my inbox courtesy of laptops direct who are offering ‘free funerals.’ This links through to a page where they are offering to save on the average £5k cost of a funeral by sponsoring it. Not really funny or clever just slightly odd…..
Are there any other good/bad ones out there you’ve seen?
Chilli Challenge - The Update!
About a month ago the light side posted a blog on the start of the "chilli challenge." At this stage we had just lovingly planted the 4 chilli seeds given to us by Country Living and were challenging the Dark Side to a head to head chilli-off.
Fast forward 4 weeks and the light side can proudly announce that our chillis have moved from little pot to big pot. 3 of the 4 of them have turned into chilli plant seedlings. One was a tragic casualty and failed to ever sprout - we found the poor little thing curled up under the soil when we threw the pot away. RIP little buddy, RIP.
Attached pictures of the chilli sprouts in the big pot.
Milly Newman - Maxus, Media Manager
As the light side of the office returned from lunch today we were greeted with a large parcel... curiously, Louise opened it whilst the rest of us watched on in suspense. Inside we found what will become the next competitive sport in the Maxus agency - the Country Living Ultimate Chilli Challenge (aptly named CLUCC)!
Country Living have kindly supplied us with soil, plant pots, 4 chilli seeds and instructions on how to grow the perfect Chilli plant and the idea behind it is that the agency to grow the largest plant/plant with most chillis will win not only the title of Country Living's 'official best Chilli grower' (I made that bit up) but there is also a shiny trophy up for grabs.
To make things a bit more interesting and because we don't like to do things by half, here at Maxus we are not only competing with other agencies out there; we are competing against each other too. The light side and the dark side of the office are in battle to out-grow each other and will be giving a step by step blow of how we are getting on with our lovely pictures below.....let the fun begin!
Perhaps we can think of some prizes for the winning side?
Come on the light side!!
All quiet on the dark side? Defeat already?
I distinctly remember a time in my youth during Sociology when we debated the merits of online dating. Without making me sound old (which in media years I am now) - 13 years ago when this conversation was had internet dating was very much in its infancy. The younger and more judgmental me dismissed it as something for losers who cant meet people in a normal way.
Fast forward to 2009 and now - particularly in London - meeting people via internet dating is absolutely the norm. Sites like match.com / Sarah Beeny's mysinglefriend have not only made online dating cool but are huge media properties with big marketing budgets to match.
Recent conversations have, however, re-ignited a couple of negatives in my mind about online dating::
1 - it takes away the rule of "opposites attract." Because it allows you to be so specific on criteria and do extensive window shopping before you try you might instantly disregard someone who, if you'd met by chance, could have sparked up something really interesting ("Loves motorbikes and photography and is excellent marriage material,,,, er no thanks!).
2 - the grey area of when you should stop dating other people. I have a friend (yes really a friend and not me) who is internet dating 3 / 4 guys. With a couple of these guys she is up to 3+ dates. When I asked at which point it becomes a relationship she sort of shrugged says she's not really keen on any of them for a relationship and they're probably still dating other people too. Very difficult etiquette rules that I dont understand!
Anyhoo. Other than that - I would say online dating has been one of the major plus points about the invention of the internet. It certainly gets around the awkward re-meeting of someone in a bar when you're praying they actually looked ok and that they werent an axe wielding maniac because lets face it, you couldnt' really remember either way on both counts.
On Tuesday March 10th the Videogame BAFTA’s were held in Piccadilly. These awards have been hosted by GAME, a nationwide retailer of…well…games, since 2003. Ubisoft had two games amongst the star-studded list of nominees: Assassin’s Creed and Prince of Persia.
Assassin’s Creed was nominated for an astounding four awards: Artistic Achievement, Original Score, Story & Character, and Technical achievement. Prince of Persia was nominated for Action & Adventure. Unfortunately neither game won but it says a lot for a game to even be nominated. With all the games Ubisoft has for the upcoming year I imagine we shall have some good nominations for next year and possibly even some winners.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare lead all games with three awards, Story & Character, Gameplay, and the GAME award which was voted on by the public.
Until next year!
After all of the hype and expectation, the winners of this year's Oscars were announced in the early hours of this morning in Hollywood. Slumdog Millionaire lead the British invasion and swept the board winning eight Oscars including Best Film and Best Director for Danny Boyle. As anticipated, Kate Winslet picked up the award for Best Actress and Heath Ledger's family picked up a posthumous Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his brilliant portrayal of the Joker in the Dark Knight.
Surprisingly, Sean Penn won Best Actor for his portrayal of Harvey Milk and unsurprisingly Benjamin Button won the gong for Best Make Up.
My wife and I took a trip last night to our local multiplex last night and watched the new Wood Allen film, Vicky Christina Barcelona. Penelope Cruz's character only appears half way through the film but she steals the show and definitely deserves this year's Best Supporting Actress award. A really enjoyable movie with a good cast and well worth £8 of anyone's money (Javier Barden is excellent in the male lead and a world away from his chilling portrayal of Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men, a role he won Best Supporting Actor for in '08).
So, in keeping with the spirit of the occasion, my top five movies from last year are, in reverse order....
5 Frost / Nixon Frank Langella is great as Robert Nixon, Michael Sheen gets better as the film evolves
4 Wall-E Loved it. Made me laugh and my wife cry!
3 Slumdog Millionaire Great score and cinematography
2 The Dark Knight The best comic book movie ever (though I can't wait for Watchmen..)
1 The Wrestler Rourke is back, and how... Raging Bull with choke holds and Spandex.!
Friday marked the release of one of the most anticipated games for this next generation of consoles; Street Fighter IV. Based on the 1991 release, Street Fighter II, and incorporating new 3D rendered backgrounds, this new iteration promises to be the best fighting game for....well, since 1991.
