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Archive for the ‘Advertising’ Category

Snapchat to charge £50,000 per day for 1 advert!

Posted Friday, January 16th, 2015

With the ability to reach millions of viewers a day, the strong video focused messaging app promotes itself as a TV-style commercial space for the ad world. In late October, 2014, the app started rolling out paid ads. Universal Pictures were the first, advertising their film Ouija.

Sponsors pay for ‘Snaps’, short videos and photos, to show up in users ‘recent update’ feeds. Brands like McDonald’s, Samsung and Macy’s have jumped on the bandwagon early.

Photo and video ads of major events like the American Music Awards appear in the ‘Our Stories’ live feed.

Brands are being asked for a $750,000-a-day commitment if they wish to advertise to Snapchat’s estimated 100 million monthly users.


“From a monetization perspective, they are looking for fewer, bigger, better”, an agency executive said.

Advertisers have been told by the Snapchat team that ad placement is reserved for top brand category leaders as their ads could potentially reach tens of millions of views a day.

“We have clients for whom Snapchat works really well, it’s good for a product launch or a rebranding”, the agency executive explained.

McDonald’s and Universal have had success advertising product and movie launches through the app but sources say the program lacks sophistication.

Snapchat is unable to break down who is watching the ads because of its limited reported capabilities. At this stage, brands will never know who is actually watching as there is no way to determine how many women compared to men viewed your ad or age breakouts.

On January 5, Milward Brown Digital released analysis of the first six Snapchat ads and found that viewers enjoyed 60% of ‘Our Stories’ and 44% of ‘Brand Stories’.

Snapchat ad campaigns had a “significant positive impact on key brand metrics including ad awareness and brand favorability”, says the study.

But with rates significantly higher than its competitors, “it is difficult to go forward with Snapchat at the prices they are quoting”, an executive explained.

Do you think the price is too high?

What we’ve learnt about Apple from their new iPhone 6 launch

Posted Friday, September 26th, 2014

Apple claim to have shifted approximately 10 million iPhone 6 and 6plus combined. That’s a huge number in it’s first week and has been accompanied by the media sensation and long queues that we’ve come to expect

But what has the recent launch shown us about design, marketing and technology?

Apple’s phones have been designed consistently thinner since their original release and for the first time they’re big. Jobs famously said that consumers didn’t want large screens but the recent releases seem to suggest that Cook disagrees as a result of the demand from their customer’s demands. When I recently spoke to an assistant in the Vodafone shop 6 months ago she claimed people were selecting their phone devices on size so it has been no surprise that apple have responded accordingly.

Apple’s keynote is a major tech event which generates its own hype but interestingly problems have come since the event. The keynote was dogged by poor viewing, the servers were struggling to stream the event and for the first 20 minutes it was dubbed in Mandarin. Since then people have criticised the forced download of U2’s album, the bendy iPhone 6 plus and bugs with iOS8. Frankly, these issues won’t effect sales and nor have they deterred me in any way to order the iPhone 6 but it shows that life is never silky smooth even for the world’s coolest brand, voted by cool brands.com

Each new iPhone release has major upgrades which improve the running and functionality of the phone but if you ask a consumer what the difference between the iPhone 5 and iPhone 6, I bet all they will say is size! Interestingly, iOS8 and the iPhone 6 are according to Apple the most significant upgrades since their first phone. As someone who takes  a keen interest in the upgrades and how it will effect my startup BeBirbal I’ve noticed that users will find taking pictures and videos will offer more options and iOS8 makes it a much easier to search for websites and apps.

To be honest whatever Apple offered with a new phone it’d be snapped up but I do feel that recent upgrades are an improvement to the user and even developers. We know apple are cool even if they do make some major mistakes, such is the extent of their customer loyalty. They’ve delivered what was expected, a slickly designed device with some fantastic technology and a strong message which covers any cracks.

The 5 Worst Social Media Fails Of 2013 So Far

Posted Friday, April 5th, 2013

We’re only in April but several brands have already made king-sized screwups in social media. Among their crimes: Using a four-letter word to insult a nine-year-old girl. Live-tweeting a mass layoff.

