Archive for February, 2007
February 27th, 2007
It appears someone in Boston has upset the marketing Gods.
You probably saw the terrorism scare caused by Cartoon Network’s marketing stunt earlier this year, which involved blinking promotional signs dotted around Boston. The result was criminal charges, closed highways and bridges, and a resignation from the head of Cartoon Network, as overviewed in Time.
Well, now Cadbury Schweppes has done its best to upset the residents of Boston by launching a treasure hunt as part of a Dr Pepper promotion. Seems harmless, until it was discovered part of the challenge was to dig up the 347-year-old Granary Burying Ground, final resting place of historic figures such as John Hancock, Paul Revere and Samuel Adams.
Why would anyone do it? Well for money of course. Up to Â£760,000 to be exact, for anyone who found one of the gold coins that Cadbury’s marketing agency had buried there.
The Independent has the full story.
Apparently The city’s authorities only found out about the competition when contestants started complaining that the graveyard was closed because of icy paths.
An official from the marketing firm retrieved the coin and no damage was done…Well except to the reputations of Cadbury Schweppes, Dr Pepper, the marketing company, and perhaps the loss of a few jobs.
February 26th, 2007
The Oscars may be a little outside of our agency’s remit, but nonetheless it’s been impossible to ignore the level of media coverage that the event has received.
A spin-off story, reported on Sky Showbiz, has tickled my sense of humour, and highlighted the importance of getting your PR-line confirmed ahead of events of this scale.
Following recent showbiz speculation around whether or not Australian actress Naomi Watts is pregnant (with her publicist vehemently denying all rumours), Escada decided to release the following statement about the Oscar dress they designed for her:
“The Escada gown set off her most precious new asset – the baby she is expecting with long-time boyfriend Liev Schreiber.”
A quick lesson in why third-party sign-off is so important!
February 23rd, 2007
The CIPR has issued its Social Media Guidelines, although the ‘guidelines’ seem to be more of a code of conduct, which have received mixed reviews from the likes of: Simon Collister, Daryl Wilcox and TWL. Okay, what I meant by mixed - was bad.
In my opinion, the document is a little lacking in substance. It’s more of an introduction to social media, which is certainly required for the PR industry as a whole, but there needs to be more depth to make it a set of guidelines. I had also hoped this document might help to bridge the gap between those PRs that do understand and use social media tactics, and those that don’t, but it falls a little short.
The CIPR has been slow to get itself up to speed on this very important communications medium, and if this document is a reflection of the progress, it still has some way to go.
Oh, and just in case you didn’t see the CIPR President’s post on the launch of the guidelines, with the now infamous quote:”So blog away like billy-o, and work those wikis. But keep it real, and keep it honest!” You can find it here. Ouch!
February 22nd, 2007
News has just broken that an Egyptian blogger has been sentenced to four years in jail for writing posts that insulted both Islam and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Abdel Karim Suleiman, a 22-year-old former law student, was the first blogger to stand trial in Egypt for his freedom of speech on the web.
Jon Snow will be highlighting the case on Channel 4 News tonight – a report that will be well worth watching I suspect.
February 21st, 2007
Words of wisdom? I’ll let you decide.
According to Google’s vice president and chief Internet evangelist, Vinton Cerf, The Internet is a mirror of the population that uses it.
He continued: “If you stand in front of a mirror and you don’t like what you see, it does not help to fix the mirror.”
This comment came from Cerf’s address in Bangalore, India, where Google’s Orkut social networking site has come in for criticism after users ran campaigns against India and Indian historical figures.
I believe he’s right, but what’s more interesting is Cerf confirmed that mobile will become increasingly important as the Internet revolution continues. Something that the US market is now recognising.
“The mobile phone has become an important factor in the Internet revolution. There are 2.5 billion mobile users worldwide and the numbers are expected to increase rapidly in developing countries such as India and China.”
The mobile industry has long been a fascinating one, not only due to the speed of development, but also because of the differing user and technology demands in the major territories.
It seems the Internet will be the medium that can unify these disparate markets, as the one application that is, or will be, in demand from everyone.
If we could just sort out the screen size, interoperability and usability issues now…
February 20th, 2007
We at Liberate Media already know the benefits of living and working by the seaside, and it looks like Linden Lab, the company behind Second Life, is also after a piece of Brighton life.
According to a post on the Linden Lab blog (through Antony Mayfield on Open), the company is currently recruiting web developers for its new Brighton office. An exciting move for the thriving digital community that already resides in Brighton.
February 19th, 2007
The Daily Mail has launched its E-editions, e-paper today, which is basically a downloadable digital version of the paper.
The Daily Mail is not known for breaking new ground in the world of online news, but it has positioned this service as a niche between the print publication and website.
At first glance the E-editions service seems a little unnecessary, and many critics may feel that a web strategy can only be enhanced by taking bold steps forward, rather than sideways. However, considering the Daily Mail’s audience, I think it’s a positive step to bridge the divide between its traditional media audience and the world of web based applications and user generated content.
The Mail’s e-reader is a simple and functional tool, and in this instance I think baby steps are warranted, but a gradual evolution to a stronger web offering should be the long term target.
February 17th, 2007
What caught my eye in particular was a section on niche internet broadcasting, which profiled a new generation of companies who are capitalising on the benefits of online TV.
To cite an example, a company called ‘Franchise News 24′ is an online channel dedicated to the multi-billion pound franchising industry. The channel is run on a cheap budget, but manages to attract big industry names for interview as it’s successfully reaching a highly targeted audience of between 100-500 people at any given moment.
By the end of the programme, I was convinced that this is the route trade magazines should be taking. While many publishers are rushing to get e-versions of their titles available online, they would arguably be better off investing in an internet broadcast channel. I know some trade publishers are already making steps towards this, but not on the scale and with the urgency that they should be.
I’m going to stick my neck out and say that within the digital media industry alone, the average reader of trade titles NMA, Marketing Week, Media Week, Marketing, Campaign, Revolution etc, would much rather view bite-sized internet videos of breaking news and interviews etc, rather than download an e-zine to their desktop or PDA.
As the social media revolution continues and the level of quality user-generated content grows online, the profit margin on trade publishing is going to be increasingly threatened. Only yesterday I parted with Â£100+ for a one-year subscription to one of the above titles, and the thought did cross my mind that this might be the last year I do this.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m a big supporter of the trade press, being an ex-NMA reporter. But I do think publishers should be far more urgent about embracing the internet broadcasting phenomenon that is currently sweeping the web.
February 16th, 2007
Well a uSwitch report, out today, says we can.
The report confirms consumers could save as much as Â£13bn a year by shopping online – Â£500 for every household in the country.
It also predicts online shopping will quadruple by 2020, accounting for almost 40%, or Â£162bn, of all UK retail sales, in comparison to just 2% in 2002.
The high street will be a very different place in 2020 at this rate and it’s sectors such as music, books and electrical goods that are already feeling it.
Internet sales will reach Â£40bn this year, accounting for 15% of overall retail sales. The average household spends Â£980 a year on online goods and services, representing 10% of the Â£9,630 total annual shopping bill.
The report was conducted with the Centre for Economics and Business Research and market research firm YouGov.
Reuters has the full story,here.
February 15th, 2007
Â£800,000 has been earmarked for the project, which is a comparable budget to a typical TV drama.
According to Ashley Highfield, the BBC’s director of future media and technology, the show will be “wrapped in interactivity”, and is the “most ambitious internet format to date”.
A bold step for the BBC, but an inevitable one.
Click here for more details on the ‘Signs of Life’ show.