A TEXT POST

'Our time at Force-7'

It’s Friday afternoon, and that means saying goodbye to this week’s work experience students- Ellie, Charlotte and Muskaan. 

Here’s a bit of insight from the lovely Charlotte from Winifred Holtby, about what the girls got up to this week….

My work experience at Force-7, (besides getting the week off school and going to McDonalds for dinner), has been really useful, and I will take a lot of things away from this experience. I have enjoyed my time here as the people were really nice and welcoming - but it all got a bit crazy when the fish needed cleaning and no one shot their hand up to volunteer… It got plonked on Dane and even though he did break the little fish house he did an alright job. Apart from that, I have learnt a lot of skills and techniques and I am sure they will come in handy for me in the future.

Whilst we have been here, we have spent our time learning about market research , finding how many views and likes our favourite adverts had, including how much time overall had been spent watching the videos. Who would have thought the amount of time spent watching ‘Three’s dancing pony’ on YouTube was 16 years! Yeah I know mad right.

We have also spent our time collecting photos of drunk people, not in a weird way, I mean on the internet using them to promote the ‘push over’ (also known as the recovery position), to young people so they know what to do in that situation.  This week has been fun-filled with lots of different activities to be completed, keeping us working throughout the day.  We worked in the Street Team room, which had a pretty cool Lego wall, and the amazing ‘inspiration room’ which was by far the best room I have ever seen in my life.  It has a grass carpet and walls you could write on - I definitely would want my bedroom to be like that, even though my parents would think I was completely mad.

Our time at force-7 has been great, and I am so pleased and grateful that I got placed here for my work experience, definitely a week to remember. 

A PHOTO

Do you think there is a problem with the way women are portrayed in adverts? I think this video really helps to put in to perspective. As a feminist it really bothers me to see big organisations pushing their brands through outdated stereotypes and not exploring more about what women are and who they are - it feels no different to the adverts of the 50’s where women have their role to play and that is all they are.


I find it boring and lazy and would love to see an advert that challenges this truly effectively and interestingly.


Come on marketers it’s 2014!

A TEXT POST

The Rise and Fall (?) of Justin Bieber

So, I’m sure we are all well aware of Justin Bieber’s latest hmmm let’s call them ‘indiscretions’. However, the question that is yet to be answered is whether he can be de-throned as the King of the ‘Fan Girls.’

It seems that there has been a case of too much too young for poor old Biebs, he can get away with doing pretty much whatever he wants…Or can he? The trouble is every single little thing he does is completely scrutinised by the international media – it is like they are just waiting for him to completely mess up, and he is falling in line.

Does Justin Bieber have a responsibility to be a good role model? For all the love he gets I’m pretty sure he gets almost equal abuse. Yes, his fans are generally all young and ‘impressionable’, but is it really up to Justin Bieber to set a good example for young people in this day and age? If so, that’s a sad state of affairs.

I, personally, am on the fence when it comes to my opinion of Justin Bieber – his music isn’t really my thing but I actually think he is pretty talented (and never really gets a chance to showcase his musical ability). Therefore, I feel I can watch this play out from an impartial perspective, I don’t want a spectacular fall from grace and for him to go the way of many child stars but I also don’t really care if he never releases another song again.

I think in the future he will be an interesting case study to look back on and to try and understand how one young boy from Canada can have so much influence and notoriety around the world. It will be interesting to monitor the power of Justin and his ‘Beliebers’ in the years to come….and with great power comes great responsibility.

Justin…I’m watching you.

A TEXT POST

Now, I’m not normally a fan of winter sports and I don’t think I’ve ever watched a Winter Olympics. However, I was quite looking forward to watching bits of it this year on the back of the hype from the 2012 Summer Games and with Glasgow coming up this summer.

The whole thing, though, is beginning to look like a debacle! As the 22nd Games got underway today, news articles about terrorist threats,images of unfinished hotel rooms and Russia’s attitude to LBGT rights dominate the headlines….not the sport. 

