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#Pirloisnotimpressed vs. the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Andrea Pirlo was one of 11 Italians that broke my heart in 2006 when he beat Germany on his way to winning the World Cup. Gutwrenching. I boycotted pizza for half a year. But even I had to admit: Pirlo is one of the greatest midfielders of all time. Even now, in his later years, where he strolls across the park stroking his glorious beard, he still dictates the game, picks a pass and puts one of his lads through. Likely a Balotelli. Which makes it painful all over again. Continue reading “#Pirloisnotimpressed vs. the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge”

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Vine – a missed opportunity for the Premier League?

Missed opportunity for the Premier League?

After a fabulous footballing summer for German Arsenal fans, the Premier League finally started up this weekend. The Gooners squeaked past Crystal Palace on a sunny Saturday. Marvellous.

And after a World Cup where Twitter really came into its own, dedicating entire sections of its service to updating users about live games, reporting on the Tweets per minute from key incidents and the usual banter, you’d think that the FA might pick up on the popularity of sharing instant reactions to games – especially when instant reactions often also mean the instant replay of that cracking goal, or that ridiculous decision, or Santi getting sprayed in the face by the ref who can’t quite get the vanishing spray to work. Continue reading “Vine – a missed opportunity for the Premier League?”

Heartbleed explained; Why you should never leave a journo hungry; Twitter’s new profile pages and this week’s bits and bytes

Less than 24 hours to go until the London Marathon – no better way to get my mind off the 26.2 miles that lie in wait than write my weekly bits and bytes.

This week I’m looking at the biggest threat to the Internet since the Y2K bug, how banning a journalist from a media dinner is a recipe for disaster, how Costa Coffee did a great job with engaging bloggers (but then forgot to tie that good work back into their social profiles), and the new Twitter profiles that will be coming to a screen near you.

Continue reading “Heartbleed explained; Why you should never leave a journo hungry; Twitter’s new profile pages and this week’s bits and bytes”

Another pun-off, TFL travel alert fail, say hello to Vice News and this week’s bits and bytes

Trashtag: Last week fish pun mania gripped the nation. This week, puns are still very much en vogue, even if they have turned trashy, as this exchange about a rogue trash can at a Sainsbury’s Local in London between @sainsburys and @Anthony_Hill. While perhaps not as epic as the previous effort, it’s good to see the various members of our Careline team getting in on the action. Anthony was good enough to save the conversation for posterity on his blog and tweet us the exchange.

Hell hath no fury like a social media geek scorned: Two guaranteed ways to piss me off.

The first: QR codes. Seriously. Just say no.

The second: Randomly include a reference to your social media account but not your handle.

I won’t spend any more time on why QR codes are a waste of time, but shouting about the fact that you’re on social by simply including a wee bird or a blue f? You’ve got to be kidding me.

So, I (along with many other like-minded individuals) were outraged this week when Transport for London put up posters notifying commuters about their travel alerts on Twitter. The poster has 4 wee Twitter birds making up the middle blue bit of the famous tube sign (so far, so good), it reads “Travel alerts on Twitter” (OK, still with you), and underneath that, in cheeky brackets, “OMG!” (stretching it chaps, but I’ll assume you were going for irony. Go on).

That’s it though. Not a single Twitter handle in sight.

OMG indeed.

But it get’s better. There is a link to TFL’s website, waaay down in the bottom right hand corner of the poster. But rather than taking you through to TFL’s social media page, it takes you to their page about the Tube. Now, to give TFL some credit, were you to do a search for TFL travel alerts on Google or Twitter, you quickly get to their Twitter channels.

Still.

Why make us work so hard to get the information that you’re trying to tell us about? We’ve barely managed to elbow our way into somebody’s armpit on a rammed Piccadilly train to Heathrow at rush our, so letting us know how long we’re to inhale a complete stranger’s body odour while hanging on to consciousness should be more straight forward?

Gonzo journalism for hipsters: I remember back at Uni, getting your hands on the new Vice was an event we all looked forward to. Having grown up in the rather more controlled environment of Singapore, the gritty photography and features in Vice were always an eye-opening read, and the wonderfully snide Do’s and Don’ts still bring a giggle.

