Blog : social media

Filling our feeds with food

Filling our feeds with food

Picture this: I’m meeting some friends for brunch on a typical Sunday morning. I order an acai smoothie bowl and a matcha latte.

What happens when the waitress brings across our order? My hand reaches for my iPhone, opens Instagram and I’m being absorbed into my online journal, also known as my Instagram Story. After a quick edit and a location tag – because no one has time to be elusive these days – I admire my perfectly filtered photograph starring the components of my brunch on an oh-so-edgy tarnished wooden table. A second later it is posted for the whole world to see.

What actually is the purpose of this post? Who knows and really, who cares. But who needs to care? It’ll be gone within 24 hours anyway.

Since 2010, 208 million posts have been shared on Instagram with the ‘food’ hashtag. The majority of these are nothing more than a fairly standard plate of food which has been greatly improved by some good lighting and careful editing.

The current mentality seems to be that if it’s not posted on Instagram, it didn’t happen.

On the other hand, the app that went live in 2010, provides a platform for restaurant brands to engage and adjust to the growth of social media and its consumers. With its 600 million active users, Instagram has become a drawing board for foodies, creating a bible for potential food and drink hotspots with the addition of the location sticker. If clicked on by the consumer, this could earn more revenue for the brand and provide the user with the ability to see live events from a chosen location.

What makes Instagram unique is that it has the ability to hold more worthy photographs in comparison to an average foodie website. This is because of you, the user and consumer. People love food photography because people simply love to look at food, and if there is a personality behind the visual, it immediately becomes more relatable. Due to increased popularity of international food culture, more users are willing to try different cuisines than ever before, as they have previously ‘seen it on Instagram’ and therefore, it is familiar.

Standing on your chair to capture the aerial view of your food and drinks is something I must admit is out with my boundaries. However, if you think that your meal is worthy of an Instagram upload, then surely that’s hats off to the chef! I’m not saying that my acai smoothie bowl was remotely average, I mean, it still made it to the gram. However, I am greatly aware of the danger of total addiction to an edited and, to an extent, false view of the world, which makes reality look boring in comparison.

Equally, the popularity of Instagram has certainly had some negative impacts. It has created a competitive marketplace for restaurants, as they now have to adapt to being ‘Instagrammable’ by featuring tables, chairs, cutlery, dishes and other interior that simply are photographs waiting to happen. The pressure behind the app can also force brands into creating new recipes for the sole purpose of becoming a strong Instagram trend, which means the app is costing restaurants extra money as they are giving into the 21st century #foodporn craze.

Whether you choose to believe it or not, Instagram is addictive. The aspiration to achieve some social gratification from a post that features last night’s dinner leaves you on a cliff hanger as you wait patiently for those likes and views to rake up. But what this vulnerability can also question is: does the food we photograph actually taste as good as it looks, or is it all just an irrelevant false illusion?

The answer comes down to a matter of opinion, but one thing is for certain – Instagram is fed by our love of food.

GLASGOW 2018 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS APPOINTS STRIPE COMMUNICATIONS AS DIGITAL AGENCY

GLASGOW 2018 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS APPOINTS STRIPE COMMUNICATIONS AS DIGITAL AGENCY

We are delighted to officially announce today that Stripe Communications has been appointed as digital agency to Glasgow 2018, the inaugural multi-sport European Championships event.

Our brief is to deliver digital and social strategy, campaign ideation, content creation and implementation of paid and organic digital activity across all social and web channels over the next 18 months.  The team will focus on 13 key event milestones such as volunteer recruitment, the mascot launch and the European Championships event itself.

Taking advantage of the strong legacy created by the 2014 Commonwealth Games and keeping sport at the heart of communities across Glasgow and Scotland, this new event will elevate the status of European Champions and attract a potential television audience of up to 1.03 billion across the continent, with a wider audience expected via digital platforms.

Darcie Tanner, Stripe Digital Director, said: “This is a unique opportunity to continue the legacy of the Commonwealth Games and deliver innovative campaign activity across platforms and channels, and we’re excited to start delivering.”

Stripe was awarded the six figure account in February and work began immediately.

The European Championships will take place in multiple venues across Glasgow, such as the Emirates Arena, Gleneagles and a planned new BMX track at Knightswood Park, hosting 3,000 athletes participating in six events over 11 days.

