Virtual togetherness has become all the more apparent as media consumption evolves, it is no secret that watching TV is not just so simple as that, it has become an eclectic mix of TV,  a search term, a blog lurking in the backstage, a pinch of wit, a handful of hash tags and a few interactive apps.

 digital vs traditional media

All brands are frantically jumping on the social media whirlwind in their attempt to engage and interact with the changing media consumption. There has been an explosion in tools, technologies and platforms purpose built for consumer interaction.  

Brands know that they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t enter the social media space. It is a catch 22 situation, a space that they cannot fully control, a transparency they cannot avoid.  Brands’ engagements cannot be overt and in your face. Some brands have fared well in this space, others, just don’t seem to get it right.  Some shout too much, others try too hard to be cool, most simply do not know their audience. Knowing your audience and understanding their motivation to follow and engage with your brand is the key to success. 

We have seen a few brands get their comeuppance in the social space and run back to the traditional space with their tails wagging between their legs. The most recently documented social media fail was seen last week with McDonald’s campaign on Twitter. An attempt to get McDonalds trending on Twitter in a positive light turned into a sabotage on their brand, consumers took their hash tag and the opportunity to rant about all their unpleasant experiences at the fast food chain, within a couple of hours the tirade of abusive tweets had got so out of hand that they were forced to pull the campaign.  The open democratic forum proved far too open in this case.

McDonalds are not the first brand this has happened to.  Last year, Sauce makers Ragu used its Twitter account to churn out spam tweets directing them to view a video of mummy bloggers insulting their cooking skills, this ended in a social media storm directed at the brand. Quantas also suffered a similar fate last year, just after strike action when they had stranded 1000’s of passengers they launched a free flight competition , all you had to do was share your #Quantasluxury experiences, needless to say the hash tag was hijacked by dissatisfied customers.

Thus whilst brands attempt to tiptoe between engagement and marketing, they find themselves led back to traditional marketing vehicles again.

Marketers need to be careful not to tip the balance of social engagement towards conspicuous marketing. Surely, the last thing they want introduced is a “dislike” button.





Happy Monday!


New Year’s Resolutions

January 23, 2012

As the end of January nears, a lot of us will be thinking about our new year’s resolutions and how well we’ve stuck at them. This year, more than ever before, a whole range of apps and techie solutions have been at hand to help us along. According to trendwatching’s report on ‘DIY Health’, there are over 9,000 health apps available, with this number expected to rise to 13,000 by mid-2012. The ‘Jawbone’s Up’ product allows users to monitor sleeping and movement patterns by simply wearing a personal wristband.

The popular RTE programme Operation Transformation  returned this month once again. With coverage on the John Murray show as well as a mobile website giving the chance to track your own weight loss, Operation Transformation is not just a TV programme but a multi-platform solution to those needing a bit of support to meet their weight loss goals (the recipes on the website are great too, if anyone is looking for a bit of inspiration).

With all of these great resources, it should be easy to stick to our new years goals. Shouldn’t it? Plenty of people would say no. According to Oliver Burkeman, Guardian columnist on self-help, happiness and other matters related to transformation, the very idea of new year resolutions is wrong. The ‘focusing illusion’ often takes place, which means that when we don’t meet our own high expectations of the shiny new person we picture ourselves becoming, we then feel worse about ourselves. Burkeman suggests instead that we set one modest goal, and give it a 30 day trial . This way it’s more likely to become a habit as opposed to an unsustainable grand change in our lives.

If it feels like this advice is coming too late, think of how much easier it will be to set a goal when the weather’s milder, the days are longer and the hellish cash strapped days of January are over. And making a resolution in February means the pressures off – half of people who’ve set new year resolutions have broken them within a month.

Good luck!


Consumer Electronics Show 2012

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show has, as usual, thrown up some amazing advances in technology from some of the world’s biggest technology manufacturers.    

One big trend this year was Ultrabooks. These ultra-thin full-powered laptops were on show from Toshiba, Samsung, Lenovo, LG, HP and others. These are competing not only with other laptops, especially the already successful MacBook Air, but also with Tablet computers, and their incredibly quick start-up time. These Ultrabooks all aim to match that start up time, while offering full computing capabilities, all in a body only 20mm thick.  