Most recently, Vice has earned some serious kudos with its guerrilla documentaries and reporting: from Travel guides to the Philippines, to the epic three parter touring North Korea, and the surreal dinner featuring a Vice reporter, the Haarlem Globe Trotters and a cameo by Grand Marshall, Kim Jong Un. It’s no surprise that some of the more established media business have taken note and invested.

Now called Vice Media, Shane Smith’s media empire includes a massive website, a magazine, a record label, feature films, events (some of the best parties I’ve been to!), a book publishing division and, soon, its own news channel.

A news channel with that unmistakable gonzo journalism style, which puts the reporter into the story, an approach that Smith argues gleans the answers that young people seek. Something that I think many established media houses will keep a close eye on.

Creepy Emoji: French child advocacy group Innocence en Danger has given cute Emoji a creepy make-over in their campaign to warn parents and young people about the adult predators who might be behind online conversations.

Bits and bytes

  • Facebook adds trending topics to remind people that there are things other than cat videos and baby photos. While cats and babies enjoy permanent popularity, Facebook is looking to surface content that sees a sharp increase in popularity over a short space of time
  • Twitter now offers marketers the ability to target ads to specific users’ accounts, based on their bio information, follower count, verified status and past tweets
  • “At times, it felt like I’d put my head into my phone. Interacting with all of this information becomes much more intimate.” A quote from a shaky split screen video in a piece titled ‘I Became a Robot with Google Glass‘, shows a first person perspective of what it feels like to wear Google Glass and how people react to the wearer
  • How did BuzzFeed grow from a much-mocked LOL cat archive to a media giant for a new era? Wired magazine looks at the evolution in a highly entertaining piece. Interesting points: people don’t like fuzz (fake + buzz), we like to share and we like to share good news
  • You love/hate the selfie, but have you heard of the felfie? The Guardian looks at the trend amongst farmers to take a selfie on their farm (farm + selfie = felfie) and how especially Twitter is so popular with farmers as they can connect with their peers and friends in what is otherwise a rather lonely job

Videos of the week: A compilation of Vine videos from Zach King that will blow your mind. More on how Zach does it on the Indie (HT @MindyB_).

Puma partner with Thierry Henry, Cesc Fabregas, Marco Reus and Mario Balotelli to test their new evoPOWER football boots. Over the top CGI, terrible acting from Thierry, and a generous helping of cheese make for a rather enjoyable ad.

‘Prankvertising’ is back with this hilarious effort featuring a projectile vomiting, remote controlled, devil-baby. The stunt was to promote the release of horror flick ‘Devil’s Baby’ (HT @tomparker81).

And finally: Tom doesn’t like to shut his cupboard, or how you take passive aggressive to the next level (HT @tomparker81, who assures me that he isn’t the Tom in question)

Fish puns, ask Jelly and you shall receive, social news with the NYTimes and this week’s bits and bytes

Fishy goodness: If it’s one thing I’ve learnt during my time in the UK, it’s that Brits love a pun.

Yesterday, @TeaAndCopy tweeted @SainsburysI tried to buy some battered fish from @sainsburys but it didn’t have a bar cod!

David Smith from our social Careline team was quick to respond with this triple whammy: @TeaAndCopy Were there no other packs in the plaice, or was that the sole one on the shelf? Floundering for an explanation! David.

The resulting ‘punversation‘ is a joy to behold and quickly spread via Twitter and onto the HuffPo.

Also, it reminded me of this wonderful ‘Little Story‘ about Sainsbury’s sustainably sourced prawns.

Have a question? Take a photo: If you have a question, somebody out there likely has an answer. Combine that with the fact that most of us have an Internet connected camera in our pocket and you’ve got the premise of the new visual question and answer app Jelly. Jelly allows you to ask and respond to image based questions.

Here’s co-founder and CEO of Jelly, Biz Stone (yup, same dude that helped give us Twitter) who explains it far better than I could. If that’s not enough, there’s more info on Jelly’s blog.

