Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Serendipity

There’s a gag about a chap in a Rolls Royce who passes a Big Issue seller and recognises him as an old school chum. 

He stops and commiserates on his pal’s penury. The friend asks how the toff became so rich and he embarks on a long story about how he began collecting and selling firewood but making a pittance, then he collected more wood but still earned loose change and on and on it goes until the punchline: “then my uncle died and left me £20m.” 

I sometimes feel the same about marketing. At the 2008 How-Do Awards I sat next to a charming lady who said she was a marketing expert. I asked her to name the one book she had read that revealed the secret of that black art. It was called Simply Better, she said. 

So, after a trawl on the internet and ignoring the publisher’s marketing guff, I bought it, cheap, on Amazon. Some 216 pages later I, too, had the knowledge. 

The key piece of advice ran thus: devise your product or service, turn up on time at the right place, don’t knock the furniture over, do what you promised, don’t overcharge....and wait. 

Straight from the old Ronseal School of Business Studies. 

There was other stuff like “identifying generic category benefits” but you get my drift? 

Personally, I’m a great believer in serendipity. I recall once turning down the role of Royal correspondent on a national newspaper. The bloke who sat behind me took the job. 

A year later Diana had spilled him the beans and he was a millionaire. His name? Andrew Morton. 

I felt a bit like the Big Issue seller in the gag. 

You have to have talent, of course or an ingenious and original product. 

I remember spending 20 minutes on the telephone at the Sun trying to explain the system of patents to a reader who claimed he had invented the spiral staircase. 

Stelios chose a high risk strategy to market easyJet. He handed over care of his company’s reputation to the fly-on-the-wall documentary filmmaker for Airline. Sure, the planes were often late or filled with drunken sots on a stag do to Latvia

But the tickets were £5 each way and the real stars of the show were the easyJet staff, so diplomatic and courteous they should be rounded up and sent to solve the Israeli-Arab conflict.

One of the best marketers I ever encounted was a London barrow-boy I unearthed when asked by a newsdesk to find the “real life Del Boy”. 


                                                           Tony Jordan - real life Del Boy

Tony Jordan was straight out of Central casting. Black, curly, swept-back hair, drainpipe trousers and talked exactly like Trotter himself. He revealed all the tricks of the costermonger’s trade. He certainly had the gift of the gab. 

Later I wrote about him again when he set up classes to teach others how to flog tacky porcelain angels from Taiwan for multiple of their true value. We lost touch and then one day, years later,  I saw his name in a newspaper.  

He was listed as the number one television screen writer in the UK by Broadcast magazine. Apparently, he joined the soap after sending a speculative script to the BBC about market traders, with a covering letter saying he had been born and raised in the East End of London. 

Tony Jordan - years later


The BBC turned down the script but gave him a job on EastEnders because of his apparent life experience. Ironically, what Tony never told me or the BBC was that he was actually a Northerner and kept that quiet for years until he was established. Not so much Little White Bull, more Little White Lie.  That’s serendipity.


Manchester Met

I was very flattered by this blog post.

http://adamandsaul.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/george-dearsley-media-training-how-to-give-a-great-interview/

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

The Nigerian Connection

Last year I did two separate pieces of work with delegates from Nigeria. They were eager to learn and full of fun. The country clearly has a number of issues to overcome. But there is a willingness to absorb European techniques in a variety of industries including communications.


Colleague Mick Taylor (left) and me with delegate Uwem Emmanuel of the National Nigerian Petroleum Company.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Restoration of the River Ribble

We have produced a second video for the Environment Agency on restoration work on the River Ribble near Settle in North Yorkshire. The agency is using the film to support a bid for a major European environmental prize. The link is here if you are reading this on a mobile device.







Sunday, 14 April 2013

How to use video




Video is a remarkably powerful tool for marketing products and services. But it is clear many companies are not using it to its full potential. Some are not using it at all. Avantemedia has a wealth of experience in creating corporate videos. We are also experts in showing people how to perform on film. But instead of making your video why don’t we show YOU how to do it? No more shaky camerawork, no more wooden appearances. Instead dynamic, cleverly edited footage that attracts attention and converts customers. Director Gavin Hill (pictured) has produced hundreds of videos to sell everything from multi million pound super yachts and Nissan cars to washing machines (above) and dishwashers. He has also filmed many TV documentaries, including one in a Thai jail (below).
Give us a call or send an e mail and we will help you set up your own professional, in-house filmmaking unit.



