Archive for the ‘media’ Category

Great article from Econsultancy on Marks and Spencer’s social media strategy here. Sienne Veit, business development manager of the retail giant, talks about how M&S has implemented a social media strategy, where it has been successful, how it deals with difficult issues (such as Busts 4 Justice), Twitter and how it measures success. Interesting case study.



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Continuing my apparent dominance of Chivalry House in October, here’s a little story that’s vaguely related to the work we do (well, it’s about brands, and we’ve got brands in our title).

Marge Simpson, matriarch of the yellow, four-fingered clan of the same name, has posed for Playboy to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Simpsons as a show in it’s own right (it started in ’87 as sketches on the Tracey Ullman, breaking free in ’89 on it’s own).  Aside from the fact a TV show that  gets past four series is on its way to legendary status (Two Pints of Lager notswithstanding), this is an interesting arrangement for both.

The Simpsons, whilst perhaps not reaching the critical heights of its earlier series, is a huge brand that shows few signs of waning. Playboy, on the other hand, is a shadow of its former self, and as confused about its brand identity as any company has ever been.  Is it a porno? Is it a literary mag (don’t laugh, some big literary guns have written for it)? Is it a guide for gentlemen, a sort of GQ-esque establishment? I don’t think it helps that the man who embodies its supposed qualities is a parody of his younger self.  Hugh Hefner tries to maintain his image of a debonair, sophisticated man of means and taste, yet hasn’t adjusted his approach to this image to cater for his advancing years. What worked at forty doesn’t work at eighty.

The magazine itself has suffered at the hands of a wider malaise affecting the print industry. Its online brands have been undermined by the proliferation of free porn sites, and overall it is unable to shake the feeling that its really just grot for kids without the balls to buy the proper stuff.  This is a shame, as it could have been one of the great journals.  As mentioned above, big name writers (with both commercial and critical clout)  have contributed to its pages, with Stephen King on the front cover of the Simpson issue. If it hadn’t gone down the pseudo-Nuts/Zoo route, it might be a brand that makes it to the second half of the 21st century. At the moment, only the Simpsons seem poised to get beyond the next few years.

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Ok, so you will find the links to these blogs on the blog roll on right hand side of the page but I wanted to draw your attention to Dave Trott’s writing.

Dave is creative director of CST Advertising (who work for the likes of DWP, Daihatsu, Silver SPoon, NS&I etc) and writes regularly for both the CST blog and for Brand Republic. He has a fantastic writing style – direct, engaging and interesting – and his advice is creative, thoughtful and quite often brilliant. Useful for anyone working in the marketing industry.

Hat tip to Scot for directing me to Dave’s work. If you are so inclined, Dave is also on Twitter.

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There’s a story today (11th August 2009) that is on the front covers of eight of the UK’s national papers, both red and white tops. It’s the lifting on the ban on reporting Baby P’s killers. I won’t go into details of the story, because I think everyone knows what happened, and there’ll be enough places covering it today for the events and actions of the parties involved to be familiar to most.

What I’m interested in is this: did we need to know what they looked like? We know what happened – the coverage of the trials last year ensured that. Do we need to put names and faces to actions? The NSPCC doesn’t believe so, arguing that by identifying those involved more trauma will be heaped on the victim’s siblings. Does knowing what the offenders look like benefit the public in anyway? Where does the public’s right to know begin and end?

That was the line used during the Max Mosley/NOTW case. The NOTW claimed it was in the public’s right to know that the head of one of the world’s largest sporting bodies paid to get spanked. Mosley said it wasn’t. The case is now closed, Mosley the winner, but it doesn’t change the fact that, whatever their motivation in breaking the story, key people at the NOTW believed that the public’s right to know was a credible defence.

I understand that I am extremely fortunate to live in a country where freedom of speech is a given and the freedom of the press is a proclaimed to be a pillar of its democracy. But is it our duty to know everything because other countries deny their citizens this basic right? Does the public really have a right to know everything?

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After moisturising today, I prepared for work by dreamily sipping a camomile tea in a dainty cup. National newspaper, The Sport, wants me to “Man the **** up!” according to its crude, vulgar and downright funny new promo video.

Or maybe not. No, I’m not a typical Sport reader, although this video did make me laugh, if not question my metrosexual mannerisms.

And it shows exactly how well this  national daily understands its audience.

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‘Mad Avenue Blues’ is a really funny (in my humble opinion) re-working of the Don Mclean classic ‘American Pie’, which you may remember was not so lovingly butchered by Madonna a few years ago.

At almost 10 minutes long, it is the same length as the original version of the song and has a multitude of silly pictures of ad execs in cheesy old school poses (think Mad Men for those who have seen it) to accompany it.

The basic gist of it is how advertising industry has been challenged by the explosion of online content. Example lyrics include: “Bye bye, those big upfront buys, pitched the client who was pliant, but the pitch didn’t fly…singing ‘tech has taken us for a ride…'”

Watch it here:

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Feeling blu

We’ve been researching Blu-ray a lot this week. As a relatively young format it’s been through a lot – the initial (and ultimately victorious) battle with Toshiba’s HD-DVD, widespread consumer confusion and the threat of digital downloads.

But now the tide seems to be turning. Increasing adoption of HD programming from the likes of Sky, Virgin and Freesat is getting the message through to consumers that their shiny new HDTVs are only really HD when a proper source is plugged in. Prices of Blu-ray players and the discs themselves are falling, they’re becoming more visible in stores, and adverts which would previously have DVD as the main format are now leading with the Blu-ray version.

The technology is also evolving. Interactive content through the BD Live service is being realised, moving away from simple web pages with more trailers to real dynamic content that isn’t available anywhere else. A good example is last year’s The Dark Knight, which featured a live, community commentary with the director. A new development this year will be seen with the release of Watchmen, where a special edition will also include a PS3 game, taking advantage of that format’s shared userbase.

So, what do you all think of Blu-ray? Have you seen it going and do you think it lives up to the hype?

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