Archive for April, 2008

UNCOMMON CLAY

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008 by Jon Clements

 

For those still navigating their way around the evolution of Web 2.0 and what it means for social and business interaction, you couldn’t hope for a more lucid analysis than that of Clay Shirky who has just written Here Comes Everybody about what the changes in the online world mean for, well, the clue’s in the title.

Listen to him here.

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''

“BITTERGATE” BITES OBAMA

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008 by Jon Clements

 

As candidate for the biggest job in the world (that’s President of the United States, by the way), which commentators would keep you awake at night? The big journalist guns of the New York Times or Washington Post, perhaps? Or might it be a 61-year-old Pennsyvanian housewife and part-time (wait for it…) BLOGGER? Keeping journalists out of a recent Barack Obama campaign event in Pennsylvania clearly lulled the presidential contender into – well – saying what he really thought.  Unfortunately for him, the 37 cataclysmic words of his speech which included references to small town people being “bitter” and somewhat attached to “guns” and “religion” were reported on an influential liberal blog by Mayhill Fowler – an Obama supporter!

Within a day, the post had 100,000 hits and the Clinton PR machine was in full swing to capitalise on Obama’s comments.

Despite having zillions to spend on the best comms strategists in the business, Obama has learned the hard way about the new reality: in the world of citizen journalism, everything is fair game

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''

MISSING LINK FOUND

Friday, April 18th, 2008 by Jon Clements

An interesting insight into online professional networks can be found here with an audio discussion between FT management writer, Adam Jones, and LinkedIn’s Kevin Eyres. LinkedIn positions itself as a professional – as distinct from social – networking community in which business people can build contacts, get expert advice and manage their careers. Strictly no biting zombie applications or virtual sheep being hurled at one another here, methinks.

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''

SMARTARTS

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008 by Jon Clements

 

Smarties is that kind of sweet that you can’t help but like – psychedelic coloured chocolates that don’t stain your shirt. But, from a PR point of view, where’s the story?

Smarties have done a great job with a simple idea to launch the fact that blue smarties are back, having been banished a couple of years back for containing artificial colours/flavourings.

Commissioning a food artist to recreate famous faces and landmarks out of Smarties must have taken all of 30 seconds to think of (when in doubt, marry marketing and art, that’ll work!). But Guardian Unlimited likes it enough to feature all the art works on one of its galleries linked from the home page, complete with mentions for the blue smartie comeback.

The Smarties website takes the theme to its natural conclusion with a kids’ food art competition, with winners’ works exhibited at the V&A in London.

As this campaign idea shows – much like Smarties – some oldies are still goodies. 

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''

O2 PRESS OFFICE CAUGHT WITH THEIR TROUSERS DOWN

Thursday, April 10th, 2008 by Mark Hanson

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It’s always great to start the day thanking your lucky stars that you’re not someone else! Apparently O2’s press officers got themselves and their phone wires into a tangle when trying to blag a journalist. They were discussing their line on how to pull the wool over his eyes whilst preparing to call him, inadvertently dialed him with hilarious results. I should stick by my profession but it does sound shoddy, although we’ve only got the journalist’s version, perhaps ‘friends’ of the PRs in question might want to put their side? Decide for yourself…..

UK PR’s RUSH TO COPY US CAMPAIGN TECHNIQUES

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008 by Mark Hanson

 IMG_3712 PRs on this side of the pond, me included, are devouring coverage of the US election, seeing what ideas and innovations we can import into our own sphere.

 

My eyes lit up when I saw this story in PR Week about a new start-up in the UK that’s looking to ape Barack Obama’s search strategies and offer advice to clients in the UK. I decided to put a bit of flesh on the bone in terms of what Barack’s strategy is on search;

 His two main players are Josh Orton, who left in October, and Scott Goodstein  (primarily and who is behind this) built a system that integrated the campaign’s PR and press efforts with PPC advertising. Orton worked more with the blogosphere, but their system basically focused on two key points

1) Speed – they focused on getting PPC (pay-per-click/Adwords) ads up as soon as they found out a story was about to break. The main problem was that their geeks at HQ weren’t talking to the journalists (only Obama’s press people) and so information flow was something they tried to fix. They got their early morning discussions with senior staff to also include possible stories that would break in the various parts of the country, and that memo was then passed to the Pay Per Click-optimising team.

 

2) Targeting – they started with name targeting, but then branched into devising a strategy for John Edwards’ keywords as well (e.g., using “poverty”, etc). Then branched into policy targeting, and in early January (just before Iowa) began looking at regional trends (e.g., people in Iowa were searching for “energy subsidy” and so made sure Obama’s ads were there) and matching everything together.

They basically flooded the market, and at one point were bidding against themselves for ad placement!

UNLOCKING DEMOCRACY IN SOCIAL MEDIA

Monday, April 7th, 2008 by Mark Hanson

 

 Unlock Democracy, http://www.unlockdemocracy.org.uk/?page_id=490  the organisation established to encourage as many people as possible to vote has set up a novel way of getting over the usual voting barriers of thinking politicians are all the same or thinking its too boring to keep up with the issues. 

We all know what we care about, so Unlock have developed a quick application that asks your views on key issues and then matches that against the views of the candidates and produces a recommendation. It’s not perfect but it’s a great guide. They are launching it for the London Mayoral election.

Press release and link are below. Why not test it out and see whether you are more Boris or Green? 

Unlock Democracy has launched Vote Match London <http://t.ymlpr.net/bbuaaauuyazaumsacawmus/click.php>, an online quiz designed to help Londoners decide who to vote for in the elections for Mayor and Assembly. All ten Mayoral candidates and the thirteen political parties standing for the London-wide Assembly elections have provided their answers to a survey which forms the basis of the web application. As well as matching their views against the candidates’, voters can give specific policies extra weight. The results screen enables them to examine the candidates’ views in more detail and points them to where they can get more information.