One of our members, the Wagbat, threw an early hat into the ring today when he claimed "Street Fighter is the greatest multiplayer franchise of all time". This started a huge debate and therefore required a blog and a pole. Personally I would love to disagree with Waggy-Waggy-Woo out of principle. However, the usual suspects (Mario Kart, Goldeneye, Call of Duty, Left for Dead) don't quite reach the levels of this staple from our past, and now, once again, our present. Leave your thoughts below if you think we're wrong or have missed any huge franchises past or present.
My first winter in London and we have the best (or worst depending on how pessimistic you are) snow storm in almost 20 years. Growing up in Washington D.C., I am used to the city shutting down at the thought of snow so I was not too shocked when the public transportation took a vacation. After a 2 hour ‘adventure’ into work that included a snow angel outside my tube station I managed to make it into work. To get all ‘Media-y’ on you, this is a perfect time to do an underground take over because the dwell time is amazing. While my face was plunged into a strangers armpit I was able read a surprising amount of tube ads. Maybe the new thing is to plan outdoor advertising according to the weather???
At lunch time Matt and I decided to venture out into the wilderness of Bloomsbury Square to build Frosty the Snowman. Armed with glasses, eyeballs, a nose, and buttons fashioned out of junk lying around our desks. In order to get into the park we have to hop a fence (with encouragement from the local park authority). We instantly start rolling snow into two enormous spheres which make the bottom and middle of frosty then with a quick construction he is built. Our snowman even attracted the likes of several girls who were not in Uni that day. Matt and I were very proud of Frosty and even had pictures taken with him and an assortment of other people in the park…see picture below.
Belated New Years Resolution - start expanding personal list of websites that I frequent on a regular basis......on 06/02/2009
I don't usually deviate from this pattern unless an interesting news story requires additional investigation or if Hayley has once again lured me to the Office website to tempt me with their dazzling array of half price shoes (It's a stiletto/wedge/sandal/boot/kitten heel wonderland)
However, I've recently become a bit of a fan of WE7.com. This site has had a lot of media coverage since its launch last year. The brainchild of Peter Gabriel, We7.com offers a free advertising-funded music streaming service which has music from four major record companies and hundreds of independent indie labels.
My favourite elemenent is the unsigned artists area, where anyone can upload their music for others to download and review, with the best artists actually recieving royalties for their work.
Since discovering We7.com the site has become a bit of a regular in my list, although I now seem to think I wield the god-like power of Simon Cowell over all these new artists.
Tim Jones once released a single (apparently particularly popular in Wales)....anyone vote that we upload this as a trial?
I'm not sure about anyone else out there but I think the best snow related story I have heard over the past week is most definitely about the penguins at London Zoo.
Although in the wild they normally thrive in sub zero Antarctic conditions, for these three little Rockhopper penguins who normally live a life of luxury (captivity?) in the zoo's enclosure- this week they got to inspect something that they have never seen before -SNOW! Rockhopper penguins are known for their inquisitive and feisty nature and I for one am glad that they are such nosey creatures because it provided us all with the cutest picture of the year so far. Who's with me?
I bet you've only just got to grips with MP3's, well I hate to break it to you but they are already out of date...
Spotify is a Sweden-based proprietary music streaming program, which allows listening to specific music without delay via browsing artists, albums or created playlists. So no need for downloading music anymore you just listen to it online 'on demand' stylee. Downloading the itunes-esk interface for £10 means you have unlimited access to all the great artists of our time.
There is also a new business opportunity for all you forward thinking advertising folk. Spotify sells in-album advertising (like a radio ad) meaning you can target specific audience based on musical taste in a similar way to radio.
Check out http://www.spotify.com/en/
You heard it here first!
I read today that Pope Benedict has given his approval to social networking sites such and Facebook and MySpace describing them as "a gift".
He commended the way that they bring people together and help form friendships. However he warned that they may isolate people from real and ordinary social interaction.
With over 16 million users in the UK and over 150 million active users worldwide, Mr Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook must be a very proud man. There are more than 35 translations available on the site with more than 60 in development - I wonder if they are developing one in Latin....?
In this digital age where we all communicate by texting, emailing, Facebook messaging etc etc and now with the Pope's blessing, will we all end up being cyber space junkies and isolate ourselves from real social interaction?
Personally I don't think so, the pub will always be calling me.....!
The Grosvenor Park Lane had its tables set, the guests were all dressed up to the nines in black tie gear, there was even a celebrity turn-out for the debut of "MAXUS" at the WhatCar? Awards 2009 last night.
Yes, ok, some people may have been keen to know who was Car of the Year, or to hear Jo Brand's witty banter, or to hear our esteemed Mr Gordon Browns take on the recession and the automotive industry.... but im pretty sure that ours was the best new entry....
I can comfortably say a good time was had by all (maybe too good by some people - and a very happy birthday to Charlotte Grove) - and despite several mentions of the dreaded "credit crunch" there was no recession gloom on display.
So - thanks Haymarket - same time next year?
Today is the most depressing day of the year according to Psychologists. They've supposedly worked this out by combining some very critical factors which influence our attitudes - weather, debt, time since Christmas, time since failing our New Year's resolutions and motivational levels.
Now, I'm not a 'bottle half empty' type of person but I do tend to agree with them and I'd like to add another reason - there is nothing to watch on the tele! Going through my EPG yesterday left me completely miserable. No good films, no entertaining drama, no side stitching comedy. Instead we have celebrity Big Brother which features a bunch of washed out has beens / wanna bees, shows about how the UK/World economy is in disarray and shows about how the nation is full of people who are either obese or too thin. Can anyone suggest anything good on TV at the moment? If not I'll just keep staring out of my window at the slightly more entertaining rather large raindrops!
