Monthly Archives: October 2008

Digital privacy is something industry must get right

In an article for this month’s Prospect magazine, media consultant Peter Bazalgette(of Big Brother fame) poses the question: who needs digital privacy? His piece actually discusses the importance of privacy to the growing online economy and – interestingly – seems to argue that respecting some relatively simple principles might actually enhance digital privacy without tarnishing the rich rewards (ie free content & services) that targeted advertising can deliver to users.

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The view from the Nile

Hey there blogworld. So I’m writing this from holiday – why I hear you ask? Haven’t i got anything better to do? Well I do(I’d like to pretend)but also out of a very strong sense of loyalty to my fellow blog team at the IAB and the blog reader universe I am going to give you a little insight to the world of the internet in the country where I am – Egypt (plus if I call this work maybe i can get away with charging the hugely expensive internet bill on expenses! Nice try eh?).

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Max Clifford could learn a lot from Online PR.

It’s a shame each member of the IAB blogging team only gets to write once a week, because i’ve been wanting to talk about Kerry Katona for days! The IAB totally ground to a halt for 10 minutes last Thursday as we all sat glued to the projector screen in our seminar room, almost unable to believe what we were seeing, watching in a state of sheer disbelief, yet hugely entertained at the same time. It’s quite bad really. Now i don’t have a problem with Kerry Katona – i’m obsessed with all things celebrity so she’s interesting to read about, plus she performed at my university in her Atomic Kitten days and seemed like a very pleasant lady. What i do have a problem with is the appalling public relations ‘strategy’ that she has fallen victim to, being used as catalyst for car crash TV, and the awful message this sends out about the industry asa whole. Which bringsus to MaxClifford–in my view one of the worst men ever toexist.

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Stop hiding behind mediums

Last week I attended an event where a leading figurehead from the TV industry spent 45 minutes talking about how great the medium was. I couldn’t agree more – I love TV, I watch tonnes of it, and in fact since having my Sky+ I watch more TV than ever, the only difference being I only watch what I want (no channel surfing because I’m bored) and I watch a 1 hour programme in 40 mins as I forward the ads and ignore the titles. What amazed me was not one ad was shown. No mention on how to make an engaging ad, or how to stand out amongst the rest or what is the magic formula for a truly amazing piece of TV advertising. I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t believe in the power of TV to build a brand – it kicks arce (spelt like this because there’s a swear filter on BR). What I do hear is what needs to be done with ads to make them work harder in TV.

Newspapers are also to blame. I read the Times every day during my long commute, but recently I’ve migrated to the ePaper version. It’s great – I download it, turn pages, zoom in and out and download versions for later.

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Editor’s blog: Bad timing for Westfield

With the world economy in a tailspin and UK shoppers hunkered down in their trenches wearing tin-hats, the one thing you really wouldn’t want to be doing this week is opening a 1.7bn, 43 acre, 265-store mega shopping centre in central London. But that’s exactly what the luckless Westfield, the largest urban shopping centre in Europe (right on MT’s doorstep here in West London) is doing: Mayor Boris is cutting the ribbon (and probably falling over his bootlaces) on Wednesday.

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Browser schmowser

After having a quick squizz at the IAB website’s latest traffic reports, Google Chrome is clearly our fourth most popular browser of choice among visitors already (although our visitors are more likely to adopt new software). It’s closing in on Safari fast, too. Is anyone else experiencing a similar take-up? I’m still undecided as to whether it even matters which is more popular except to the companies providing them. They all run slightly better or worse than each other in different areas, but at their core they all do the same thing for ‘the average Jo/e’. I just feel for web developers having to test across them all. Personally, I like all of the latest versions of the top four browsers and flick between using each one, but Chrome’s stripped back presentation is very nice and it helps that it appears to be more stable than others.

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Obama is Google, McCain is AOL and more detailed measurement is the Holy Grail

So I’ve read this morning that the US think that Barack Obama is more like Google, and that John McCain is more like AOL. So what does this say about these brands?

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Editor’s blog: Indian delivery problems

Congratulations are due to the Indians, who yesterday successfully launched their first mission to the Moon. The unmanned Chandrayaan 1 spacecraft blasted off from a launch pad in southern Andhra Pradesh and its robotic probe will orbit the Moon, compiling a 3-D atlas of the lunar surface and mapping the distribution of elements and minerals. It’s a vital morale booster for the ultra-competitive Indians as they race to keep up with other Asian space-faring nations.