Thursday, 11 April 2013

How the Environment Agency protects our heritage

We have been making a film for the Environment Agency. People tend to recognise this government department when places flood. But the agency's work is multi faceted and incredibly interesting. It's far from being just about building flood barriers.

You can watch the video here


Here are some still photographs from our six day shoot.



Catfish removal from a Cheshire fishery



Making a former lead mine safe in the Lake District



Encouraging wildlife near Sellafield, Cumbria


Telemetry near Carlisle, Cumbria


The Environment Agency in the North West has a Twitter account @EnvAgencyNW if you want to follow its progress.

@EnvAgencyNW

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

League Cup Final TV punditry

Flashback to the 2009 League Cup Final and I beat the TV pundits with my prediction of extra time and a penalty shoot out.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Boats prove lucrative for Turkey

Boats prove lucrative for Turkey

Boat building is turning into a major money earner for Turkey. Long-recognised as a specialist manufacturer of chemical and oil tankers, it has turned its attention to the luxury end of the market, building super yachts for the super rich.

 Foreign investors have been attracted by a highly-skilled, low cost workforce and have set up yards alongside traditional family-owned businesses on Turkey's southern coast. Gavin Hill has been to Gocek and Bodrum in the region to find out more. If you are viewing this on a mobile device click here.







Bloomberg TV - Turkey Superyachts.





This is a re-edited version of a four minute film Gavin Hill made on Turkey's super yacht building industry. Bloomberg used the re-worked footage as a peg for a studio-based debate on Turkey's economy. Avante is speaking to a number of Turkish boat builders and marinas about corporate video.



Gavin Hill films on the Med.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Companion Care Vets in Pets at Home



We travelled to Swindon for a two day shoot on behalf of Companion Care Vets, the vetinary service allied to the Pets at Home store chain.

You can see the video we made here


It’s an amazing story. Pets at Home founder, Stockport-based Anthony Preston started the chain from a single superstore in Chester in 1991. Now it's worth £1 billion.
While working in the family cash and carry business he noted a change in the buying habits of the nation’s pet owners. Animal lovers were not visiting traditional pet shops so frequently and supermarkets were not offering much of a range of pet products. He also observed the rise of the supersheds and a trend for out-of-town retail parks across the UK.
By 1995, the company had 25 stores and attracted private equity investment from 3i, which supported its acquisition of Petsmart UK so Pets at Home could become a market leader. Sales continued to grow and the business rocketed in value from £20m in 1997 to upwards of £200m seven years later.
After attracting bids from 14 private equity houses, Pets at Home was sold to Bridgepoint in 2004 in a deal worth £230m. On 27 January 2010 Britain's largest pet shop chain was sold by Bridgepoint to US investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) for £955milion.
KKR has investments in Boots and Toys "R" Us. The business now has 250 stores with sales of more than £400m in 2009. In around a third of the stores is a fully qualified vet working from a state of the art surgery. The vets are part of Companion Care Vets, a subsidiary of Pets at Home.
But essentially each surgery is a privately-owned business which the incumbent vet can sell at a later stage. The benefits are a regular footfall of potential customers coming to the store and superb support services and advice on things like marketing, PR, accountancy and legal issues from the Companion Care Vets central office. There are also plans to establish “stand alone” surgeries in the future.
Avante shot footage to be used at the Companion Care Vets annual conference, including interviews with suppliers and also filmed vets and vet-nurses talking about their positive experiences of running their own business from a giant pet store.



Blue Arrow Testimonial


Matt Rogers, an executive with top recruitment company Blue Arrow provided the following testimonial.
"Blue Arrow uses the services of Avante Media to create and film bespoke client case studies on DVD format.  The quality of the work undertaken has been of the highest order and will be hugely beneficial in both highlighting the partnership approach to working with clients and also supporting the sales team to bring our service to life.  Avante Media adopts a truly consultative approach allowing them to understand our business first, therefore ensuring the message we want to portray is delivered exactly how we like it.  I would not hesitate to recommend the services of Avante Media to any business looking to utilise corporate and digital media."

Business North West Exhibiton

In May 2011 Avante shot a film for EasyFairs, organisers of the North West Business Exhibition, held at Manchester Central. Here it is.