Having seen that Celebrity Big Brother pulled in 6 million viewers for the live launch and in excess of 3 million viewers for each episode since, I began to wonder who on earth are the people watching.
I thought that surely everybody would be by now, tired and bored of the whole concept of viewing so-called celebrities but apparently not.
To be fair they have put (and I expect payed a hell of a lot of money for) a few pretty decent characters in the house this year.
Heat radio updates me every hour of every day on who has done what, and who said what to who so I'm beginning to think even I, a reality TV hater, could perhaps tune in to see what all the fuss is about.
From what I've heard, Coolio has come across as the most interesting person, if only for his "nasty nick" characteristics. All the talk of who he has offended and made cry seems like it could actually be quite fun to watch! (cue evil laugh!)
Has anyone been watching? Any hilarious stories from the house? Is Coolio wrecking the show?
It seems today that every brand, media owner or marketing agency is jumping on the video advertising band-wagon. Wether its Nintendo claiming to have nothing to do with the video viral Why every guy should buy their girlfriend wii fit. The Telegraph Online launching their “new” Telegraph TV package, giving advertisers the ability to wrap existing video content with their branded message. Or specific video entertainment sites utilising existing digital ideas to stretch their media portfolio.
Advertisers are utilising these new developments and trying to capture the increasing amount of user migrating from traditional media’s to the ever more prolific online world. My only concern is that there is a fine line between advertising a brands message and forcing people to view it. By covering every last piece of free space on the internet with obstructive adverts and advertising to people without their full knowledge or consent. In my opinion the major challenge facing video advertising is that people will become bored, annoyed with obtrusive ad’s or blind to branding messages
This is just my opinion have yours.
January is a month where the majority of us deny ourselves life's guilty pleasures. There is good work done by detoxing but let's forget about that for now, I love eating out and think restaurants are fantastic. We are very lucky in our line of work that we get to go to excellent places throughout the year. So pooling all our resources together I want to know all the restaurants that you want to try in 2009 or recommend from 2008.
The first restaurant I want to go to is one I saw in the professional kitchen challenge on Masterchef last week and it looked superb fun. It is a Mexican restaurant called Wahaca, anyone been? Apart from that I would also really like to go to Gordon Ramsey at Hospital Road (bargain), Roka (doesn't count if it was just cocktails), The Square and Hix's Oyster and Chop House.
In terms of where I recommend going from my experience in 2008, L'Atelier De Joel Robuchon, The Greenhouse, Marcus Wareing At The Berkeley, Le Gavroche, Clos Maggiore, Elena's L'Etoile and Tsunami were all awesome. Any recommendations?
Let me take you back to January 5th to show you how this phenomenon started!
Now, we know that the month of January is a deprived month for all, out of choice (resolutions) and/or out of force (money) but even the most strong-willed of us indulged in a little bit of breakfast and bucksfizz on the first day back after the xmas hols!
As I chatted to everyone a thin figure appeared coming through the lift with their hood up.... I wondered...who was this new employee, why was he not stopping, talking, introducing himself. How did I not know that we had a new starter? Questions, questions! I took it upon myself to follow this fellow as he made a bee-line far away from the gathering crowd and straight into the dark side of the office.
Slowly the small frame stopped. Took off his back pack and grunted. I hesitated, almost scared. In slow motion the man turned round, his boney legs hardly carrying his weight. It was then that I gasped. My hand covered my mouth in astonishment.
.......time ticked on.........
"Matt" I whispered, is that really you?
"Who brings f'ing champagne and crap into the office when I am supposed to be dieting? Its banana and milk day for gods sake!" he replied.
"I..errr... don't understand....." I stuttered! "You're so thin and lithe.....How?"
"GM Baby, GM"
That was it. For the rest of the day I was obsessed like a crazy lady! What was this diet, how did it make you lose so much weight, so fast. I knew that it was a risk, but I wanted it so bad! SO BAD! I wanted to be lithe, firm and a shadow of my former self.
I decided to GM it.
It has been 4 days. I have not touched anything of any flavour or substance for 4 days. Today is MY banana and milk day. Today is a BAD day. Dan is on day 2. Vegetable day. I remember vegetable day... I liked vegetable day.
Take a look at what we are putting ourselves through!
Is it working? Is it worth it? All these things I have no answers for! The things I do know are I feel slightly delirious, lethargic, grumpy and spotty but for the first time in 10 or so years I feel like I have no control over what I am doing. Someone is dictating and I am merely following. It's nice, refreshing. Like not having to pick out your own clothes when you have school uniform.
Anyway - let me know your thoughts, and if anyone wants to force a snickers down my throat, I wont have the energy to stop you!
So another year has passed and into 2009 we go and with it the same old New Year Resolutions......
I am interested to find out how many people are still sticking to this tradition. I for one have somehow decided to give up things. That is not the issue, it is the reason why I decided to do this in January. After all it is one of the most depressing months; it's cold, dark, money is a bit tight and it's at least another five months until I receive some more presents!
This year I intend to give up one thing completely and also change a few other things to hopefully improve my general well-being.....
Firstly, I must give up smoking, apparently it is terribly bad for you (no one told me this) and I must stop it. I have been smoking for about eight years and I think the routine is the hardest to block out. Anyway, five days in and I have had no cigarettes at all. I have not faced the gauntlet of the night out drinking yet though and this is going to be a very tough challenge. Anyway I will keep you updated on my progress.