It makes you wonder how the Games will run over the course of the next 2-and-a-half weeks, can you seriously see it going without a blip? A couple of things have inspired me to write this blog; some of the stories about the athlete’s backgrounds and the funny side of the hotels not being ready despite the billions that has been spent on these Games.

My favourite story about an athlete has to be the Jamaican bob-sleigh team. I know what you’re thinking, that is just like Cool Runnings! They will generate a lot of media attention, just like they have done since their début in 1988. It has already started this year: they had to raise funds to compete initially and recently their luggage got lost on arrival to Sochi.

Another great athlete story is a “Russian” snowboarder called Vic Wild. You may be forgiven for thinking that he doesn’t sound Russian, and you would not be wrong. He was born in the USA but never made the cut for their Olympic squad. He was dating a Russian snowboarder and got hastily married once Russian interest in him began to increase. 

Stories about another 8 athletes can be found on the BBC, here.

Some of the pictures of the hotel rooms occupied by journalists have also shown Sochi in a negative light. Rubble in the corner, curtains falling down and some dodgy looking devices on the walls. Some have questioned the integrity of these devices and this tweet appears to make these questions look justified…

I hope the Games do go well, though, just for the sake of the athletes. Devoting your life to training for an event like this and for it to be overshadowed would be terrible.

A TEXT POST

Turning a social media craze onto its head: NekNomination

Unless you’ve been abstaining from all forms of social media for the last few weeks you will have surely come across some extremely odd behaviour being captured on video and shared on Facebook – followed by the hashtag #neknomination.

The drinking challenge originated in Australia, but through the wonders of Facebook and Twitter it has spread like wildfire and has been trending worldwide.

Whilst this LADDish behaviour is not all that different from your average student night out  - the worrying craze promotes an intensified version of peer pressure as the nominated drinker makes a public nomination announcing the next ‘downer’. This craze has grown in absurd behaviour – urging the next nominated drinker to go to the extreme and go further than the person before.

There have already been deaths surrounding to the drinking game; two deaths from Ireland have been directly liked to the social phenomenon. However, some creative individuals have embraced the craze in order to project good onto the world rather than promote binge-drinking and dangerous behaviour.

On Sunday an article on Metro was posted about an unidentified young man showing the world how ‘we do it [Neknominations] in South Africa.’ Instead of participating in dangerous and ‘LADDish’ behaviour – as expected - the young man pulled his car up along the side walk in order to give a homeless man a sandwich, chocolate bar and coke.

Similarly, Jessica Supple from Ireland, uploaded a video with the hastag #RAKnomination (Random Act of Kindness.) In her video she spots a young father shopping with his little boy and gives them 100€ towards their grocery shopping. In her description she nominates two friends and encourages people to ‘spread the love not the alcohol’

These two brilliant individuals are taking responsibility for what they project onto the world and are being an active participant in turning this random global phenomenon from a negative into positive. Surprisingly the deaths of the two Irish boys seems to dismiss personal accountability surrounding their death and instead places unquestioned blame on the craze and Facebook’s consent of its presence on their site.

The Internet and social media are one of the most powerful and influential tools on the planet. We have a responsibility as users to operate them in a responsible way and not contribute to negatively.

We must remember while the Internet has the power to share the negative - seen everyday in the form of internet trolls and viral articles of hate and abuse - equally it has the power to pass on the positive, influencing people to do the same.  It’s this act of kindness, RAKnominations, we need to invest our time in.

Yasmin

A TEXT POST

Super Bowl XLVIII Adverts

Despite being able to follow the SuperBowl and all it’s pomp on TV in the UK, albeit at a ridiculous hour; one thing we miss out on here are the American adverts.

Commanding $4million for a 30-second slot, there is absolutely no pressure on marketing departments to get it right. Hmmm, I think there may have been some sleepless nights or 24+ hour shifts in the various offices across America!

I’ve watched a few on YouTube and tried to narrow it down to my favourite 5! It’s been difficult and I’ve tried not to laugh too loudly in the office at some of them but here goes:

5. (In my best chart show countdown voice) In at 5 is the KIA advert in which Morpheus from the Matrix is used to highlight the luxury value of the new K900 with a rendition of Nessun Dorma. For me, the use of such a powerful song really got the message to me as well as the tone of Laurence Fishburne’s voice.

