Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Nail your own tone of voice, don't just copy Tesco Mobile's!

I'm sure you have all by now seen or heard of Tesco Mobile's Twitter responses. If you haven't yet, check them out here.

Tesco Mobile have been praised and raved about for the past month or so, because of the quick and witty comebacks they send to the internet trolls who mock Tesco's mobile service.

It's a great idea. If you have seen the Tesco Mobile adverts, you'll see that they were the first to take the piss out of themselves. When they created the service, they knew that young people would be sending them abuse and calling them shit. So, when creating their social platform, Tesco Mobile knew they had to get someone to respond who could give as good as they got. It makes perfect sense for their brand.

You have also probably seen the 'Best Twitter Conversation Ever', whereby Tesco Mobile, Yorkshire Tea and Jaffa Cakes have humorous banter with each other. Now that other brands have seen this, they want a piece of the action. They want to be named 'legends' and have shout outs on the 'LAD Bible'. 
The problem is, is that most of these other brands are not in the position to be having banter with their consumers, because that's not the right tone of voice for their brand.

For example:

This post brought a smile to my face, however... is that Cadbury's tone of voice? A company who has been around for years, bringing a 'glass half-full', 'joyful' message to the world, suddenly reacting to their consumers with cat memes saying 'no' to requests?

What if every brand started rinsing their customers with insults and memes?

Ultimately, like everything that is really funny, it will eventually stop being funny. So don't try to follow brands that do it well if it means acting in a way that's not in your brand's nature.

The best thing, and really what these consumers love, is conversation. It doesn't have to be banter or anything worthy of virality, but just responding to every one of them quickly and personably is invaluable. They want to talk to a person, not a brand, which is why Tesco have succeeded so well. 

Decide what voice your brand has... Are you a young woman or an older man? Do you swear? Are you responsible? Are you fun? Are you informative? Are you helpful? If your brand were a celebrity, who would it be? 

Remember that brand successes come and go but it's your customers that will stick around for the long term, so think about the best way to respond to them that will help grow your relationship, rather than what will get you noticed for a day.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Lloyd's - The first mortgage ad I ever noticed

As a first time buyer, the recent Lloyd's ad really caught my attention. It's the first mortgage-related ad that has ever done that, most probably because it has been obviously targeted to people in their 20's, like me.  Take a look...

So the guy has reached the point where he is fed up with the critical comments, the incessant questions and constant nagging that comes with living with his parents whilst saving to buy. At times I have too felt like this so I can relate to it well (apart from being 31 of course...) You generally feel quite hopeless.

I'm sure most twenty-somethings still living with their parents will be drawn in by this familiar scenario, so the light at the end of the tunnel seems brighter when Lloyd's announce their first-time buyers scheme. Lloyd's make it sound ever so simple, '... I got a nice little place of my own with my own deposit, and some help from my parents.' Well, based on my experience so far, it's not that simple, but it's still a very hopeful ad that makes you feel like someone has your back. "Finally, a bank that understands me!"

At the start of 2013, Lloyd's announced they were committing 6.5bn to helping people get onto the property ladder this year. Their first time buyers scheme means they will lend you a massive 95% of your mortgage, as long as your friend or relative opens a saving accounts that holds 20% of said mortgage. These savings will be tied up for 3 1/2 years during which time they will get a fixed interest rate of 3.5% - that is, of course, unless the borrower fails to pay their mortgage payments, in which case that money will be taken from the account of the overly-trusting friend/parent.
So basically don't do this if you can't rely on your kid to pay their mortgage.

I will be buying a place alone and have worked hard to save as much as possible before that happens. However, I would not be too proud to ask for help if it was offered to me. I will definitely be checking out Lloyd's Lend-a-Hand scheme, plus any other ways that makes this process as painless (on my bank account) as possible.

A great ad that ends nicely and actually makes me want to find out more and act on it.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Today I made a cake

What other way to spend a lazy Sunday than channeling that creativity into making a scenic cake!

Calorific AND fun - what could be better?

However, I free-style recipes and have severe lack of patience. Do you really have to sieve? Do you really have to wait for the sponge to cool before applying the icing?

The aim was this:

The reality was this:

Didn't bother finishing it. Never baking again.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Quick n Easy Lichtenstein Comic Girl Make Up

Last night I went to the Coronet Theatre's A Danse Macabre Ball as the Lichtenshtein comic book Crying Girl. For those who aren't familiar, this is her:

And so this is what I looked like.

I know there are probably 1000 tutorials on this already but fancied doing my own as I find make up tutorials can be quite annoying for two main reasons.
1) Video bloggers love the sound of their own voice and ramble for an 18 minute clip that could easily be under 5.
2) You are expected to use a range of different sized brushes and palettes of 24 shades from Mac to achieve your look.

