Category Archives: Media

Jobs genius on marketing

Bloody hell! I’ve blogged. Nobody is more surprised than me.

Obviously and understandably there’s been a tsunami of Steve Jobs-related tweeting and blogging over the last couple of days. It’s obviously very sad. It’s sad that cancer cares not for success, or vision, or genius, or money. It’s indiscriminate like that. It’s very sad when anyone is taken from their friends, family and fans before their time. But thankfully for those of us who love using Apple products, Jobs churned through a fair amount of stuff in his 56 years.

I came across this video via the W+K blog last night, and it’s one I can’t remember seeing before. It’s the late 90s and Jobs is giving his views on branding and marketing. In essence, he’s saying that marketing should be based on core values of a company; values which don’t really change over time. A couple of things struck me while watching the video:

1) How many CEOs could be as engaging and genuinely passionate about their company’s values? Indeed, how many have such a clear perspective of what those values are?

2) How many CEOs would be happy to speak for five minutes about the philosophy behind their latest TV ad?

TV ads aren’t cheap things to produce and run. They’re big bets for most companies. It’d be nice if each one were created with the same amount of thought, passion and belief.

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Putting a value on social media outputs

The other day I had cause to Google: “What’s the value of a Facebook fan?”

This because some colleagues were evaluating a recent campaign for a client; a campaign that over a month or so had attracted nearly 4,000 Facebook fans. The client wanted to know how much these fans were worth. My initial reaction was that their worth was difficult to calculate, as it would (should) potentially increase over time as they became more engaged, bigger advocates and, hopefully, valuable lifelong customers. But no. We needed to put a value on them. Hence my search.

One of the first results returned highlighted the problem. This article in Advertising Age from June last year references two different studies that tried to answer the question. The studies – by social media companies Syncapse and Vitrue – both used highly complicated and sophisticated formulas. Syncapse put a value on a Facebook fan of $136. Vitrue’s value was $3.60. Perhaps an average of the two might work?

It’s a bit ironic that we’re armed with any number of buzz monitoring and sentiment tracking tools – applications which can help measure the outcome of not only digital and social media but all marketing activities – that we’re being driven to measure the outputs of social media activity: Facebook fans, tweets, blog posts and check-ins. And not only to count the mere numbers, but to stick a precise value on them too.

But clients we have, and clients we serve, so I’m thinking that we should at least have a stab while we’re also trying to educate them…

So earlier today I tweeted that I was thinking about pulling a cross-industry group together to put a value on social media outcomes and that if anyone was interested in getting involved to drop me a line. I’ve already had a great response – the more the merrier as far as I’m concerned. If you fancy it then drop me an @ reply on Twitter, or leave a comment here. I’ll try and get a meeting organised.

Ad agencies transforming. As discussed.

About 10 months ago I posted this following an essay by Edelman‘s Jackie Cooper. Jackie’s essay was called “Why It’s Time for Ad Agencies to Admit defeat” and in it she claimed (as many people have done over the past few years) that PR agencies rather than ad agencies were the ones best placed to take advantage of the brave new world of communications.

My point was that she was ignoring the fact that ad agencies might be able to adapt and evolve, and also the not insignificant advantage that they already hold the vast majority of a client’s marketing budget and therefore had the relatively simpler task of persuading a client to spend it in a different way.

This morning I read this piece in The Guardian: “Digital technology and social networking breathe new life into advertising.”

Wonderful thing, evolution.

Separated at birth?

Something here, definitely.

One of these blokes cooks up stuff from any number of interesting ingredients. The other is a TV chef. Mark Borkowski and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Holy hypocrite

holymoly220.jpgI see in Media Guardian this morning that Holy Moly – the not quite as a good as Popbitch purveyor of filthy celeb gossip – has decided to stop using certain paparazzi pictures because, “both reader and the publisher alike are getting a bit uneasy about it all…”

I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing.  In fact if the world’s paparazzi was enticed onto an old oil tanker by a promise of a glimpse of Matt Damon’s pecker before the deception was revealed, the ship holed and all aboard sent to the bottom of the ocean, it might be regarded as a positive thing for the planet (clearly I’m disregarding the environmental impact of a rusty old tanker sinking.  I would recommend a thorough cleaning first…Cilit Bang should do the trick).

