“Healthy teeth are happy teeth”

That was the only quote we could get from Grape boss and head-of-tackling Dan Holt who, if rumours are to be believed, is slipping further into insanity. “I told the boys, brush at the back, no more plaque”.

The famously silent and press-wary 7th chamber, who usually shy away from bold statements in favour of internal team talks, and motivational weekends at Champneys, have been goaded by the hype loving boys at Grape into issuing a formal statement, the 7th chamber’s nominated spokesperson, and east-London fashionista, Darcy ‘the hair’ Mitchell, had this to say, “Oh, oh, shall I get one up?” – wise words from one of the industry’s leading tactitioners, but perhaps a nod to grape that this week they should be looking to the skies. Protective netting found on the 7th chamber’s training ground (the leagues shortest team by some 8 inches) could also point to this.

Continuing their PR stunt, the 7th chamber are expecting a lot of photographers down at today’s match. Fiona “I’m not related to Max” Moseley was spotted sniffing around the Hallowed Old Street turf with her lens out.

In related news, perennial 7th chamber excuse-merchant, Louise Earl won’t be playing this week because A.) She hasn’t got shinpads, or B.) She doesn’t want more bruises on her shins. Earl leaves it to you to decide. William Hill haven’t ruled out an appearance before the end of the season, but the odds are the same as the match ending without tears from a 7C goalie, or in other words, very slim.

As Grape point out in their ego-stroking statement issued earlier this morning (http://grape-digital.com/2011/02/the-forecast-is-goals-goals-and-more-goals/) the only real speculation remains over whether 7th Chamber new signing and wonder kid, Chris of the North will be playing… only time will tell.

Computers taking over the world and Taco Bell ruining mealtime

Wow, this week’s gone quickly! Time goes fast when you’re having fun it would seem. And fun is something very high up on the list for us here at Diffusion Media Towers. Why, we’ve only gone and got a bloody Beer Pong set. Yes, thanks to Mark Malone, we’ve gone all frat house and are going to be chest bumping and beer kegging our way through this evening. Expect some thrills, some spills and one hell of a headache for the cleaners this weekend.

It’s been a busy week in the world of social media – disclaimer: it’s always busy and we’re always working very hard – and we’ve got some great developments to inform you on. Grab the opportunity to appear well versed amongst your peers in this field of work and read on:

Taco Bell

Customers appear to have ‘beef’ with Taco Bell. Or rather Taco Bell’s don’t have beef in them? I’m confusing myself now. But anyway, 88% beef is according to USDA guidelines not high enough to be marketed as ‘premium seasoned beef’ (premium being a word no one has EVER associated with a Taco Bell product – I had one in Los Angeles and it tasted like cardboard soaked in trans fat) And posters like this one don’t really help their reputation. 36% beef? Sounds scrummy.

But it’s the way that Taco Bell have reacted to this backlash that has been at the very least mildly interested for the average onlooker. Whereas 5 years ago, companies may have adopted a blanket policy on coverage of the issue, Taco Bell decided to release the video below to explain the real secret behind that recipe. A sensible move to directly interact with social media users, but all I could think about was that the CEO Greg Creed hailed from Australia, and was therefore more likely to pop a few shrimps on the barbie than dig into a chemical pumped, water soaked beef wrap. I still prefer this Taco Bell video though.

Who needs Sherlock when you’ve got Watson

Now whilst you were busy writing your blog or posting on Reddit (or whatever it is you media types do(, an IBM supercomputer called Watson (cast your votes for Holmes related jokes now) busy whooping the ass of human contestants on Jeopardy – which is apparently a very big thing Stateside. Even the show’s long standing champion Ken Jennings was cast aside by Watson’s 15 terabytes of memory. He’s certainly no Terminator (no time travelling capabilities, he doesn’t resemble the Governor of California) but my god he cleans the floor in general knowledge and trivia. Which is just as well, because IBM’s technicians and programmers have spent years working on the inexplicably complicated software required to process all the data at Watson’s disposal.