View Kia’s The Truth here.

Actually, I can’t decide between this and this Jaguar advert - just for it epic-ness. It’s got planes, helicopters, cars (obviously), mansions and most importantly Britishness! It’s a great advert and I wouldn’t like to guess at how much it cost to produce.

View Jaguar’s Rendezvous here

4. Another car commercial now. What I like about this is it’s humour. Terry Crews simply does adverts justice - If you’ve got some time to kill, check out his Old Spice Adverts. In this advert for Toyota,he stars alongside The Muppets in an adventure that involves “singing vegetables…and chickens!” This advert made me laugh so much and, for me, placed it above KIA and Jaguar in my top 5!

Accompany Terry and The Muppets on their wild advernture here

3. Finishing in the Bronze position in the all-important Dane’s Super Bowl Top Adverts Chart (catchy, I know) is the Cheerios advert. After carefully trying to explain to Gracie that she is going to be joined by a little brother by using Cheerios, although parents normally tell us not to play with our food, Dad is left stumped by his daughter cheekily manages to get herself a puppy as part of the bargin. Too cute!

Watch Cheerios’ Gracie advert here

2. Coming in second place for me is the Bud Light advert. Some articles I’ve read about these adverts have criticised this advert but I think it’s brilliant. It sees an unsuspecting man being approached at a bar asking him if he’s willing to be “up for whatever happens tonight” in exchange for a beer. Hidden cameras follow Ian and his crazy adventure which finishes with a table tennis match versus Arnold Schwarzenneger and a OneRepublic gig. I think it’s funny, uses celebrities well and is all round good fun. I wish I was Ian!

Check out the 4 minute version here, it’s worth it. 

1. Drum-roll please! And the winner is……

Budweiser’s “Puppy love”! It had to be. This advert has the aww-factor. A tale of friendship between a puppy and a horse with the slogan #BestBuds is genius. Most comments made about the Super Bowl adverts have mentioned this as one of the best, and you can see why. I don’t need to say anymore, just watch it.

Check out the winner of the prestigious Dane’s Super Bowl Top Adverts Chart here. 

I hope you enjoy these videos as much as I did and hopefully we’ll see who can top the charts next year!

Disclaimer: This chart is fictional and has no meaning whatsoever in the world of multi-million dollar advertising. I have no prizes to give away but if Budweiser want some recognition from this then I’ll happily give them a few quid from our tea fund, or some pens. 

A TEXT POST

The Dangerous World of Social Media

Whilst I use Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr in both my work and personal life, like the vast majority of people, I find it easy to overlook the dark side of social media that can grasp, seduce and engulf young people into its toxic digital world.

As avid Internet users we regularly concentrate our attention on the continuing advances in social technology and can often be dazzled and oversee the real dangers of this faceless, yet influential, online community.

With the tragic suicide of the teen Tallulah Wilson, the dangers of social media platforms such as Tumblr, have been exposed once more. Although Tumblr and other blogging sites promote their website as a safe platform for the blogger to fully express themselves, they have come under attack due to the presence of disturbing, inappropriate and harmful content within their online environment.

Tallulah’s mum, Sarah, spoke about her efforts to protect the teen from ‘falling into a world of nightmares’ and describes how her daughter was unreachable in the final few weeks.

In an attempt to understand the images and thoughts young people like Tallulah are exposed to on a daily basis, I seeked out blogs of a disturbing nature. It took me a whole 10 seconds to access them and be exposed to their negative thoughts and self-harming images.

It appears that these blogs all revolve around the same negativity and collective loneliness. They often post quotes and GIFFS from films that evoke feelings of loss, emptiness and demonstrate an emotional connection with the misunderstood actor/character represented within the GIFF. For the teens, I believe this public display of self-loathing becomes addictive as they start building relationships with like-minded people through the blog and consequently fuel each other. As they place more value, significance and reliance on the blogging site they become further entangled within this dangerous web of encouraged negativity. 

