Yesterday, I went over to Google for a different kind of APG event. Titled “Dark Arts of Digital: Video Masterclass,” this hands-on session covered the practical principles of YouTube. We all know how important video is in content marketing. And, in the never ending quest to uncover the secrets of what makes something go viral, it’s smart to hear directly from the people that own the data.
The best part of the day was making, uploading and annotating our own video. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to play in the YouTube creator space studio, but I’ve had a tour of it earlier and it is enough to tempt you to into vlogging full time. However, it was the following tips from the YouTube experts that are of most value to our work with brands.
Not surprisingly, Authentic Content (aka a video made specifically for YouTube or online viewing) works best. They listed these five winning categories below: Read the rest of this entry »
Launching the world’s first snore absorption room; creating the world’s biggest shave; reinterpreting art with technology; revealing the best place in the UK to bring up a family… As 2011 draws to a close, we take a look back month by month at some H+K Strategies campaigns and work throughout the year.
January: City & Guilds Million Extra
You're hired: Karren Brady+ City & Guilds' Chris Jones
To start the new year, preparations to launch City & Guilds first ever Apprenticeship Summit went underway early on. The aim of the campaign was to help ensure one million Apprenticeship starts by summer 2013.
In January, we commissioned a report to identify the barriers employers face in hiring apprentices with the findings discussed by key political and business leaders at the Summit, hosted by Apprentice star Karren Brady.
Nearly 100 pieces of coverage resulted from this campaign as well as a request from Professor Alison Wolf to receive a copy of the full report after seeing the articles to include in her Government review of 14-19 education.
February: Intel Remastered
Shortlisted for various industry awards, our Technology team created an exciting art campaign- Intel Remastered to showcase the creative application of Intel technology. The project saw 13 modern artists reinterpret iconic masterpieces using digital technology and techniques.
Pushing the boundaries of art and creating one of the most talked about art events on the year, the stories and inspiration behind classics such as Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ and Da Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper’ were retold and presented to a digital-savvy audience.
It’s been said before, Webmongs, but work really is like being at school. I turned up to the daily grind on Wednesday having run out of hairwax (regular readers will recall Web Curios’ previous unsuccessful attempts to solicit brand gifts of icecream, whisky and meths – in case anyone from Toni & Guy is reading this, I favour Label M products, fyi), and as a result looking more like this than my usual Shockheaded Peter ’style’. Anyone would think that I had turned up casually wearing the carcass of a recently butchered child as an overcoat, such was the horror that greeted me; so much so that my adorable colleagues in the CPG team felt compelled to force some hair product on me and make me wear it. Thanks, girls: way to boost a social inadequate’s self esteem!
Obviously this INCREDIBLE STORY pales into insignificance before the (real, no cynicism) incredible tale of those blokes in the mine. You can read about it elsewhere, and doubtless you already have, but my favourite thing about the remarkable tale (aside from the number of conversations I’ve had where people have speculated as to how friendly they will have become with each other during those long, lonely hours in the dark – there really is no link I can put in there that won’t offend someone, sadly) was the joyful email we here at H&K towers received from a Chilean colleague, which finished with the beautiful, sweary exclamation of joy “VAMOS CHILE MIERDA!!”. You’ve got to love a country where the accepted exclamation of national pride contains a swear.
A tweet that stood out for me yesterday on my (too infrequent) trawl of the microblogging site, was one that criticised the defacing of Barclays branded ’Boris Bikes’, but at the same time celebrated the creativity of the vandals because of their efforts to ape the look of the genuine Barclays brand (I’ve included a picture below and apologise in advance for those that may be offended by the language). For me this highlighted nicely the potential pitfalls of overtly branding in an urban environment and of supporting a good cause that aims to ‘belong’ to the community.
The original tweet
Defacing public property is unfortunately not a new thing and also very costly to society, but it is something that when done with the right degree of wit, style or even artistic merit, can engender appreciation among those that witness it, as the tweet that started this post suggests. This is in part I suspect because the community feels the need to indoctrinate any new public schemes and literally mark them in a way that assimilates them with the community.