The good news is that the software being used to win hundreds of thousands of dollars on primetime American TV also has a practical use – doctors can use the database to analyse patient’s symptoms and diagnose illness far more quickly than with traditional methods. Bravo IBM. Holmes would approve.

Lil Wayne < Oreo’s

With Facebook fan pages becoming more and more an integral part of companies marketing strategies, competition to achieve high numbers of ‘likes’ is at an all time high. And when one of raps biggest stars and ‘the world’s favourite biscuit’ lock horns, you know it’s going to kick off.

In 24 hours, Oreo achieved 114,619 likes. A very respectable number, until you put it next to the whopping 588,243 Lil Weezy racked up in the same time. Biscuits 1 Cash Money 0. The key behind it is engagement – if users feel they are being individually acknowledged for becoming part of a brand, then they’re far more likely to share their experiences and buy associated products. 50 Cent is tantamount to this – he constantly interacts with his 4,044,694 followers (albeit mostly to flirt with the numerous nubile females proclaiming love for him( and even made 8.7 million when he got his followers to invest in stocks.

What a week! We’re off to football now, and judging by Grape Digital’s hangovers, 7th Chamber should break the deadlock and emerge victorious!

Update – we didn’t win.

Yet More News (Of a Musical Variety)

Hello, Hi, How are you all? Excuse me for these mid afternoon Tuesday high spirits (a time in the day when no man should be chirpy), but the 7th Chamber are on a roll after reducing what was once an embarassing football deficit to an altogether more respectable 20 – 18 (foiled by some bending of the rules by Grape Digital’s own Mark Malone) – helped no end by Chris, one of the new members of our sales team. I would NOT want to get in the way of a shot of this, put it this way.

Frivolities aside, today’s post has a distinctly musical flavour to it. So read on for an insight into the weird and wonderful world of prime time US music awards, Lady Gaga in an egg and Radiohead revolutionising the way we buy music… again.

The Grammy Awards

Youtube has been blowing up with footage of some of the acts performing this weekend, including this rather excellent footage of Rihanna, Eminem and Dr Dre collaborating like it’s nothing:

Justin Bieber and Jaden Smith getting down (ft. Usher):

and Lady Gaga hatching from an EGG (which she stayed in for hours beforehand):

Gaga needs no education in the value of marketing herself as a brand. The Haus of Gaga is a self promoting powerhouse, always looking for more weird and wonderful ways to get press coverage. Aesthetically speaking, she is unmatched in her ability to provoke shock (and outcry ). We presume no giant chickens were harmed in the making of this avian monstrosity though.

In other Grammy news, a real band actually won ‘Best Album’. We at the 7th Chamber have nuff respect for Arcade Fire, and heartily applaud them for securing this accolade ahead of more glossy, Auto Tuned opponents (we’re looking at you Bieber). One of the highlights of last year was this video, showcasing just how far interactive media has come in the last few years, complete with a soundtrack by one of our favourite bands. Win. It also goes to show how an indie band can secure one of music’s most prestigious awards, just by interacting with fans via social media and maintaining a respectable brand image and not ‘selling out’. A tricky balance, but they make it look effortless.

Radiohead are doing it again.

Not content with ripping up the rulebook with their 2007 ‘pay what you want’ release of ‘In Rainbows’, which averaged between $3 and $5/sale , Radiohead have subsequently thrown it in the bin with their latest offering ‘King Of Limbs’. Announced with only a few days to spare Yorke, Greenwood et al have dubbed it a ‘newspaper album’ , comprising of 2 10″ records, a CD, high quality MP3’s and album artwork packaged in what looks like, yes you guessed correctly, a newspaper.

They seem to have solved the problem of the habitual (il)legal downloader and offered up their music in a full package, including the warm crackly goodness of vinyl. No excuse for you illegal downloaders to not dig deep in those moth filled pockets and cough up some moolah. Well bloody done guys.