Quick thoughts:

  • The app (at least for iPhone) is still a bit wonky. For example, the only way to switch between Twitter handles at the moment seems to be to delete and re-install the app. Also, it murders your battery life – I suspect this might have to do with the high number of push notifications from the app alerting me to friends in need of answers
  • Jelly works by tapping into your existing connections on Twitter and Facebook – and your connections’ connections – but it keeps all interactions contained within its walls. While they’re likely to open this up in future, it plays to the trend of a) mobile first and worry about the desktop experience later and b) it’s not about getting mass reach or fame, but to help each other out in small-scale yet meaningful interactions
  • Swiping through questions is fun and simple and the wide variety of different questions is astonishing but also confusing. There isn’t a search or sort function and once you’ve dismissed a question, you can’t go back to it
  • There doesn’t seem to be a way to block other Jelly users from asking or responding to questions, nor does the app respect Twitter blocks. Interesting to see how they deal with the inevitable abuse cases and ‘less welcome’ content

Finally, can those social comms bods, please agree to not go for the obvious ‘Would you prefer product a, b or c?’ questions?

Social media news: The team that runs the New York Times’ Twitter feed analysed some of their most successful tweets in 2013 (in terms of click-throughs and retweets), and looked at how they used Twitter to encourage a variety of types of reader engagement with their journalism. @michaelroston, staff editor for social media, sums up their findings and I strongly suggest you give the results your full attention.

For those of the TL;DR mindset (I doubt you’ll have gotten this far, but hey), here’s my take:

  • Managing breaking news is about sharing approved and verified sources. To ensure accuracy, @nytimes will retweet journalists who are directly involvement in events instead of relying un unverified, third party sources
  • They let their journalists break ‘news situations’ – even without links to the NYT: Letting our trusted reporters deliver some news first helps them connect directly with an interested audience, and delivers news in a timely manner without sacrificing our commitment to accuracy 
  • Using social for call-outs for sources
  • Automated tweets are OK (automated in the sense that a new article that’s published to the site is tweeted automatically), but Tweets send via @nytimes performed better when they were written by editors: Twitter is a platform that helps extend The Times’s journalism to an audience that is not always the same as the one that visits our website directly. When we fit our storytelling to the medium, we do the best possible job of connecting with that audience
  • Clearly stated tweets describing the gist of the stories work better than clever headlines

Minimal goodness: A lovely collection of minimal ads that make your brain work just that little bit more to get the point and provide that brief Eureka moment when you get the point. Sent to me by @stangreenan remarking that his favourite was the one for Haribo. I’d have to agree:

Bits and bytes

  • On Vine? Make sure you have your web profile sorted as the six second video app makes the leap from mobile to desktop
  • Don’t know where to go on your next holiday? You could use Sightsmap, a nifty heat map of popular places around the world
  • Why is no-one is outraged about the New York Times redesign (despite the horribly intrusive related story pop-up functionality)? A playful post, but one that will leave anyone who’s ever worked on redesigning a website smiling. Also, you’ll learn what a hamburger is in terms of web design speak (HT @alexcole71)
  • The San Francisco Chronicle will put all its reporters through social media boot camp in an attempt to to arrest circulation decline and remain relevant in the digital age. The two month (!) programme is all about introducing digital metrics and measurement tools. Let’s hope they’re also addressing the required mental shift from print to digital
  • The reason why Netflix walked away from personalisation? The novelty factor: the new and unexpected is what delights customers, not a similar version of what they watched yesterday
  • XKCD provides a brilliant comeback to the question: “Why can’t you just enjoy the view rather than always take photos”

    Source: XKCD

Videos of the week: A case study from Kirby Ferguson, on the back of his excellent 4-part series Everything is a Remix about how creativity resembles remixing. He looks at how when it was launched, the iPhone borrowed from conventions and ideas outside of the smart phone realm to when the recent update of iOS6 was released, it borrowed from ideas within the smart phone realm.

