What's been catching my eye?

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Raising thousands for charity is old hat for Princess Bee

On 29th April I was one of millions howling at the TV screen and scoffing at the ridiculousness that was Princess Beatrice’s royal wedding head wear. The general consensus in the room was that it was Gaga gone wrong, and it almost became a bit of a game laughing and pointing at the TV screen when the camera panned around to reveal that hat in all its glory yet again.

But, said hat has now taken on an iconic status all of its own, and was this morning compared to Liz Hurley’s safety pin dress and Marilyn Monroe’s famous white frock by Hilary Alexander (Fashion editor at The Daily Telegraph).

I can only applaud how Beatrice has jumped on the world’s ridicule and media attention and turned it around for a great cause. Beatrice, who is an ambassador for Unicef has put the hat up for auction on Ebay and pledged to split the cash raised from the winning bid between Unicef, Children in Crisis and her own charity, The Little Bee Initiative. In a few hours time, this high profile auction will come to an end – the current high bid stands at £80,000.01. It puts it all into perspective when you think that £50,000 can fund a brand new school or the training of 100 midwives in deprived areas like the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Not one to succumb to the world’s mockery, she has even set up a Facebook page (with over 140,000 fans) inviting people to upload their own crudely photo-shopped pictures poking fun at the hat, which can surely only increase conversations going on about the Philip Treacy creation and draw more attention to the auction.

All I have to say is well done girl! If I had a spare hundred grand knocking around I would definitely be placing a bid. And what a way to silence all your critics…

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Go on, touch the rainbow

Once again Skittles have pulled another brilliant social media gimmick out of the bag and it suits the brand down to a tee. I often chuckle to myself at the Skittles Facebook updates and we were all entertained in the office when James sent in his Facebook status to be transformed into a Skittles video status by the cool Skittles dude.

This has to be the best thing they have done so far though. Skittles ‘Touch the Rainbow’. Brillant. Make sure to check out all the videos on the channel.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Facebook allows users to stream movies

We’ve got a bit of a theory in the office that Facebook will eventually become the internet, and in the past few days there’s been another step in this direction.

Warner Bros is to become the first Hollywood Studio to allow films to be streamed directly from Facebook.

Where Facebook credits were once used to buy pointless virtual gifts for friends’ birthdays and the like, Warner Bros reckon users will be much more likely to spend real money on Facebook if they can rent or buy movies via fan pages whilst staying fully connected to Facebook.

The first film available to stream through the social networking site is Christopher Nolan’s box office busting “The Dark Knight” which has already attracted over 4million ‘Likes’.

What’s interesting is that movie viewers will still have functionality of their Facebook page whilst they’re watching the film, enabling them to continue to interact with friends and post comments on the movie. This really is media consumption to the max. We’re already used to flicking between computer screens, smart phone screens and TVs, so why not just being them all together on Facebook?

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Jennifer Aniston sex tape goes viral

There’s no sure fire, silver bullet formula to make a video go viral. You can get the top creatives and most scientific SEO specialists but it all comes down to whether people see the content, find it interesting and engaging and whether they feel the sudden urge to share it with their network of like minded friends.

Although there’s never any guarantee as to whether a video will go viral, releasing a video tagged ‘Jennifer Aniston Sex Tape’ is bound to generate some exciting stats.

This is exactly what Smartwater, a US brand of bottled water has done. Smartwater drafted in Jennifer Aniston to star in a video specifically made to go viral. (I’d love to know how much she got paid for it!) The video is a spoof of other videos which attract ridiculous amounts of views on Youtube and have that true ‘pass-on-ability’. Jennifer Aniston herself is one of the most searched for stars in the world. Add to this cute animals, dancing babies and double rainbow man and watch the views start flooding in.

The video has been met with mixed reactions due to the fact it’s piggybacking on the success of other videos and that it’s perhaps ‘trying a bit too hard’, but I have to say I love it. It made me laugh, I was completely hooked and watched the whole 2 minutes and 46 seconds. It’s definitely put Smartwater on my radar and made me want to pass on the video. Would it make me want to buy Smartwater? I’m not too sure. But I don’t think this is what the brand has set out to do.