That’s it for today folks! Tune in sometime this week for more insightful, thought provoking writing.

Superbowl Showcase

For all of you stayed up late to catch the Superbowl on TV, it probably wasn’t the estimated 11 minutes between the Packers and the Steelers which caught your attention but the bewildering array of adverts which peppered the play throughout (leaving me under the impression that the Superbowl was a competition between advertising agencies not football teams. Apparently the Packers won though. Who knew?).

With 30 second slots costing $3 million each, there wasn’t much room for error. Shame Bud Light decided to come up with this tawdry effort:

Apparently all you need for a home renovation (and an obviously expensively produced video) is a bucket of Bud Light and a couple – one of whom is overjoyed by the prospect of 6 low alcohol content beers on his kitchen island. We’ll let you guess which one it was. Aside from the fact that bucket is certainly going to mark the surface of his new kitchen, this advert is almost as unimaginative as the Black Eyed Peas new material (not just a dig at the multi platinum selling group, they provided some seriously dry half time entertainment). A poor start.

Happily, it seems that there was some bet going around Celebrityville to pull of ‘most shameless product endorsement’ of 2011. Whether it was Ozzy Osbourne and Justin Bieber (the original odd couple) collaborating to advertise Best Buy in a futuristic effort here:

Or Eminem’s metamorphosis into a bobbleheaded caricature,

competition was certainly stiff to see who could amass the biggest paycheck. Credit to Kim Kardashian though for showcasing her… ahem ‘talents’ in this steamy number:

Simon Cowell also un exploded:
yss

But the 7th Chamber ‘oh my god how many views did they get on Youtube’ prize goes to a video previously featured on this blog – Volkswagen’s ‘The Force’ which has amassed a stunning 16 million views since its release 5 days ago. Whilst our black masked protagonist has some height issues (ok, he’s a child) he’s certainly struck a chord with Internet users – proving a combination of executive saloons and pint size Dark Lords equate to an ad mans dream. A special prize must go to Eminem’s creative stop motion animation too. So, the Superbowl – a viral seeders paradise.

Social Media Round Up

Another day, another dollar. Well, 7 days to be specific. But as we all know here at Diffusion Media Towers, a lot can happen in this time. So here’s another roundup to inform you of all the happenings in and around social media this week (and by default make you appear more social media savvy and clued up in front of your friends. I know. We’re too good to you.).

VW ‘The Force’ ad goes viral

With just over 4.5 milllion views in 2 days, VW continue to add to their roster of impressive advertising with the story of a pint size Darth Vader whose force powers fail him – until he’s faced with the new Passat. As informative as it is creative, VW always seem to come up trumps in the creative department – whilst not always releasing the most exciting models of cars (the Scirocco being a notable exception).

Return of the Spice! (sung to the tune of ‘Return of the Mack’)

Old Spice has had one of the, if not THE most popular and talked about viral adverts of all time with its brilliant campaign featuring ex football player Mustafah Isaiah as the ‘Man Your Man Could Smell Like’. And he’s set to make a return in a brand new campaign. Will Old Spice repeat the wild success of the first effort with another ab fest? Who knows, but our gut feeling is that the success (and brand rejuvenation) enjoyed by Old Spice after the last campaign would be impossible to duplicate.

Mark gets Zucker punched #worstgagever

Not even the CEO of Facebook’s account security settings were enough to stop a rogue hacker (and hero in many people’s eyes) accessing his page and posting a rather incendiary status update, which attracted thousands of ‘likes’ and responses. If Zuckerberg’s account isn’t safe, then whose is? Insert ‘privacy/Facebook taking over people’s lives/personal details at risk/stalker’ debate here.