No 1 : HMV

In January, an HMV social media worker live-tweeted the mass firing of 190 staff. Among the tweets were: “There are over 60 of us being fired at once! Mass execution, of loyal employees who love the brand” and “Just overheard our Marketing Director (he’s staying, folks!) ask ‘How do I shut down Twitter?'”

No 2: US firm fails to deliver flowers on Valentine’s Day

Both US companies 1-800 FLOWERS and FTD realized the cost of screwing up on the one day of the year when you need to be on your game, especially if you’re in the flower business!

No 3: American Airlines

In February, American Airlines’ policy of auto replying to every tweet, no matter what, backfired. People began tweeting insults at the company. Scripted tweeting just doesn’t work.

No 4: Tesco

Tesco forgets to change this pre-scheduled tweet in the middle of a PR crisis about horsemeat found in some of its frozen dinners.

No 5: The Onion

The Onion uses a four-letter word in a joke to describe 9-year-old actress Quvenzhane Wallis during the Oscars. The satirical newspaper later apologized.

Which is your favourite?

Will giving up social media for a week cleanse your soul?

Posted Monday, March 18th, 2013

Russian Orthodox church advises people to avoid Instagram and Twitter when annual period of self-denial begins next week

The Russian Orthodox Church has long told its followers to give up milk and meat for Lent but when the annual period of self-denial begins on Monday its leaders want the flock to go one stage further.

There should be no tweeting or instagramming of the experience – and no social media at all, in order to better cleanse the soul, according to church spokesman, Vsevolod Chaplin.

Interestingly, Maureen Henderson did exactly that last September for a month and documented it in her article 3 Reasons you Should Quit Social Media in 2013. She claimed the 3 main reasons people should reconsider devoting so much time to social networking were: 1) it harms your self-esteem 2) your blood pressure will thank you and 3) online is no substiture for offline.

It’s an interesting thought and I’m beginning to see and hear more people who are threatening to leave social networks, particualry Facebook, but very few following through for any length as after all, it’s the centre of keeping up to date with the people, businesses and interests they enjoy staying up to date with.
So did we adopt social media too quickly and are the cracks now appearing? It’s quite possible that activity is just levelling out as it was never going to be possible to maintain the explosive rates of growth. As a business, there’s still no choice but to join social networks and have your business represented to the highest standard with significant activity. So why the call for people to leave social media when it’s so important?
It has to surely be assessed as to how people use the various platforms and with what motives. I know of people who reguarly remove posts if it has not received as many likes or comments as they would like. This type of use is a far cry from the hugely beneficial attributes social networking has to offer, such as keeping up with breaking news and engaging with our sporting heroes, it’s a darker side to social media use. It’s no wonder then that social media is critisized and people threaten to adandon the platforms. But with everything used correctly, social media is an indespensible tool for personal and business use.
We should remember that causes like red nose day was undoubtedly helped by Facebook and Twitter as people spread messages and encouraged people to donate.  It is the ideal way to keep up to date with your industryand talk to the brands you are buying from. Yes it can be misused, like everything else but that shouldn’t threaten why it is such an important part of our lives now and how with the right balance, social media can improve, not distrupt our lives.

Are hijacked social media campaigns more successful?

Posted Friday, September 28th, 2012

There was a time when a marketing campaign consisted of posting leaflets through letterboxes. But with the ready made social networks on Twitter and Facebook, companies or brands can instantly connect with an entire community if they win over one internet user who feels moved to comment about it.

But the more questionable consequence of this ready-made audience is that it can talk back. As a result, companies looking to harness the power of social media have had to prepare themselves for instantaneous feedback from a notoriously vicious sea of voices.

And what now appears to separate the marketing winners and losers, are those who can react immediately – and crucially, with good humour – when their campaign comes under attack.


The upmarket supermarket took to Twitter prompting users to use the #waitrosereasons hashtag when tweeting why they shop at Waitrose, hoping they would discuss its top of the range produce and organic meat.