In some ways I feel Barclays overt branding has to some extent encouraged those would be vandals out there, probably in no small part because of the general antipathy that many people in the UK feel towards banks as a result of the risky behaviours that required government bailouts and the significant difference between average pay and the bonus payments enjoyed by bankers in the Capital. I can’t help but feel that more subtle branding might have been more palatable.
It was a bold move by Barclays to support a public scheme such as this. It is a scheme that I wholeheartedly support as a keen cyclist and a person who believes in publicly/privately funded schemes that encourage more healthy lifestyles. I do hope that episodes like this do not put Barclays or other potential sponsors of public schemes off.
I have yet to see any response from Barclays or Transport for London (TFL) to this vandalism, but hopefully the offending lettering will just be quietly removed. On the very same day that I saw the tweet I also happened across an article in the Evening Standard in which Barclays and TFL were supporting London Fashion Week with limited edition designer bikes, which I think is a great way to support tourism and the community of London in a fun and quirky way. Here’s hoping this is just the start of a more civilised assimilation of the Barclays Boris Bike.
Unless you’ve been buried under a rock for the past month (and even if you have), you will have seen or heard the very good spoof of Jay-Z’s ‘Empire State of Mind’ put together by the very talented MJ Delaney. In case this means nothing to you, you can see it below:
With 2,473,414 views on YouTube AT THIS EXACT SECOND, it’s done quite well. It just so happens that they brains behind it happen to be friend with a colleague of mine, and so they very kindly agreed to answer a few questions about the CRAZY INTERNET WHIRLWIND which they’ve been engulfed in. Read on:
1) How long did it take you to write and record ‘Newport’?
MJ and I came up with the idea back in May as we were singing along to the Jay Z version and it just made us laugh to replace New York with Newport. MJ is a young filmmaker trying to build up her showreel so she decided to make it into a video and was the driving force behind the project. It took us about 3 evenings over the course of 2 weeks to write, during which MJ also started casting for the Jay Z and Alicia’s roles. We found Terema through a casting website but weren’t able to find a Jay Z we were happy with (there doesn’t seem to be a wealth of talented Welsh rappers in London!), so we managed to convince our actor friend Al to take on the part. We recorded it in one day at our friend’s studio (not nearly as glamorous as that sounds – we were in a cramped basement room and at one point the light bulb hanging from the ceiling exploded above our heads). Simon Bloor is a very talented sound engineer who mixed and layered it for us that evening. Then in June we made the trip to Newport on a Sunday and filmed it all in one day. MJ then spent about 2 weeks on and off editing it and she put it up on Youtube on 21st July.
2) Did you have an active plan to get it to go ‘viral’? (sorry, I hate that term too)
We never actually sat down and discussed how to seed the video but I think you have to have confidence that if your friends and colleagues like it, then they will pass it on and it will grow organically. You can’t force people to talk about something or share links on social networking sites [MY BOLDING AND ITALICS, BECAUSE IT'S TRUE], which is why Twitter and YouTube are such great meritocratic platforms to showcase work. Our aim when we first set out was 10,000 views so we never expected the kind of response that followed.
3) If so, where did you ‘seed’ the video?
We sent it to friends and colleagues and it just took on a life of itself from there. I also sent it to Newport City Council but I never got a reply…
4) If not, at what point did you see interest really taking off? What was / were the catalyst(s) for it going EVERYWHERE?
Once it was tweeted by celebrities there was a massive surge in the number of hits we received. People like Example, Lily Allen, Caitlin Moran and Stephen Fry command such a presence on Twitter that when they shared it with their followers it soon caught the attention of the mainstream media.
5) What’s the best piece of feedback you’ve received?
My personal favourite was when Alistair Stewart clapped and called it “genius” on ITV News at 10. That was pretty surreal.