Modern Dating: Time to show it some Tinder loving care

Modern Dating: Time to show it some Tinder loving care

If you have ever asked your parents how they met, you might be met with some romantic story about how they spotted each other in a bar and one of them plucked up the courage to start a conversation. Maybe your dad later found the courage to pick up the phone to give her a call, all the while praying that it wasn’t her own dad that picked up the landline first. Fast forward to 2017 and it’s definitely changed in terms of how our means of communication has evolved.

Now, when our kids ask us about how we met our significant other we might be relaying stories of how we both swiped right on Tinder or that daddy saw mummy on Instagram and sent her a DM.

Okay, the hopeless romantics of you might hark back to a more Hollywood approach involving rose petals and grand acts of romance and bemoan the impact modern dating apps such as Tinder, Happn and Bumble have had on our propensity for showing some sort of romantic inclination. Yes, there has been a big change in how we approach dating in the modern era. People do still meet strangers in bars and ask them out on a date but it’s more than likely that they have already ‘stalked’ them in some way on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn. Romance is still alive, it’s just now publicly documented on our Facebook for us all to see. I mean, how many proposals and choreographed first dance videos have we all watched?

The undoubted shift in this change of attitudes has been driven by technology. However, there is a certain snobbery surrounding dating apps and online dating. There is often a stigma attached to those who use them but those attitudes are changing. In 2000, around 100,000 people had online dating profiles in the UK. Fast forward to 2015, that number had reached 7.8m. It has been claimed that there are 26 million matches a day on Tinder across 196 countries. With the ‘Tinder economy’ worth almost £12bn to the UK economy, who are we to look down on those that use it?

Unsurprisingly, following the rise of digital, the number of couples who met their partner online has skyrocketed and was the third most popular way of meeting your romantic partner in 2009. What is most refreshing of all this is that the boom in online dating has helped more and more same-sex couples meet. In the US, 70% of same-sex couples admitted to meeting their partner online.

On some dating platforms, there is a certain degree of anonymity that means there isn’t that fear of being outed and you can meet someone who is in the same situation. Dating apps may not have the romance of meeting your partner at a farmers market as you both reach for the last punnet of strawberries and your hands brush against one another but online dating and dating apps have undoubtedly helped a generation find love.

So technology has broadened the dating pool. We are no longer limited to meeting someone on a random night out. It’s why a peely-wally Glaswegian boy can meet a gorgeous girl from Cincinnati, Ohio and no one will bat an eyelid. People will complain that there is no exclusivity in modern dating but it means people can be more bold and adventurous. Dating apps might lack a certain romance but they have empowered a generation. The great success of modern online dating is that it has helped people find love in the most unlikely of places.

Dating apps and online dating may come with a certain reputation but it is time to embrace dating and technology and show it the tender loving care it deserves.

Fibs over facts: why is faking it making it?

Fibs over facts: why is faking it making it?

 

Whether in the form of breaking news that pigs really can fly, political manipulation or clean eating ambassadors claiming nutritionist status, fake news is one for us all to watch in 2017.

Often tricky to spot, bogus and bizarre headlines are halting the thumbs of social media scrollers worldwide and feeding us a variety of fibs. From stirring up a finger-wagging frenzy of political scandal to helping websites cash in by luring in traffic with “clickbait”, audiences are becoming all too easy to fool with online content.

Since the Brexit vote last year and most recently the inauguration of the new US President, we are beginning to see the rise of “alternative facts” in our newsfeeds. The press’ purpose is to guide us with quality information and of course to encourage democratic opinion and debate, but when the president’s own media adviser declares war on it, it’s not hard to see how vulnerable audiences are becoming completely suspicious of the media; people want to source and share information that mirrors their own views and beliefs.

So why all the fuss now?

Digital = shareable, and pretty much anyone can be their own author. Recent surveys conducted in the US have found that people are getting their news from social media sites 62% of the time, and 80% of students are unable to identify a real from a fake story. Why bother looking any further for a source when credible-looking headlines can be shared in one click? And to add to that, we as content consumers are doing less and less actual consuming before we share. A study last year found that up to 59% of links aren’t even being clicked on let alone read until the end before sharing in our own feeds.

And it’s not all politics and propaganda – Richard Branson recently learned about his own “passing” from the release of a fake news story which subsequently prompted the creation of an RIP Facebook page. The page cranked up over a million likes, an indication of how unconfirmed news can spread like wildfire. Branson spoke out to the official media to reassure the public that he is not only alive and well, but he is now calling for police intervention on the rise of fake news reporting.

