Another Beauty From John Lewis

John Lewis have done it again. In what appears to be a warm up act for their next big christmas ad, the never knowingly undersold brand has hit the nail on the head with their latest offering. In a beautiful collision of the old world and the new digital age, the ad sets out to prove that whilst so much has changed in the sense of fashion, tech and communication, what’s really important in life doesn’t change.

Again, a perfect choice of soundtrack, a cover of the INXS song, Never Tear Us Apart (re-recorded by Paloma Faith) helps to tell the story of two people from different world’s falling in love.

John Lewis have set themselves up as a brand that produces great advertising, and they haven’t failed to deliver this time round. Bravo.

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The Fashion World Embraces Digital

Despite being almost 3,500 miles away, this week I have been enthralled by all the Instagram pics, Viddy videos (my new fav app), and backstage tweets capturing the buzz of New York Fashion Week, giving us non-fashionistas a real glimmer of what it might feel like to be in big apple right now. This year NYFW has really embraced the digital world from the likes of Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs and even Oscar de la Renta.  The most exciting digital infused intiative was perhaps the Google’s Project Glass, which wowed the front row at Diane von Furstenberg’s spring 2013 show, showing that wearable tech can be high fashion. Models at the DVF Spring 2012 show at NYFW strutted down the catwalk sporting the glasses, and beaming back live images from the show to the brand’s Google+ page. The show ended with von Furstenberg walking down the runway wearing the glasses. Designer von Furstenberg wore the glasses to record preparations for the show through her own eyes, and a short film of this footage, DVF Through Glass, will be released on DVF’s Google+ page and Google’s YouTube channel. Smart.

So in what I am calling the most digitalised and social fashion week EVER, here are a selection of my favourite Instagram pics from NYFW:

And if you think that was exciting, London designers promise even more action at their shows, with a whopping 70% of the shows being live streamed.

With Anya Hindmarch and Osman showcasing their fashion diary and live pinning on Pinterest, and Matthew Williamson doing live Q&A’s, Topshop is marching ahead with their partnership with Facebook to make their fashion show experience more inclusive for its legions of fans. Facebook engineers have created a camera button as part of the catwalk livestream where users can click to capture their favourite looks to share online. And for the first time, website users will be able to customise clothes and accessories from the latest Topshop Unique collection as they appear on the catwalk. I am seriously excited by this and am majorly impressed with Topshop’s forward thinking digital attitude.

We all know Burberry have always been extremely keen when it comes to digital expriences, where in previous years they have tweeted pictures of their models before they entered the catwalk and even streamed their shows on their Facebook page and in store, but this year they promise to go one step further and host a virtual show of its spring/summer collection at its new Regent Street space.

Along with all of this, for the first time, shows and events in the Show Schedule booklet for LFW can be downloaded to a smartphone calendar via Aurasma, bringing print to digital life and providing an organisational tool for visitors. Using their mobile device, visitors simply need to download the free Aurasma Lite app and then hold it over the LFW image, at which point it will spring to life with exclusive video content. Really great to see the efforts the British Fashion Council have made not only to embrace social, but mobile as well, finally harnessing technology and creativity to promote British designers to global audiences!

I am so excited to see the fashion world embrace the digital space and cannot wait to see what happens next. In the meantime I have fashion shows to live stream..

Valtari Hour

Something very special happened on Thursday night (17th May). Prior to their May 29 release, as a way to wet the world’s appetite for their sixth studio album, Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Ros hosted a rolling hourly event for fans across the globe to hear their new album. At indie record stores, on the band’s website and at dozens of participating radio stations, Sigur Ros fans were exposed to the beautiful sounds of Valtari, and encouraged to post to Twitter and Instagram about their listening experience.

Starting off in New Zealand, as they were the first to reach 7 pm, ‘Valtari hour’ (as it was dubbed) was a huge success. At a time where a bands precious music so often gets leaked online and downloaded illegally, Sigur Ros strived to reclaim the buzz for its release date, and create a real excitement around the album launch. In my opinion, it did just that.

In what seemed like a worldwide Mexican wave of airplay, Sigur Ros managed to capture the magic of new years eve, with thousands of fans across the world waiting for the clock to turn 7pm so they could hear the much anticipated play of their beautiful album tracks. Unaware of the excitement to come, I was listening to BBC Radio 1 as I usually do, and at exactly 7pm, Zane Lowe introduced Sigur Ros’ new sound to the UK. I was immediately transfixed on the beautiful sounds coming out of my car radio. And what was even more special, was knowing that I was participating in a worldwide event, just by listening. Hour by hour, each country across the globe got to collectively share in my experience as the Valtari love was passed on. What an ingenious 24 hour marketing campaign from their record company.