However Twitter users soon used it as an excuse to ridicule the supermarket’s luxury image and association with the upper classes. Shane Callagy tweeted via @shanecallagh: “I don’t shop at Waitrose. The servant does. #Waitrosereasons”. James Coakes via @jamescoakes added: ‏ “I shop at Waitrose because everyone on our estate does. Even the gamekeepers.”

Rather than trying to ditch the campaign immediately, Waitrose’s official twitter account encouraged the tweeting and reacted with good humour, saying: Thanks again for all the #waitrosereasons tweets. We really did enjoy the genuine and funny replies. Thanks for making us smile.”

“The ‘botched’ Twitter campaign which has made Waitrose a “laughing stock” gets my full backing and a ten out of ten from me,” says Jason Woodford, SiteVisibility CEO, who adds that the campaign “reinforced its upmarket image”.

“This was a very clever marketing ploy from Waitrose and it has reinforced its brand values of quality and reliably excellent service as a key point of differentiation from the other grocery chains,” he said.

Nick Clegg says sorry

Also this week, Nick Clegg’s campaign team decided it was about time for an apology over raising, instead of scrapping, tuition fees. In a video posted on Youtube, the deputy prime minister earnestly told viewers how sorry he was for regaling on his promise.

Within hours, a spoof autotuned video was created showing Mr Clegg singing his speech boy-band style to a surprisingly catchy ballad.

But while the video didn’t do much for Mr Clegg’s credibility, it moved the debate away from reminding the public about what he was actually apologising for. And Camp Clegg came out trumps when they agreed the song be made available on iTunes as long as the money was donated to Mr Clegg’s charity of choice.


Snickers: ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry’

What started out as a harmless social media campaign by Mars, owners of the Snickers chocolate bar, ended up in a probe by the Advertising Standards Agency. Mars persuaded five celebrtities, including Katie Price and Rio Ferdinand, to post a series of uncharacteristic tweets to coincide with their campaign slogan, “you’re not yourself when you’re hungry”.

Katie Price posted about quantitative easing and the political economy, while footballer Rio Ferdinand posted about his love of knitting. After four such tweets, the marketing ploy was revealed with a picture of the celebrities and their Snickers bars.

The Twittersphere was certainly captivated by the tweets and enjoyed the joke and the ASA did not uphold the few complaints it received, saying that because the last tweet included @snickers uk #hungry #spon, they were clearly advertising.



It all started so well. McDonald’s #meetthefarmers campaign promoted the company’s dedication to home-grown produce by telling the public stories of the farmers they work with. However the #McDstories campaign, prompting people to share their favourite McDonald’s stories, ended up with Twitter users sharing their most horrific tales of meals at the fast-food restaurant. @jfsmith23 wrote: “Watching a classmate projectile vomit his food all over the restaurant during a 6th grade trip. #McDStories”.

The overall success of the campaign is up for debate, but the fact that campaign managers were aware of what was happening, and managed to pull the hashtag wihin an hour, shows they were on the ball. In addition, the campaign manager Rick Wion responded personally to some Twitter users, correcting them about McDonald’s products when they were misinformed and a new hashtag, #LittleThings has so far had a largely positive response.

“Companies can’t create a campaign and plan what’s going to happen,” Anna Drennan – marketing manager at Conversocial

“People’s responses are public. I think that’s the point – you have give up control. Having the right response team ready and making sure that’s connected within your organisation is the way to do it.”


When thousands of 02 users woke up one day and realised their network was down, the company came under a storm of outrage on Facebook and Twitter. Despite the very public anger and criticism the network came under, the official Twitter account responded to almost every direct complaint in a friendly, apologetic manner. By the end of the day, it had not only won over many of the complainers, but was receiving plaudits for its excellent customer service.

“Consumers find it refreshing and can be completely turned around in their opinion,” Ms Drennan claimed. “They managed to turn itself into something that got them much more positive attention. The twitter conversation got more much attention than the original problem.”

“This could be quite pivotal in companies’ images going forward. Be reactive to what comes back, rather than planning for the launch and then forgetting about it.”