The candidates’ responses reveal some surprising results. You may be aware that the Green Party want to lift the ban on feeding pigeons, but did you know that only the One London Party agree with them? Ken Livingstone thinks the police should let people caught in possession with cannabis off with a warning so the police can concentrate on tackling hard drugs but Brian Paddick, who piloted this policy when he was the Lambeth Police Chief, disagrees.

Vote Match has been produced in association with the Dutch Institute for Public and Politics (IPP), which has been developing Vote Match (known as Stemwijzer in Dutch) since 1989. The Vote Match system has been used in the latest European, French, German, Swiss and Hungarian elections and a version was launched earlier this year for the US Presidential Primaries.

YAHOO LAUNCHES WEBSITE FOR WOMEN

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008 by Mark Hanson

  

  It’s a sorry sight to see Yahoo thrashing around trying to compete in a changing world. They were the future once! Today they’ve launched a new website for women, already a crowded market.

This is the announcement from the press release.Yahoo has launched a site for women between ages 25 and 54, calling it a key demographic underserved by current Yahoo properties. The site is called Shine.Yahoo said advertisers in consumer-packaged goods; retail and pharmaceuticals have requested more ways to reach those consumers.

25-54 seems like rather a broad target but as I’m no expert, I consulted somebody who is, Catherine Rees, Head of Consumer for Staniforth/ (the PR agency I work for). Here’s what she said: I’ve had a look at it and I’m disappointed. I’d already read the Elle interview with Madonna so that’s old news. I’d expect Yahoo to be telling me new stuff and be ahead of print media.

When I see that female interests are fashion, food, health and love I want to scream and yawn at the same time. It’s just so predictable and    something I already get from the mags I read and sites I visit.  When will someone be brave enough to stop clumping all women together and realise that we have wider interests and attitudes?  Even the career section is about sleeping with work colleagues. Add something on there about politics, business, women in the news not just shopping and sh*gging.   So there! 

The future online is in catering for specific audiences in terms of the kind of clubs you go to, the way you live, how much you earn or having a sharper aggregation model. Jeff Jarvis puts it nicely.

 

This is as good an excuse as any to re-live that Harry Enfield sketch!

NOW SIR HUMPHREY JOINS FACEBOOK

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008 by Mark Hanson

 Tom Watson, the first blogging MP, has announced the setting up of a ‘Power of Information Task Force’. No, don’t have nightmares, this isn’t Tom, George Orwell and Blofeld all sat round a table in Room 101  this is potentially empowering for citizens! 

 

 

Tom was seen as radical when he started a blog five years ago. He says…

 

 

 “People couldn’t believe that I had opened myself up to such scrutiny and occasional daily abuse. But the blog broke down the walls between legislators and electors in a way that interested me. So I persevered. Today I’m no longer a pioneer. There are thousands of political bloggers. And politicians can no longer set to default broadcast mode. They have to engage.” 

Social media is always viewed as a tech-geek solution when in actual fact it’s really simple and old fashioned. People being able to talk to each other and connect in a way that has become lost in a television/call centre world. Here’s how Tom describes it…. 

The 19th century co-operative movements had their roots in people pooling resources to make, buy or distribute physical goods. Modern online communities are the new co-operatives. Mrs Watson is a regular user of Netmums. It’s a great site. Parents chat, and offer, I’ve been there, advice on everything from baby whispering to school admissions. Except it’s not just a handful of mums and dads, it’s thousands of them, available in your living room, 24 hours a day. Sounds like hell well, it’s a lifeline when your baby’s screaming at four in the morning, you have no idea why and you just need to know you’re not alone. But my point is, imagine if quarter of a million mums decided to meet at Wembley Stadium to discuss the best way to bring up their kids. Midwives would be there dispensing advice. Health visitors, nursery teachers, welfare rights advisers would be there. Even politicians would try and get in on the act. But when twice this number chooses to meet together in the same place online, we just ignore them. That’s going to have to change.” 

There are already good examples of government putting this into practice….

“And today the PM announced an initiative that would allow you to find your community Bobbies using your postcode. And in the week where the digital world went crazy over Mystarbucksidea.com (I’ve already voted for free Wifi), NHS choices launched a blog about diabetes, bringing together the people who treat the illness and the people who receive treatment. It’s a brilliant idea and hopefully will foster a new information community who can work together to improve things.  “Let me give you and example of this by naming a public servant that I think should have his desk moved into Number 10. Peter Jordan works at DirectGov. His job is to assess how people find the DirectGov site, what pages they look at and what they do when they get there. Last month DirectGov had over 7 million visitors. Peter is seeing the aggregate desires of millions of UK public service using citizens. I had half an hour with him a fortnight ago and came away with a dozen ideas as to how we can improve our public services.” 

Full version of Tom’s speech here. Good discussion on politicians using social media at Wadds in the last couple of days

 

THE MARTIANS ARE COMING

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008 by Mark Hanson

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Just imagine the pitch situation, where the ad agency, in this case AMV, tries to convince client, in this case Doritos, to make an advert to broadcast to aliens in outer space! For some reason Doritos are broadcasting their next ad into outer space, maybe just to generate headlines but we shouldn’t dismiss them as gimmicky.

Doritos are doing some really innovative things with their PR and advertising. As well as advertising to aliens the idea is that this new ad will be part-developed by the public or specifically a Doritos customer.

What Doritos is looking for is a two-way dialogue with its customers that involves them in the brand.This is a well thought-out vehicle and bang-on their target demographic. PS You win £20,000 as well as having your ad broadcast on (extra) terrestrial TV.