If you are lucky enough to be going to Bestival this September, then you will get to hear the band play their first UK show for over four years. But for those, like me, whom are not as fortunate, get ready to close your eyes and let those elegiac chords suspend your subconscious..

Digital Street Art

That my friends, was a Future Lions 2012 entry by the talented students, Iris Gavric & Daniel Otterbein, at the Academy of Visual Arts, Frankfurt. Proposed for Absolut Vodka, they’ve attempted to create movement called Absolut Inspire, an Augmented Reality Street Art App designed to create a new world without creative limitations.

As you can see, the campaign is a fusion of the Google Street View platform combined with an app that allows you to create your own digital street art anywhere in the world, all seen through the augmented reality viewer. I want this to be turned into a real campaign. Heck, I NEED this to be turned into something real! Not only is it such a great fit for the brand, but it really taps into the urban art scene fad at the moment. Whilst I am no artist (far from it), as a street art fanatic, I would love the opportunity to be able to try my hand at decorating the streets of London. This app totally makes it possible, without actually getting into trouble of course or further still, defacing public property with my awful artistry skills. So yeah, someone take note and make this happen! Great work.

You don’t have to be smart to use social media

You may remember Kelly Cutrone, founder of PR firm People’s Revolution (one of the most powerful fashion PR companies in the world), from the MTV hit series The Hills, and The City. On air she was seen to help fashion designer Whitney Port start up her first line, and essentially equipped her for life in the cruel world of fashion. She was fierce. She was blunt. She took no shit. And she hasn’t changed. Not one bit. And is now even fiercer than ever.

According to Kelly Cutrone, you don’t have to be smart to use social media. She says this whilst casually starting off her first TED talk to the students at Oxford University with a tweet, which she labels as “my little PR part for the event”. To her, everything is about creating your own brand and getting your name out there, and social media presents the perfect opportunity to do this.  I don’t know whether it’s tragic or not, that a 45 year old woman, dressed all in black, and slumped over a podium, is unable to begin her talk without tweeting. Is that really what PR is all about? Perhaps you can take a look and decide.

Without further ado, I present to you sharpe-tongued legendary PR maven, Kelly Cutrone, on Cash, Consciousness and Capitalism:

My thoughts on Sky Arts ‘Prisoners Of War’: The Israeli inspiration for Homeland

After weeks of being enthralled and captivated by the inspiring performances of Claire Danes and Damien Lewis on Homeland, depicting the true like story of a ‘turned’ prisoner of war returning back to his country and trying to readjust back to normal life, I was, like every other avid fan, sad to see the season end last Sunday. Only days had gone by, but I felt myself longing for that Homeland-fix. And boy was I excited to hear about the start of Prisons of War (Hatufim), the original Israeli version of Homeland. Before Homeland had even begun I was aware that it was based on an Israeli version, written by the wonderfully talented Gideon Raff. I knew that it aired almost 2 years ago on Israeli television, and to my knowledge it was the country’s highest-rated drama of all time. Now, to me, that didn’t really say much. I’ve watched my fair share of Israeli television and to be honest I don’t rate it highly. I’ve even recently been watching the Israeli version of The Voice, and had many a laughs on how the judges react to the contestants and even come across themselves. But if there is one thing Israel knows about, all too much unfortunately, it’s a kidnapped solider.

Throughout the years, Israel has seen 1,500 former PoWs been released, in response to releasing an astounding 10,000 (estimated) imprisoned Palestinian terrorists – of which many go on to reoffend, may I add, leaving the released soldiers to feel guilty (although thankful) and the rest of the country on edge.

Being a Zionist, I have spent many a times writing letters to families of captured soldiers offering them hope, along with campaigning letters to the Israeli government, fighting to get our hostages back. So like many other British Jews, I celebrated the recent return of captured soldier Gilad Shalit, and even rejoiced, upon hearing that 175 days after his release he was seen out in Tel Aviv partying amongst friends of mine.  And so that whole matter of returning PoWs really hits a home truth within Israeli culture, and perhaps gives this series a topicality that the similarly gripping Homeland largely lacks.