But when you raison d’etre is dealing in salacious celeb gossip, surely this is biting the hand that feeds?  Though presumably there’s a perceived moral line between the written word and pictures.  The anonymous creator of Holy Moly said, “It’s not funny anymore and to get any sort of pleasure out of it feels a bit seedy.” 

Was he talking about the pictures or his website?

Maybe it’s time for Holy Moly to go up in holy smoke.

My week in media

pfd1575lightning-mcqueen-posters.jpgI’ve been tagged.  I think it’s the first time.  It’s the “my week in media” thing that’s floating around.  Wadd’s tagged me and I feel that I need to respond, if only to point out that he’s spelt my name incorrectly.  I’m meeting him for breakfast next week so I’ll slap his legs then. 

Anyway, here goes:

What I’ve read: I whistled through the autobiography of Alex James over the break.  It’s a lovely read.  Rock star excess but with an awareness that makes it quite charming.  Plus he uses a whole page to describe the wonderful cheese baguettes from the bar at La Rochelle airport which, as it’s my local, I can vouch for.  I’ve just started Duncan Hamilton’s book about Brian Clough, and the first couple of chapters are very promising.  I also managed to work my way through the special Christmas double issue of The Economist.

What I’ve listened to:  I had my classic little music player on random play and docked in the kitchen for the entire Festive Season, so we enjoyed a right mixed bag of tunes (and it has also resulted in my mum becoming a firm Foo Fighters fan).  I’ve been quite enjoying the Radio 1 Established 1967 album, The Gossip’s cover of Careless Whisper being a particular favourite.  Other than that, my eardrums have generally been filled with the sound of screaming kids.

What I’ve watched:  Despite the previous post about my nostalgia-driven purchase of the Christmas double issue of The Radio Times, the consensus has been that TV over the break was rubbish.  I can’t think of much that stood out, though I was pleased to catch The Terminal, a film that I’d wanted to see for ages and provided a very pleasant couple of hours.  Kids in bed, fire in the hearth and a bottle of wine…that sort of thing.  I’ve also watched all or part of Cars about a million times with my little boy.

What I’ve surfed:  I haven’t spent a huge amount of time online in the last week or two.  The odd flick through my feeds to catch up on news and sport is about the measure of it.  I’ve also been sorting out a few logistics for the London to St-Emilion charity cycle ride I’m organising for this coming May.  But more of that soon.

Has anyone tagged James Warren yet?  Consider it done.

The whiff of nostalgia

rt081.jpgI caught it in that dark little alley off Memory Lane as I was travelling back home from the UK last weekend.  And it caused me to pick up a copy of, in its own words, “the legendary Christmas issue” of the Radio Times. 

I’ve got to agree with the hyperbole.  The double festive season edition of the Radio Times used to be an absolutely essential part of the whole Christmas thing when I was growing up.  And I don’t see why it still shouldn’t play a part now we’re living in France.  It’s not like we don’t get English telly or ‘owt.  Though I wouldn’t normally buy a TV listings magazine.  All the listings I need are on the old Sky thingy…and I only watch about three shows a week as it is.

Radio Times is all different these days of course.  Get this kids, when I was a youngster we only had three different channels on the box!  And as it was published by the BBC, The Radio Times only carried listings for two of them.  You had to buy another magazine – the TV Times – to know what was being screened on ITV.  Not that we did of course.  We were a BBC family.  We wouldn’t dirty our hands (or eyeballs) with ITV.  I still don’t, as a rule.

But since 1991, when TV channel listings were deregulated and all manner of listings magazines sprung up, the Radio Times has listed commercial channels alongside BBC ones.  Though I’ve always suspected that it gives BBC programmes more favourable ratings.  “EastEnders – chirpy Cockney types make the best of their lot.  Uplifting quality drama” – “Coronation Street – grim northerners moan into their cloudy brown beer.  Dour”.

In this year’s legendary Christmas double issue of the Radio Times, each day’s listing takes up 10 full pages of the magazine!  With all the channels listed, each day represents more than two months of viewing pleasure.  And that’s just TV – radio gets another couple of pages tucked up the back.

I haven’t got stuck into it yet though.  Oh no, planning my Christmas viewing is not to be rushed at…it’s something to be done one evening, when the kids are in bed, with a large cognac in one hand and my very best highlighter pen in the other.