It’s worth taking a look back at the entire series, the first and second films make the point that not only is everything today a remix, creation actually requires influence and that it doesn’t take any expensive tools or even skills to do so (anymore). The third film looks at how innovations truly happen and the fourth finishes on how our system of law doesn’t acknowledge the derivative nature of creativity.

If you fancy a quicker summary of all that goodness, I’d recommend Kirby Ferguson’s TED talk that brings this all together – without the excellent films and animations mind you.

And finally: Movie Code, images of the computer code appearing in TV and films and what they really are.

Batfleck, #SaintsFC, Sugarpova and this week’s bits and bytes

Batfleck: As usual, the Internet exploded overnight as the news broke that Ben Affleck will play the new Batman (oh yes, all the hard-hitting news here my friends). Outrage is the best word that describes the reaction, with many people suggesting better caped crusaders on the #BetterBatmanThanBenAffleck hashtag. As is often the case with curating the best of the Internet silliness, Mashable compiled their favourite suggestions for a better Batman than Ben Affleck (HT @stangreenan).

Of course, the obligatory fake Ben ‘Batman’ Affleck account already has 13,000 followers – and 1 tweet.

https://twitter.com/AffleckBatman/statuses/370725672244609026

Brands getting in on the real-time marketing bandwagon included Pizza Express and Vue Cinemas but it’s really the less politically correct reactions from the fans that are worth a browse.

#SaintsFC: Gotta hand it to Southampton FC. Not only do they have Rickie ‘I create spikes in Saino’s Beetroot sales‘ Lambert, they ‘get’ social. After they successful campaign to thank fans for getting them across the 100,000 follower mark they’ve now become the first British football club to permanently display its official hashtag within its stadium seating (HT @tomparker81).

Trolls are here to stay: In a tremendous guest post on Wired, @JamieJBartlett argues that trolling and cyber-bullying have always played a part in web culture, a consequence of anonymity and the freedom to say anything – no matter how offensive. The only difference is that while trolls used to be confined to the dark underbelly of t’Interwebs, the proliferation of social media, ubiquitous broadband access and smart phones have brought world’s morons out from their hidden communities and into the mainstream and public consciousness.

A wonderful excursion into the history of trolling, flame wars, and the explanation for why you should never, ever, read The Comments – Godwins Law: “as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving the Nazis or Hitler approaches one” – this is a wonderful post that calls for people, especially young people and women, to be better prepared when they ‘go online’.

Social media wins customer support: 80% of customer complaints on social media receive a response within 12 hours, while only 37% of customer complaints on email received a response in the same amount of time. Now, there are a number of questions that I’d like to put to the guys at eDigitalResearch who studied 2,000 consumers, but what should also be pointed out is that the amount of customer complaints coming in via email is likely to be far larger than the amount of social media contacts. Still, it is indicative of the fact that companies are biased towards social media complaints due to their potential to becoming larger and possibly reputationally damaging issues.

Advantage Sharapova: Earlier this week, Russian tennis ace Maria Sharapova announced she might change her surname during the US Open to ‘Sugarpova’ to promote her own confectionary range. In the end, the name change would have meant too much paperwork and hassle so it was dropped – ESPN seemed quite miffed at the whole thing, noting Sharapova should concentrate on Tennis, not gimmicks.

Source: Sugarpova

That however, would be missing the point of what I think was a clever way to spread the Sugarpova brand. After all, the story achieved world wide coverage – without Sharapova ever actually doing anything! The number of Tweets mentioning the word “Sugarpova” jumped from 50 to 9,000 in a day – and I’d argue, with all the coverage achieved and me telling you about it now, you have to conclude that the stunt most definitely worked.

Unfortunately for Sharapova: she’s had to pull out of the US Open due to injury.

Brands on Vine: See what brands are up to with Twitter’s 6 second video platform Vine – and keep your eyes peeled for Sainsbury’s latest effort celebrating being the no.1 for British apples and pears.

Hats off also to Aussie Bank NatWest for their superb use of Vine for customer service – quick, six second how-to clips to either explain how to change the settings in online banking, how to recycle an 4 pint milk container into a dust pale or how you can use an empty glass to amplify the sound from your mobile phone.