The genius work of Raff was that he recognised that the homecoming of a solider usually signals the end of most PoW stories. In the case of myself, and many Israelis, we spent years campaigning for the return of our captivated soldiers, and upon their release we are satisfied and go on to find the next thing to rally support for. However, Raff yearned to make his narrative start at a point where the rest finish. Where the coming home is only the start of the soldier’s journey.

This insight- that coming home can be even harder than captivation itself, is what makes the show Prisoners of War, like Homeland, so incredible. For a whole hour I was gripped (trust me, that’s a big deal!). The show was emotional. It was raw. But most of all, it didn’t have that glossy ‘romantic’ feel that the American producers forced onto Homeland to help the narrative fit the American market. This may be because for Israeli’s, this is really something to which they relate. All Israelis have had that first-hand experience of fear that comes with being a soldier in the Israeli army.  Saying goodbye to their loved ones. Learning to use a gun for the first time. Coming face-to-face with the enemy. Hearing about the loss of a dear army friend.

Prisoners of War tells the emotional and stripped-back story of three Israeli reservists captured behind enemy lines in Lebanon. Seventeen years later, they’re freed. Two come back alive, the third in a coffin. Yes the episode was all in Hebrew, and yes there were subtitles (which usually annoys the hell out of me), but I found it surprising easy to follow despite not being very fluent in the language. Even forcing me as such, to become more attentive, and connected to what the characters were saying. I loved the obviously obnoxious daughter, and aloof son whom clearly felt that he owes nothing to his father who has been gone for seventeen long years of his life. My favourite part of the show was when Nimrod gets the name of his son wrong, and in one small but powerful moment exposes the raw difficulty of returning home, and the painful impact it has on the prisoner’s family.

I think at this point it is important to celebrate the fact that an Israeli TV show has actually made it onto a major Sky channel on UK television. Something I never really saw happening. Maybe the subtitles are a little too heavy and hard to cope with for a celebratory ‘almost-the-weekend’ Thursday night, but having a look through some of the comments on Twitter, I can see that many others share the same enthusiasm as me, and are willing to give this new series a go!

As a huge fan of Homeland, I am excited by this original, less glossy series, and intrigued to see how the story will unfold. I know what I will be doing next Thursday at 9.30pm, but will you be watching too?

Augmented Reality Disney Delight in NYC

Yes Augmented Reality is taking centre stage almost everywhere right now, but what better way to encapsulate the true disney magic than enhancing one’s current perception of reality. Featuring the nations treasured disney characters, the new disney parks Augmented Reality billboard experience took place across all of times square in NYC, making it a visual feast for all passers-by.

To get involved, all passer-by’s have to do is stand in the specially marked circle opposite the large digital billboard, and an Augmented Reality character wondrously appears and interacts with them as they watch on the big screen. What they take part in is fun and engaging and offers a taste of the truly magical disney park experience. I’m a huge fan of using Augmented reality to bring a brand to life, and in this case that is exactly what it does along with bringing joy to hundreds of times square onlookers, and disney fans alike. No matter how old you are, everyone wants to dance with Mickey Mouse and be friends with Buzz Lightyear!

Take a look at whats been going on at the digital billboard in times square:

A Visual History of Twitter

In just 5 years and with only 140 characters, Twitter has created a frenzy all over the world. With an astonishing 100 million users worldwide, averaging 230 million tweets a day, Twitter has created a world filled with hashtags where is possible to easily connect with celebs, politicians and sportsmen at the click of a button. The following infographic created by Mashable illustrates what is going on in the world of Twitter. I find it incredibly fascinating that only 5% of users create 75% of the content that is spread all over the social networking site. Check out the inforgrapic below to learn more interesting facts surrounding Twitter and it’s users:

The Psychology of Sharing

I recently completed a six week internship at Public Social, and as part of my internship I was responsible for updating their blog with the latest social media news. I wrote a post for them on The Psychology of Sharing, which I received a great response from and therefore thought I would share it with you all here:

A problem shared is a problem halved, or so they say. Did you know that 4 billion items are shared on Facebook, DAILY. These include pictures, status updates, links and videos. Videos of people singing, videos of cats playing the piano, videos of babies talking to each other and even (especially) videos of people falling over.  The amount of content that people share and post to each other is simply astonishing, and with the growing user bases’ of social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, this ‘sharepocalypse’ is only going to continue.