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David Milliband has a beautiful face, apparently.

A couple of blogs have already reported on the fact that Obama has been named Advertising Age’s marketer of the year. And what was the reason for this victory?Yep, you guessed it…
“Jon Fine, marketing and media columnist for BusinessWeek, pointed to Mr. Obama’s facility with engaging voters in social-media channels. ‘It’s the fuckin’ Web 2.0 thing,’ he said.”
Yep, the fuckin’ web 2.0 thing. Obama has pretty much nailed it… not only can he talk to the ‘people’ (rule number 1 of successful social media campaigns…) but every single one of the videos on Obama’s YouTube channel links to a Google Donate button. He has a widget, he even has an application on the iPhone… His online PR is based on positivity rather than McCain’s negativity, anda quick scan of the popular US celebrity blogs, such as Perez Hilton and Dlisted, show that Obama is doing it right. He’s engaging, he’s interacting, and he’s giving the people what they want. So, too, is Sarah Palin of course, but in different ways. Bless.
So why is it that the UK politicians are so appalling at the ‘web 2.0’ thing? To me, it seems that any online activity of a political nature in this countryis driven by bandwagons, hype, and faddy behaviour that will have no greater effect in engaging with the public than planting a ‘vote labour’ sign in your front garden and hoping for the best. Which my parents did, by the way, and were devastated when Neil Kinnock didn’t win.
In my opinion, if you’re hoping to win over the UK’s voters, social media is not the way to do it. Or at least, token social media campaigns, suggested by your PR agency, will not work unless you 100% understand your audiences. Show me one person who was won over by the wonderful, down-to-earth, family man type persona that WebCameron portrayed. At the time it was hailed as the tories’ secret weapon… when it was first launched, in 2006, it was stated that David Cameron had “radical plans to harness the power of the internet by reaching out to a blogging generation that is disaffected and disconnected from mainstream politics.” Although if anyone could tell me exactly what was radical about his video blogs, i would be extremely grateful. What worries me is that the online audience was seen as disaffected, and disconnected, when in fact the majority of the UK are online: talking, watching stuff, making stuff and forming opinions. To see them as a whole other ‘alien’ group is incredibly misinformed.
David Millaband made the same mistake… as articulated by a Defra spokeswoman, after internet users defacedhis blog when he’d actively encouraged public contribution, when she stated, “It’s unfortunate that these things do happen. This in no way undermines our commitment as a department to dealing with serious issues and using new technology to pioneer an open style of government.”

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Give a little respect get a little

God knows how much the new St Pancras station cost but what a joy it is to arrive at every morning. The hotel clock tower peering through the ‘shed’, the beautiful restoration, the plethora of eateries and of course Fat Face for a cheeky browse (on the way home of course). Everything oozes of respect for William Barlow who built it way back in 1863. I can’t help picturing it full of steam and orderly civilians tipping their bowlers to bid fellow passengers a safe onward journey. Why the do people think it’s ok to walk the full length of a good old English queue and push in. Avoiding stereotypes, these are generally Brits, with nothing but rudeness coursing through their veins. Rarely is there even a reason – e.g. a bun fight for seats, there is nearly always room for everyone. The other day I did the rather un-British thing of challenger a ‘pusher’ as they are known. I said, “Excuse me mate, would you like my ticket?” When asked why, I simply responded by saying, “if you feel you can push in, why don’t you take my ticket as well.” He puffed his chest and stormed off accusing me of being “f*!king rude.” I still haven’t quite worked out why, but what I do know is he utterly lacked any form of respect.

Putting a positive spin on this, I think respect is one of the most underrated terms used in marketing today. You’ll here a client talk about ‘respecting the brand values’ but do we spend enough time respecting consumers? If someone (consumer) is prepared to give a brand some time whether its watching a TV ad, or writing a review or passing on an email the very least you can do is make the most of their time.

Try this – think of the most famous person you’d like to meet and imagine you have 10 seconds with them. What would say? How would you behave? What would you want to get out of the encounter? How would it meet you expectations?

Now try the exercise as a brand meeting a consumer. You’ve got 10 seconds, what would say, how would you behave…………..and so on. If you can respect that initial period with a consumer it may lead to a longer dialogue. So often we respect our own craft and don’t consider enough about, am I being respectful of their time, am I wasting it and do I have permission to say what I want to say.

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