Waterstone’s OWLS

With Amazon announcing (just co-incidently the day before Cyber Monday I guess :-) ) that they are currently testing drones for delivery of goods, Waterstone’s have decided to respond and promote their own service they are testing to deliver books withing 30 minutes of you ordering them.

Their Ornithological Waterstones Landing Service (Or OWLS for short) is about to take off. Once they have trained enough owls. Maybe.

This is a wonderful, whimsical response to the Amazon news and fair play to the Waterstone’s team for getting it out there so quickly! Love it.

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Digital Signposts

The Out of Home ad is no longer measured in pieces of paper, but in interaction and pixels. British Airways have often tried to lead in this space, such as when they were managing the opening of Terminal 5 and updated the digital adds regularly to keep people informed.

In their latest attempt, their billboards on the A4 flyover out of Chiswick (on the way to Heathrow) and in Piccadilly have taken interactivity on a step. They just have rapid update times to keep the information fresh, they interact with their environment. As a place goes over the locations, the figure of the child points and the flight number and destination or embarkation point is displayed. It’s real time, contextual advertising; it’s no longer the preserve of social media that has to have people responding, now you can get it automated too.

British Airways Digital signs (used with permission, from British Airways)
British Airways Digital signs (used with permission, from British Airways)

The Chiswick board has not pleased local residents though. A group is protesting that it breaks the planning guidelines for the displays and could lead to accidents!

Contextual advertising in non-digital forms is not new; it just generally takes more lead time. Congratulatory ads in papers after sporting success have always been common. Today, the PS4 launch also used the method. In a brilliant media takeover, the console has taken over Page 3 of The Sun, replacing the usual topless models. For many, this would be a welcome change. However, the terminology has raised some eyebrows, with the double meaning of the word Players.

Image used with permission of @AndrewBloch

Posted in Electronics, Interactive, UK Marketing | Comments Off

Grey Goose and Artisinal Bread

Grey Goose Vodka and artisinal bread are not something that you would normally put together, but today, the PR (or social) team have been out and about in London delivering bread. Why? Because they have baked bread with the same wheat that is used in the vodka. It’s all being broadcast via their Twitter feed GreyGooseRSVP.

This appears to be a multi-pronged campaign consisting of:

  • A popup shop, on Shaftesbury Avenue, called Boulangerie Fran├žois, open for 3 days.
  • A mass blogger outreach programme, getting people to talk about it. We have articles on How To Spend it, All In London, London Pop-ups, It’s Rude to Stare and probably a few others. So that’s covering London and Style blogs. This is then combined with a more traditional PR to the trade press, such as The Spirits Business
  • An experiential PR event in London, delivering bread baskets to major agencies and tech companies. They have mentioned Ogilvy, Facebook, Twitter as recipeients
  • A Twitter contest to get a bread basket delivered to your office. YOu needed to follow adn tweets about the contest to enter
  • Pictures on Instagram/GreyGooseUK about the campaign
  • There’s not much action on Facebook, all the real-time stuff is on Twitter.

Opinion: I like this campaign. It has relevance to the product, without the need to be sampling vodka, removing that complication. it is getting buzz – although an issue would be it’s just London based, are they doing it elsewhere? There are multiple digital and real world connections, bridging that gap seamlessly.

Posted in Experiential, PR, social Media, UK Marketing | Comments Off

Harvey Nichols and Christmas

I tend to like Harvey Nichols and there sense of humour on their Christmas ads. They tend to show waht can be done on a limited budget, as they never really have the big budgets that someone like John lewis does. This years is pretty good.

it’s all about not getting too involved in the panic of give, give give – after all, it’s the thought that counts!

Even better, they actually have these products for sale

Harvey Nichols 2013 Christmas Range
Harvey Nichols 2013 Christmas Range

No real budget, but they are picking up the views and getting trending topics on Twitter, so it’s getting traction.

Posted in UK Marketing, Video | Comments Off

Cadbury Creme Eggs and pancakes

Cadbury Uk are connecting Pancake day and their Creme Egg promotion. Now, I LOVE Creme eggs and think they could be very interesting on a pancake. But the attraction is not helped when you look at the images and realise they’re photoshopped instead of made for real, because there’s no way a real one would look this neat! How do I know this – look at the white/yolk gooiness on these two photos, one from Twitter, one from Facebook. They’re the same…

(Both images from Cadbury UK, from their Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright Cadbury UK)

Posted in social Media, UK Marketing | Comments Off

Tiger and Rory together with Nike

Nike have signed up Rory McIlroy for a huge deal and have started the relationship with this cool video of him and Tiger Woods. I love it and so do golf fans, as it’s racked up over 3 million views. Helped along by a large media spend no doubt

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How to steal a TV

LG have produced this pretty clever video to promote thier latest, thinnest TVs. Enjoy – because it only really works the first time! It’s also worth clicking through to the comments, as not everyone gets that this is meant to be a commercial or get the irony in it

Posted in Electronics, EU Marketing, Video | Comments Off

Launching Virgin Money

I went to a launch event this evening, for Virgin Money. And based on the event, all I can tell you is there is a product called Virgin Money, Richard Branson seems to be be quite proud of and it has something to do with disrupting banks. Because what they failed to do at the event is provide a way to learn anything about the new brand (product? service?).

I’ve been to quite a few blogger events; I also work in social media for a living, so that means we run events where we get bloggers/tweeters etc along to experience what we are trying to sell. What we talk about, a lot, is value exchange. How are we going to get people, who are not paid media, to write about the product…what value can we give them that is a valid exchange for a post/tweet/video etc that we are after. We spend a lot of time thinking about the best way to do this, so maybe I’m a little bit more critical than the average attendee?

