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iAdvocacy January 16, 2007

Posted by James Warren in geeky stuff, marketing, pr, work.
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This perfectly encapsulates what Microsoft permanently finds itself up against…  Wonderful piece on the power of the Apple brand.  You can’t buy advocacy like this – although we in PR would like to think we can construct it.  I’m not sure it’s achievable through PR alone, but more on that later.   Merry New Year.  Hope to be blogging a little more regularly now my wingman has arrived (recruited via this blog, fact fans).

Same-sized print: Microsoft is a current client, Apple an old one. 

Wired link from Euan Semple.

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Massive face (blatant plug) November 15, 2006

Posted by James Warren in cool, marketing, work.
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My colleagues here in the Weber Shandwick London office have just pulled off a gloriously old-fashioned PR stunt.  They’ve created what they believe to be the world’s biggest logo on behalf of KFC and used satellites to capture it from space.  Images here (the satellite images look touched up, but aren’t) and there’s video too.  Hang on til the end when the helicopter taking the B-roll gets a bit too close to the ‘real’ Col Sanders, walking across the site…  Who needs Second Life?

Convergence Culture by Henry Jenkins November 10, 2006

Posted by James Warren in books, marketing, media, pr, social media.
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Although I’m only a short way into it, I am already fairly certain this is the finest (work-related) book I have ever read.   I can’t stop feverishly scribbling notes in the margins and highlighting sections and sentences (something I *never* normally do to books).  I bought it following a recommendation on the ball-bouncingly excellent Apophenia.  And now I recommend it to you (look, genuine word of mouse in action).  Henry Jenkins’s blog is also required reading for anyone with even half an interest in media, culture and marketing.

Making Your Fortune October 26, 2006

Posted by James Warren in marketing, pr.
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Just read that Unisys is sending personalised copies of Fortune Magazine to a handful of its key sales targets, with their pictures on the front.  It’s backing this up by placing supporting adverts on these individuals’ routes to work, outside their offices and in local eateries etc.  Although I guess this could be construed as slightly sinister, it’s also true person-to-person influencer relations in action.  As Google and its ilk provide us with tailored (and increasingly localised) information, are we becoming more receptive to (and even expectant of) personalised messaging?  I had always believed that personalised communications, via influencer relations, was the future of PR – and digital comms have a key role to play there, of course – but it appears that the ad guys are stealing a march on us, yet again.

Baaaaaaaa baaaaaaaaa August 4, 2006

Posted by James Warren in apropos of nothing, blog, marketing, music, pr, social media, wine, work.
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(That’s me being sheepish).  One of the downsides to being a PR agency social media specialist/online tart (*delete as applicable) is that you (by which I mean I) get dragged in to almost every pitch the agency does.  It just seems that no self-respecting pitch these days is complete without some social media goodness, courtesy of ‘web boy’.  Now don’t get me wrong, that is as it should be and these sorts of opportunities are why I moved to WS in the first place.  But with seven pitches/creds in the last two weeks, my posting here has suffered.  That, and the fact that I have been caught red-handed focusing on the social rather than the media, goes some way to explain my conspicuous absence from these gloriously hallowed pixels.

Although I am desparately sorry to those of you that care for my opinion and insight (hi Mum), I shan’t make contrite ‘must do better’ statements – I refuse to be a slave to this blog – but I am confident things will calm down over the next few weeks and I’ll be able to give this exquisite vessel the attention it so richly deserves.  To be honest, I’m most excited about showcasing some of my superduper colleagues’ blogs over the coming weeks – one of the first things I tasked myself with when I joined WS was to get some of the brilliant people here blogging.  It’s finally beginning to happen, so please watch this space.  You’ll find out about them here first…

Anyway… what’s new?  Well, lots as it happens.

  • The Razorlight album, which is absolutely brilliant and has supplanted Sufjan Stevens’ Illinoise as my iPod favourite listen du jour.  It’s almost perfect. I should confess I have a bit of an irrational thing about Razorlight in that I think they are the dog’s proverbials (weird how that sometimes happens with some bands and not others…).  Still, I urge you to buy it
  • Coca-Cola’s new web initiative – welcome to the Coke side of life – which at teh time of writing hasn’t yet made it over this side of the pond, but I fully expect to (same-size print: The Coca-Cola Company is a WS client).   At first glance it looks like a classic social media exploitation, but I strongly believe this one will work for them a) because they are giving away proper, valuable prizes, b) because Coke has the sort of brand that people already socialise/mash and c) because coca-cola.com provides a fairly large global shop window for wannabe creatives to showcase their smarts.
  • On the subject of sugary drinks, check this out.  Just can’t get enough of this sort of stuff – it’s astonishing, and actually has some fairly strong implications for regionalisation of PR/comms.
  • It had to happen – here is a magazine aimed at Second Life entrepreneurs.
  • This is new too – genius.  How long before there’s one at every transport hub, office and pub?  Not to mention in planes and trains…
  • If you fancy being wowed (in a slightly geeky way) then watch this – the future of computing interfaces is here (it’s another of those brilliant TED videos).
  • And, because I promised in my blurb I’d write about wine occasionally, if you’re after a nice rose (and in this weather, why on earth wouldn’t you be?), I can heartily recommend this.  Even non-rose fans will enjoy it, I promise.

