People have been predicting the demise of Facebook for years, citing factors like the popularity of Twitter and young people's disillusionment with social media as reasons for the apparently inevitable downfall of the digital giant. However, despite these challenges, the social network is still going strong: with 1.28 billion monthly active users, Facebook is showing no signs of fading.
But could new social network Ello, popularly described as 'the anti-Facebook', be a game changer for social media? Ello, which has taken off over the past week, is an advertising-free network and apparently has no space for brands. Ello's manifesto says of its users "you are not a product", and the people behind the website aim to establish a purer form of online socialising which is free from the interruption of marketing messages. Ello is not just challenging Facebook, but the wider culture in which social media is seen as primarily a vehicle through which brands can talk at consumers, and actual connections between people are deprioritised.
Why has there been such a huge backlash against social media marketing? While consumers are rarely as enthusiastic about other forms of marketing and advertising as brands would hope, there has never been a reaction quite this dramatic against television or print advertising. The founders and advocates of Ello seem unhappy specifically with the role brands play in our online social lives, rather than advertising in general.
However, by creating a social network which is difficult, if not impossible, for brands to infiltrate, the founders of Ello are forgetting one key thing: it's not that consumers don't
want to listen to brands. Just last week, Kit Kat's Tweet about the iPhone 'bendgate' scandal went viral, with over 28,000 Retweets and 13,000 Favourites. Consumers are not complaining about brands' social content when it's engaging, or when it's content they actually want to see. Kit Kat's Tweet, like other brand updates that have received above average levels of engagement, was successful because it joined a conversation consumers were already having rather than interrupting one.
While Kit Kat proved that consumers
casino online are still interested in what brands are saying online, there are still plenty of social media marketers getting it completely wrong. With Cosmoplitan UK Tweeting about six times an hour and Dorothy Perkins putting kisses at the end of updates, it's not difficult to see why Paul Budnitz and his co-founders lost their patience with brands' social media presence.
Perhaps consumers haven't become disillusioned with other forms of marketing because brands can't afford to get them wrong. Marketers can't spam consumers with television advertising or stop putting effort into writing copy on other platforms simply because it would be too expensive, whereas the low price of digital marketing can lead to laziness. However, although social media is cheap to use, it shouldn't be devalued.
Digital marketers need to think of the consumers' attention spans as currency, adopting the same mentality needed on platforms where there is absolutely no margin for error or laziness. Ello might not gain mainstream popularity, but its existence alone should serve as a warning. Consumers' patience is wearing thin, and Ello has shown us that there are options other than listening to online advertising. Brands need to tread incredibly carefully online- they might not be spending money, but people's patience is far more valuable.
Click on the pop-up illustrations to reveal hidden anecdotes
Sainsbury’s Active Kids
For the last seven years we have implemented the annual Sainsbury's Active Kids programme. To date in excess of £155 million worth of sports and cooking equipment has been donated to over 50,000 organisations. THAT gets us excited.
But not as excited as Lucy Savage (our much-loved Account Director on the business) got when she spent the day on a shoot with the then ambassador David Beckham. Not long after Lucy left to have twins. We are absolutely sure the two things are not connected.
After a lot of research for this Trebor Mints Breathtaking Holidays campaign we created two pieces of key art for advertising and pos.
One was using Christ the Redeemer in Rio and the other was the Taj Mahal in Agra.
Both are of highly religious significance and we checked with the Embassies of both countries first to ensure no offence would be taken using them in our campaign. As it was about promoting travel to those amazing locations it was deemed totally acceptable.
In 2009 Finnish game developer Rovio Entertainment created what was to become the global phenomenon Angry Birds. We leveraged the property to create on pack activity for Pepsico Lays that ran across Europe. But check out this clip. We didn't do it for T-Mobile in Barcelona, but we love it and wish we had!
In November 2012 we shot a film for Club Wembley to promote their Private Boxes, featuring the legend that is Sir Geoff Hurst. It was the day England were playing an evening friendly against Germany - think about it! At 10am, the time shooting was scheduled to start, the stadium was quiet and empty and the sky was blue.
Unfortunately Sir Geoff's car was late to pick him up and by the time shooting of him walking along the pitch talking to camera commenced, there were 7 lawn mowers working their magic on the pitch. Try asking them to stop. So there ensued a very comical 30 minutes of dodging tetchy groundsmen and timing takes when the mowers were the other end of the pitch.
Check out the results here and see if you can hear them:
When the 2013 Tour de France came to London, no one was expecting one of the teams to get lost along the route. And technically they didn't. Other than the one we created for a UKTV channel Dave social media stunt. And even we didn't expect the local constabulary to fall for it hook line and sprocket and offer the errant cyclists an escort back to the official track!
So when we created a set of fake sponsor branded cycling uniforms…who did we turn to, to model them for the cameras but our very own Ryan Newton and Head of Shopper Peter 'Lycra' Lidgey…check out these bad boys!
In 2011 we pitched for and won the chance to launch the Peugeot 208 in to the UK. It was a stunning success. The single we commissioned by Rudimental got to No.1 in the charts. The viral video achieved over 10 million views and Peugeot broke their 10-year pre-sales record.