Environmentally friendly technology seems to have been another buzzword at the show as ‘Ecotech’ products sprung up all around. There was even a human-sized hamster wheel from NRG, which showed people exactly what goes into producing electricity, using a medium they could readily understand; their own bodies. Rohan Marley presented a set of environmentally friendly headphones which are made using as much recycled and natural material as possible; insisting that there doesn’t need to be a sacrifice in quality in order to produce sustainable products.

Another big trend was for OLED TVs with Samsung and LG leading the charge. These televisions boast self-illuminating technology which gives a super efficient high quality images and incredibly thin design.

Samsung and Lenovo used the show to introduce TVs that recognize you and others in the room, automatically logging you into Facebook and pulling up your favorite channels or websites. We talk about ‘big brother’ technologies, but I don’t think we have had such a literal example as this before; a TV, in the corner of your room which knows your face, understands your preferences and reacts accordingly. Telescreen anyone?


 In fact, it amazes me how often I see technologies that look familiar because I’ve seen them imagined in films and on TV in the past.

Minority Report came to mind when I saw one of Samsung’s other products, the Smart Window, which is an amazing transparent LED screen or ‘window’ which is fully touchscreen. Has to be seen to be believed!

Tablets were also common at the show, as the second generation kicks in, we see more compatibility, better hardware and screen resolution. ASUS in particular seem to have done very well with the Transformer 700 series, which includes a laptop dock that improves both functionality and battery life. Still, any time I see anyone using a tablet, this image springs to mind:

With all the amazing treats we’ve seen at CES 2012, commentators are already speculating that CES 2013 will be Google’s show. Time will tell, but in the meantime we’ll be keeping an eye on which of 2012’s products actually appear on the market and which ones disappear altogether.


Happy Monday!


The Advent of Digital TV

January 10, 2012

Another day..another dollar… so the line goes, however in this ever transforming world of digital, it seems another day another development is more apt.

Yesterday, saw the launch of Netflix into the UK and Irish market, whilst it may not be a new development, it is certainly another advancement in our market into the world of digital. Netflix is an on demand online streaming provider of TV and DVDs. The arrival of the service in Ireland has been much anticipated since the company started its digital distribution service in 1999 in the U.S.  In just 10 years it had a collection of over 100,000 titles on DVD and had surpassed 10 million subscribers.

No doubt Netflix will set the cat amongst the pigeons in an online streaming market that is becoming increasingly more competitive and cluttered by the day. We already have the established Lovefilm, Tesco’s Blinkbox, BSkyB’s streaming service and YouTube’s new “Streaming Dreams”, which will see more than a 100 channels debut in the next 6 months. Surely this must be bad news for the country’s largest rental chain Xtravision, who currently has a variety of deals available in store, one of the best ones being 2 movies for 2 nights including soft drinks and popcorn for €10. However, with Netflix coming into the market with one month’s free trial and thereafter unlimited streaming for €6.99 a month, this could signal the end is nigh for the rental giant.

Everyone  on my Twitter account and Facebook timeline has been talking about Netflix since its launch yesterday morning. So with its infancy in the market, what has the initial reaction been over the last 24hours?

Whilst many are extremely excited about its arrival and have signed up immediately, laying claim to never leave the house again, there are others who are not so impressed.

There is some frustration re the sign-up, there is a mis-conception that the only way to sign up is if you have a Facebook account, some consumers seem to think that the fault lies in that only certain devices seem to only support the Facebook registration, however, after some investigating I discovered that email subscription is in fact available but in very small print.

There seems to be initial disappointment with the selection of movies, many claiming that they are quite dated and have already been shown on TV. When I checked last night, not one of the top ten DVD rentals was available on site. There is frustration over the categorisation of movies; it seems Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a Sci Fi Movie.

One way or another, it seems we have just got one step closer to internet TV, click, select & watch at the touch of a button. Watch this space.




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