Embedded posts: Both Twitter and now Facebook are going big on embedded posts. The feature was already available on Twitter for a long time, but they are now displaying related news items alongside the Tweet you chose to embed. For example, @Eunner’s Tweet about the Asiana Airlines crash landing in San Francisco.

The Tweet should shows headlines that are related to the 140-character-message – although it doesn’t seem to like WordPress). As Twitter puts it: “We think this will help more people discover the larger story behind the Tweet, drive clicks to your articles, and help grow your audience on Twitter.”

Never too far behind in copying Twitter, Facebook has also rolled out their embedded post option to all users (something that you’ve been able to do on Twitter for a few years now).

Content marketing vs. content strategy: A great summary of the difference between two entirely different concepts that are often – and incorrectly – use synonymously. 

And while I’m rocking the marketing buzzword bingo – another thought provoking read via the Wall Blog about the rise of the ‘Always on Consumer‘ (this article also contains the beautiful ‘cross-channel’. Oh yes!). The fact that these people are permanently connected across multiple devices means that they require a communications approach that delivers a consistent and seamless narrative which they can enjoy no matter which of their many devices they happen to be brandishing at any particular point in time.

Videos of the week: I admit I cried when I watched this beautiful clip from British Airways from their ‘Visit Mum’ campaign. I can’t say that I have had a similarly long time away from my mum, but I do know what it feels like to come home to her amazing cooking and embrace after a year or so away. Love you, mum!

Clever stuff from Publicis in the Netherlands who installed a barrier in the carpark of one of the country’s most famous clubs that would only let guests leave if they passed a breathalyser test.

And finally: Hot Dog Legs.

Royal Baby, Loving every naughty mouthful, the art of Vine and this week’s bits and bytes

Royal Baby: I tried to go all Guardian on this, but I wasn’t able to figure out how to install a ‘Republican button‘ to rid my blog of any reference to the Royal offspring. But it was impossible to escape anything Royal Baby related last week, so let’s have a look at how it all goes down on t’Interwebs?

Even though the Beeb and Sky went into Royal Baby screensaver mode and my Twitter feed was absolutely bursting with tweets about the imminent arrival of the little nipper, the news didn’t seem to go that big on Twitter: while #royalbirth generated more than 25,300 tweets per minute at its peak, this was still way behind the new Pope (130k), Murray winning Wimbledon (120k), and Usain Bolt’s 100m victory at London 2012 (80K). Now, this probably has something to do with the fact that the Royal Baby circus was spread out over a number of days, while all those other events were much shorter. Also, 60 million Brits don’t really stand a chance again 1 billion Catholics.

The Internet loves Zombies. Mind you, it does look like something out of World War Z.

In a nice gesture, Clarence House acknowledged that while the world’s cameras were trained onto the doors of the Lindo Wing, there were other children born on the same day and encouraged people to share their photos on the #WelcometotheWorld hashtag.

I admit I watched Wills and Kate come out of Lindo Wing with baby George in their arms as they were greeted by the cameras. But it was only until I saw this amazing 360 degree shot by Lewis Whyld of the couple leaving the hospital that I could even begin to fathom the terror that the three of them must have felt. To remain so calm, serene and happy in the face of a wall of cameras, flashing lights and screaming journalists really was bloody impressive.

What does the Royal Baby mean for PR? Carte blanche for pitches and releases tentatively linked to baby Cambridge: the Daily Mail newsdesk received 22,000 Royal Baby related stories on the day the little prince was born.

Of course marketers weren’t far behind their PR colleagues in coming up with cringe-worthy, branded tributes to Prince George. Buzzfeed have pulled together some real shockers, and there’s a marvellous Tumblr full of Royally Desperate real-time marketing efforts (HT @Victoriadove). My personal favourite though would have to be this shocker from Ryanair.

To finish, I leave you with the brilliant Jon Oliver from the Daily Show to sum up the wall-to-wall media insanity in the lead up to, during and after the birth of the future King George.