The good news is that the government are now working on establishing an industry-standard definition of the phenomenon, whilst also delving into what platforms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter can and should do to look out for the not-so-social media-savvy among us. It will be interesting as well as useful to see how the psychology behind it works too, and how online adverts might be adding to what has also been dubbed as an “epidemic”.

PR will be crucial for guiding businesses through the “post-truth” minefield, and as well as the media, we all need to tune in to the evolving sources we get our information from and regain trust in journalism. It’s great that the likes of Facebook have now accepted a level of responsibility for protecting its users from fake news scams with its flagging feature, but I hope that both the media and general public call perpetrators out on their bluff to make sure it doesn’t reach a point where we’re all living in conflicting realities.

What if The Great British Bake Off refuses to go with the dough?

What if The Great British Bake Off refuses to go with the dough?

There are three things guaranteed to get the British public hot under the collar: Jeremy Clarkson, a political expenses scandal, and The Great British Bake Off.

Since the show first hit our screens in 2010, it has undergone its fair share of scandal. From the infamous Baked Alaska #bingate of 2014, to the custard stealing antics of the series 3 contestants, and even a flurry of bet-rigging accusations. There was nothing however that could have prepared us for the announcement made on Monday that the BBC’s posterchild programme will be moving to Channel 4.

The BBC was balanced, measured and generally very BBC in the way it broke the news:

bbc-tweet-bake-off

Channel 4, on the other hand, was slightly more excitable:

channel-4-tweet- bake-off

Within minutes, #GBBO was trending across the nation as fans voiced their indignation. Most were horrified by the idea of the show featuring adverts, a sentiment that anyone who has been attempting to follow the Paralympic Games in Rio will no doubt echo.

There’s an additional catch. The £75million, three-year deal cut by Love Productions with Channel 4 only includes the rights to the show, not the all-important quartet of presenters and judges.

Yesterday, a blow as hard as an unexpected soggy pie bottom was dealt to Channel 4. In typical pun-filled style, presenters Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc announced that they will not be leaving the BBC:

“We made no secret of our desire for the show to remain where it was. The BBC nurtured the show from its infancy and helped give it its distinctive warmth and charm, growing it from an audience of two million to nearly 15m at its peak.

“We’ve had the most amazing time on Bake Off, and have loved seeing it rise and rise like a pair of yeasted Latvian baps. We’re not going with the dough. We wish all the future bakers every success”

The immortal Mary Berry, stalwart of British baking television and someone you would definitely want as your grandmother, has yet to comment on the move, but I have a feeling that at 81 she doesn’t have time for this nonsense.

For all her diplomacy, kindness and compassion in times of cake-based crisis, Mary definitely isn’t someone I would mess with. At 13, she contracted polio which left her with a twisted spine and weakness in her left arm. She was told at school she would never amount to much, but look at her now: she is currently filming for the US version of Bake Off and has published more books than JK Rowling (a true fact!).

Paul Hollywood is harder to read. A Liverpudlian with a penchant for expensive cars, he can be forgiven for wanting to have his cake and eat it. At the end of the day though, he’s a smart cookie. Without the softness of Mary and the innuendo-laced moral support of Mel and Sue to balance his blunt manner, the show would be sorely lacking.

The Great British Bake Off is British television at its finest: a quintessentially twee hour of weekly escapism amidst a schedule full of ‘gritty realism’, chilling thrillers and police dramas. The battle for the rights to the show is set to be piping bags at dawn though, and I can’t wait to see the drama unfold.

How useful is the introduction of Snapchat Memories for brands?

How useful is the introduction of Snapchat Memories for brands?

Snapchat recently introduced its Memories function to the photo messaging app. Users are now able to create and save snaps and albums. One key feature is that you will be able to log memories and not just from new snaps. People can now compile retrospective memories from existing saved snaps and camera roll images. This update signals the next chapter in Snapchat’s evolution moving away from the short-lived disappearing image messages and giving users a wider choice of content posting formats.

HOW DOES THIS IMPACT BRANDS?

The big plus for brands on Snapchat is that Memories allows you, for the first time, to access your camera roll, and use a wealth of existing content. Over the past few weeks we’ve found it especially useful for sustaining momentum after a big brand event and getting more value from the exclusive images and video captured there. Telling a behind the scenes story after people have seen the end result often has more impact and gives much more flexibility in how and when you distribute content before, during and after a special event or campaign. With Memories, brands can present any relevant existing content or plan out future opportunities rather than having to dedicate time to creating content solely via the app, a great step in broadening the scope of content that brands can present to their audiences.