6) Have the offers of work come flooding in, and if so what’s been the best?
Al and Terema have had lots of offers to play the song live at various events. Otherwise there are some ongoing negotiations but nothing concrete yet. We’d certainly like to collaborate again as we had so much fun making it.
7) Why do you think ‘Newport’ has taken off in this way (aside from the fact that it’s, y’know, good)?
It was something that the people of Newport and Wales enjoyed and were proud of, which helped a lot. On another level, I think it resonated with the British sense of humour and how we try not to take things too seriously.
8) Can I be in your next video?
I’ll put in a good word with MJ! [THAT'S A NO, THEN]
As a bonus, check out the markedly less funny response by ‘real’ Welsh ‘comedy’ rap outfit Goldie Lookin’ Chain:
Do you remember when you were at school and you would come in on a Monday after a haircut dreading the inevitable pisstaking from your classmates? I’ve been reminded of that this week. Anyone would think I had come into work having sprouted horns (not entirely unreasonable; remind me to tell you the story of when I sold my soul to Satan in exchange for good exam results one day), but no, all it is is that I now have short hair. For those of you who don’t know me, I now look like this:
Me, with a friend, yesterday
Whereas before I looked more like this:
Yahoo Serious. Younger readers will have no idea who this is. FIE ON YOU, YOUNGER READERS.
Anyway, enough of this crap. On with the web-related crap instead.
You! Yes, you! Welcome, once again (presuming that you’ve been here before – if you’ve stumbled across this whilst searching for pornography then I apologise in advance for the lack of nudity but offer you a sincere first-timers’ welcome) to Web Curios.
God, that was a desperately poor intro. Sorry. What can I say? It’s Friday afternoon, and I’ve spent the entire week feeling a bit hungover under the weather. Not to mention the impact on my mood that this has had. It’s hard sometimes being a webmong (as you will well know). Nonetheless, I am putting my personal feelings of exhaustion and ennui to one side to bring you another selection of stuff I found online this week that one or two of you could conceivably find moderately interesting.
(It should be apparent by now that I am not a salesman).
We begin, this week, with a video – If you do nothing else here this week, watch this. It’s 5 minutes long, and is by far and away the best description I have yet seen of how virality works. Ignore the scaremongering undertones, and just think about how the meme below spreads. Oh, and for the non-geeks among you, a quick explanation of what 4chan is – you know all the stuff that features on those lists of the ‘biggest viral sensations EVER’? Stuff like RickRolling, the Numa Numa kid, Chocolate Rain and YouTube Porn Day? They all start at 4chan (WARNING – that link is direct to 4chan; the landing page is safe but I take no responsibility for what you might find beyond that (clue: porn and swearing)). It’s…just mental, really. Anyway, the video….
Oh Nestle… – Other ’social media gurus/mavens/experts/(insert meaningless title of your choice)’ will do this at length over the next few hours / days, but it doesn’t take a genius to work out that the tone of Nestle’s reponses to comments on their Facebook page probably didn’t do them any favours… Of course, as my esteemed colleague Dan Leach pointed out, it could all be very clever work by Greenpeace…
Twitter Announces @anywhere – Ok, so what this is (massively simplified) is Twitter’s next step in terms of integrating itself with other, 3rd party websites. The TechCrunch piece linked to in the title is a decent overview (and this is a shorter one)- what it doesn’t seemingly touch on, though, is the potential implications for the development of a ‘universal’ online identity. Could this be a first step into the creation of a one login / username culture, integrated across all platforms? The BBC’s announcement yesterday of greater integration with both Facebook and Twitter would suggest it could be…Oh, and at the same time Twitter also declared that it wanted to be ‘A Force For Good’. Isn’t that nice? And…er…haven’t we heard that before somewhere?
I WANT THIS TABLE IN OUR OFFICES. IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT THAT SOMEONE IMPORTANT IS READING THIS, CAN YOU MAKE IT HAPPEN PLEASE? THANKS.
