Historic bike mounting

The morning sound (and vision)

Social Media…A Force for Good?

With the nature of my education and career aspirations (becoming an advertising/marketing mogul) it is only natural that I am a prevalent user of social media, online social networks have become the first place of contact for many brands to attract potential customers.

I want to take a quick look at its effect on society, It’s one thing using Social Media but it is another to truly understand its effect on us, both good and bad.

The Narcissists Nightmare

We now spend increasing amounts of time glued to networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest…the list goes on, and this is only going to escalate with younger “millennials” who have been surrounded by gadgets from an increasingly early age.

It has been proven that Twitter can be used as a force for good but you have to wade past the narcissists and their infinite number of self congratulatory selfies, unnecessary pictures of burgers from Almost Famous, or snaps of Nike Air Max trainers that congest the net to find those important people who are using their time on social networks positively. 

A Social Revolution

Profound messages can be spread through social media, communities can find their voice and they can be heard, waves can be created by a network of like-minded people with a cause. The rapid evolution of social media in our modern lives is optimized by Arab Spring and Revolution in Egypt. The plight of the people, facing persecution from the countries Government was documented during these times. The younger generation spread the word through social networks, blogs, and the internet as a whole. The world could see with their own eyes the pain and suffering put upon by President Mubarak, online action led to the mobilisation of the masses on the ground and aid assistance swiftly followed.

Online activism provided a platform for this developing country and social media will only continue to do so. Through remote connections we can feel apart of a movement or a revolution, in the past these connections would have taken longer to establish and the plights of millions of people would go unnoticed.

Unfortunately we had our own Riots in August 2011 when high street businesses were looted following the Police Shooting of Mark Duggan in the London Borough of Tottenham. Organised through social media and dubbed the “Blackberry Riots” these hooligans gathered online, proving that these social devices are a mainstream part of society and here to stay. The violence and damage to local businesses was terrible, it would be now futile to deny the importance of social media networks and these events were the consequences of a moment in time when socio-economic problems and technological advances united to great effect. There were many who wanted black outs on the social networking sites but wouldn’t that go against the values of a free country?

Censorship is also an big issue for the world’s leaders, never before has the worldwide community had such a platform to get their voices heard. While mainstream publishers follow political agendas, social users can publish polarising opinions and underground communities can grow, just imagine if Guy Fawkes had twitter! #boom

Is Social Media Any of Your Business?

Businesses take note, through positive networking, web traffic can be increased and so can sales but the opposite is also true. Locally the Manchester Metrolink has embraced twitter but fallen foul to its own mediocrity, If each update is about network wide delays, reconsider your approach.

American Apparel posted an unsavoury tweet during the 2012 storms in the USA, promoting a 20% off Sale incase customers were bored during Hurricane Sandy. Needless to say the response was negative and jumping on other peoples misery and hard look will not do your brand any favours, hire responsible social media managers or train staff with a morale compass.

Going for Social Gold

Social Media has recently been in the news again, The Sochi Winter Olympics have shown the world both sides of the coin. The Hashtag #Sochiproblems has trended throughout the games as Athletes and journalists share the incidents they have occurred in their hotels and Athletes Villages. Without the tweets and images shared of the unfinished hotel rooms provided by Putin’s 60 billion euro games, we would be unaware of the troubles which lie behind the gleaming ice curtain which a “Modern” Russia wants us to see.

Sadly British 1,500m Speed Skater Elise Christie disabled her twitter account after she fell victim to trolls who attacked her for her disqualification during the games.

Gladly there have also been light hearted stories, the lady who took a photograph of her own eye during the Hockey at the Games is comedy genius, a Viral sensation.

The Rise of The Trolls

Be responsible, and if you are going to be a troll and use the hashtag #cunt after after your malicious dig at sport star or cyclist, take a leaf out of Chris Addison’s character in comedy series The Thick of It when broadcasting your pointlessly unhelpful and unsavoury words across the internet.

“I won’t use it until, you know, it’s been fully normalized and has no further association with the… female twat”

Anyone can be a journalist, a photographer and a critic with these instant tools available to us via the internet. Use your energy in a positive manner, be it personally or on behalf of your employer or brand, use it to fight for change, have an intelligent debate or be funny.