So, start with your face. Perhaps with an apprehensive expression that shows you hope this goes smoothly.

Hair first as always. I pinned back the longer bit of my hair first so it looked like I had short hair, then pinned down the front as colour spray works best on hair that is secure and already in place. (Nightmare to style hair after you have sprayed it)

Then get some Snazzaro black paint and your average small paint brush and draw around these parts of your face; hairline, jawline, cheekbones, eyebrows, lips and nose. Don't forget expression lines and the teary blob to make yourself look a bit sad.

Get a pink lip liner and start dotting. Start from the top corner of your face and go diagonally down across, this just helps keep it even.

Get some white paint (I actually used real paint as it is brighter) and highlight your lips, nose tip, under the eyes, and the teary blob to give that blobby sheen.

Don't forget to dot all your visible skin as it looks better, and to outline your collarbone and cleavage (reow). Get a sponge and put some black down your neck to create a cartoony shadow and add some depth to your face. 

I had to tie all of my hair back in the end as the yellow spray gave up on me towards the end which is a shame but teaches me to always over-spend on the spray when you have a monstrous amount of hair.

Go over your black outlines again to freshen it up and paint a parting in your hair to make it look drawn on. Make sure you do your ears too. I used a black felt tip for this. 

Get some white card and cut it out into a quotation bubble, write your exclamations in black marker and you're done!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

My Perverted Experience

Last Saturday was my boyfriend's birthday. I wanted to spice up the evening and take him somewhere he would never forget. To naughty underworld for a delicious experience.

We made our way to Old Compton St in Soho, and I took him here:

A man inside was wearing a tight vest and sporting a bondage mouth gag ball casually around his neck.
As I spoke to the man, my boyfriend was shifting a few paces behind me, unaware of what we were about to do or what I had planned.

We were taken downstairs and squeezed passed a few sexy looking people in black, until it opened up into an underground cave filled with booze, dinner tables, and very normal looking people. Disco music was blaring out from Prince to Jackson 5, and the bar staff were powering the electric atmosphere by downing shots with punters.

This is La Bodega Negra. A mexican restaurant. I won't do a whole review of the food as I am not a food critic, however I had Octopus and Chorizo skewers and my boyfriend had pork belly and both were amazing. Drinks were great and we got a complimentary tequila which we had to down on the spot (my kind of place). It was obviously more than your average Big Mac but a lot less than you'd expect. 

I love doing things that put me out of my comfort zone and so does my boyfriend so he was very pleasantly surprised (but maybe a bit disappointed too?!!) that I had arranged something so misleading. I also like the feeling that I am in on something secret that others aren't - the expression on people's faces in the street when we came out of the restaurant was priceless.

On another note, I wonder how many men have gone in there thinking it was a peep show and were embarrassingly turned away?!

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Halloween planning... YESSSSSSSSS!!!

So my favourite time of the year is quickly approaching... A week long fright-fest filled with masked balls, intricate pumpkin designs, ghost stories, fancy dress and Hocus Pocus on repeat. I would be happy if every Christmas, Easter and birthday was replaced with Halloween. I love it so much you'd think I was American, and it saddens me that many of my friends don't appreciate this holiday.

I always try and out-costume myself every year.

In 2011, one of my costumes was Frank the Playboy Bunny (see Donnie Darko)

And one of my Halloween costumes for 2012 was a Molly Dolly

Now this year has to be bigger, better.
One, two costumes is not enough. I am already going to The Dance Macabre Halloween Ball at the Coronet London, but I need more! Last year I spent actual Hallow's Eve night on my own watching A Serbian Film, which I have to say was a let down in many respects. This year is all about preparation and here are my inspirations for this year. 

Wish me luck and I'll see you in your nightmares!!

Monday, 2 September 2013

First impressions on the commute

On my train into work I saw this ad

I wonder what anyone's first reaction to this ad would be? I'll tell you mine.

The copy and the picture do not go together. If you'd shown me sunshine, then I might think Villa Plus. If I'm looking at this ad, then I do not think Villa Plus. The poor woman is being pelted with balls like she is in some kind of Freudian nightmare, whilst some gigantic luminous satsuma is heading her way. When you read the small print, (if you get that far), you see that the villa's include table tennis. OH RIGHT! The woman actually has SO much opportunity to play table tennis that she can't even handle it and needs, not one, but two paddles to fight off the unlimited supply of balls. This turns the idea of playing table tennis at Villa Plus into a terrifying prospect.