Why you don’t involve your company in social media…..

Posted Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

At SWARM we’re trying to preach the good word of social media. To us it makes perfect sense that you should immerse your company in this modern, fashionable and highly effective form of PR, Marketing, Advertising and Communications. So we can list reason after reason why you SHOULD be on social media but we thought we’d address the concerns we’re confronting in meetings and explain why these aren’t motives to stay away from social media at all!

I don’t like it… …I don’t have a profile.
You might not like social media but your business’ target audience does! 50% of the UK population are on Facebook and 20% have a Twitter profile. In fact it’s not just that they have a profile, 15 million people in the UK login to their Facebook profile every day.
Your company can’t ignore the fact that despite your personal belief that it’s people making strange updates and spending too much time on the platforms, it is where people are communicating with each other and surely you’re business wants to get involved? Don’t miss out on the conversation!

What if people say negative things?
Whether you like it or not people will always have an opinion and often they’ll want to share that with people on the social networking sites. This is NOT a bad thing. In fact it gives you the opportunity to manage your online reputation. Where in the past, most criticisms were spread across the internet on forums and various sites, with the rise of Facebook and Twitter, you have the opportunity to monitor what people are saying and most importantly contact them and make sure any problems are corrected. In fact it shows that your company is on the ball and responding to feedback. Make sure that if you do enter social media you’re monitoring your profiles regularly and responding carefully- it’s even worse if you’ve created profiles and then not replying to comments or mentions.

There are so many sites I don’t know which ones are best for me
Following on from the last concern, you have to decide which social networking sites will best benefit your business. Pick a couple which offer the best return and stick with them. Don’t spread yourself thin because you’re less likely to keep on top of it and if there are comments that need attention, you’re more likely to reply if you have fewer profiles to check. If you’re starting on social media for the first time, start with Twitter and Blogging for six months for instance and then assess whether it’s beneficial to move into Facebook and LinkedIn if it fits your strategy.

I don’t understand it
If you want to keep your social media management in-house then there are plenty of webinars, articles and blogs on social media and the best ways to use it. But in the most case, we explain why you should be on social media, the benefits and the returns  and we talk you through it. We’ll outline the basic principles of social media and it’s our job to ensure your business gets the best from social media.

Stay in contact with SWARM on Twitter


Is Facebook taking over the world?

Posted Thursday, April 21st, 2011

According to Terminator lore Skynet was implemented on April 19, 2011 and will begin its attack against humanity on April 21- today! Skynet is obviously the ‘baddy’ in Terminator when it becomes self-aware and launches an attack on humanity. Laughable fiction obviously? Or is it when we’ve got Facebook around? Facebook is growing as a company, as an entity, as a social platform that has aided revolutions and supported the election of presidents. Is Facebook all that different to Skynet after all?

First of all, we would hope that Facebook isn’t able to infiltrate the MOD and launch nuclear weapons. Nonetheless it seems Facebook is everywhere these days. It wasn’t that long ago that companies were reluctant to join social networking sites in fear it would degrade the image of their company and now suddenly, everyone is diving in as though you’re perceived as ‘behind the times’ if you’re not actively involved.

Fan page links and Twitter icons seem to be everywhere, TV adverts no longer direct people to their website but instead advertise their Facebook and twitter IDs. Almost as though a light has switched, companies have finally accepted the use and benefit of social media and how it is an indispensible tool in modern business. Could we go so far as to say….social media has changed the way we do business?

Take Coca Cola for example who have seen their Facebook fan page reach an incredible 25 million fans. The flip side of this is that websites are becoming ‘old fashioned’. They’re stagnant, often boring and in many occasions have no means to interact. Coke’s website traffic has dropped by 40% in one year! Will the website soon become obsolete? If so, Facebook will become incredibly more powerful than it already is.

Recent research shows that 23% of consumers prefer to receive information from brands via Facebook, with 21% preferring a brand’s website and 3% from a company blog. Ben&Jerry have gone so far to announce that they won’t be emailing customers with newsletters anymore because they feel it is ineffective, (who reads newsletters anymore- don’t they just get flagged and forgotten?) and will be using Facebook instead.