#LoveEveryMouthful: Just a few days before the arrival of the Royal baby and on a day that David Cameron announced his (rather ridiculous) anti-porn filter (pushed by a special advisor that doesn’t know the difference between a screenshot and a hyperlink), Tesco launched their newly launched food campaign with a promoted trend on Twitter. Mirroring the strapline of the campaign, they went with the hashtag #LoveEveryMouthful.

I’d like to think that I’d have spotted, flagged and binned this hashtag before it went live – but hindsight is always 20/20. Either way, the hashtag brought out the snickering, pubescent teen many a Twitter user, encouraging them to let their imagination run wild. Tesco’s juicy melons were combined with all kinds of innuendo, naughtiness and – there’s no other way of putting this – flat out porn. It got so bad that Tesco changed the promoted trend to a more safe #TescoFood by mid-day and then removed it entirely.

Perhaps Cameron’s porn filter would mean that we would have been spared this hashtag?

Hacks on flacks: PR agency Twelve Thirty Eight are at it again with a useful – if a bit repetitive and more than a tad hypocritical in places – summary of what journos find annoying about PRs, their view of PR pitches and press releases. Well worth a browse, but if you just want the key messages in one go (thank you @TreebD):

  1. Keep it short
  2. Keep it real
  3. Keep it neat
  4. Don’t be cute
  5. Do be grammatical
  6. Put the news in the first paragraph

SEO is dead, again:  A provocative post from @dangraziano reveals that a Google search may display only 13% organic results; “the rest is ads and junk”. Rather than concentrating on search engine optimisation, businesses would be better served if they focused on customer-centric interactions rather than pinning their hopes on an ever changing algorithm to drive traffic. After all, we all know that recommendations from friends count for more than what Google tells us!

The Social Media Manager has grown up: A great piece from @sweissman about how the role of social media manager within business has evolved along with the ever-changing digital media world, but that these roles have matured and are increasingly about exercising nimble judgement in difficult situations, continuous listening for possible problems and delivering on-brand and human customer service and stories.

Following on nicely from the trend of experienced social media managers, it was great to see that even a leading business mag such as Forbes wants to know if social media is a career? The answer, I am very pleased to tell you, is a resounding ‘yes’. Just don’t call yourself a social media guru, ninja, Jedi or master. Grounds for immediate dismissal, that.

The art of Vine: I’m a big fan of Vine and always impressed at the possibilities of creating six second looped videos on a phone. It sounds so basic, so rudimentary at first, but in the hands of an experienced producer and using the nifty loop feature to full effect, your imagination is the limit. 

One such Vine master is @origiful, who not only produced the Vine above, but he’s also pulled together six really useful tips for creating better Vines.

Video of the week: A brilliant clip to promote Sainsbury’s Back Tu School range featuring some ridiculously talented kids busting serious moves and breakdancing in their school uniforms.

And finally: You can’t write proper English under pressure (HT @usvsth3m).

Sainsbury’s Christmas, pilot name shenanigans, how to use Hashtags and this week’s bits and bytes

Christmas in July: Yup, hottest days of the year and the @SainsburysPR team spends them in a beautifully made up basement in Covent Garden to show off Sainsbury’s gorgeous Christmas collection, from fantastic festive food and drink to classy home and clothing ranges and even floral!

Our Twitter Wall was back, encouraging the assembled press and bloggers to tweet their impressions using #SainsburysChristmas. In turn we posted photos and tasty Vines (shot and directed by our very own @a_little_wine) to show off the crimbo collection that will be coming to a store near you this Christmas.

Of course, we were all well chuffed when The Daily Telegraph’s Steve Hawkes tweeted his approval. Bring on Christmas!

Sum Ting Wong: Not long ago, an Asiana Airlines flight crash landed in San Francisco. In one of those ‘I can’t believe this actually happened’ moments, KTVU, a local news station, announced that the pilots of the Asiana flight had been named:

  • Sum Ting Wong
  • Wi Tu Lo
  • Ho Lee Fuk
  • Bang Ding Ow

I kid you not.

Soon after – and unsurprisingly – KTVU issued an on air apology, saying that the names were “not accurate, despite a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) spokesperson confirming them”.

