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Is the BBC giving free advertising to Coke?

15 Jun

You may not have heard it, or it may not have clicked yet, but the “Wavin’ Flag (The Celebration Mix)” by K’nann is a huge plug for Coke and because it is charting, everyday the BBC is giving free air time to Coke’s jingle. Coke are one of the official World Cup sponsors, so their branding is already everywhere and this song is just part of their massive product promotion. In doing so, Coke gets the product placement award for the day and the BBC gets the sucker award.

The advertising is pretty obvious. Right at the beginning of the song, K’naan sings the coke jingle.

If you’re not convinced, have a listen to the very last musical section of this Christmas Coke advertisement.

The song was originally put out by the artist on his album Troubadour, before being added to a charity album for the Haiti Earthquake, but because of the overtones of national pride, it fitted pretty perfectly as an anthem for the World Cup this year. The original mix didn’t have the jingle at the beginning and the lyrics were apparently somewhat darker. However, with some slight amends and constant airplay on TV through Coke commercials, it has become the theme to this years World Cup and a singles hit (as I write this it is currently number 3 in the UK singles chart)

What confuses me is, why is the BBC playing the Coke version? Surely there can be edits that leave out the Coca-Cola jingle? I personally don’t have a problem with Coke using a clever marketing ploy, I’m more concerned that the BBC has either been duped, lazy or has an ironically disturbing lack of popular culture knowledge.

US politico makes huge twitter gaffe

1 Mar

Chuck Todd, NBC political pundit, author and personally a pretty savvy journo made an enormous twitter gaffe after the Canadians beat the US for the Ice Hockey gold medal last night.

During the medal ceremony, Todd tweeted;

Now the Canadians are really rubbing it in; they have the better anthem. #americathebeautifulshouldbeouranthem

I bet you can imagine the storm of angry tweets that followed that one, especially since the Americans would have already been sore from losing. You would have thought that an American political pundit who has his own daily political show would have known he broke two cardinal political rules in the US.

  1. Know your audience
  2. Don’t mess with American patriotism, especially when they just lose to Canada

Why do all three leaders have an image problem?

15 Feb

In this age of 24 hour media, spin doctors, image consultants and press advisers, it really amazes me that all three leaders have a significant image problem.

Brown is seen as distant and struggles to connect with voters. Cameron, no matter how he tries, is still seen as a toff and  smarmy (mainly because he is, credit to the public where credit is due). Clegg simply doesn’t have an image.

I thought Brown’s interview with Piers Morgan last night was very good. He seemed relaxed, witty, real and engaging. I think that the interview will pay off and hopefully will show a increasing tightening in the polls. Brown didn’t seem like the distant professor but he seemed like an average everyday man, someone you might want to have a beer with.

However, Brown said something that dumbfounded me. It was in regards to the infamous YouTube video last year. Brown said that he asked his advisers should he have another go at it because he wasn’t happy with it, but his advisers said it was fine. I’m hoping, whoever that was, has been sufficiently rebuked because they failed at the number one priority of their job – to make their boss look good. I’ve written before that I thought Brown had been getting bad advice – clearly I was right.

But are all three getting such bad advice? The Cameron poster debacle make me think his marketing team is failing as well. Cameron asked in PMQs would Labour MPs want Brown’s face on their campaigning documents, but I think some Tories are probably distancing themselves from his image now too.

Clegg is struggling to get any spotlight at the moment, but when the media will be obliged to give the Lib-Dems some column inches during the campaign, I’m sure this will change, but not my much.

So, who’s fault is it, the advisers or the candidates?

Campaign ads – the best and the worst. Part one – advocacy ads

11 Feb

In response to the Robin Hood Tax ad, which is one of the best campaigning ads I have seen for a while, I thought I would post some historically very effective political and advocacy ads. I’m also currently reading The Political Brain, by Drew Westen that looks at the role of emotions in political campaigning. It has been an eye-opening read, so this also gave me some inspiration for this post.

This list is by no means definitive and if anyone wants to send links to some campaigning ads, that would be great, I’d love to watch them.

This post will focus on a few advocacy ads, starting with the Robin Hood Tax ad that has been the focus of the media of late. It is a very simple ad, two voices, one face but plenty of emotion. Bill Nighy plays a leading banker who ends up squirming in response to the questioning about why a Tobin Tax shouldn’t be created. Squirming bankers is something that reverberates with a good portion of the public at the moment. This campaign plays to the slightly divergent emotions of good will and revenge brilliantly.

This next ad scares the heck out of me, although I’m not sure how effective it is. Shock ads, as I have written before, have the tendency to decline in effectiveness over time simply because of people being desensitized. I’m not sure anyone would be able to put themselves in this guys shoes, unless they have been in the same situation.