My point of this blog post is that first impressions count. I had to read that ad fully to be able to understand it, and I only read it fully because it has been on my train every morning for the last 3 weeks and I cannot escape it.  If I had seen it in passing, then I 100% would not know it was even about holiday villas, let alone who's ad it was.

It's the advertiser's responsibility to grab my attention, relate to me, interest me, fulfil me, entertain me and make me do whatever it is telling me to do, all in the first 3 seconds of viewing. 
It's a hard job but I at least appreciate those who try.

People don't just sit on the train staring at the ads, forced to read. We have mobiles, iPod, kindles... you'll be lucky if we even look up from our primitive position to pay you attention.

Ads on the commute should be short, sharp and to the point. Make it easy for us to engage! Don't make it more complicated than it needs to be. Be bright, be brief, be gone. 
But be memorable.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

I love Marmite! (advert, not taste)

Marmite is the most revolting thing known to man, but my God do they know how to advertise.

Yesterday I saw the new End Marmite Neglect ad and I was compelled to write a post about it. Take a look:

Despite thinking Marmite tastes like the devil himself, I cannot fault their long running 'Love it or hate it' campaign. If you have read my previous posts, you'll know I love products that tell it like it is. Accept the fact that not everyone likes you, and you'll be on the right track.

I think I fell in love with this ad when the shaken new recruit sobbed, 'I've never seen one that small before'. This pet rescue-style ad ticks all the boxes, mainly because it is so so British. It reminds me of a dry humour comedy, such as The Office, and I look forward to seeing what happens next. This AdamAndEveDDB campaign will run for 2013 and includes nationwide sampling, outdoor and PR promotions, and social media.

Speaking of social media, don't think Marmite has gone unnoticed by me on Facebook. I am a little jealous of Marmite's PR/creative team as they come out with some brilliant, engaging stuff on social. Here are a few examples which I don't mind sharing seeing as their ad is just so bloody good.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

My social education

I feel like my blog is a boyfriend whom I've cheated on with my job. Now I come crawling back, I almost feel like I don't deserve to write on here anymore. Especially seeing as I've also been cheating on it with Breaking Bad and Netflix's new series, 'Orange Is The New Black' - (check that out by the way if you ever liked Bad Girls).

I was going to make a comeback post about the David Beckham Sky Sports ad... Seriously, what is the point in that ad apart from to show that 20 David Beckhams are even more boring than just the one?

Instead, I thought I'd share several pieces of memorable and great advice that I picked up whilst meeting new people during the start of my job. These are now the foundations of my social education:

'On social, you're not competing with other brands, you're competing with people's mates' - Facebook

'Don't treat social media like it is in a bubble of no consequence' - Legal at GSK

'The Internet loves the exceptional... and fuck all else frankly' - Google

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Marketing jargon: my insights into NONSENSE

Since my last post, I:

  • attempted another Buzzfeed post to follow my previous one (it did badly.. deleted it out of shame and don't want to talk about it)
  • turned 27
  • went to Newquay
  • have been working my arse off

It's fun though, working in marketing. Even though I am in social media, I am tight with the brand teams and have learnt a lot about marketing in the wider sense. I feel like everything my marketing friends were talking about before is now all making sense; I understand the lingo.

Marketing lingo aka. jargon, has baffled me for years. ROI, insights and analysis, comms... I hadn't the foggiest what it all meant. It was all spoke so quickly and confidently that I was afraid to ask. Afraid that I'd be pulled into a vortex of more words that baffled me, yet left me in awe and amazement.

I am now part of the club. I understand the words, the phrases, the shortcuts. And I can happily tell you now; you're not missing out. It's amazing how marketers can say so much, without actually saying anything at all. I sit there as team members have meetings upon meetings, (even meetings to discuss when to have the next meeting), whilst they have jargon wars - 'reaching out' and 'pushing back' across the table.

I have created this little table (excel spreadsheet that shit) to help you with some of my 'key findings':

It's ironic because people use these words to sound clever, but when they use pure jargon to build a sentence, that's when you can see they are not clever at all. 

This way of talking exudes exclusivity. It confuses those who are not 'in the know' and makes them feel inferior in conversations. It's funny because marketing is all about how to reach and connect with consumers, yet this kind of language puts automatic barriers up and stops anyone outside of the marketing world relating to them at all.

Working in social media, I don't think I will ever lose the ability to connect with consumers on a personal level. I've tried to make us look more like a mate on your newsfeed, rather than a corporation. I chat the lingo of a 16 year old for our brand, and spout jargon (when appropriate) in meetings. I have discovered that, no matter how you have to talk in certain situations, the best thing to do is say it like it is. Explain things properly. Don't try to look smart, just be smart.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

When my Buzzfeed went viral.

So a very weird thing happened over the weekend.

