Thursday, 29 March 2007

Acceptable in the 90's

Following the massive success of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie (or 'TMNT', as it now seems to be called) and the huge buzz surrounding the release of 'Transformers' this summer, I've been inspired to develop this nostalgic list of fantastic things I grew up with that deserve to be resurrected. Feel free to add your own.

'Another one bites the dust'. They don't make them like they used to. Remember when the whole country used to stay in on a Saturday night to watch it? None of your X Factor and Prancing About on Ice nonsense. Now being repeated every night at 7pm on digital channel FTN. Tune in just to see Ulrika's massive 90's hair.

Genius. Even just for the hair. Ugly but cute at the same time. Especially the pencil top ones.

Remember when, if your trousers were too short, instead of just saying 'your trousers are too short', people would proclaim 'your budgie has died'? This deserves a comeback.

Dummy necklaces
Who the hell thought of that one? They must have made a mint, I had about 400.

Sweater Shop/NafNaf/Fruit of the Loom jumpers
Cool at the time. Now just lame, I imagine. I propose a resurrection in an ironically trendy way.

'Trapdoor' (pictured)
The best kid's TV programme. Ever.

'The Chronicles of Narnia' TV series
The original and best. Classic Sunday night family viewing. Much scarier than the movie.

I don't really know what to say about this, apart from the fact that it deserves to be resurrected for sheer comedy value. And Roger from 'Footballer's Wives' was in it.

Chomp bars
Are they still 10p? They'd better be.

Take That
Come on boys, come back for good! Oh, wait a minute...

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

A good example of bad internal comms

Just a quick one. I was struck dumb today at the abysmal attempts at internal communication from my employers, and had to get it off my chest. I currently work for a well-known, UK-based retail chain and was lost for words today when we found out at 4.30pm, one hour before close of business, that the entire chain has a mid-season sale starting tomorrow.
Apparently, all the other stores found out about this yesterday afternoon (still not a great deal of notice) via e-mail. We only discovered the existence of said sale when another store called us up with a query. Otherwise we'd never have known, and would have been the only store in the country not to be holding a sale! Fun and games!
The alleged e-mail was never received by our store. The company relies heavily on communication by e-mail (and rarely any other form) and this is a classic example of errors which occur on a regular basis, so I'm told. So the e-mail, for whatever reason, never got to us. What's a company to do? Follow up all electronic correspondence with a phone call? Hardly practical (although the company does have a reliance on regular 'ring-rounds' for updates and progress reports). Of course, technology has made internal communication much, much, much easier. But, as demonstrated, it's not infallible.
And before you say it, it wasn't a mistake at our end. Store e-mails are checked twice daily and are archived so that no information can be lost.
Good example of bad internal communications, eh? At least it made the last hour of my day fly past, as we ran about like blue-arsed flies trying to get everything sorted for opening tomorrow. It's my day off tomorrow, thank God.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Forget the Oscars...

As if we needed more proof that the blog is well and truly cemented in our lives, UK daily freesheet Metro has launched its Best of Brit Blog Awards 2007. The awards strive to recognise "the very best in British blogging", across eight categories: Arts and Entertainment, Fashion, Politics, Sport, Travel, Youth, Technology and Weird and Wonderful. Results will be decided by a public online vote and a panel of 'celebrity' judges.
Metro have included snippets of the front-runners on their website. My favourites include Shiny Shiny, a blog devoted to girlie technology (dispelling the myth that toys aren't just for the boys), Google Sightseeing, dedicated to strange aerial images captured on Google Earth (usually naughty, from what I can gather) and Hecklerspray, a cultural critique which includes the category 'Victoria Beckham Pig Chasing Stories'. Nice.
The fact that this event even exists is testament to the massive power of the blogosphere in 21st century culture. What's more, as a virgin blogger (and, indeed, a complete technophobe), my jaw has unmistakably dropped at the vast array of weird (and disturbing) goodies on offer in this new world.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Marketing through mobiles gets extreme