So Facebook is taking over the world then? Whilst it might not be pointing nuclear weapons at your home as Skynet did, it is fast becoming an entity, or a mind, of its own.

Is it time to worry then? Not at all. Facebook has yet to pass the ultimate challenge- the test of time. In terms of a major historical household brand, it’s still in play school. Think friends reunited, where is it now? Nonetheless there’s no denying that Facebook is emerging as a leading brand, but it’s rise to fame could be as easily followed by a slide to obscurity.

Do we need to take shelter and buy up supplies as Facebook gathers momentum?  I like to believe its intentions aren’t as destructive as Skynet’s. However, there’s no denying that Facebook has already ‘changed the world’ but how long until it ‘rules the world’?

Blog inspired by @spreadingjam who tweeted yesterday about the importanc of the date- thanks!

Is an £80 million transfer fee really all that ridiculous?

Posted Friday, February 11th, 2011

When football players throw their toys out of the pram demanding more money or handing in transfer requests, they’re always told that no player will ever be bigger than their respective club. But a change is occurring, players are amassing accumulated power to get their way and if the club they’re with doesn’t pay up, they know someone will. Because if you’re any good, the players marketing clout is priceless.

Players know that they’re not just footballers on the pitch who win games they’re also commodities. They demand ridiculous wages and mind blowing transfer fees because they know whatever the club is paying, they’ll be making profits just from merchandise before any football is played. When Real Madrid decided to sign David Beckham, the President told his committee that he would pay whatever was required to bring Beckham to Madrid because no matter what the fee, it would be a guaranteed money maker and he was right. They had expected to make £20 million in Beckham shirt sales over 4 years, they paid for his transfer in shirt sales before he had played his first game.

When Torres signed for Chelsea in January they weren’t just spending £50 million and getting a world class player they were also selling hundreds of thousands of shirts at full price when most clubs cut the price by 50% after Christmas. Robin Clarke, head of sports at Starcom MediaVast said ‘Chelsea is effectively getting full price for what will soon be old stock’.

Shirts are a big source of income and thus a key element of club marketing. Chelsea sponsor Samsung would’ve been delighted by the global coverage they received from the pictures and news of Torres holding the Chelsea shirt. Liverpool sponsors Standard Chartered may have been less impressed given that it focuses on the Far East and Andy Carroll is an unknown.

Paul Meadows, head of brand marketing at LG, sponsors of the Fulham team, explained that you’re always looking at the media value. When Fulham got to the UEFA final that was obviously great press but at the same time, when they avoided relegation on the last day of the previous season, it was also great coverage.

However recently the shift is moving from team sponsorship to the individual player deals. Brands want to sponsor their boots or have them in their commercials. Torres’ transfer went to the wire because his representatives were trying to keep hold of him as much as possible. Meadows explained ‘players are the magic dust that allows sponsors to connect with consumers; you don’t get the depth of relationship through team sponsorship’.

When you look at the likes of £50 million for Torres and £80 for Ronaldo it’s a lot of money and there’s no disputing that but when you view it in a marketing and ROI it’s not that ludicrous. Torres was the top selling shirt in the premiership which now passes to Chelsea and with the likes of pay-per-view revenue, mobile apps and games, webisodes; it suddenly looks like a good outlay. Whilst the players think they’re God’s gift to man kind, the team’s know they’re just a product. No doubt Ronaldo was rather pleased with himself when he became the most expensive player in the history of football but Real Madrid were probably even more pleased when they paid off the fee within a year and are have been taking outright profit since.

Why Marketing Threatens the True Promise of Social Media

Posted Thursday, January 6th, 2011

06 January 2011, Mashable

Social media is everywhere, and it is finally accepted as much as, well, as much as the Internet itself. Sadly, though, in reaching this level of ubiquity, we have ended up surrendering the real promise of this medium.

I fought for so many years to convince people that the Net was a social medium in the first place. Until recently, everybody seemed to believe that “content is king,” and that all this messy socializing between people was of little value. It was all about getting people onto a sticky website so they’d make purchases. Their conversations and innermost thoughts were once considered utterly un-monetizable.