I also intend to consistently go to the gym 3-4 times a week this year, eat healthier (bar the Chicken Tikka Bhuna with Rice, Naan and Bhaji's that Shebab-O-Bab served up for me last night - a tiny slip) and drink less in the week.......and of course buy more sweater vests in 2009.
What New Year Resolutions are you pursuing?
So, it’s a brand new year and we are a brand new company. We are MAXUS!
I personally much prefer the new name MAXUS, it makes me feel empowered, slightly above all other companies. When I say "MAXUS” I feel like I am about to go into battle…. And of course, win!
However, we are creatures of habit and BJK&E has been a big part of our lives so sometimes we find it hard to let go…..especially when it comes to telephone calls!
“Good Morning BJK&E” was a breeze… It came automatically. I even did it on my home phone a couple of times. Now, “Good Morning MAXUS” that’s a different story. I cannot seem to get it right. It does not roll off my tongue simply. I stutter, or I have to pause and remember who we are. I have become nervous, almost sweaty-palmed. It puts me off kilter for the rest of the conversation.
To add to this pressure the dark side of the office have decided to play a little game! Every time someone from our side uses our old name BJK&E instead of MAXUS we have to pay 50p. The idea being, the money adds up and we put it towards Friday drinks! It’s going to make me worse, and it’s going to make me poor. Everyone else seems to be finding it relatively easy and I cannot help but think the joke is slightly on me! I have now got so bad that this morning I even answered the phone using the company name of my first job!
However, I like a game, and I like a challenge and I will continue to play, because I am Alice from MAXUS and I will not be defeated! yet!
I think a Boob Radio and an E-B Gun went down particularly well. Thanks Santa!
After an alarming amount of early evening shots, we were transported to a secret venue in an old-school double decker London bus which happily contained much champagne and cheesy music (and its very own doorman lurking at the back in case we got a bit rowdy I presume)
Arriving at the Southwark Rooms, and with "Jingle-Bell" Jones as Quiz Master, we split into five teams (Aptly named Prancer, Dancer, Doner, Vixen and Comet) for a festive quiz - the prize being a box at the O2 to see Chris Brown (Not actually sure how many people knew who he was, but Angela and I were jumping about like school children at the prospect, particularly when we won!)
This was followed by an awards ceremony, where winners included:
Most likely to get told off: Dan
Most likely to flirt: Louise M
Most likely to cry: Nat and Kate
Most likely to be sick: Tim J
Most likely to say 'I love you': Alice
To be honest, the rest of the evening is all a bit of a lovely blur but an awesome time was had by all.
Massive thanks to Benny, Tim and Alice for arranging such a brilliant Christmas do!
Movember finally came to an end in the BJK&E offices (and everywhere else). Using the pretence of a raffle, we raised a whopping £88 for prostate cancer and gave away some 'amazing' prizes; the following all went to the lucky Kate Rigby...Paul Weller CD, flip-flops, baseball toy binoculars, inflatable guitar, ski and snowboard holiday brochure and a bottle of champagne. Ian Richmond won second prize - a lovely bottle of Sainsbury's finest (basics range) Lambrini, the lucky chap!
There were also some awards for this years participants:
The biggles award went to Andrew Kingston for looking like a WWII fighter pilot.
The facial hair of the day award went to Matthew Waghorn (everyday) for his varied approach to Movember (and facial hair in general).
The A for effort award sadly went to Patrick Lindon who, despite trying really hard, didn't manage to push out more than a light down on his top lip.
The confused.com award went to Daniel Parkinson for growing blond top lip hair despite all other hair on his face, head and body being brown. Weird.
Photos of our final efforts can be found below. Comment if you want, we don't care anymore, just happy to rid our faces of such a disgusting blight. Who grows a moustache for any reason other than charity!? Buffoons, that's who.
A new BBC commissioned report has suggested that since the 60's Britain has slowly been segregating geographically in terms of wealth, politics and demographics with an ever more defined North/South divide. One particluar area the report highlighted is 'Social Fragmentation,' suggesting that the traditional neigbourhood barely exists anymore as we become more and more polarised.
Apparently people in Edinburgh and London feel the least 'belonging,' whereas those in Stoke are feeling the love of their neighbours more. So what do you think, do you have any sense of community in your area? Do you wave to your neighbours or hide when you see them? Or do you think perhaps think communities are being redefined in other less geographic ways?
Yep, frighteningly enough it's that time of year again. The Oxford/Regent Street lights have been switched on, Take That are in M&S ads, and everyone's gearing up for a month of solid alcohol and food consumption. Christmas is a-coming! [hohoho!]
This year I'm determined to try and get a bit more organised with my present buying. However, the thought of braving the busy high streets is making me shudder. So, I was intrigued when our one and only Emily Rich told me she has already completed her entire Christmas shopping in one fell swoop... entirely on the internet! Good work - an inspiration!
Right, so let's get started! DVDs and CDs are always nice and easy. I've also done some ebaying... although I have to admit, despite feeling self-satisfied by my thriftiness, I do wonder if it takes away a bit of the sparkle. (Don't worry, it's not second hand - I'm not THAT stingy!)
Anyway, it just got me thinking.... in this day and age, how many of us are comfortable with buying the majority of our presents online? (Oh... and what are your favourite online shops - I need some ideas!)
As most are aware there was a small festival in battersea over the past weekend - the LG Freeze. The main draws for the event were a host of UK snowboarding and skiing talent competing in a big air competition (see adjoining video) and a music stage with performers including Sway, The Enemy, Reverend and the Makers and Iglu and Hartly. Ubisoft were co-sponsors of the event and this afforded some of us here at BJKE free tickets.