Ego boost

Have you done that QDOS thing yet?  A few people have mentioned it.  It calculates your online presence.  Initially, all you can do is enter your name and postcode and it gives you a score.  This’ll likely be a few hundred…which looks a bit rubbish when you can see 50 Cent there at the top of the board with a score of more than 10,000.

But when you apply to register – and are accepted - you build your profile by adding details around your online presence, so any URLs, blogs, Flickr pages etc etc, and your score increases.  Your presence is split into four elements: Popularity, Impact, Activity and Individuality. 

I added my details and my score went up to 4,420, which found me sandwiched between Seb Coe and Demi Moore.  I haven’t decided whether I’m happy with that or not (though I’ve heard he goes like the clappers for four minutes and then it’s all over).    A few more points would’ve seen me stuck between Catherine Zeta Jones and Terry Wogan which, frankly, is even more confusing.

But I still wasn’t happy. 

And then it struck me. When you enter your URLs and blogs and that there’s no check on whether they’re really yours or not.  So I added a few more…like google.com, microsoft.com, scobelizer.com, bbc.co.uk.  Before you know it, I’m at 9,839 points, in 12th place overall and just behind P Diddy! 

And I feel great.

About-face book

u.jpgWhen Bite PR, as PRWeek put it back in October, “became the envy of trendy consumer tech agencies everywhere [by] scooping up the Facebook UK brief” I bet in all their excitement the team never suspected that one of the first things they’d be handling would be the fallout from the Facebook founder’s humiliating apology over a dodgy advertising system.  Though perhaps they’re not having to do very much at all…as we all know, when stuff like this happens with our big American clients, it’s generally time to stick to the prepared statements and say nothing else.  I’ve always found that enormously rewarding.

In fact, with all the current chat about Facebook having jumped the shark, I’m not sure that other agencies would be that envious right now.  My gutfeel is that Facebook’s crested the hill and is starting a chilly descent.  I reckon Zuckerberg knows it too, so he’s grabbed the cash from Microsoft and the rich Asian fella while he can…$300m isn’t a bad return for a few years’ work in anyone’s book.  Hopefully Bite has negotiated a long notice period.

I bet the guys at LinkedIn – the client that Bite (rather arrogantly in my eyes) thought wouldn’t mind being serviced by the same agency as Facebook but which (rather predictably) decided that it did – are chuckling away though.

One thing I chuckled away at this morning is Kara Swisher’s decoding of Zuckerberg’s apology on her excellent BoomTown blog.

Kids’ telly of a morning

This post started from one place and ended up in another.  I love that.

shreddies_knitted200.jpgAs a father of a couple of young children – mine are five and three – I’m something of an aficionado of morning kids’ telly, particularly the Milkshake! segment on Channel Five.  Some great programmes (all highly educational, I might add…sort of) and nice cheery presenters.  My favourite is Jen, the young upstart threatening the established trio of Naomi, Kemi and Beth (I see they’ve kept Jen’s song off the album).  But I digress.

Being a commercial channel, Five carries advertisements and of course we’re well into Christmas stuff now.  Having said that, one of my current favourites is the ad for Shreddies…the “knitted by nanas” one which, as you might have guessed, explains that each and every Shreddie is knitted by a lovely kind nana.  I like it so much that I was prompted this morning to visit the website, www.knittedbynanas.com

It’s been very well done.  There’s a bit of loading to deal with, but it kept me distracted for about 20 minutes which can’t be bad.  My favourite is the games area.  Nana vs. Robots didn’t grab me too much, the Skip Challenge appeared a little dull initially but the changing pace of the rope added to the challenge, Teabag Fling was compelling but ultimately frustrating (you get your power sorted and then screw up the angle!) and Slipper Slide is a joy.  It’s definitely worth a look.

Now to the other place.  While I was thinking about the ads, I recalled one which, frankly, disturbs me.  It’s that animatronic pony called Butterscotch.  That thing freaks me out.  “Don’t worry,” Thea tells me, “it’s not real.  It’s got batteries in its tummy.”

Looking around for a Butterscotch clip I was chuffed to find that I’m not the only one who finds Butterscotch a bit weird.  David Letterman does too…and you can see a very amusing video here.

“Take that, you lousy nag.”

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