Back to pitching, and here’s one that has generated plenty of bitching: agency.com put its pitch to Subway up on YouTube.  Brave, certainly.  Clever?  My honest opinion is there’s not a great deal here to convince me to appoint them.  As future pitch strategies go, however, it certainly provides a lot of food for thought.  And Subway are being talked about throughout the marketing blog echo chamber – so maybe agency.com have made their point.  I would like to have seen some more of their ideas and thinking made public – *that* would have been brave (and a bit more 2.0).  Plus – if they’d really shared their most creative and strategic thinking, irrespective of whether they win Subway or not, they would have had other brands beating their door down.  I think this was almost good – but not quite good enough.  There’s a very fine line between brilliant and tragic in the social media space.  But I hope they have the balls to put the next stage up there too.

As a PR blogger I feel duty-bound to reference the Longtailhere’s a spoof (?) trailer for the book.  Love it.

Finally, I can’t resist speculating as to the announcements due at next week’s Apple shindig.  THere’s been all sorts of conjecture and pontificating as to what Mr Jobs will unveil.  My client Microsoft has tried to trump any iPod related announcement by pre-announcing Zune – which admittedly sounds exciting.  But why oh why oh (spells…?) does Msft always pre-announce its products?  The reason people get *so* excited about Apple product announcements is that they know they’ll be able to get their hands on the product, in store, the very next day.  It does make the whole announcements that more, well, exciting.  So what’s in store next week?  In the greatest Apple tradition, I’d like to see the goalposts moved, with the introduction of a truly wireless iPod (by which I mean mobile 3G-esque wireless as opposed to wi-fi) connection to the iTunes store and my iTunes ‘server’ – erradicating the need for masses of storage and connecting me to my existing and *new* music wherever I am (with free plays of tracks it thinks I might like).  Would require an update of the interface design etc, but, hey – we can but dream.  And the expense of the wireless delivery could be offset by incorporating (location/time/mood contextual) podverts into the delivered content.  What do you think?  I’d like to see a mobile computing device too.  As The Economist pointed out last week, the future of the PC is mobile.  Apple is nowhere in this space (with the current functionality/interactivity of the iPod, that is).

Off to a wedding this weekend, so light blogging ahead (joke – the blogging bit, not the wedding).  If you’re really lucky I might even get around to finishing my ‘why PR 2.0 is real’ post, which i started writing over a month ago.  (How’s that for an Eastenders-like cliffhanger, eh?).

IPG and Facebook, sitting in a tree… June 19, 2006

Posted by James Warren in marketing, social media, web 2.0, work.
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Slightly late to this, but Interpublic Group (the company that owns Weber Shandwick, my employer) is reportedly negotiating for a small stake in Facebook, the social networking site.  Interesting development.  More on this as it happens.

Scoble leaving Microsoft June 12, 2006

Posted by James Warren in marketing, pr, work.
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So it would appear the rumours are true – Robert Scoble is leaving Microsoft.  Predictably, it's causing something of a stir in the blogosphere.  It's going to be interesting to see how this plays out.  I subscribe to the school of thought that change is, more often than not, a good thing, so I can only see this working out positively for all concerned.  'The Scobleizer' has done a phenomenal job of turning around his employer's perception, initially among the tech developer community and latterly the world at large.

In operational terms, Microsoft will continue unchanged.  From a comms perspective, one of its many talented bloggers is going to have to step up and fill the void (my money – and many others' besides – is on Niall Kennedy).  Because, make no mistake, Microsoft is losing a passionate and authoritative communicator – arguably the most effective it's ever had.  The blogosphere will be watching closely to see how the company officially reacts.  Should be a lively day on the blogs, esp. once the US wakes up to the news.

(Same-size print: Microsoft is a Weber Shandwick client.)