 Filming at the event




Speaker Richard Farleigh of Dragon's Den



Coronation Street stars support Gay Pride

At short notice Avante Media Limited and its partner Stake Productions were asked to shoot a video of Coronation Street stars at Manchester's Gay Pride March on August 27th 2011. Here's the result.

 

 

Augmented Reality




Avante Media is helping to launch the new Scotland national football shirt.
On August 30th Avante's Gavin Hill and Stephen Melling travelled to Hampden Park for a hush-hush shoot with Adidas, using "green screen" technology combined with a special software.
The pair filmed top football stars like Charlie Adam, Kenny Miller and Darren Fletcher.
The result has been a stunning marketing campaign in sportswear stores throughout the world where images of football star can be dropped into any location or pop up from the floor to shock and amaze customers. Adidas's own film of the project is here.




An image of Darren Fletcher "pops up" in store
Augmented Reality, is a new buzzword in video and marketing. So far it has been used most successfully in a Lynx guerilla marketing campaign, including an event in March 2011 at London's Victoria Station, when an angel appeared to fall out of the sky.
You can learn more about the process here. Essentially Augmented Reality (or AR) is old technology - green screen and chromakey - given a new lease of life by the addition of relatively sophisticated software. But pioneers experimenting with a whole range of new hardware and software claim the possibilities are limitless.
Right now, for example, you can try on "virtual" glasses via your laptop without going to shop. Imagine the joy of armies of men who will be able to tell their partners that instead of trailing them around the fashion stores all Saturday the girls can wriggle into a range of AR dresses and frocks online!
Analysts are saying that what is already a $100m industry will soon be a $3 billion market. The key is getting a product into the hands of (or up close and personal to) a customer, even if that product is "virtual". Research shows that a significant percentage of customers will buy if they have actually touched or felt the product, even as an AR image.
So after you have met a life size AR image of your favourite football star jumping out into a shop aisle displaying a new piece of kit, what next?
A "virtual" Bet Lynch popping up behind the bar in your local recommending a pint of the best bitter? An AR-style Joan Collins purring in a department store about the virtues of a new fragrance?
A naked Keith Chegwin.....no stop that thought.
For the marketing teams behind many products this could be a novel and effective way forward.

Here is some footage from the filming day.




A still from Avante's footage featuring Liverpool's Charlie Adam



Spelling and grammar


My first editor, when I started as a reporter, told me sternly: "The three most important things in journalism are accuracy....accuracy and accuracy." He was really referring to facts but he also drove home the lesson that accuracy is vital in spelling and grammar too.

Why? Well, because it affects (not effects, please note) the way people view you. Look at the photograph above. Would you deal with this company? Would you trust it?

The eminent Stephen Fry thinks we should not become too stressed by language "errors". He explains his position in a rather long but illuminating and enjoyable video.

So do you get annoyed when you see spelling, grammar or punctuation errors? Perhaps you take the view that as long as the "sense" is conveyed everything is fine.
Do you tut or send comments, if online, to the relevant website? Of course, being over 50 I am bound to be a protagonist for the "standards are slipping" brigade. I am sorry but they are. Paragons of journalistic virtue like the BBC (see below) and The Times are often found wanting nowadays.


It is probably a subject for another day but it may surprise you to know that when I briefly taught communications skills to undergraduates at a North West university I was instructed: "Don't mark them down for bad spelling".
It always amazes me that people in communications, especially PR, are not more fastidious about their (not there, please note) writing. I accept that people are under more pressure nowadays.
However, your brand, personal or corporate, is only as good as its (not it's please note) weakest link. Does any of this matter? Is Fry correct? If you have time I would appreciate your view. Meanwhile, if you find an error in this post I apologise.





From a PR release






Top school sign


Juxtaposition
















Digital editors need to take care over juxtaposing advertising and editorial. But sometimes they are undone by changing or flashing banner ads that can throw up awkward or uneasy alliances. Here's an example, not that the directors of GMF have done anything wrong.

Enthusiasm


When meeting the media enthusiasm will take you a very long way. Your messages have to be structured but you need to show real passion. Here Paul Rowley of Rowland Homes explains his love of Georgian buildings.

Logo

An airline seems to have copied our logo. What do you think?




Video for Redstone plc

We were asked to produce a video for the website of leading IT company Redstone, covering a symposium in London. Here's what we came up with.