Zuckerberg getting OWNED. Chin up maaate

Zuckerberg getting PWND

Egypt blocks Facebook and Twitter in wake of demonstrations

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are of paramount importance to more peaceful gatherings like flashmobs. Updating of organiser’s accounts is vital to convey information regarding locations and requirements for followers, but take on a far more revolutionary role when used to co ordinate mobs of disgruntled anti government protestors – as was the case in Egypt and Tunisia this week. Unrest has also spread to Yemen – the Arabian Gulf’s poorest country – who, taking inspiration from their neighbours success – have demanded that their president Ali Abdulah Saleh stand down after 23 years at the helm of the country.

As you can see, tensions have escalated in Egypt, with the people demanding that Hosni Mubarak stand down after 5 terms and allow for the people to decide the leader of their country. Which seems pretty fair? We’ll let the people decide (though I doubt the majority have access to Facebook Places and Twitter on their iPhones, or that Cairo has good 3G signal).

These guys know how to party/riot

These guys know how to party/riot.

Thanks to @jossyfree (one of 7th Chamber’s latest recruits),  I was also made aware of some shocking footage of diplomatic vehicles running over protestors, causing severe injuries and fatalities. The footage is pretty raw and shocking, and Youtube is constantly being uploaded with new footage. Keep your ear pressed to the ground for more.

Truly shocking viewing.

The Book Club

And now, on a far lighter note we have the culmination of all these events – the Diffusion Media outing to King Pong at the Book Club in Shoreditch. Tensions were running high in the office in the hours prior to this clash of the social media Titans with insults and over confidence (on my part) being the flavours of the day. After filling up the tournament with the cream of our office talent, Richard Spalding effortlessly sailed through the competition – all those years of squash giving him a wily knowledge of the dimensions of the table. After reaching the final (cutting down Grape’s very own Mark Malone in the process), the atmosphere within the bar had reached a fever pitch – think Centre Court, except with Cajun Thunders (thanks to the Grape Team for picking those up). However, a man who bought his own paddle and balls coolly dispatched our remaining social media flag flyer. Bit of a killjoy if you ask me, but I’m sure we’ll be back soon.

5 A Side

Having just arrived back from the 5 a side dojo, it’s quite clear 7th Chamber need to re think their strategy. Grape appear languid and effortless on the ball (helped in no small part by Joe Holt) whereas we appear to be sweating out collective hangovers. Sort it out fellas. And whilst we’re on the subject of football, a selection of highlights from Alex Micu’s hero, Gheorghe Hagi:

The Power of Social Media

My name is Fiona, and I am obsessed with the Internet.

I spend my waking hours checking Facebook, Twitter and my emails continuously and impulsively, sometimes without even realizing I’m doing it. My phone is my portal to the rest of the world and I have an unquenchable thirst to access this world at all times, whilst, rather narcissistically expecting my Facebook friends and Twitter followers to feel the same way about me.

So ok, maybe I’m exaggerating ever so slightly. But I frequently wonder what the Internet and technology are doing to us. In the past week I’ve been particularly intrigued by this question. I’ve seen the Internet harness great power with the flash riots in Egypt’s Tahrir Square being lead not by violence, but by social media, texts, mobiles and email. In a recent article, The Observer’s Mona Eltahawy suggested that Twitter offers the youth of Egypt self-expression. “The internet didn’t invent courage”, she states, “social media allowed activists to connect with ordinary people and form the kind of alliances that we’re seeing on the streets of Egypt where protesters come from every age and background”. It is a fascinating reminder of the demonstrable power of social media leading to democracy.

On the other hand, I’ve seen the Internet substitute one voice for many. There is the ongoing debate between critics and the “ordinary man” as well as journalists and the “amateur” blogger. The Internet has eroded the traditional critics’ authority, encouraging everyman opinion on blogs, Facebook and Twitter, and for this reason, they seem reluctant to fully indulge in “new media”. The BBC has recently decided to cut their online budget by a quarter to 103 million, resulting in 360 jobs lost and a radical redesign of their website. Have they chosen traditional media over new media? If so, I believe they are making a huge mistake.