You might think Michael Owen isn’t the greatest commentator but you can’t exactly put Keyboard Warrior on your CV, think about that one.


Next time: Some words more specific to Advertising, hit me up with a topic please (if you have read this far, thanks again for doing so)

A Little Less Conversation, A little more Content Marketing (Some Thoughts)

For years and years the marketing world was round. Brands scrambled for your attention in the traditional ways such as Print, Radio and Television advertising.

The marketing world is now flat, the digital revolution changed EVERYTHING.

With so many brands that are very similar to one another fighting for the attention of ever more fragmented target markets, how do brands now catch your eye? How do they make that emotional connection and persuade customers to purchase and then come back for more?

Nowadays brands try to create conversations and quality content through video, blogs, games and social media.

I spent this morning musing over my first proper introduction to content marketing that I can remember.

When thinking about content marketing personally and my first exposure to it, I am taken back to my time at Secondary School and an online computer game conceived by Nike.

A bit of harmless classroom fun at the time, looking back I know It to be a much bigger fish.

The year was 2002, I was a spotty teenager in an oversized burgundy blazer, sat using the primitive computers in Mr Buckley’s technology lab. We should have been learning Auto Cad but my troublesome buddies and I huddled around monitors and using only the arrow keys we controlled computerised football players on the Nike Secret Tournament game.

24 of the worlds best players including Romario, Roberto Carlos, Thierry Henry, Luis Figo and a myriad of other pixelated Galacticos starred in  television adverts and accompanying games, all refereed by The King Eric Cantona

The Secret Tournament took place In an enclosed steel cage on an industrial ship and the event was shrouded in mystery and darkness. The players exercised their Joga Bonito in 3 vs 3 matches played with a futuristic shiny metallic football.

Real tournaments also took place and over 1 million children worldwide took part.

It blew our little brains with just how fucking cool football could be, Nike had a monopoly on cool and arguably still does. We played the games, watched the ad’s on the TV but we did not yet share via social media, for Facebook was only invented in 2004 and Myspace had not had its fleeting day in the sun as yet.

We did  though have Freewebs sites and we composed unique polyphonic ringtones on our Nokia 3210’s. It was a different era but the early days of the accelerated culture we find ourselves living through now.

The message was spread through word of mouth, playground banter and we were exposed to the campaign in the Ad breaks during Champions League football on ITV. 

I wrote all this before the next quote I am about to drop straight from Wikipedia:

Nike president Mark Parker commented at the time; “Our integrated football marketing initiative was the most comprehensive and successful global campaign ever executed by Nike”

The campaign still has a lasting legacy, It connected with me emotionally at the time and even now as I reminisce. I am also a repeat customer and have brand loyalty as I still have Nike Tiempo boots. 

The integrated marketing through digital games, events and traditional media created a memorable campaign that marketers should look to, It blazed a trail for future sports marketing (forgetting the horrible Pepsi ads featuring Lionel Messi).

We went to the playground and copied the skills, bought the gear and idolised the players we saw.

In all honesty, the game wasn’t much cop compared to the console I had a home but when at school a piece of blue tack could be considered fun, so the Secret Tournament game was an otherworldly distraction

When side by side with the rest of the marketing in the Secret Tournament campaign it doesn’t matter if the game’s loading times were sluggish and the controls clunky, Nike had hit the nail on the head, It was a comprehensive customer experience across a multitude of engaging channels. 

The TV advert also featured Elvis’ A Little Less Conversation for goodness sake and If I’m not mistaken the song was then catapulted to number one in the official UK singles chart. Not Too Shabby.

Nike targeted kids through computer games and real life football tournaments, they approached the campaign with panache, they included superstar players and produced a quality and memorable TV spot. It was innovative and daring.

Kudos to the creatives at Nike for their fully integrated campaign which through Content Marketing and one of the best ad’s off all time, still reverberates with me and many others who grew up in the 2000’s.

Written In association with my stream of consciousness. Enjoy.

Airport Tunnels / Todays Listening Airport Tunnels / Todays Listening

Airport Tunnels / Todays Listening

Todays doodle

Afro Legs

The Jetpack Blob.