This shock ad from PlaneStupid, the organisation that focuses on climate change issues caused by the global aviation industry, is different from the previous one however. Shocking – yes. Disturbing – definitely. Effective – most certainly. Polar bears dropping from the sky crushing cars and smashing into buildings may seem like an odd choice, but it is actually very clever. The stance is that every person on a trans-Atlantic flight creates 400kg of carbon. Most people can’t conceptualize what that means however. A polar bear, which is also an icon of climate change devastation, is imaginable. Therefore this appeals to our sense of wanting to save these animals, horror at their gruesome deaths but it also puts our carbon footprint into a physical and understandable context. It was filmed in Canada, but it could be any city, again personalising the imagery.

The final ad is one that has screened on UK screens recently and was the subject of a number of complaints, but is far more subtle that the polar bear ad. Act on CO2 is a non-departmental government body that is the public face of the Government’s climate change policy. This ad simply shows a father telling a bed-time story to his child, but it is a story of the effects of climate change and includes drowning pets and other disturbing results of unabated climate change. But this ad is clever in the fact that it appeals on a personal level to adults and children. This ad scares children, hence the complaints, but it also contextualizes climate change for them ensuring they understand the potential of doing nothing. It also will frighten adults on a parental level – how can I let my child live in a world like this, what can I do to prevent it?

As I said, this isn’t a complete list, but it just a tester. I’d love your thoughts and if you want to send me other campaigns, feel free. I’ll post the political ad blog in the next couple of days.

Cross posted with Ruder finn Dot Comms.

Should journalists keep their opinions to themselves?

29 Nov

I know a number of journalists very well and I myself trained as one, so a question put to me today by a fairly senior journalist at Lloyd’s List made me think.

Do journalists, such as Melanie Phillips and Polly Toynbee deserve the platform as opinion leaders that they receive?

The theory behind the question is that journalists generally report on other people’s opinions. Once they start reporting their own through opinion columns and tv programmes, do they cease to be journalists to become opinion leaders?

At what point does a journalist graduate to this position? Most columnists, unless they are celebrities, start of as journos but once they gain a significant level of experience and a high enough reputation will often become columnists and opinionistas. But what is their experiential basis to write on certain issues.

Polly Toynbee often writes on political theory and messaging, which is fair enough as she has probably been around the workings of politics for most of her journalistic career.

Melanie Phillips however seems to often write and speak on environment and socialological issues. But when did she become an environmental scientist or sociology professor? Does she work with environmental or socialogical scientists?

I believe journalists and colomnists should be able to report on issues, but I’m not sure if their experience or their position necessarily allows them to analyse issues, unless of course they have trained in the sector or have been part of the issue.

Would be interested to know your thoughts.

Why the Parties need to monitor side-wiki

24 Nov

Side-wiki is a newish tool from Google that allows members of the public to place unmoderated comments onto a web page using the google toolbar. Every company needs to start monitoring this new tool,which theoretically can open a pandora’s box. Comments could range from the very positive, to the down-right insulting although, it is too early to say if it could have a real effect on a company’s brand image as it can only be accessed and viewed if you have the Google toolbar and you can only add a comment through a Google login and username. Both however, are very easy to get.

If Google starts indexing comments as part of their search result list, then there could be significant issues.

Below are a few high profile names that have been hit by negative or off-message side wiki posts which include the Labour and Conservative Parties’ home pages. The Liberal-Democrat website has no comments at all.

My particular favourite are the comments on the Sun.

My advice to all organisations, post something on your side-wiki now. You can’t stop people from making comments, but youcan at least try and push them past the fold. There is no way to moderate either.

 

Labour Party side-wiki comment

Conservative Party side-wiki comment

The Sun side-wiki comment

Tesco side-wiki comment

Walmart side-wiki comment

 

Is Google more powerful than Murdoch?

16 Nov

After my post last week about Mr Murdoch and his dislike of online content aggregation tools, specifically Google, I was interested this article on TechCrunch as to whether NewsCorp could indeed hurt Google.

My point of view, especially after my detailed chat with my colleague Ged Carroll,  is that he can’t beat Google, but I think he can scare the bejesus out of Google shareholders and then make Google do something it doesn’t necessarily want to.

Theoretically, as was discussed in the TechCrunch article, if Murdoch can convince Bing, Microsoft’s aggregator, to pay for the aggregation rights of NewsCorp material, it could be worth removing NewsCorp from Google’s online rankings. If he can show he is earning more money from Bing, other news companies might follow suit. Then Google has problems.

By stepping up to Google, perhaps he hopes it back down and deal. This would clearly benefit NewsCorp. Like him or loathe him, he’s clever and he must have something up his sleeve.

According to cash alone, despite his many billions of dollars, Google should win this war, but Murdoch is one of a few people in the world that just by saying his name can cause people, especially in the media world, to shake in their boots. Not many people can get through to whatever Head of State he/she wants, when he wants. Murdoch can and that means something.

Thoughts?