The attendee was partly self-selecting; before Christmas, the various Virgin social media properties sent out a tease to sign up for a mysterious event in January. One of the people I connect with on Twitter brought it to my attention. My curiosity was piqued, as this seemed to be a different way to get people to blogger events.

  • they asked for details of Twitter accounts, blogs, Google+ and Facebook etc. It was a very easy process and was seemless on the mobile version. So far, so good
  • The self-selecting thing is a good idea, if you are after people who are going to be enthusiastic about writing about the event

The proposed attendees received an email last week confirming the time, date, location and the product. Now we knew it was for Virgin Money and that Branson would be present. They emphasised that we needed to confirm we were going, as we would not get in without our name on the list. They also confirmed we’d be able to get something warm to drink, as the event was going to be taking place outside. They appeared to have a great response, as there was talk about 200 or so people.

  • There was no list. There was not even a general check to see if you were supposed to be at the event. Just a wave into the room
  • I could have had soup, tea or coffee, but no water or soft drink, nothing else if you did not want caffeine or liked tomato soup. A jug of water would have been good – on asking, the staff did find a tap. You don’t have to provide the social lubricant that is alcohol, as many events do, but at least make sure there are alternatives

When I arrived, Branson was being photographed whilst the guests milled around the room. At some point there was a general wander to where the shoot was taking place and out came the cameras, then a surge outside to where the event was taking place.

  • There was no announcements or information about what was going on, it was just follow my leader. There could have been some expectation setting, maybe a welcome with an indication of what was available. Could we interview Branson? Could we chat with anyone about the product? How could we recognise who to speak to?

Outside, there was some posing for photos and a short speech ab out how this would disrupt banking, before the show started, an animation projected against the building

  • the animation and the projection mapping was suberb. It really used the UL Senate building to great advantage. It was so good, they played it twice. As the main atraction, it worked

Virgin Money Launch

One more round of thank yous and that was it. A quick wander round to see if there was anything else going on and home I went. The show would be replayed a couple of times, but there seemed to be nothing else happening.

  • there was nothing available that I could see as information. Every blogger event I’ve ever been at has information available so that you can write about it, either on paper, more commonly now on USB sticks with data and images/video or at least an email. There was nothing at the event and nothing arrived yet. So all I’m writing about is the poor organisation.
  • There was no real experience. It was standing round a courtyard, with no idea what was going on. There was no welcome, no-one to feel that our presence there was welcome, or that they wanted to help us. They just wanted people to tweet, video and post later.
  • I really, really hope that the people who had spent money to travel to the event (it was said there were people from Cornwall, Manchester etc) got something out of being in the same room as Richard Branson. As that seems to be the only story they can tell.

Looking at Twitter, there was some ‘wow’ going on as well as some other stuff

@kmb2009 wonder if the social media crowd was just there as a ‘rent a mob’ to give the unveil of graphics & video a guaranteed audience #virginmoney

@mioomiuk Well that was epic! The whole University of London building just “blew up” thanks to #virginmoney! Video coming shortly!

@woggledog @jasonbetts You missed a great experience at @virginmoney event this PM. The video was inspiring. Not much else to the event though :-(

So I’m left with the following. Branson is very smiley. Whoever produced the projection is very, very good. And Virgin Money may be trying to change the way banking happens but my impression is there’s no change, they’re terrible at understanding how to treat people.

Update: Got an email with a link to the video (as I said, the creative is quite nice). Apparently what we saw was the TV ad…they could have mentioned this! Plus the following:

We’ve seen lots of the video’s and pictures you’ve posted already and they look great!

Yep, single way value, no exchange!

Virgin Money Launch

Posted in EU Marketing, Experiential, Influence Marketing, social Media | 1 Comment

Doritos and the Superbowl – Again

Crash the Superbowl now seems to be an annual fixture, on its sixth iteration, , no longer real UGC but taken over by professional teams, competing this time to win $1million and a contract to work on a second ad. it’s all down to your votes, who gets to walk away with the prize and they’ve spiced up the voting system by giving away $10k to a randomly chosen (US) voter.

Although it no longer has the surprise factor it had, as it’s been done many, many times since, its still probably the biggest and most prominant of these types of promotions. But what sort of ads does it produce? Nothing brilliant in my opinion – then again, few ads are these days. Mildly amusing in a slapdash humour way.

I think I like the grandmother and baby one best, closely followed by the dudes with their voice controlled phone, although i think that would be better without the clising scene. The rest, nothing really to shout home about.

Posted in Contest, FMCG, social Media, US Marketing, Video, Viral Marketing | 1 Comment

TV and Social

Why do brands spend lots of money on TV advertising? On Programme sponsorship, or product placement. Because it works, or at least the evidence is there that it has worked in the past. With the fragmentation of media, of TV channels, it may not work as well, but there are still good reasons for connecting with programmes watched by millions. Especially if those programmes are being talked about on social media, where you can get a pretty much instant reaction to what people think about the show.

So why are clients not connecting the dots? Why is TV sponsorship (or ad buys) not intimately tied into social media monitoring at the least and active participation as best practice. Yes, you’re after awareness, brand recognition but here’s an opportunity to engage.

If you are doing any spend on TV promotion and sponsorship, take a small bit of those millions and make sure you are doing social media monitoring to assess how your target audience think about you; before, during and after your spend. Also, make sure you have something to say across your social platforms, ready to answer questions that the programme has raised.

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