But thanks to Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, social media has arrived as a justifiable expense for businesses looking to do whatever it is that’s intended to replace advertising. And as a result, people who should know better -– many of us who have some understanding of how social media actually works –- are busy working for companies who want to turn this social landscape back into a marketplace.

This isn’t about pointing fingers or laying blame. It’s about stopping ourselves before it is too late. We still have a chance for social media to generate the biggest change in how culture and commerce operate since the invention of the printing press. But it will require that we recognize what is so special about it, how it disrupts the status quo, and why it’d be such a shame to give all this up without a fight.

A Historic Opportunity

The most disruptive feature of social media is that it allows us to connect with one another relatively directly. (Even Facebook’s architecture of central servers is completely unnecessary for social networking to occur, as new tools like Diaspora are quickly demonstrating.) The direct connection via media –- for socializing, or even for commerce — has been controlled by both governments and businesses for the past 600 years. That’s right: This is our best opportunity in six centuries to connect with our peers via technology without the oversight of powerful interests.

After the fall of the Roman Republic, Europeans spent close to a thousand years living under the awful oppression of feudalism. There were lords who owned all the land and peasants who worked on it.

Nothing much happened until merchants started traveling around and spreading the innovations from one area to another. People became good at particular crafts and started selling things to one another, developing little marketplaces that slowly grew in size. Towns developed their own currencies based on grain and other commodities, and people started to get rich.

They had liberated themselves from absolute dependence on the landowners and created a peer-to-peer economy. They got healthy, bigger than at any time in history until the 1980s, and they worked less than four days a week. As a result of the rise of this new “bourgeoisie,” the lords had less power and money. They decided to crash this new economy.

Local moneys were declared illegal; people had to borrow “coin of the realm” from the central treasury. And if that wasn’t enough, local business was also stifled. Instead of working for themselves, people had to become “employees” of one of the king’s officially sanctioned monopolies — what we would today consider “corporations.” People got poor, conditions got worse, the plague broke out … you know the rest. We call it the Renaissance, but it was really the end of a peer-to-peer culture and economy that has never been matched. Until now.

The Potential for True Peer-to-Peer Culture

With the web — and more specifically, with social media — we have the chance to engage with one another in the ways that could restore a P2P society in which people create and exchange value directly with one another. Instead of depending on corporations for jobs, goods, and even investment, we can work for and with one another. Instead of relating indirectly through centrally constructed mythologies and brands (you’re a fan of Nike, too?!) we can relate directly with one another.

The real possibilities of social media, however, are quickly devolving to the limited applications of social marketing. In the past 20 years, I watched open source get reduced to the corporate-friendly concept of “crowd sourcing,” and my own concept of “viral media” get watered down to “viral marketing.” I refuse to watch the social promise of interactive media get redefined by those hoping to make a fast buck off our Facebook friendships. Not without a fight.

Instead of connecting to one another, we are increasingly connected to and friended by the same old brands and institutions that the Internet once stood a chance of upending. And worst of all, we the people are getting into the act, learning to sell our friends to the highest bidder. Whether it’s a Zynga game inviting us to turn over our address books for points, or an advertiser offering us a chance to win a prize for “friending” them publicly, we are now in the business of marketing our friendships to those who hope to exploit the bonds we have created with others. In doing so, we reduce the real value of those bonds, as well as the entire potential for peer-to-peer connection.


The real opportunity of social networking looks a lot more like Burning Man and WikiLeaks than it does like P&G’s word-of-mouth campaign or whatever Twitter is hatching in its new analytics lab.

We are building the social organism together. That’s all the Internet has been doing from the beginning. But it seems as soon as we develop a new tool or strand of connectivity, it is hijacked by business, robbed of its power, and then replaced by mechanisms that connect us to things, rather than people.

Will social networking finally accomplish the Internet’s real goal? We have yet to see. But in the meantime, how we use it — and what we think it to be — will go a long way toward determining its fate.

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