A thoroughly good time was had by all, not least those in media. From a small straw poll we took on Friday and Saturday the general public were very impressed - a highlight was Cyprus Hill headlining on Saturday night.
The event also proved to be a great branding exercise for the upcoming Shaun White Snowboarding game release by Ubisoft. The trailer (complete with Xbox's and Wii's) was mega busy all day and had queues round the block at its peak (check out attached photo).
If you were there, what did you think?
The idea behind these meetings is to sit down with several other members of the Absolute radio company and listen to selected tracks decide if it is a ‘hit, ‘miss’, or ‘maybe.’ Naturally, Matt and I went above and beyond what was expected of us. Prior to arriving at the studio Matt and I decided to make a list of songs we would like to hear on the radio. Our playlist quickly developed into an 80s power hour of music. Our list ranged from Foreigners’ ‘Juke Box Hero’ down to The Thompson Twins’ ‘Hold Me Now.’
Upon our arrival we met with several members of the Absolute Radio staff that worked behind the scenes and received a small tour of where broadcasts occur, small live session are held, and found a guitar case full of sweets (my favorite part). In our meeting there were five people other than us who work throughout the building but not directly with the music.
Before I continue I must mention that I whipped out my page completely covered in names of artistes and tracks and handed it over to Ben Jones (one of the DJ personalities) who enjoyed our list and was going to give it a look over…
This play-list meeting required listening to six tracks and deciding what we thought. We would have a little background information on the band and also discuss amongst ourselves what we thought of the sound of the song and what part of the day you would prefer to hear it.
Overall it was an enjoyable experience and a valid reason to get out of the office on a Thursday afternoon. Absolute radio is really taking on their new ad campaign (with the midget/dwarf in the T.V. commercials) and trying to find new artists as well as playing songs from our favorite artists that might be a little less known. My favorite part of Absolute is the 80’s hour from 10-11am as well as the ‘no repeat guarantee.’ Now my ears are listening to Absolute during the work day in hopes to hear some to the more obscure songs that were on my playlist…
What are you initial thoughts on Absolute Radios new ad campaign of ‘Discover Real Music?’
Upon reading the current issue of media week (14th October - 'There's no Excuse For Self-Abuse) I was shocked (and obviously amused) as to the topic and content of 'Media Dilemma. I guess it goes to prove how relaxed this industry is, but do you think its appropriate or necessary content in a trade publication or is Media Week just trying to sensationalise working life and make their problem pages similar to those of trashy womens weeklies?!
Tuesday evening saw Team Triumph heading down to Cafe de Paris to look at a bunch of arses!
I'm not talking about the usual type of WAG Wannabees or dodgy blokes you might usually find frequenting these types of establishments, but real live bona fide bottoms! Even better it was for work related purposes and everything!
This was the UK "show me your sloggi" competition, in which the winners not only won a Vespa but will go on to represent the UK in the international final in Paris, where they will be battling (bottoming?) it out against the finalists from 32 other countries to win the prestigious title of "best bottom in the world!" (plus some cash and potentially a modelling contract).
Needless to say a great time was had by all: We all got drunk. I decided that if Media doesn't work out for me then I could always pursue a career as a "bum expert" (yup such a job does exist), Tim got so excited by the bevvy of lovely ladies that his specs steamed up and the lovely Lou managed to get herself a date! All in all a very successful evening.
Go to www.smys.sloggi.com for more details or see below...Which bum would you chose?
As the Credit-Crunch scare mongering machine continues to gather momentum, a plucky Kazuro Hirai (Sony Computer Entertainment) suggests that videogaming will 'weather the storm' *.
Could it be true that this once fledgling industry [see Retrospective Futures Spring] has not only risen to leading entertainment giant with world record breaking sales** (GTA IV), but has actually become recession proof? Is there no end to the meteoric rise in its popularity? Certainly, highstreet retailer Game seem to think there's a buoyant future ahead; having already seen half-year sales boosted 54%***. And with rumoured shortages of Nintendo's Wii (again) this Xmas one could easily be mistaken for thinking that gaming is realising a definite renaissance.
I guess it comes down to this - if living becomes more expensive as job security becomes less, would you not turn to an alternative form of social entertainment free of risk and expenditure? Now consider that over the next 3 months gaming across the three main platforms (XBOX, PS3, Wii) will witness some of the greatest developments in modern gaming. Mass user generated content (Little Big Planet), full voice-controlled gaming (EndWar), expansive open worlds and revolutionary map editors (FarCry2)... balance board snowboarding anyone (Shaun White)?
Rumours, often met with scoffs and disbelief, have already surfaced of next generation consoles and their ability to be played using just your mind!**** Nobody knows what the future holds but some thing's are certain; Nintendo will continue to push the boundaries with their innovative product design, gaming will continue to evolve into our everyday lives with products able to help us cook, dance and even give up smoking, and core gaming will continue to spur debate between those who support it, and those who accuse it.
Either way the future is very much in favour of gaming as it continues to dominate our spare time and share-of-wallet.
Unsuprisingly the updated version failed to live up to expectations. (Rubbish presenters, too modern, no sign of Rhino anywhere)
Why was I interested in the return of this programme?
Well, as a child I wasn't allowed to watch Gladiators and had to resort to sneaking in episodes at friends houses (It was deemed too 'common', as were burgers, monster munch, pot noodles and shell suits, to my utter disappointment) which elevated the programme to unattainable levels of glamour and excitement.
Which is why the anticipated return of The Krypton Factor to ITV makes me nervous because I desperately don't want to be let down again!