For this reason, I decided to look into the reason behind why people share things on social networking sites.  Much to my excitement, I discovered that the New York Times recently conducted a study on why people share online, and their results were truly fascinating. Their study revealed that individuals mainly share for three reasons:

  1. As a form of information management
  2. As a way to define themselves and their world
  3. As a way to build and maintain relationships.

To explain further, results unveiled that a whopping 73% claimed that they process information more deeply and thoughtfully when they share it. If you think about it, this stat makes total sense. By sharing something, you end up looking over it more and more. The more someone comments on your content, the more chances there are of you reviewing it again, plus it’s always there to look back on. Therefore, yes it does aid you in deeper information processing, and as basic psychology teaches us, the deeper you process a piece of information the stronger the memory trace, so surely this is good news for marketers.

Other results from the New York Times explain that 68% share to give people a better sense of who they are, and 49% share to influence others regarding products they care about. This comes down to building a stronger sense of who you are and trying to show your friends and family what you’re interested in.

Along with this, interestingly 78% share to stay connected with people they would otherwise not be in touch with. From this we can learn that marketers should be focused on providing strong content that enhances consumers’ relationships with one another.

You can read the full report from the New York Times here: http://nytmarketing.whsites.net/mediakit/pos/

So next time you think about sharing something, think about the reasons behind why you are doing so. You may even uncover something new about yourself.

Life’s a Banana, until you get peeled

On Friday 8th April I marched on down to the Saatchi X offices on Charlotte Street equipped with a shakey piece of paper with what I planned to say and a home-made pie chart dressed in a banana costume. Why a banana costume you may ask? Well Saatchi X laid on a very different kind of graduate recruitment process, whereby grads were welcomed to join the line of hopefuls outside their offices and use all their might to pitch to the big cheeses in a lift for only 30 seconds! 30 seconds is the same amount of time it takes to simply try on a hat, apply a new shade of lipstick, or take 5 sips of water (yes I timed this), so I figured I had to do something different to stand out. And what stands out better than a girl in a banana costume?

After a couple of nerve-racking hours waiting patiently and talking with lots of hopefuls in the line along with some lovely Saatchi X employees, it was finally my turn to step into the much-dreamt about offices and take my place in the lift. After being greeted by Human Interest Director Claire Knight and Managing Director Anthony Hopper I began my whirlwind of a pitch. Dressed as a bright yellow banana I nervously proclaimed to them why I am ‘one of their recommended five-a-day’ telling them about how my Psychology degree and research I have conducted has given me a true insight into understanding shoppers attitudes and how to inspire a behavioural change. After a very shakey performance that flew by I gave Claire and Anthony my ‘five-a-day pie chart’ and was taken into another room to wait for another bunch of pitchers to finish till we were told our fate. Minutes later I was put through to the next stage where I was given the exciting opportunity to be interviewed by Executive Creative Director Emma Perkins, and Director of Strategy Simon Goodall.

A few days later I received a very exciting phone call telling me I had made it through to the ‘Bootcamp’ stage, an all day extravaganza where we were to be placed in teams to work on a brief. This is when I got really excited and knew it was my opportunity to go from the wacky somewhat nervous banana girl to the fun confident planner with great ideas.

On the 21st April I went back down to the Charlotte Street offices, all ready for a fun-filled day ahead of me. After meeting the other 17 dream-filled grads and welcomed by Claire, Anthony, Emma and Simon we were split into teams. Each team consisted of two budding creative’s, an account handler and a planner (me) where we were given a live brief to work on and asked to come up with the insight, creative challenge, campaign execution and press release. Getting on with my team was a breeze and we instantly bounced ideas off each other whilst playing on each other’s strengths to get us through the day. The day seemed to fly by and before we knew it, it had come to 4 o’clock. It was now time to present our ideas to all the other grads and staff at Saatchi & Saatchi X. After all the teams presented their ideas we were given some much appreciated feedback from the Saatchi X employees and awarded with a fabulous BBQ and drinks at the Pregnant Man (the famous Saatchi & Saatchi pub).

Although I eventually wasn’t chosen to be part of the internship program at Saatchi X, what I learnt that day was invaluable. Not only did I learn about the initial workings when given a brief, but I also learnt how each part of the agency team contributes to making the campaign work. The overall experience was not only enlightening but so much fun at the same time! The Saatchi X staff were so warm and friendly and full to the brim with passion it truly has left me wanting more…