 

 

 

Social Media Fail !

PR Fail?

Can't help thinking this is not the cleverest way to promote solar and wind energy.

 

Video on a Website

Much has been made of the impact of video on page one of a website. People stay longer when video plays. And a film helps to show the man or woman behind the business. Viewers engage more after watching a website video, with clicks for more information increasing by 30% to 40% and phone inquiries by 16% to 20%

We are currently shooting a series of videos of SME owners explaining their vision and services. Here's an example from top sales and change management trainer Tony Park of Marple Bridge near Stockport. We can shoot these at a cost from as little as £199 plus VAT.

Subbing Fail

You may think you know what you are saying but others can read it differently.



Mojo Life




Avante Media is now providing video services to an innovative training company Mojo Life, helping people to develop their "story",  inspire better communication and leadership skills and eventually to improve sales and marketing potential.

Have a look here....


The liaison gives Avante Media access to private Manchester City centre studios.



Here is MojoLife's Andrew Thorp interviewing Jo Berry whose MP father was killed by the IRA in the Brighton bomb blast



Survey Me

Lee Evans is a Cheshire-based entrepreneur who has invented a fantastically clever App for gaining customer feedback instantly or running instant surveys. You can learn more about his ingenious idea here.




The smartphone app sends data immediately to a company's head office, appearing as bar or pie charts. Customers are many times more likely to use the app than fill in written feedback forms and organisations find they gain better and more reliable information.
Avante Media is working with Lee to provide compelling video for his website and his marketing strategy. We filmed him in our new Manchester city centre studios.
Lee is a great believer in social media marketing and so are we.
We believe business video will become an essential marketing tool in the coming months.

Hair Hitler

Yet another PR fail. A Turkish firm is using Hitler to sell shampoo.

Check, Check and Check Again

A sign of the times and the pressures on newspaper sub editors (or their lack of experience). This from the Manchester Evening News.


Video for MojoLife



We began our video work for MojoLife by filming an interview conducted by MojoLife co-founder Andrew Thorp with Richard McCann, the son of one of the victims of the Yorkshire Ripper. Richard turned his life around after the murder began a spiral of decline in his childhood. He is now a much sought after public speaker. Above is the full the interview.

Then we filmed an interview with Jo Berry, the inspirational peacemaker who befriended the IRA bomber Patrick Magee, the man who murdered her father in the Brighton Bombing of the Grand Hotel in 1984. Together they set out on a global peace campaign. The interview is her.



www.mojolife.org.uk

Gibbins & Woodruffe



We have been filming two charismatic speakers and business gurus for the public speaking and networking venture MojoLife.
Dawn Gibbins is the daughter of the great British inventor, Peter Gibbins, the genius behind seamless resin flooring, better known commercially as Flowcrete. Long term chairman and managing director, Dawn sold the family-run business in 2008 for mega millions. Now she has a new passion, inspiring others and supporting a raft of charities. She dubs herself a “Philanthropreneur” and has appeared on TV’s Secret Millionaire. A much sought-after public speaker, she is currently exploring how Feng Shui can influence people’s attitudes and minds. Spend just a few minutes in her company and you cannot fail to be energised. You can read more about pocket rocket Dawn here.


Management consultant John Woodruffe came into Dawn’s life when her company was managing to make a £500,000 loss on a £20m turnover. Following John’s strategy the company went on to grow revenues to £50m and achieve profits in excess of £5m. His catchphrase is “be prepared to call your baby ugly”. In other words, be ready to see the faults and weaknesses in your business. You can access John's website hereHe helps businessmen and women to shape a clear vision and mission, shows them how to be lean and efficient, how to construct profitable marketing campaigns and to define a “Unique Sales Proposition”.
You’ll soon be able to view their wit and wisdom on MojoLife’s TV channel.




Glasgow Rangers

We were asked at very short notice (two hours) to film David Whitehouse from Duff & Phelps, one of the administrators of Glasgow Rangers. The 45-minute shoot took place in the company's Manchester city centre offices. The video was needed for a presentation to Rangers' shareholders at 10am the following day.



The film was edited and duly delivered for the important meeting, designed to keep shareholders up to date with rival bids for the club.

David Whitehouse

Words...don't come easy to me.