Date yet to be confirmed, ITV is to bring back The Krypton Factor in its biggest ad-funded programming deal. The series ended in 1995 after an 18 year run and was dubbed "television's toughest quizshow". ITV said "The Krypton Factor will be given a 21st century makeover that will see the stakes become bigger, the competition harder and the pressure higher".
Auditions are open now if any one fancies the challenge......
We three (Gemma, Charlotte and I ) have been discussing the prospect of internal agency awards. We think it'd be a great Idea!
Here are a few suggested categories, feel free to suggest more or more importantly to nominate.................
1. Agency Mentalist
2. Agency flirt
3. The most clumsy
4. Agency entertainer
5. Most likely to end up in jail (if nominating please suggest a crime)
6. Agency booze hound
7. Most likely to be sick first in Dublin
8. Desk asbo
9. Most likely to cross dress
10. and of course ..The agency hottie!
When we think of classic movies such as James Bond, Kill Bill, Rocky III, Star Wars, and Breakfast Club the movie and their theme song seem to go hand-in-hand. Some we can sing and some we just think we can sing or hum. Maybe it is a qualification for a movie to become such a classic. Think of how many great movies that you can you think of that have a horrible theme song…not too many.
Is it an 80s thing?
Or maybe it is just that the 80s were such a great time for both movies and music. Being a child from the 80s and early 90s I am quite biased as to which era is the greatest. As much as I love Ace of Base, I think Guns ‘N Roses have a slight advantage.
What do you think are the best theme songs (and their movies) of all time?
My #1 Kenny Loggins - Danger Zone AND Berlin - Take My Breath Away from Top Gun…..did you hear the rumors there might be a Top Gun 2???
I was watching the match last night and found it rather amusing. The French coach, Raymond Domenech, has a very unusual approach to team selection....he likes to take a players star sign into consideration before making his decision. He apparently doesn’t trust players who are
Scorpios and thinks that defenders who are Leo’s are show-offs and has been quoted saying "When I have a Leo in defence I've always
got my gun ready as I know he's going to want to show off at one moment or another and cost us".
Can this theory be applied to the media industry? What star sign do you have to be in order to go far in media? I've conducted a quick review
of all 31 BJK&E employees and noted the following:
We have a fairly even spread across the 12 star signs although interestingly 26% of us are Geminis. Now, the purpose of Gemini is to be
one who gathers and conveys information - a good trait within our industry, one could say! It also states that Gemini is an air sign, and as such
puts great value on the mind and its thinking function, to the extent that emotional experiences may be regarded as complications that are
best avoided. Psychologically, air is attracted to water, but air finds the emotions difficult to deal with as they don't fit in with its concept of an
ideal world. Hmm, they may need some more emotionally-led team members in order to create the rounded media strategy??
In an industry that is based on numbers and spreadsheets, is it any wonder that there are no Pisces at BJK&E. Pisces have vivid
imaginations and will often think they are being followed. They have some influence over their friends and people resent them for flaunting
their power. Underneath it all they lack confidence and are generally thought to be cowardly.
Fortunately, only 2 people in BJK&E are Scorpio. This is the star sign that is said to be shrewd in business but cannot be trusted. They
will reach the pinnacle of success because of their total lack of ethics. Tut tut.....you Scorpios know who you are!
I, myself, am a Capricorn and am one of three in the company. We have a need to conserve...the survival of the clan. Our sign
denotes time, age, strength through patience. Ah yes, clearly the best!!!
I note with a heavy heart that Big Brother 9 starts tonight. Apparently the house is the biggest ever (oooh!), Big Brother more wiley than ever. No doubt the contestants will be more mind-numbingly stupid than ever and Davina McCall more irritating than ever.
After last year's Celebrity BB racism row and lower ratings for the main series some predicted the programme's demise. But Channel 4 are adamant that there is still great demand for the show and that ratings are not their main concern anyway.
When Big Brother started, it was (like Davina) fresh, quirky and fun. It was, without doubt, a good concept. But it's become little more than a freak show, churning out transient tabloid fodder at the expense of decent programming every night of the week. No amount of cosmetic changes and hackneyed twists can disguise the fact that the format is tired.
Not all reality TV is bad. The genre still has legs, the success of 'Britain's Got Talent' is testament to that. As everyone knows, I'm a sucker for 'The Apprentice'! But please, please, no Big Brother 10.
Today the press has been full of talk about the new Honda ad airing tonight on C4 during Come Dine with Me. Following on from their headline grabbing ads, Cog and Grrr, Honda have gone one step further and are now throwing people out of planes in the name of promoting the brand!
Based on the widsom of Honda's founder who is purported to have stated 'difficult is worth doing' (now the tagline used in the ads), the new ad features 19 skydivers attempting to form the word Honda in the air. The stunt will be shown 'live' and in 'real time.' Unless it rains. In which case a rehearsal jump filmed yesterday will be shown.
Of course this is all very innovative, publicity grabbing - and no doubt award winning- but do the car buying public really care that much? Do they appreciate the fact that the stunt is live? And is the reported £500k cost really worth it? I suppose the question should be - is difficult really worth doing?
It’s official – by next month mobile phone calls could be allowed on planes flying in European airspace. Under new European Commission rules mobiles could be used once a plane has reached an altitude of 3,000m or more.
The decision to offer the services will now fall to individual airlines, but there are some regulatory hurdles to overcome before the technology is fully approved. The European Aviation Safety Agency needs to approve the hardware that would be installed in the aircraft to ensure it didn’t interfere with other flight systems.
Air France is believed to be ready to deploy the technology while Ryanair is expected to submit an application. (Airlines to avoid, perhaps?)