Another problematic element to the Tumblr accounts I’ve found is the ability to submit anonymous questions to the blogger, this therefore, distances the questioner and promotes a lack of responsibility and accountability for its effect upon the recipient.

Tallulah created a cocaine-taking online persona to escape her reality, and became angry when her mum demanded her to delete her account a few days before she committed suicide. In a world were we rely so heavily on the Internet and social media, how are we supposed to protect our young people from the destructive thoughts, actions and influences of other people?


Whilst social media can be inspirational, an amazing support system and beneficial in our daily lives we need to be aware that it can also be a dangerous catalyst, which quickly allows the person to loose grip on reality. Relevant precautions need to be put in place and this can only happen when the social media sites take partial responsibility for the role that they have played. 

Yasmin

A TEXT POST

image

In the past few days I’ve heard the follow phrase repeated everywhere I go: in articles, on the radio, on the TV, and with every repetition the all too familiar feeling of failure and disappoint resurfaces and echoes in my ear. The universal sound of my generation – it seems.

And the haunting phrase I am referring to is the recent study and realisation that ‘a quarter of young people between the age of 20 and 34 are still living with their parents’.

So here goes. Hi, my name’s Yazz, I’m 22 years old and I … and I … still live with my parents. YES – I’m ashamed to admit that I fall within that dreaded 25%. FAIL.

Of course, this less than attractive statistic has circled the internet and has fuelled the (let’s say) “older generation” with plenty of ammo as to why our generation sucks and why theirs is much more self-efficient, self-reliant and just generally better. 

Yes yes – I respect my elders, I appreciate and understand the hard work they had to endure to earn a crust but does that make them a ‘better generation’ than us?

My grandparents, at my age, would have been engaged and making their arrangements to move into their first house and start their lives together. Whereas I, in comparison, have no potential proposals, no house and no future plans. Does this, therefore, make me less accomplished than my grandparents?

I disagree. Whilst I would love nothing more than a pad of my own, I interpret the list above as me lacking things I don’t necessarily desire: I have no commitments, no mortgage and no restrictions tying me down. Unlike my grandparents, I have options.

I see the main difference between the generations being the vast amount of choices young people today have. We have the choice to get a university education, the opportunity to travel the world and the possibility to pursue our dream career – therefore our dreams and ambitions have changed. No longer do we dream of marriage and children, instead we want to travel and experience. However to do all the above requires time and money. Time and money I’ve invested over the past four years and as a result has landed me back at home with the parents post-graduation.

Is it worth sacrificing my independence?

I believe it is. I enjoyed myself beyond belief in these past 3 years and it was worth every penny. And as a result of us experiencing such ventures I feel as though youngsters today are more worldly, experienced and educated than my grandparents era and that can only be a good think right? Surely that makes for a more accepting and tolerant world?

My grandparent’s generation have lived a traditionally simple life - simply struggles with simple pleasures. Us, however, want to push the boundaries, challenge the norm and experience everything in life. Maybe youngsters nowadays expect too much from life and have become greedy. But hey – since when has determination and ambition been a bad thing?

 I say live at home for a year or two if it means you can save enough money to pursue what you want in life. That’s what I plan to do.

Yasmin

A PHOTO

BBC News targets wandering audience

 

With the increasing popularity of Vine, Instagram, Snapchat and other social media platforms that revolve around the idea of short snippets of film, it’s no great surprise that other corporations want in on the action.

 

The most recent to jump of the 6-second bandwagon is BBC News. Yesterday BBC launched Instafax, a new short-form video news service delivered to Instagram users.

 

This uncharacteristic move from BBC is evidence that the corporation are upping their game and making a conscious effort to reach a new audience, those who live within the social media sphere 24 hours a day. After discovering that mobile and tablet viewings bypassed desktop usage for the first time in December, BBC knew that a rebirth of their typical news format was essential in securing their reputation as one of the leading news channels.