Who would have thought it when, for the pitch we hired Super Malcolm at Pineapple Dance Studios to teach us to throw a few shapes and we made this little mood video of the results. Particularly worth watching is the Dad dancing by our CEO, Planner and Head of Experiential at the end!
From 2008 to 2013 we devised and managed the Cadbury Easter Egg Trails at National Trust properties all round the UK. In total over 2 million people engaged with the activity. But we wonder how many of them realised that the original thought was inspired by an idea that was voted one of the 20th Century's top promotions – created in part by our very own Non-executive Director Roger Hyslop.
The Cadbury Creme Egg Conundrum – itself inspired by the incredible 1970's work Masquerade by Kit Williams – garnered so much publicity it resulted in questions being asked in the House of Commons AND a change in marketing law.
In 2010 we ran a promotion for Quorn which resulted in us creating and designing a cookbook that was offered as a premium on pack. Shortly after launch the book went to No.1 in the Amazon cookbook charts and you can still buy a new one today for £10.00, or a used one for £4.82! What are you waiting for…
"Retail is detail"…or so will claim Peter our Shopper Marketing guru. "Ha…not just Shopper!" our experiential team will counter. In the spring of 2011 they door-dropped 250,000 UK households between the hours of 3.00 and 7.00am, placing two chilled bottles of Tropicana juice on the doorstep.
No mean task, but it was the attention to detail that made the campaign such a success. Firstly using Google Maps our team of intrepid Juice Elves discounted visiting any house with a gravel drive so as not to awaken the occupants. And every household was revisited before 11am to remove any bottles not accepted – so as not to alert any would be burglars in the area that the occupants were away.
Creating, organizing and implementing an event for 15,000 people at Althorp Estate featuring 16 brands, a 22-piece orchestra, 3 world-renowned acts, an Oscar-winning composer, a Hollywood superstar and a giant panda is just not enough for some people.
Pandamonium in the Park was devised as a vehicle for Sainsbury's to celebrate the launch of Kung-Fu Panda 2, with the film's star Jack Black (Po) addressing the audience along with the Chinese Ambassador to London and Justin King, the then Sainsbury's CEO.
As part of the activity we created a stand for Dettol to dramatise the launch of their new hands free soap dispensing bottles. The premise of the Guinea-Po Petting Zoo was that we hired some black and white Guinea Pigs representing baby pandas, that kids could pet – thus the requirement for washing their hands afterwards. Genius! (even though we say so ourselves).
Only, we started the day with 16 Guinea Pigs…and ended up with 15. Some furry-fingered pilferer had nicked one. We only hope Po doesn't find out who it was, or they could be for the chopsticks!
Creatures Of The Night was one of a number of large activities we created and implemented for Miller Genuine Draft under the global platform of Tonight It's Miller Time.
But our favourite idea never quite got off the ground. Check out this story posted a few years back. It tells of how the Miller Brewery in Millwaukee is haunted.
And that thought formed the basis of an idea we had for creating a Halloween event. We would leverage the back story of the haunting to launch our event, which this mood film gives you a little more insight in to. Sadly timings and budget were against us in implementing it to the full, although the subsequent Creatures of the Night campaign was a roaring (or should we say screaming) success.
With some ideas the simplest thought is often the killer. We were asked to come up with a way to encourage people to use more colour when painting outdoor projects. So if what Dulux gave you when painting indoors was INSPIRATION, for outdoors it had to be OUTSPIRATION.
You can download the subsequent App. we launched here:
Securing Beyonce to perform at the 02 exclusively for Mondelez brand Trident Gum was pretty damn exciting we think. The activity, although originated by Initials, soon had all of Trident's agencies working to integrate a huge campaign. One of the highlights from the PR was a flashmob of 100 single ladies dancing in Piccadilly Circus.
Over 9 million have viewed the film on YouTube, but how many of those worked out the little teaser – 99 of them are indeed single laydees….but one is a man!...can you tell who it is?! The film is still on YouTube, but unfortunately the rights to use Beyonce's track has passed, so there's some other weird track on there now!...enjoy…
Putting a 55-ton surf machine in Broadgate for Naked Juice is undoubtedly one of our Experiential team's greatest achievements. Check out this film, shot for us over a whole day, featuring a very cool surf dude visiting our event.
To research for the original brief on this Cheetos activity we sent a team round Europe talking to groups of 12-14 year-olds. So was born 'Cheebay'…the chance for kids to bid for the prizes they wanted with points from the packs. The biggest success was in Russia where they went mad for it!...check out our first ever Russian TV ad…
Clerkenwell based artist, illustrator and storyteller Vic Lee is our hero. He managed to bring to life a load of crazy stuff that was in our heads and created the amazing 5m long mural that adorns our reception and welcomes you into the agency. Check out the video of the genius at work as he creates it from start to finish - although it took him 10 days, a bit longer than the three minutes of film. You could also visit his website at viclee.co.uk for a nosey around at his stuff - if you do, say hi from us.