I do think that allowing mobile-phone calls is a good thing, especially for people on important business. But we’ve all been stuck on a bus or train with a woman who just won’t (or seemingly can’t) stop gabbing away. Let’s hope they put in some decent restrictions so as not to annoy the majority of passengers!
You have been Rickrolled if you have come across a link expecting to find one thing, but actually ended up watching Rick Astley’s music video for his song “Never Gonna Give You Up”.
Rickrolling, apparently, began on 4chan’s imageboard the day of Grand Theft Auto 4’s official website premier. They received such heavy traffic, though, that it was impossible to watch the trailer for quite a while, so someone took it upon themselves to link everyone to a supposedly leaked trailer hosted on YouTube. What they got was Rick Astley.
And then came April Fools’ Day. There were lots of incidents of Rickrolling on April 1st. All the YouTube Featured Videos were hyperlinked to the Rickroll, and Livejournal also got involved by announcing that they would be adding a new member to their Advisory Board, and then linking members to the journal “rickastley”, which contained a Rickroll. Popular gaming sites also decided to Rickroll their users.
I haven’t yet been Rickrolled, but I wouldn’t mind if I was, because to be perfectly honest it is a song that makes me smile, and I’d probably listen to it all the way through too!
I have recently been on honeymoon. 3 weeks in Costa Rica without mobile or even Blackberry reception....I was nervous at the prospect but it turned out to be bliss having no contact with the outside world - apart from the occasional sneaky look at BBC News to check we weren't at war or anything. However on my return and after a 26 hour door to door journey ( I swear Miami airport is run by the devil)Â I was more than ready to catch up with the world, especially the world of trash TV! So what did I record on my TV Plus whilst away. Whilst my husband (still feels weird saying that) had plugged in mostly highbrow music and cultural shows I relished the prospect of watching my hours upon hours of America's Next Top Model, Supersize versus Superskinny and Crazy in Love. Sofa, pizza and Tyra being a bitch - what could be better when jetlagged?
Â We also managed to record some things we could watch together, current favourites include the new series of Skins, Torchwood and the new series Reaper which is good stupid fun about a guy whose parents sold his soul to the devil and must now pay the consequences - one of my favourite directors Kevin Smith, of Mallrats, Clerks and Jay and Silent Bob fame, is also involved.
I didn't manage to catch much TV in Costa Rica but what I saw in the background of bars seemed to consist of dodgily dubbed soap operas that looked like they had been filmed in the 80's. The UK may not have sun soaked beaches, abundant wildlife or baby monkeys to hold but at least we have Kerry Katona to entertain us eh.........
Following on from Mr Places scathing yet all too true comments on the state of todays radio, I thought I would give a brief overview on what the people round my side of the office (the hallowed light side) are listening to on the wireless these days.
I am guilty of being the first person in the morning to turn on the radio. Hands up I cast myself as one of those annoying types that can't seem to work without a muffled distorted noise in the background (and I don't mean the now sadly departed Gareth Rees).Â There is something one finds quite eerie about a completely silent office (apart from it being a hard working one) and I can find small comfort with what the various stations have on offer. That's not to say that what is out there is revolutionary, especially in this new dawn of digital its sadly pretty much the same slightly tired formulas being churned out.
A brief breakdown of what we are listening to at the moment is as follows;
Classic FM - fantastic fodder before 1pm, quite calming and therapeutic. After a hearty lunch I want to go to sleep listening to it.
Magic FM - these guys really do belt out the ballad's. They seem to stick to a core of solid, emotional stompers from Cyndi Lauper - Time after Tme (great bassline according Fabio) to Madonna - Crazy for You. This results in slightly gruff crooning renditions from James Campbell - bit like Brian Blessed meets Frank Sinatra.
Talksport - too distracting. It's fun, chatty, no nonsense, banterous chat has no place in our office.
Radio 1 - bearable, if you can stand Moyles in the morning. I don't mind him - shame others can't stand the chap.
XFM - belts out the latest indie anthems but once you've heard them 8 times a day for a 2 week period its game over.
So that's the core collection of stations we are listening to at present, you probably don't really care do you?! That aside something clearly needs shaking up, will Channel 4 and their proposed digital launch be the ones to do the shaking?
I really like Time Out, not just for it's listings of what's going on in London but also for the fact it tells me a little bit more about this sprawling city that I live in, and not being a Londoner there's quite a lot to discover.
Thankfully the new refreshed Time Out makes it an even better magazine. The content is pretty much still the same but it's been shuffled around to provide more of the insightful and interesting editorial in the front of the magazine rather than scatter it liberally throughout, making it a better read and leaving a lot of the listings towards the back of the mag.
The only downer is maybe how long Time Out might be around and relevant, as the deluge of free publications is continuing to grow, supplanting what you may get from great reads like Time Out, plus the internet means you can find all the listings you might desire free at the touch of a button.
Maybe Time Out's next major step will be to go free?
As part of BJK&E's new monthly culture events a group of us went to the Vue cinema in Leicester Square to a preview of the new Coen brother's movie - No country For Old Men.
The film was scary and amusing in just the right amounts, never losing our attention. A masterly tale of the good, the deranged and the doomed, it was a definite throwback to the brilliant original Coen brother's work such as Fargo and Miller's Crossing. They loaded the film with realistic touches and achieved an action film with a serious philosophical undertone - a winning formula.
The end did leave a few questions and left you wanting more, but it wouldn't be a Coen brother's film if they didn't end it like they did.
This was the first of many culture evenings I hope to enjoy in future, and I'm sure all who went would like to thank Milly, Fabio and Mark for organising it!