 

Addressing altering audience patterns is vital for any company within any sector. It’s an important time that can be either make or break for a brand. However, once this change in behaviour is identified it can then be addressed, modified, and then shaped around the audience. And that is exactly what BBC has done with their new (trailed) launch.

 

Although BBC’s Instafax has been greeted with a mixed welcome, I believe this trial will be successful and will be the leading news platform for younger audiences in the future.

 

Yasmin

A VIDEO

I was shown this video yesterday and I think it’s the best stunt promotion I’ve seen for a while. So simple yet so effective, it involves a remote controlled devil baby terrifying members of the New York public.

The video is hilarious, seeing the reactions of street goers when a demon child pops up from under its blanket with its possessed face ‘making Chucky look tame’.

The stunt is to promote the new film Devil’s Due which was released yesterday in cinemas. Not sure how great the film will be but the promo gets a thumbs up from me! 

A TEXT POST

Today as History

This morning I came across this article on BuzzFeed. It’s a series of images taken by photographer Bob Mazzer of people on the London Underground in the 1970s and 80s.

I studied History at university and was therefore instantly drawn in by the title of the article. As I was looking at the images I thought how this was also a great representation of youth culture in these decades. For these reasons, I duly tweeted a link to the article for our followers. 

But then I thought about it. I wonder how the young people of today will be portrayed in the historical archives of the future. There is a plethora of British social history about young people in the second half of the Twentieth Century and how these people changed the perceptions of society. How will historians view our embracing of social media technologies and how will our use of it look to them in the future? How will they see the use of games on tablets and consoles, how we embrace sport, the lengths some go to interact with their idols, the generation of ‘normal’ people influencing others through YouTube and Instagram…the list is endless! 

It’s often said that we are the people that will shape the future…I just wonder if they think that we will have done a good job of it! What are you doing that will be written about in the future?

Dane

A PHOTO

Blurring boundaries - TV shows adopt niche social platforms

 

What happens when our beloved TV characters contacts us on Facebook, or maybe sends us a cheeky Snapchat, or even swipes us right on Tinder … WE GO MENTAL. We absolutely love it.

 

And let’s be honest. We’re gonna jump on any bandwagon that gives us an excuse to further blur the lines between reality and the perfectly constructed world of our fave TV series.

 

And it’s my two favourite shows, HBO’s GIRLS and FOX’S The Mindy Project, that have ventured one step beyond the boundary of our TV screens and have literally pinged into our lives. *Cue iPhone ping*

 

Okay – so this marketing technique may not be ENTIRELY new. We’ve seen it in the past with The Blair Witch Project (1999) and Cloverfield (2007) in which their marketing campaigns were executed to a perfect degree. Both films created detailed backstories that poured over into reality and into our world. This included their team leaking viral articles and viral news spots (this was back in the day when it was rare to reach viral status - so it was pretty impressive.) They also created amazingly authentic websites for companies within the film world and started campaigns for missing people that were then spotted in the film.

The attention to detail was exact, and the cross over between our world and the film world appeared seamless – as though they we’re both the same space. Both films gained so much attention and intrigue before it was even premiered. GENIUS

 

So far GIRLS have sent Snapchats of emoticons representing a line from the show, and a snap of a red carpet event. I think, however, they can push this marketing technique further when the new season airs and use it to their full advantage by adopting a strategy similar to the films listed above.

 

First of all, the main characters in both shows are the target audience for Snapchat and Tinder so it would make perfect sense that the character would use these platforms in their day-to-day life. I would like to see some cross over between the TV world and our world. For example, if the characters talked about or took a Snapchat in the world of the story, their team could then send that Snapchat out at the exact time the audience would be watching the relevant scene at home. If this technique was applied it would give the audience a great sense of inclusion within the character’s world and would blur the boundaries of reality even further.

 

Even if they don’t use the social media platforms in the way I’ve outlined above, I still think their current marketing campaign differs from The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield due to the personal and direct quality of these two particular social media platforms.