Interested in understanding more about Snapchat for brands? Have a look at our recent campaign with the Scottish Youth Parliament where we ran Snapchat geo-filter ads to target young people.

A few of our favourite Twitter moments

A few of our favourite Twitter moments

Today our favourite microblogging platform turns 10. It’s become part of our everyday and to celebrate the milestone birthday, here are a few of Stripe’s favourite Twitter moments.

When the power went out during the Super Bowl 2013, Oreo was super quick to respond and became the out-and-out winner of the annual advertising frenzy – impressive considering the mega budgets of the TV commercials during a Super Bowl.

 

When the news broke that Jeremy Clarkson had punched a producer because he was hungry and had subsequently been suspended by the BBC, Snickers sent him this care package. Well played Snickers, well played.

 

The 2014 Oscars. Ellen DeGeneres was hosting. Selfies were on the rise. Cue the most retweeted tweet by an absolute mile: The Oscar Selfie.

 

JK Rowling has no time for internet trolls and knows how to nail the perfect shutdown. For that we salute you.

Her tweets also feature the odd rap lyric.

 

28 April this year will mark the fifth anniversary of Ed Balls tweeting his own name. He has since become an internet phenomenon. 

 

A witty exchange between Tesco and a customer portraying the British sense of humour at its best.

 

Talking of the Great British sense of humour, we had to include James Blunt. He wins at Twitter.

 

When hashtags go bad. To launch Susan Boyle’s 2012 album, the team went for this… #susanalbumparty.  How did they not notice this?! Or did they realise and just let it slide, knowing the hilarity that would unfold?

#susanalbumparty tweet

 

This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the long-suffering John Lewis who regularly gets mistaken for retailer John Lewis. Easily done I know, but his witty responses never fail to raise a smile.

 

Here’s to the next 10 years – we can’t wait to see what’s next…  #LoveTwitter

Brands going for gold in sport

Brands going for gold in sport

Whether you gushed at the sight of sausage dogs gleefully running around in hot dog buns towards humans dressed as giant bottles of Heinz Ketchup, or winced at the unborn baby shooting out of its mother to snatch at a bag of Doritos, it was hard not to sit up and take notice of what brands were doing for Super Bowl 50.

My personal favourite brand involvement wasn’t an advert. It was a stunt (shockingly!). Airbnb OWNED it with theirs. They offered Super Bowl fans the chance to stay in the home of Carolina Panthers star Roman Harper – complete with pool table, sky lounge and yoga room – to watch the game while he battled for the big prize against the Denver Broncos. At a heavy cost of $5,000, Airbnb gifted the money to charity too, which was a really nice touch (down) from them.

The Super Bowl is a worldwide phenomenon and one of the biggest sporting events of the year. Reuters claimed this year’s game attracted over 111 million TV viewers in America alone. With these colossal off-the-scale viewing figures, it’s no wonder some of the world’s biggest brands are paying $5 million for a 30 second window to push their latest products to win the ‘brand battle.’

This is obviously a budget which can go a long way towards creating a fantastic campaign, but to global consumer brands such as Snickers, Budweiser and Pepsi, it’s a drop in the ocean.  Considering over 111 million people watched Super Bowl 50, the cost of $45 to reach one thousand people doesn’t seem that much for them. What would be the impact of NOT advertising or pulling off a stunt?

If we look at brands involving themselves at major sporting events closer to home, it’s worth noting the increase in sales Tunnocks Tea Cakes and IRN-BRU experienced on the back of the 2014 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony. The giant tinfoil covered cakes and cans of Scotland’s favourite soft drink took to the stage as Glasgow welcomed nations from across the world to the city for Scotland’s biggest sporting event of the century, with over 9 million people in the UK tuning in to watch the show.

Whether we agree or disagree with the money spent by brands that are pushing product awareness during big sporting events, it’s hard to argue against the return on investment.

It remains to be seen what the best form of association is for brands looking to put themselves out there before, during or after big sporting event, whether it be advertising, sponsorship, joining the discussion on social media or turning round a cool and funny stunt to spread the word. What’s clear is that if a brand’s objectives fit well with a particular sport and they have the budget to be involved then it makes perfect sense to take advantage and increase their exposure. But, it does have to be done right and in line with their brand values.

With the Euro 2016 Championship in France just around the corner, I’m looking forward to seeing how far brands will go to get noticed. Watch this space.