The lyrics of the F.R.David song always make me smile. That is because many senior executives seem to have great difficulty finding the right ones at the most important times for their companies.
But when communicating, especially to the media, "words" is all you have. No natty iPad, no "emotional crutch" Power Point to rely on. Just you...and words. 
So words are vitally important. Say the wrong thing and you can easily demotivate an entire workforce. Or, as Gerald Ratner discovered, destroy an empire and lose £500m.
Let's take a hypothetical situation of a company that has to make 12 per cent of its employees redundant. Say around 1,000 people.
Sounds like bad news eh? Heart is already thumping, tongue feels like the floor of a birdcage, nervous twitch appears.
What if I'm up against Paxman? Or the General Secretary of the Union?
What to do...? 



Some spokespeople go for what I call the "sackcloth and ashes" interview....
"Well, it could be worse. We're not as bad as company XYZ. I blame the recession/government/banking crisis...Morale is very low but we hope it'll pick up."
That'll really engage the troops, who let's face it, are your front line ambassadors.
But wait a moment.
How about looking for the "good news"?
What's good about 1,000 job losses, you ask?
Well, for a start, you are safeguarding the jobs of 88 per cent of the workforce (VERY good news for them and also for the shareholders, of course).
And these jobs, well they are not going immediately but in a year.
The "colleagues" (not employees, by the way) actually may not go after all because you are in fact outsourcing the roles to another company.
It is the other company's decision in the long run, based on the economic climate in 12 months.
And who can tell right now what that will be?
If anyone does go they'll receive full counselling on seeking a career change and a generous settlement.


"We" (not "the company") want to thank them for the great service they have given and we're sorry if anyone eventually does have to leave. 
The decision has been forced on us because most of these colleagues work in call centres and more and more customers now want to buy online.
We've listened to our customers and want to give them the best service possible and the keenest prices (good news for the customers, too).
We have engaged with the unions and will continue to do so.
The company, therefore, has been open, honest and transparent.
Company spokespeople have to learn to tell the story properly.
And to use the correct words.
Yet so many approach the task with their management head on...looking only for the "problems".
I have a video clip of a joint presentation made by Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern shortly before the Good Friday Agreement was sealed.
There was a glitch, a delay.
They both spoke for about four minutes but they used very different language and the impact of what they said was totally different.
Blair conveyed optimism, Ahern pessimism.
So, when facing the media, think about the story you wish to tell and take care with those words.

Ed Murrow


Jargon PR

I have just come across a company called Jargon PR. Apparently they seem quite good and have won awards. But I can't help but think the name is so negative.

Why would you call your company Jargon? It's like a business consultancy calling itself Red Tape or Complexity. Or a children's nursery calling itself Risky House or Sharp Objects.

Maybe it's me. Maybe it's reverse psychology. What do you think?

At a networking event I met a guy whose company, selling cheaper phone connections, was called Tel-e-phony.

I couldn't help thinking the "phony" bit was going to cause him problems.

Names are clearly part of your branding and therefore important.

My company's name Avante was invented by a creative pal.

Apart from sounding a bit like the Italian for "forward" he was thinking a business starting with the letter "A" would be at the front of directories.

When you check directories, however, you see absurd companies called "Aardvark" or "AAA Designs".

Never mind.

It also always amazes me when people use long winded names which then translate into e mail addresses the size of crazy Welsh railway stations.

Having an e mail address like "john@innovativeaccountancysolutions.org.uk" not only vastly increases the chances of correspondents getting it wrong and messages bouncing back, it's also a nightmare for group messaging on Internet Service Providers like AOL for instance which only allows about 15 characters in its automated filing system.

Have you examples of business names that inspire?

4 Networking

I have been doing quite a lot of networking over the past eight months. The organisation I prefer is 4Networking and here's a sample of how meetings operate.

The PRs v SEOs debate at SAScon

SAScon is one of the UK’s finest Search, Analytics and Social Conferences, hosted each May in Manchester.
This year one of the most interesting panel debates was entitled "Are PRs from Venus and SEOs from Mars? When will the planets ever collide?".
It explored whether PR practictioners and SEO techies could and should work together. If the answer was "no", which one group would be more influential in the future?
Among several important side issues was whether AVEs (advertising value equivalents) had any relevance as a matrix for assessing clients' traditional media and/or digital coverage.
On the panel was James Crawford of PR Agency One, Peter Bowles of Dynamo PR and Simon Wharton of online marketing agency PushON. The session was moderated by Lexi Mills of Distilled, a web development agency turned online marketer.

