Monthly Archives: September 2009

The populist brand

An interesting article by Sathnam Sanghera in Monday’s Times.  Although the main theme is the blandness of much multi-national advertising, Sanghera also makes some important points about the dangers of taking consumer-generated content to its logical conclusion.  Handing over your brand to its consumers may sound like a fine idea in principle, but allowing them [...]

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Shattering the myth of a cyber utopia

A really interesting talk by Evgeny Morozov at the RSA yesterday, which provided an important challenge to the glib assumption that the internet is inevitably a force for peaceful, democratic change.  Many politicians and political commentators appear to be of the view that, given enough connectivity and devices, democracy is inevitable - creating what Morozov describes [...]

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Asda respond with employee power

A smart response from Asda to the film posted by one of their employees on YouTube, which showed him throwing eggs, letting off fire extinguishers and messing around with raw chicken in the store room.  The company enlisted workers from the Preston store featured in the original video to make their own film.   Far more compelling and credible than a press statement [...]

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I am their leader. I must follow them

The headline comes from 80s political comedy, Yes Minister, and was quoted in David Mitchell’s Observer article, bemoaning the lack of bravery shown by most politicians when confronting unpopular issues.  The tendency to do exactly what people, customers or other stakeholders want you to do is a typical response to consumer empowerment.  But in the same way [...]

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Protest Songs

Followers of Gareth Malone on the BBC’s The Choir will be aware that his latest challenge is to use the power of choral singing to give a much needed boost to the residents of South Oxhey – a non-descript and fairly run-down estate on the edge of Watford.  Maybe, instead of trying to force them to sing conventional [...]

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Not lying down on the job

Another brilliant illustration of how institutions are struggling to deal with new patterns of consumer behaviour in an era of self expression and collective action.  Swindon Hospital’s decision to suspend staff, who took part in the Lying Down Game internet phenomenon demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the public mood – I can’t imagine any [...]

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Avoiding the political crowd

Successful Crowd Surfers don’t simply follow the whims and prejudices of the crowd – they have a clear point of view or set of fundamental beliefs, that they are not afraid to express, even if it risks alienating some of their potential supporters.  Businesses such as Patagonia, Method, Innocent and Lush are willing to take a [...]

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Be careful who you upset

If you are going to piss off one of your customers, make sure they don’t have over a million Twitter followers.  Great story from the Revolution blog about  how electronics company Maytag managed to upset US blogger, Heather Armstrong.  Unfortunately for Maytag, Armstrong is the type of hyper-connected consumer – she writes for a leading [...]

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Confusing the private and public domains

There is a really interesting test case going through the US courts at the moment on whether social media should be governed by the same libel laws as conventional media and conversely whether electronic conversations between private individuals, even if they are conducted in public, are protected by the right of free speech.  In May, Chicago resident Amanda [...]

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Peperami gets creative

Peperami – nasty food, great marketing – has joined the ’crowdsourcing’ bandwagon and managed to upset London’s creative agencies in the process.  Unilever, the brand owner, has parted company with Lowe London – Peperami’s agency for the past 15 years and the creator of the ‘bit of an animal’ icon – and instead offered a prize of [...]

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