Following on from Evi's seminar the other week on mobile technologies, and her posts on the issue, I thought it would be appropriate to comment on an article in USA Today, as reported on PR Watch. In a bid to connect with teen and twenty-something markets, new technology has enabled firms to send coupons directly to customer mobiles. Of course, we are already familiar with similar technology; 'Orange Wednesdays' on the Orange Mobile network, for example, allow customers 2-for-1 cinema tickets by sending a code to their mobile via SMS, which they can then presented on purchase for their discount. But it would seem this trend is being embraced outwith the mobile industry, permeating people's everyday purchases. And for good reason; marketing firm Access 360 Media reported redemption rates of around 40%, as opposed to only 2% for print or online coupon campaigns.
But the prize for innovation in the field has to go to Bloomingdale's who last week unveiled an 'interactive dressing room mirror' which streams a hi-def video of the shopper modelling clothes to his or her friends' computers or mobile devices, and allows said friends to pass comment and offer advice!
No need to drag the boyfriend round Topshop every weekend then, girlies. Not that his advice is ever any good. Mates, I hope you're on standby to help me out on my next shopping spree?
To read the full article, click on the link above.
(Source: USA Today, March 20th 2007)

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Reclaim the airwaves!

Anyone seen the ads for Current TV? It launched in the UK and Ireland (on Sky and Virgin Media) earlier this week, having been operating in the States since August 2005 and their ads are everywhere, it feels like.
Current TV is an independent media company with Al Gore at it's helm, which hands its content over to viewers, who created short 'pods' for broadcast. The idea came from MTV's UNfiltered, which ran in the 1990's and gave viewers cameras to create their own shows. Current TV's content will apparently be made up of 30% viewer created content, while the rest is purchased commercially by the channel.
Since I don't have Sky or Virgin Media, I can only speculate on what to expect. Is this the revolution? Or will we witness the drunk ramblings of some mates having a deep and meaningful over a bottle of wine (always more fun as a participant than an observer)? Can we expect Jackass-style stunts? Can we expect any intelligent content? I mean, come on people, this is the dumb masses we are talking about? Or is it?
Maybe this will be the start of something big. The little people have already, arguably, taken over the internet. Maybe it's time we just take over everything, all the tv channels, the radio stations, the newspapers, everything! Storm the BBC, reclaim the airwaves! After all, it can't be much worse than most of the rubbish we are already subjected to, can it?
If anyone has had the pleasure of witnessing the revolution, please let me know what it looks like.

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Students assessed using Wikipedia

The BBC has reported that students at the University of East Anglia are to be assessed on their use of online collaborative info site, Wikipedia. They will be tested on their abilities to edit existing entries and to research and create their own.
It is argued that the site is a useful research tool and such assessment will allow students to develop their ability to think critically, along with their research and writing skills.
The site has been a source of much debate amongst academics, with the main issue centring around the fact that it is not peer-reviewed. One US university has already banned its students from using it. Further controversy surrounded the site earlier this week when it emerged that one of its contributors faked his academic credentials.
Despite these concerns, the University of East Anglia is adamant that Wikipedia has become an excellent source for research and information and feel they are able to utilise it to help students develop their skills.
I'll be doing a seminar on wikis later in the semester so I'll be keeping an eye on the debate.

Thursday, 1 March 2007


I need your help! For two months now we have had a poor goldfish in our house who has yet to be named. We have been calling him Filthy Bastard, because his tank gets manky so quickly. I'm looking for suggestions, but nothing that could be interpreted as animal cruelty. Please leave your ideas here. Please. For the sake of the fish.

Interesting article about PR and truth

A majority of 350 people attending a debate on PR ethics voted against the team supporting the proposition that PR practitioners have a responsibility to tell the truth. The debate was hosted by the PR industry trade publication PR Week. The director of communications for the Church of England, Peter Crumpler, was disappointed with the result. "Truth and integrity have to be the cornerstones of our profession if we are to have any credibility with the media and the wider world," he said. Celebrity PR adviser Max Clifford and PR academic Simon Goldsworthy led the winning team that disagreed. Writing in PR Week, Daniel Rogers summarized their central premise as being "if you are not prepared to lie occasionally, you cannot do your job successfully."
SOURCE: PR Week, February 21, 2007