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:

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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?

Tupac Coachella Hologram

So pretty much everyone has seen the Tupac Hologram performance at this years Coachella festival (if not, have you been hiding under a rock?), but have you seen how it works? Check out the diagram below for an explanation for how it all went down.

We have seen many artists use cool technology in their performances before, from Coldplay’s infamous projection mapping light probes, to Beyonce’s use of Augmented Reality. But the advancement of technology like this is certainly exciting, and can only get me thinking about who we are going to see come ‘back to life’ next and perform? I don’t know about you, but I’m desperately hoping for a full Beatles reunion! The possibilities are endless, and I can’t wait to see the next big thing from the music industry.

Smart Car Ping Pong

This fun and exciting installation is a project by Smart called eBall. Essentially it is a Smart Car controlled ping pong game that was created to showcase the responsiveness of the new, third generation, electric Smart Car. Launched at the Frankfurt Motorshow, the installation uses multiple sensors to track the car’s exact position, ultimately controlling each players pong paddle on the giant digital screen in-front of them. Whilst I’m not exactly a fan of the Smart car, I am a fan of their work. This is something completely original and fun at the same time. But still, it makes me view Smart cars as little toy mobiles, and not exactly an empowering car I would be proud to be seen driving. Hmmm..

Check it out:

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 Website Made From Chocolate

Sagres, Portugal’s number 1 beer brand have launched an online exclusive in celebration of their new chocolate flavoured stout beer – The world’s first website made entirely out of chocolate. Without a TV campaign and very few print materials, Sagres challenged their digital agency to create an online activation for their new product. Using the website as the main promotional tool, Sagres needed to generate a lot of buzz with a new approach.
Given this challenge, the agency’s creative team believed that if Sagres made a chocolate beer, the perfect way to launch it was also to create a website made of chocolate.

To invite consumers to try the new product, Sagres gave out a piece of the chocolate website and a 6Pack of Sagres Preta Chocolate. So every day, during a specific hour, users could ask for a bite of the site. What an original and cool idea, looks tasty!

Watch the making of the site here:

Now That’s What I Call A Christmas Ad

With just 44 days to go till Christmas (yikes), John Lewis has released their Christmas TV ad in a bid to become the nations go-to store for presents this year. In a beautiful twist they have honed in on the excitement of giving gifts, rather than the typical excitement of receiving. I don’t know about you, but I think they got this insight spot on! The genuine excitement I feel when I have bought a gift for someone that I know that they will love is far more overreaching that when I receive a gift myself. That anticipation of seeing their reaction for the first time when then open it, it really is priceless! So for that, I think a massive kudos goes to Adam & Eve London who so beautifully brought this idea to life.

John Lewis have consistently produced ads that really elicit certain emotional responses, and really connects to the inner thoughts of the consumer, so it comes to no surprise that their Christmas ad has done just that. I think we can all safely say that it beats M&S’ X-factor infused Christmas offering, and after already trending worldwide on Twitter, has been awarded a place in our hearts as Christmas 2011’s best TV ad. Well done John Lewis.