When I watched the video last night it had around 2million hits. It’s now well over 4million and shows no signs of slowing.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Disneyland Southport?

I’ve just been reading that the last few remaining Pontins resorts are set to be Disney-fied in a bid to attract British holidaymakers to the ailing company’s seaside locations.

I suppose it makes sense. Tourists from across the world, Britain in particular, flock to Disney theme parks in Florida and Paris leaving the twee chalets and dated entertainment on offer at Pontins looking less than appealing to today’s families looking for that annual escapism.

Having done Media Studies at university, this has made me think about theories of ‘Americanization’ and how the US has a continued influence on the popular culture of other countries. The likes of Pontins and Bultins, for me, are inherently British. The seaside holiday camps, the blue coat entertainment and organised family fun epitomise what British summer holidays were all about. I think it’s quite sad that we’re going to lose this notion of a traditional seaside staycation in favour of these generic Disney-esque resorts, but I guess we have to move with the times and people just don’t want that any more.

From a business point of view, this could be quite a shrewd move. Pontins certainly needs a refresh if it’s going to start profiting again from fickle British holidaymakers. I wonder if we’ll see kids pestering parents to take them to ‘Disneyland Southport’ rather than the pricier Florida alternative?

On another note, I think Butlins has responded brilliantly to the near downfall of small competitor Pontins with its latest advertising push. Who wouldn’t want to be friends with Ludo the dino?

Monday, 24 January 2011

Coming soon...The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

Morgan Spurlock, famous for his film documenting his 30 day experiment eating nothing but Maccy D’s, has just debuted his latest shock doc - ‘The Greatest Movie Ever Sold’ at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

This time, Morgan has decided to expose the extent of product placement in television and movies (something which is being allowed to the UK again from next month).

In a neat twist, Spurlock’s new exposé was funded entirely by name checking brands and products in return for a fee. He reportedly introduced the new film to audiences at the Sundance Festival wearing a suit covered in 15 logos from all his sponsors and opened with the line “This film will ruin film and TV for you forever. I do hope it will start a conversation related to marketing and advertising.” - Which I’m sure it will if Supersize Me is anything to go by.

Really looking forward to seeing this – it will be fascinating to see some of Spurlock’s secret footage from meetings and find out how big blockbusters lock in their deals with brands. Definitely one to look out for later this year.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Why make a new campaign when you can recycle a classic?

As a child of the nineties, I find it really strange that stuff from the nineties is now instantly recognisable. Whether it be popular music, clothes or food packaging, these things can evoke really strong memories that take you right back to a specific moment, experience or feeling (like dancing to The Spice Girls in my bedroom and pretending to be Mel C in my Adidas ‘popper’ trackie bottoms...)

I’ve noticed that advertisers and marketiers are using the power of nostalgia more and more. Hall’s Soothers for example have just spent £1million relaunching an advertising campaign that originally ran in 1993 – the iconic ‘Kiss’ ad. I’ve seen this a few times in the past couple of weeks and can’t believe how inherently ‘nineties’ in now looks. At the time it no doubt raised a few eyebrows due to it’s overtly sexual nature. Where perhaps it doesn’t quite have this effect today, it definitely plays on the fact it looks dated and evokes strong memories of a different time, whilst retaining the overall message that Soothers ‘kiss your throat better’.

This idea of relaunching old iconic ads has also worked really well recently for Crunchie with their ‘I’m so excited’ rollercoaster advert and the Milky Way red car versus blue car animated ad.
For me, playing on nostalgia makes these ads so much more memorable, powerful and talkable. I still to this day get pleasure from watching adverts on old videos taped off the telly from when I was little as they take me right back to sitting infront of the TV when I was five watching Christmas films. For me, these adverts have the same powerful effect.