And, to finish (I know, I know, tldr), this week’s video selection:
1)Losers – ‘Flush’ feat Riz MC & Envy: Great track, great video and Envy is set to be huge this year (obviously if she isn’t then I never said that)
2) I went to see this lot on Tuesday. Great gig, though I did actually cause someone to leave the venue towards the end. In the unlikely event that you ever read this: sorry, Annoying Pair of Girls, but you were really getting on my tits:
3) The Internet of Things: how the planet is developing a central nervous system. 5 minutes of frankly insane futurology here from IBM:
4) Finally, a music video of near-Gaga levels of insanity. WHY THE SELLOTAPE???
Afternoon, world (note the hubris – ‘afternoon, handful of bored webmongs’ would almost certainly be more accurate). Once again, Web Curios (no movement on the title situation as yet) comes to you on a Thursday, due to my once more taking solace in the comfort of the 4-day week. I used to have a permanent 4-day week in my old job. It was amazing (the 4-day week, not the job; the job was a bit pony), and I miss it very much. I think that going back to a 4-day week would make me much happier and more productive.
ARE YOU READING THIS, BOSSMAN RICHARD MILLER? Eh? Oh. *sulks*
Ahem. Anyway, without further ado, to business!
A Smart Perspective On BBC Cuts – The big story of the week, at least amongst generic media types in the UK (yes, yes, like me), has been over the BBC Strategy Review, published on Tuesday, which recommended a whole raft of cuts to the Corporation’s output to cut costs – most notably the axing of BBC 6Music and the BBC Asian Network, as well as a scaling back of non-programme related content on the BBC website as a whole. Lots has been written on this already, but the above blog post by Adrian Hon is a thought-provoking summary of why the ’savings’ in terms of BBC Online are a nonsense.
Foursquare Partners with Vodafone UK – not massive news, but interesting as an example of how savvy Foursquare are being in linking up with media partners. This is exactly the sort of deal that (they hope) will take them from being the current darling of the early-adopter set to something that normal people know, like and use on a regular basis.
A minor celebrity wearing humiliating underwear, yesterday.
The US Air Force’s ‘Rules of Engagement’ for Blogging – You know that people are taking digital seriously when the US Air Force starts publishing guidelines for its employees as to when they should / shouldn’t respond to blogs or forum comments on the organisation. What’s even more surprising is how measured and sensible the recommendations are – all organisations should have something similar if they are engaging with audiences online. FACT.
Probably the Coolest iPhone App To Date – watch for yourself. Turn your iPhone into an audio looping system. Almost inevitably this will end up with you turning into an annoying git who believes themselves to be the saviour of UK beatmaking – but that’s not the technology’s fault, it’s YOU. Or you could turn out to be the next Beardyman, which would be good.
World Bank Launches Alternate Reality Game – I’ve been saying for years that Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) – basically a fancy way of saying big, interactive stories – are going to be huge. I’ve continually been proved wrong, with a few notableexceptions. Nontheless, Evoke – just launched, commissioned by the World Bank Institute and built by legendary game designer Jane McGonigal, the game is designed to “help empower young people all over the world, and especially young people in Africa, to come up with creative solutions to our most urgent social problems”. This is part of a trend that I think we will see more of in the coming years – people, including Governments, increasingly trying to use fun as an agent of educational and behavioural change. Although hopefully not like this
A few videos to finish…
1) Tokyo Glow – just a gorgous film / animation of Tokyo by night
2) Song of the Week – in honour of the gig I am not going to tomorrow, here’s Madvillain (MF Doom & Madlib) with Strange Ways
3) This has been all over the place this week – a gorgeous Olivo Barbieri-inspired video of a day in New York which looks like it’s been recreated in miniature. Just watch it:
4) Finally a plug for the new spoken word show by the amazingly talented Polar Bear – he’s doing a whole film in spoken word. Hard to explain, but check out the below and, if you like it, take a punt on the tickets. You won’t be disappointed.