At the seminar at The Hive, Lever Street, Simon Wharton threw down the gauntlet straightaway saying he was "less interested in rankings and keywords and more on clients' revenues".




If they were growing he was prepared to claim the credit, seemed to be the inference.
He went on: "PR agencies are full of clueless, johnny-come-latelies."
Peter admitted that in the past convincing clients of the effectiveness of PR using AVEs was often "like a gameshow".
Although he no longer uses AVES, he confessed that, historically, if a particular bit of coverage in the Dail Mail was actually worth £50,000 (in AVE terms) PRs would often "double it" and call that £100,000.


James Crawford




Simon said AVEs were not quite dead yet because clients are "still not asking the right questions".
When they did some PRs could be in trouble, he intimated.
James agreed: "Sometimes you get a bean counter who has heard about AVEs and still asks for it."
Peter said neither the CIPR or PR Week used AVEs for judging success for awards.

James
PRs and marketers should go on courses and learn about analytics, said Simon.
Should SEOs attend all agency meetings?
There were advantages and risks, said the panel.
What if SEOs took the client away from the PR agency?
Simon said it was vital that if a PR wants to place a good story there should be initial input from SEO and Pay-Per-Click specialists to drive initial engagement.
PRs therefore need a broader knowledge if this "all agency" approach is to happen.
But he also argued the old fashioned methods of marketing could still be effective.
"Sometimes the best way is just to pick up the phone."
Skype and Google hangouts were other ways of "getting people together".
Good contacts, they all agreed, were crucial.
Peter revealed how one London Radio station dealt with Press releases.
If they didn't include the words "London", "Boris" or "Olympics" in the first few lines they tended to end up unread and in the bin.




James, Peter and Simon

He added that the media landscape had changed completely in the last five years.
James argued that in the next five years the whole debate could be irrelevant if Google moves the goalposts and ranks sites by something other than links.
In the event of all out war between PRs and SEOs, Lexi concluded, which camp would emerge victorious?
Simon was convinced that SEOs already held all the aces.
We'll see.
You can see James' slides on the issues here.



Video to sell houses

We have started producing video to sell houses. This is an idea of what can be achieved.

Liar, liar

Liar, liar, yer bum's on fire.
Politcians. Why do they do it?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-16869492



Inspiring People

Millionairess Dawn Gibbins and dynamic business consultant John Woodruffe are inspiring people. Avantemedia shot interviews they gave to Andrew Thorp of MojoLife.

 

 

 

and

 

Business Tips from 4Ners

Here are some business tips from a selection of the business men and women who attend the 4 Networking breakfast group at Trafford Centre West, every second Tuesday. The next meeting is June 12th. If you want to join us check this link.

 

 

 

One from the Archives

This was an early Avante Media business promotional video, shot about 12 years ago.

Video to enhance Social Media

Avante is providing more and more content for companies and organisations to use in their online marketing and social media strategy. Here's a flavour of what can be done. These clips were all filmed by Avante Media's Gavin Hill.

Jo Berry's peace campaign

We filmed an interview with Jo Berry, who befriended the IRA bomber who killed her father. Together they mounted a global peace movement. Here's the interview.

David Niven's obituary

Rummaging through the attic recently I found this letter sent to me by Hollywood superstar David Niven's son after I wrote the great man's obituary.



Top tip for Presentations

Always take away (or destroy) the pages of your flip chart after making a presentation. An employee of the Halifax Bank forgot to do so 10 years ago and this was the result.




When PR Goes Bad

Pukka Pies thought they were onto a winner when the England Band was banned from Euro 2012. They mounted a campaign to persuade UEFA to reinstate the brass ensemble. But crusty fans gave their own views here. Read the comments at the end of the article.




Within days the Twitter bandwagon had begun to roll with the hashtag campaign

Then came comments like this after Ireland lost 0-4 to Spain in the Euros.

Irish fans proving you don't need a few brass instruments, a drum and some halfwits to create an atmosphere

Pukka's PR idea won't make the gravy train and they may be left to eat humble pie.

Who Do You Trust for News?

Everyone's talking up Social Media. But according to a recent survey Social Networks were named as most trusted by fewer than five per cent of respondents. 
MSN UK surveyed 2,000 people (actually carried out by OnePoll) checking audience behaviour in certain news situations. 
The survey also asked what news sources were most trusted by respondents. Unsurprisingly, broadcast television and radio come top with 43 per cent, followed by online news sites with 19 per cent.