Who was this spokesperson? This from the NTSB website

Earlier today, in response to an inquiry from a media outlet, a summer intern acted outside the scope of his authority when he erroneously confirmed the names of the flight crew on the aircraft.

The summer intern has since been fired, but I’d suggest the NTSB revisit their crisis comms procedures. Something is clearly not quite right there…

Above the cloud advertising: Staying with air travel for a bit longer – Ryanair has decided that sticking ads on every conceivable surface inside their planes and annoying passengers with ads blasted at full-volume on the PA system isn’t enough. After all, the whole outside area of the plane is still pretty much blank! It’ll only cost you £20,000 a year to get your creative on a Ryanair’s plane, for example the tips of the wings and the main body of the plane. Doubt BA or Easyjet will take them up on it.

Source: Business Insider

Facebook fangate: You know the bit you get on some Facebook brand pages where you have to “like” the page first before you can see the content? That’s a fangate. With Real Life Connect you can now set up a real-life fangate that uses RFID technology to identify your Facebook fans as and when they come into your stores and reward them with real life perks. The example in the clip below of showering customers with confetti and kisses is somewhat cheeseball, but you get the idea (HT @mike_mcgrail).

A nifty way then of breaking down those barriers between your Facebook and bricks and mortar stores. Although the key will be to come up with an in-store/real-life perk for the customer (discounts, free stuff, or even just the recognition) that balance with a benefit for the retailer (increased loyalty, personal connections).

The link between off and online will need to be seamless and automatic. Even with something as simple as Foursquare mayorships, which provide much the same mechanic and opportunites as Real Life Connect’s RFID approach, this approach to rewarding loyalty have found little pick up. Not once have I been rewarded for being the Mayor of a cafe or restaurant – and I’ve looked!

Combine this with existing loyalty schemes or apps however, and you might be on to something!

Tweet and thou shall be saved: In terms of rewarding fans for following a brand on Twitter, the Vatican may be on to the ultimate incentive – absolving Catholics of their sins. The Pope this week announced that anyone who follows his World Youth Day service on TV, radio or via Twitter will receive plenary indulgences.

When bylines go wrong: The heat might be getting to the subs at the Sunday Mirror. They carried a nib about a bridge funding scandal; and where you’d usually find the name of the journo that had written the piece, there was a rather colourful snippet of a sentence (HT @tabloidtroll).

https://twitter.com/tabloidtroll/status/356455793605877761

How to use hashtags on Twitter: A great little 2-minute-guide to how you should use hashtags on Twitter by @garyvee. Instead of trying to make your own hashtags trend (as Gary notes, only The Bieber has that kind of power, infuriatingly), you’ll be much better off listening to what is already popular and then adding to those conversations and trends where you have the authority/content/right to play.

Videos of the week: Johannesburg Zoo were keen to get in on the social media action, but rather than hire a social media team, they decided to promote from within. Their resident honey badger “BG” got the gig (HT Alex Crouch).

A spectacular ad for Johnnie Walker starring none other than martial arts über-legend Bruce Lee. It took nine months to produce, with every shot, every detail was painstakingly assembled, animated and rendered through CGI. As the director puts it – a sculpture in a different medium (HT @KaiFischer).

A great little clip from Arsenal Football Club from the pre-season tour through Vietnam (not signing anyone or winning any titles, don’t be silly). A fan runs alongside the team coach for a good five miles, the bus finally stops and he climbs aboard. Dream come true (HT @stangreenan).

The Superhumans are back. No pressure.

And finally: Desk safari (HT @AndrewDumont).

Planning for real-time, EE’s 4G tractor, political lunches and this week’s bits and bytes

Real-time marketing: Good news for marketing bods the world over. According to Twitter’s head of agency sales @daranasr: “When people talk about planning for the moment and real-time marketing they get really scared that they have to be tweeting every second of every day, but there are things you can plan months in advance based on what you are doing.

Source: Adage

So, you plan for moments where the attention of a large part of the country is focused on one event. You come up with different scenarios. You assemble a team of creatives, copywriters, PRs. Most importantly, you get someone with the authority to give the green light on whatever reactive idea your team comes up with. How else are you going to capitalise on that one moment with a genius bit of content before your competitors do?