GIRLS and Mindy are reversing the traditional power relations here and instead of us seeking them (as it usually is) they are seeking us. Through Snapchat and Tinder the characters are initiating the interaction by directly contacting us, IE by sending a photo or messaging us on Tinder, they are actively sparking conversation about their TV series.  

 

As I’m an avid watcher of both series I am highly intrigued to see how, or if, they incorporate the apps into their story world. Now I’ve got to wait until they’re aired. EXCITED.

Yasmin 

A VIDEO

The Viral Epidemic 

Move over Man-Flu, the world has a new kind-of-fake-but-based-on-reality illness that has taken over mankind. We have a serious case of the ‘Internet Viral’.

This technical disease overcomes the human body with an intense urge to share everything we come across with an online community – and I mean absolutely everything. An article, a photo, a video – everything that can be read/ watched/ heard … will be shared. Please note: this virus is contagious; if you come across the internet viral in the form of any of the above, please do not share it on.

Okay, maybe I’ve overreacted with the whole “going viral” thing but seriously viral videos are everywhere. You can’t escape them. Honestly, I’ve tried.

When Game of Thrones season 3 finale aired (I was behind two seasons) it was neon impossible to escape the floods of reaction videos that were posted online minutes after the credits rolled. I tried my hardest to avoid finding out what happened. But to my dismay, I accidently stumbled across a huge spoiler, which in turn, ruined my life – thanks Youtube!

Barring the example I’ve highlighted above and my ridiculous exaggeration, viral videos are an amazing source of entertainment. What’s better than sharing your most hilarious moments with millions of strangers? It plays on the ‘You’ve been Framed’ set up – I really do believe regular people doing ordinary things in their day-today lives is the best source of entertainment. People are stupid - therefore hilarious.   

However, due to the ephemeral nature of viral videos we can often find ourselves one step behind or feeling a little out of the loop when we come across a video that already has millions of likes. Let’s be honest – there’s nothing worse than recommending a video to your friend only to find out they’ve already seen it!

Yet, our need to constantly be on the ball with the latest videos, articles and trends – whilst exhausting for us - is an absolute dream for brands and creative companies. We are providing them with free advertising through every click we make. No longer do the advertisers need to pay for the most lucrative (and expensive) Saturday night TV spot, wedged nicely between Pop Idol and Stars in Your Eyes (back in the day).

Instead we’re doing all the work for free.

An agency John St have got the right idea in their new product ‘Buyral’ (see the video above.) Here they advertise their flawless technique - how they can guarantee your brand becomes viral at a small cost. See their website for further price details.

PLEASE NOTE: 1. I do not think ‘going viral’ is a real, physical disease  2. Buyral is not a real product and cannot be bought. 3. The Game of Thrones spoiler has ruined my life

Yasmin 

A TEXT POST

Trash Art

So we’re in the beginning of January and most of us are still sticking to our New Year’s Resolutions. Gyms are packed, health food aisles are bare, and pubs a little less busy.  Amongst the obvious ‘drink less, exercise more’ resolutions, one of mine is to recycle more. I’m not going to lie and say this is completely down to me wanting to make the world a better place, but is more along the lines of me wanting to make more space in the black bin which is often overflowing by the time the lovely bin men come every second Tuesday…

So far it’s going pretty well, not only am I recycling all of my empty Christmas chocolate boxes and wine bottles, but I’ve actually re-used a pair of socks I was throwing out to polish my boots (seriously). Now those who know me will know that I get bored really easily, so I’ve been thinking of ways to make this recycling thing more interesting. I mean the sock thing is wild I know, but Google caused me to stumble upon the concept of ‘Trash Art’, something that the weirdo in me found instantly appealing. The idea of Trash Art is simple- make something beautiful out of something that would usually end up in a landfill.

For example, this lamp shade was made from recycled glass-

This giant gorilla sculpture was created by artist David Mach, who made it entirely from coathangers-

These are giant fish made out of recycled plastic bottles in Rio de Janero-

Okay I know it’s ambitious, and I don’t know how my housemate would feel about the above ideas, but it’s a start isn’t it? Here’s something a little more in my skill set however…. Start small, think big!! Happy New Year :)