Roses are red, Violets are blue, Valentine’s Day stunts, are they for you?

Roses are red, Violets are blue, Valentine’s Day stunts, are they for you?

It’s nearly that time of year again that fills so many of us with dread – Valentine’s Day. We all know that brands love to hijack seasonal events for their campaigns (think John Lewis Christmas) and Valentine’s Day is no exception. For some it’s a natural fit, a match made in PR heaven, but there is nothing worse than brands jumping on board the bandwagon just for the sake of it. House of Fraser? I’m talking to you.

The strongest brands know what they stand for and stick to what they represent irrespective of seasonal events. They stay focused on their core brand messages and drive towards clear brand objectives.

With that in mind and with V-day fast approaching, I took a look at some brands who have stayed true to their identity and created campaigns to make us weak at the knees. Saying that, I have to name and shame the brand which left us bitterly disappointed.

 

House or Fraser’s #emojinal disaster

03 Valentines- Article ImageThis week, House of Fraser has been ridiculed on Twitter after their newsfeed was transformed into an ‘Emojinal’ campaign featuring high-profile celebrities. The social media drive has left many of the brand’s 306,000 followers confused – with one user claiming the person in charge of the brand’s Twitter account must have ‘entrusted a 12-year-old with the password’. To make matters worse, they created and 1 minute video telling Will and Kate’s love story using nothing but emoji’s…the reaction? Not good. Many believe Emojinal is a masterclass on how to ruin a century-old upscale brand with one terrible social media campaign. House of Fraser, I think we need to go on a break.

We know House of Fraser got it wrong, but here are a few stunts we love…

 

Ikea offers a free cot…in 9 months

04 Valentines- Article ImageIn 2013, The Swedish homeware emporium offered the nation’s most efficient parents-to-be a free cot, just so long as their baby arrived nine months to the day from Valentine’s Day. The ad declared a limit of ‘one cot per baby’ with ‘delivery not included’. The campaign proved to be a success featured in the Daily Mail and shared over 10,000 times on social media.

 

Armed forces – going commando for Valentine’s Day

The Royal Navy kept the love alive for Valentine’s Day despite being thousands of miles from home. In a bid to boost their social media following, families used the ship’s Facebook page to post photos and letters to their loved ones – perhaps proving that distance (and a good campaign) can make the heart grow fonder.

01 Valentines- Article Image

 

Parisian Love by Google

02 Valentines- Article ImageThis heart-warming ad shows a man moving to Paris, falling in love with a French girl, getting married and starting a family – except you don’t see any human beings. The whole ad is conducted via Google searches. The video has had over 7,600,000 views and has been shared worldwide. You can watch the ad here.

So a word of advice this Valentine’s…don’t hijack calendar dates, news events and trends to follow the crowd because you could end up breaking up with the followers you have spent years building. Stick to what you believe in and never lose sight of your brand values and objectives. If it doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t, take a step back and save yourself getting too #emojinal.

Influencers: keeping up with the kids

Influencers: keeping up with the kids

As a communications agency it’s our job to ensure clients and their products reach their audience. It’s also our job to ensure they embrace all channels available to help reach that audience. The way we consume content has changed immensely over the past five years, print newspapers are shifting to online and social media has given us 24/7 access to global news (and cat videos), but there is one other platform that has been around since before Facebook and doesn’t seem to be slipping – that platform is blogs.

Bloggers have become an integral part of online life and yet many brands are still reluctant to collaborate with this breed of media. Their value can’t be measured with the same formula as print, their influence goes beyond their readership and surely people aren’t just paid to review the latest skincare products? It seems so.

Are 18-24 year olds buying newspapers? Are they as influenced by advertising? It seems not as bloggers are not only reviewing beauty products, they’re discussing lifestyle trends, from wedding planning to party wear and cocktail making to home décor, so it’s only right we embrace this new age platform.

We work regularly with some of the UK’s top influencers to help promote many of our clients. From Glasgow’s golden girl, Forever Betty to London’s Pinterest Queen, Temporary Secretary and Instagrammer Mike Kus. Over the years we have established great relationships and are now in awe of not only their Instagram-esq lives, but the professional level in which they have grown to operate in the social space.

As for the future of media, we hear time and time again the world is changing, everything is online and print is dead, so to stay current and continue to reach our chosen audience we have to change tactics, even if grudgingly, but this doesn’t mean forgetting about the tried and tested approaches, but it’s ensuring we work with our clients to come up with the best solution for their needs.