Fair enough. But I think this quest to create that perfect piece of viral content is a bit like playing the lottery. You’re likely to play your whole life and never get lucky.

Meanwhile, thousands of opportunities go missing because we’re so focused on getting that one big hit. I think the focus should be on individual people, interactions and everyday conversations that are taking place all the time. Listen to what people are saying to and about you, delight them with genuine messages of support: give them a retweet, comment on their blog, pin their Instagram image or like their Facebook post. Show them you’re listening and reward them for the time (and money!) they’ve spent on you. It takes a second to interact, but for anyone who’s ever been tweeted by a celeb account will know what an exciting feeling it is.

Social Wimbledon: Nadal out in the first, Federer out before a Grand Slam quarterfinal for the first time in a decade, Sharapova dispatched by the 131 seed. Twitter is already in overdrive with more tweets during the Nadal/Darcis match (7,000 tweets per min) than during last year’s final. There’s also a great little social insights page on the Social Wimbledon page, providing visitors with some interesting insight into what people are talking about.

Also, I love that they’re tapping into the great British culture and Wimbledon tradition of queuing by actively promoting the #TheQueue hashtag. After all, isn’t it always more fun to share the pain of waiting with randoms on Twitter?

Oh, and while we’re on Wimbledon: Here are some photos of players in action where their tennis racket has been replaced with something else entirely (possibly NSFW).

Political lunch: George Osborne’s Tweeted a photo of himself this week showing him chowing down on a posh Byron burger. He was predictably mocked for devouring his £7 burger whilst preparing a budget speech. The Daily Mail has a blow-by-blow account of proceedings, here’s the gist of this excellent exchange that followed.

Eric Pickles decided he’d join in the fun and posted a photo in an identical pose – deciding to swap out the offensively expensive burger for a more healthy salad.

Again, Twitter wasn’t pleased and people were soon posting photoshopped photos of Pickles eating everything from a bucket of KFC to a stuffed pig’s head – the latter coming from Jeremy Vine, ensuring that this went far and wide.

For now though, it looks like Osbourne has had the last laugh:

4G tractor: A great stunt from mobile phone operator EE who have equipped an eco-friendly tractor with 4G technology to create a WiFi hotspot for those attending Glastonbury. Slight catch: you have to be within 10 metres of the danged thing.

Source: EE

Photography meets Google Glass: What happens when photojournalist @koci takes Google Glass to the streets? You get possibly the first real reason why wearing these things and looking like a complete tool might actually be worth it. Street photography. Check out Koci_Glass on Instagram for what you can do with the 5mp camera and what I assume is a healthy dose of photo editing on Google+ and Diptic (HT @frischkopp).

“First day on the streets with Google Glass. #throughglass blown away by the sharpness and clarity for only 5MP. The lens is a little to wide for my street style, but I understand why it’s so wide. Not a single person noticed, that I could tell, that’s probably because we don’t look each other in the eyes normally. More to come.”

Vine vs. Instagram video: according to Vine vs Instagram, Vine is ever so slightly ahead of Instagram video (HT @Adverplanner). Read more about how Vine and Instagram users have very different missons and cultures and why it’s all about #TeamVine in the Atlantic.

Twitter are also actively promoting clever Vine’s from advertising agencies – something that I am sure will lead to agencies producing better Vines. The ‘how to’ clips from Lowe’s are particularly brilliant (HT @tonyw).

Video of the week: Did he know or was he really caught by surprise? Whichever way you look at it, Gus Poyet’s live sacking during half-time of the Uruguay vs. Tahiti match in the Confed Cup is brilliant TV. Me? I think he knew. The interview is just too good, he comes across perfectly as the victim and has clearly received some excellent media training. Also, 15 minutes before Gus supposedly found out on air, his son Diego tweeted that there wouldn’t be any more trips to the Amex (Brighton’s stadium). That tweet has since been deleted by @diegopoyet7, further fueling my suspicions.

And finally: People running for trains in slow motion.

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