The Observer’s Neal Gabler said on Sunday, “authority has migrated from critics to ordinary folks, and there is nothing […] that the traditional critics can do about it. They have seen their monopoly usurped by what amounts to a vast technological word-of-mouth of hundreds of millions of people.” I’m all for replacing the critics’ semblance of opinion. They told me ‘The Social Network’ was good; I thought it was rubbish.

So the Internet can be extremely powerful, giving us a voice and more control. But, if I have more control, why do I feel so incredibly reliant upon it?

We organize our lives through digital interfaces. There was a time when I could recite around 10 phone numbers at a time, now my memory is measured in Gigabytes. My childhood toy, Betsy Bunny that would always be lovingly dragged wherever I went has been replaced by my iPhone, forever lurking where I am located. Today, there is nothing more inconvenient than when we lose our phones or our laptops go into meltdown.

I’ve begun to fear a world unmediated by computers. Think of Mubarak’s response to the flash riots; he called upon the brutality of the security forces, the might of the riot police but most acutely, he shut down the Internet. It gave his people a voice, and he tried to silence it. Does the Internet give us more control or are we in fact controlled by it?

Technology mediates human relations. We can sculpt responses to text messages, ignore them, delete Facebook friends, and block emails. But what is this doing to us? Rafael Behr said, “It is the decision we make to put our faith in technology as the antidote to human frailty, when acceptance of human frailty is what makes us human”.

Are we all slaves to the computer now?

Loony Lungs by Saatchi & Saatchi

With the advent of a new year comes a new campaign designed to shock  hardened nicotine addicts into stubbing their cigarettes (and habits) out. Comissioned by QUIT as part of their long term campaign against the foul habit, Saatchi and Saatchi have taken a step away from graphic depictions of tumours and lungs (which to my eye always look suspiciously fake – the man with the throat cancer appeared to have a large steak wrapped around his neck) and plunged admirably into something more abstract and dark.

Reminiscent of Adult Swim and Newgrounds (the latter taking up an inordinate amount of my time between 2003 – 2004), the campaign follows the misadventures of  two ‘Loony Lungs’ being, in no particular order: eaten by piranhas, electrocuted and savaged by dogs. Skydiving without a parachute is also heavily featured.

The Loony Lungs will also be featured outside selected Underground stations plus pubs and bars , and will no doubt attract significant attention from night time revelers.

Whilst there is no doubt of the creativity and imagination of the campaign, the gravitas of the effects of smoking is somewhat lost in translation when watching two lungs dangling from a vine with a shoal of carnivorous fish massing beneath them. A huge health risk like smoking can’t be solved overnight by a few viral videos, but the stat’s don’t lie (sorry Mark Twain) – the number of people who managed to quit in 2010 increased by 4% from the previous year.  So it seems the good people at Saatchi and Saatchi X are doing something right, and all for an admirable cause.

However, this does leave me yearning for a slightly more serious and graphic smoking  campaign, akin to the ones seen here.

As a means of shocking one’s target audience and forcing an immediate reaction, some of these campaigns are unparalleled in their directness. Nothing hits harder than attacking the main focus behind humanity’s natural instinct: to reproduce. Therefore any attack on virility and family is effective – particularly for men. Highlighting ‘passive smoking’ was one of the main triumphs behind anti smoking campaigns of the 90’s in creating awareness of the dangers posed to family and friends when lighting up.

That said, smoking is still seen as a form of youthful rebellion for many. Images of such icons as James Dean and River Phoenix with Marlboros clamped firmly between their lips still resonate with young people. The ‘live fast die young’ mentality is embodied by these two men who were cut off in their prime and smoking is seen as part of this image. People don’t start accepting their mortality until familial and financial responsibilities creep up on them – but anti smoking  campaigns sure as hell speed the process up. So despite my misgivings, I applaud any attempt to dissuade this foul habit and look forward to seeing more updates on the crazy capers of the Loony Lungs.