Newspapers with 15 per cent and magazines with 9.1 per cent came next. Social Networks were bottom.
Take last year when footballer Steed Malbranque's son was alleged to have died or was dying from cancer causing him to quit. 
The story rumbled on around Twitter and Facebook for three days before an official statement declared it was complete rubbish. Read the official version here. 
Clearly social media has a huge role to play in marketing. But companies would do well not to ignore traditional media.

Classic Apology

How's this for a newspaper apology.....in the Sun ?



Payne in the But(t)e

Argyll and Bute Council's handling of a schoolgirl who blogged about her lunches demonstrates an amazing lack of media awareness.
Only one person, I predict, is going to come out of this with any credit and that is the very enterprising nine-year-old Martha Payne, from Argyll, who began publishing photographs of her Lochgilphead Primary School lunches on 30 April.
Her blog Never Seconds (you can access it here) has already had more the 2.7 million hits.
Martha even uses it to raise money for charity. So far more than £2000. Good on her.
The blog even had Jamie Oliver tweeting: "Shocking but inspirational blog. Keep going, big love from Jamie x."
The school itself, we are told, has been very supportive.
But the Town Hall Jobsworths have reached for their rule book and clip boards.
"Martha", they ordered "yer banned".
Banned only from taking photographs, it must be said, not banned from blogging. But the pictures in effect ARE the blog.
A council spokesman said press coverage of the blog had led catering staff to fear for their jobs.
Martha gave each meal a 'food-o-meter' and health rating, and counted the number of mouthfuls it took her to eat it.
You might have thought that was very inventive and creative, showing an enviable interest in the world around her. The sort of thing schools are there to promote among their pupils.
In these sorry times when the NHS among others are issuing warnings about childhood obesity how refreshing to find a young person actually calorie counting.







Some posts were very positive. One read "Lunch was really nice today and it helped to cheer me up."
Of course, it wasn't especially helpful of the Daily Record newspaper to publish a photograph of Martha alongside chef Nick Nairn under the headline "Time to fire the dinner ladies."
(Why don't headline writers think before they put finger to keyboard?).
But in a classic case of sledgehammer to crack a nut-ritional enterprise the council has declined to engage in dialogue and simply gone for the nuclear option.
The decision to ban Martha from taking photographs has been criticised by Scotland's Education Secretary Mike Russell, who is also the MSP for Argyll and Bute.
At the last count the story on the BBC website had generated almost 900 responses, the vast majority supporting Martha.
One respondent wrote: "We need more of this not less, make it compulsory! In my opinion every school and hospital for that matter should do this. After all a focus on customer care is a good thing and will drive up standards...as for the councils excuses they are very weak."
The council have got themselves, almost literally, into a pickle over this.
Why didn't they meet with Martha and her parents, in private at first and then later on radio and television to discuss the issues?
Raising awareness often brings an unexpected solution (for example a company prepared to sponsor some of the cooking or the budget).
Censorship is rarely easy to justify and what sort of example does it set to the kids in the school?
Do anything original and we'll hammer you.
Even on a basic crisis news management level council chiefs have been left with egg mornay all over their faces.
Emails, Tweets and Facebook messages have gone around the globe and now put this tranquil Scottish backwater firmly on the map for all the wrong reasons.
Can the pen-pushers get themselves out of this toad-in-the-hole? I doubt it.
I expect, however, the council has one more initiative up its sleeve.
Instead of calling the dinner ladies to a meeting and telling 'em their jobs are NOT on the line, officials will probably send them instead for counselling.
In case they sue the authority for Post Tapioca Stress Disorder.
STOP PRESS: It appears the council has at last seen sense. Go here
Well done Cllr Roddy McCuish, the council leader.
I also received a thank you from Martha's dad for my blog post
Great link! Thanks George. It's been a roller coaster! Looking forward to normality returning but I think the world has changed. Thanks for your support without it nothing would have changed.
But the satire countinues
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=wLJ5qNqCO14&t...

The French (Letter) Connection

This is why advertising copywriters are so well paid. Excellent communications...and marketing. Published on Father's Day of course.



Lord Privy Seal

How not to make television. Are these rules still relevant today? Thoughts?