When facebook first launched everyone jostled to be invited by someone. I could pass someone in the street and I'd be friends with them on Facebook the next day. Popularity could only be recognised by how many friends you had on Facebook. Stalking became a daily event, cheating even harder to orchestrate and logging onto Facebook took priority over logging onto work email.
Things have calmed now and the first flushes of excitment at a new toy have wained. I can only speak on behalf of my own peer group when I say this social network now provides a handy forum for sharing holiday snaps and arranging get togethers.
But I still could not help but feel a sense of dread when my mother announced she had joined Facebook! That sinking feeling I recalled having as a 16 year old teenager who has just had her cigarettes found by her parents!!!
I may be 30 but there are always things you don't want to tell your Mum, right?
She now has access to my portfolio of (162!!) friends worldwide. (We have become friends on Facebook as I could hardly refuse). So quizzes me on how I know each of them and offers constructive commentry like 'he looks like a nice chap, why don't you go out with him'. With friends in Australia there is no control over the southern hemisphere hilarities that appear on my wall and suddenly its imperative to keep a close eye on friendly banter. Dodging photos on nights out has been perfected to a fine art as 'tagging' could invite my mother to witness antics she doesn't need to be privy too!
In contrast mum only has 3 friends, myself, my sister and brother who are equally as panic stricken. So it's hardly fair that we are not offered the same voyeuristic advantages. Although drunken photos of my mother on the world wide web I can probably do without.
Most of the UK knows about all the racism issues brought up in last yearâ€™s Celebrity Big Brother. Amongst fears that people lost faith in the show and decreasing viewing figures the showâ€™s producers decided to give the format a bit of a shake-up. This time, the celebrities act as â€˜Big Brotherâ€™ by setting tasks, controlling shopping budgets and basically doing what they like. Another change is the contestants had to have at least one talent to be in the house â€“ in other words these are people who wouldnâ€™t have been allowed in the house in previous years. This was probably due to talentless schmucks being more malleable and you can make them do just about anything.
Thankfully, the show has not taken up any space on Channel 4, but has instead been pushed onto E4. This has resulted in the expected decrease in viewing figures. The performance of this show will probably determine the future of any other Big Brother shows. I, for one, hope it doesnâ€™t succeed. I admit it - I used to watch Big Brother in the early years. It was interesting â€“ a social experiment if you will. But all it seems to be about now is watching a group of people argue all the time and getting drunk so they come out of the house famous. Shove a whole family there at Xmas time and that could be interesting!
There are also rumours that the celebrities will be put in the house and voted off soon, but I wonâ€™t be watching to find out.
Last night BJK&E had their 2007 Chrimbo partyâ€¦ We kicked off with being picked up from our offices by Rudolph and the other reindeerÂ with sleighs - Â which were really rickshaws with the drivers wearing big fluffy reindeer hats, but if you half closed your eyes it was practically the real thing.
It was a cold ride but worth it once we arrived at Hyde Park for the Winter Wonderland. After rides galore on the Glacier Simulation and the big wheel overlooking London (nicknamed by us as the London Eyeâ€™s Mini Me) we were whisked off to the Nordic Bar and Restaurant in Newman Street where a Nordic Blush Champagne cocktail greeted us followed by many warming shots of aquavit, some with salt and tomatoes â€“ a strangely pleasing combination, pear and summerfruit cider amongst other drinks.
An ice luge with flavoured vodka was enjoyed by all who entered the singing competition and the winners received a bottle of champagne. All in all a top night was had and headaches are a plenty today.
Twenty five years ago fashion was dictated by the catwalks. Couture designers and Super models were the pillars of what was 'fashionable' and high street stores came second to the fashion designer brands such as Gucci or Calvin Klein.
Being fashionable was measured by the designer you chose. Brands developed high street kudos and were more accessible to the general public. With the recent growing interest in celebrities and what they're wearing, getting the look has become more important then where the look is from. Where boutique stores were the main fashion outlet, you can now pick up your outfit from Asda and confidently brag about it to your peers. Wearing second hand 'vintage' clothes is cooler than to be hung up on designer gear which can be considered 'chav'.
Marketers have a task ahead of them. They have to simultaneously build their brand, talk about the new ranges and direct people to all the shopping outlets including online. So what are fashion retailers doing to market themselves to a consumer whose finding where they shop or how much they spend less important?
Magazines are the primary medium with advertising spend increasing over the last three years. This is not a surprise. Magazines have their own brand loyalty and women's trust, and thus are an opinion forming medium. PR is increasingly important and often relied upon. The magazine and retailer relationship is key. Celebrity names such as Kate Moss, Lilly Allen and Madonna are all designing high street fashion and so the celeb weeklies have become the fashion retailer's best friend. Brands cannot be built upon a media landscape that moves with the latest fad and celebrity.
Brands should be as important as ever. This is what allows high end high street companies and mass market stores in the same wardrobe. It is also what drives people back into store, builds trust and advocacy.
It takes confidence to look longer term at building the brand personality and holding your audience by becoming synonymous with other key areas of retailers lives through sponsorships and integration. Growing credibility and consumer relevance can be a slow burner but this will move the brand towards the key objective to be top of mind, regardless of economic pressures or latest fads. It could also be deemed visionary to have this foresight and look to a replace the packshot with edgy creative and get a lead on the market.
The consumer is also starting to question the source of the cheaper clothes and this will only get louder, by looking to create more value to the retail brand and by (seemingly) becoming more transparent this could cushion the blow of a potential consumer backlash.
Retailers need to look at new innovative marketing strategies with longer term goals in order to differentiate themselves. If you can offer a better, more rounded brand experience time and again then the short term cheaper sales opportunities are, just that.