On Thursday I made my second ever Buzzfeed post. I'd been thinking about it for a while and reckoned some nostalgic photos of things from my grunger days would entertain my pals from school. I created '26 Things That Will Remind You Of Being a Grunger' just from a few photos I'd Googled -  a pic of Camden Market, poppers, Bolt jeans and tortured dolls - and published it on Facebook, announcing it was 'dedicated to my peeps from 2001'.

I got a few likes, I got a few comments, then I got some shares, then I noticed people were sharing it on random people's walls, then I noticed people were commenting and tagging their friends. Less than 24 hours later, I saw my article had had 24k views. I searched for it on Twitter and saw streams of people talking about it.

As it stands, 36 hours since publishing, my article has:

7.7k people have viewed it from Buzzfeed 
39k people have viewed it on social media platform 
Which is a total of around 47,000 views

It has made it onto the 'Big Stories' column on the front page of

And I have received a few Buzzfeed emails, informing me on my post's progression and giving me 'awards'...

I was also quite shocked to see that it has been shared on Facebook 23,914 times.

I got a lot of great comments...

However, I did get some very negative ones. Mainly from people who were upset by parts of the post.

I feel I must clarify, I was not trivialising self harm and I definitely wasn't making light of it. The whole article is neither negative nor positive. I didn't glorify it and I didn't mock it, however self harm wasn't uncommon amongst young people of that community. I do apologise for those people who were offended, but I do think that people are quick to jump on the PC wagon and turn things around to look malicious. 

Other people who were offended by my article, which I found to be very amusing, were 'real grungers' or 'real goths', who felt that my article was completely wrong and that I didn't know anything about being a grunger. Some people on weren't happy at all....

And my personal favourite....

Anyway, there were many more positive comments than negative, but what shocked me the most was how much the article resonated with people across the UK. I literally wrote this for myself and my friends to laugh and reminisce about how we used to be, I had no idea that so many other people were the same.

What amused me was that  a lot of people think that I work for Buzzfeed or assume that my post was drummed up by a team of brainwashing people at Buzzfeed. Sorry to disappoint but I did it in my living room whilst Eastenders was on. 

Anyway, that was pretty cool and weird at the same time. Unfortunately this means that the pressure is now on and my next one has to be amazing. I can now 'Launch my Buzz' when posting my next article. I assume this means that my next one will be automatically propelled into cyberspace because of my current standing. If anyone has any suggestions about what to write next please send them my way because I just don't know how I will top this.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

I love it hip hop

It's all began 25 years ago. I was a toddler, mesmerised by a Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire film. Once I could walk, my family were forced to watch my choreographed dance extravaganzas in the living room (props included), and paid for my Jazz and Modern Dance classes at primary school. Secondary school was time to grow up and be cool. Jazz hands weren't cool. In year 8 I bowed out of dance with a mind blowing finale of Janet Jackon's Rhythm Nation in the assembly room. But the fiery love of dance was still burning bright inside me, only ever to be seen by my bedroom mirror or by drunk people on a nightclub chair.

Now, I live my life of movement vicariously through those people on dance shows, especially Got To Dance (Ashley Banjo reow!), and watching dance at the theatre. On Tuesday I went to see 'Some Like It Hip Hop' at the Peacock Theatre. One word: amazing! This is ZooNation's second incredible production after the very successful 'Into the Hoods'.

I was totally involved from the first beat until the very last. The comedy was brilliant and I was speechless at how good the women's dancing was. I don't know why, but I just sort of expect men to be better at break dancing - but sorry boys, the women blew you right out of the water. The lead girl (name?!!?) was INSANE. The 'governor' was doing some terrifyingly intense krumping which nearly made me cry because I felt his emotion. I felt emotion through a KRUMP. Everyone's movements were so precise, so tight, and yet really smooth. THE MUSIC. Oh the music. Where can I get the soundtrack?! I was bopping around in my seat, half wanting to jump on stage and half wanting to kill myself that I don't dance like that.

Oh that's another thing. I am one of those people who, if the audience starts to stand up or get involved in any way, I'm begrudgingly hauling myself out of my seat, secretly hating the person who started getting everyone to join in. However, at SLIHH, I practically lept out of my seat to dance. The audience were all copying the moves and hollering and 'whheeyyy woahhh'ing from side to side, which I usually refrain from because I think it just draws attention to the fact that I am a white person, but I was 100% loving it. I didn't want it to end.

Basically you should see it if you like REALLY GOOD THINGS. Now I'm off to learn how to krump and pop, lock and drop so everyone will be like 'woah Laura I didn't know you could do that?!!!!' and I'll be like 'yeah'.

Can't Touch This