Tuesday, 30 December 2014


As 2014 comes to an end, I thought I'd write a post about some of the things I am proud of this year.

Being British, if someone pays me a compliment or congratulates me, I awkwardly mutter thanks and sprint away from them, convinced that they are merely being kind out of pity.

One of my (many) New Years Resolutions is to take a moment to soak in my achievements and celebrate them. So, before I decide to not write this (because I am cringing already), here we go....

Pimp My Summer Ball

Earlier this year, Lucozade partnered with MTV so we could be more relevant to our target audience of 16-24 year olds. We created 'Pimp My Summer Ball', whereby selected Uni's could compete to get their summer ball pimped out by us. To vote, they just had to tweet #YESPimpMySummerBall plus their Uni name. This competition went above and beyond our expectations and KPI's.

  • It organically trended not only in the UK, but globally within the first 24 hours
  • We ended up with 7 million votes
  • Students created hundreds of hilarious memes showing their competitiveness
  • Celebrities got involved too

Ending with an amazing, celebrity-filled, pimped out summer ball at Teesside

Marketing Week

Thanks to one of our agencies, I had the chance to answer some questions for 'Marketing Week' magazine.

It was a high point in my year that I was able to talk about the benefits of social media to the biggest publication in my field of work.

I was featured in an article called The Social Experiment which had the subheading - 'Brands are learning that social media is not just a free marketing channel, but requires a content plan and nimble processes to take advantage of the constantly changing platforms'. 

I got a big quote

 Will always regret saying 'content' twice

Lad Bible

So if you work in social media and your target audience is 16-24 year olds, getting your post featured on The Lad Bible is somewhat of a big deal.

A few months ago I found out that Coca-Cola were going to release more bottles with more names on them. Their campaign is incredible and has worked so well, however we know that Coke can't put everyone's name on a bottle, so inevitably some people are going to be left out. 

I wanted to:
a) show off our litre range
b) show that we don't name bottles and exclude people
c) be an asshole

Thousands of likes and shares on Twitter and Facebook resulted in this

I feel this is a symbol of achievement because knowing your audience is so important. 
When I started my role, the brand was struggling to engage 16-24's on social. After months of experimenting and learnings, we have taken that forward to plan and create content which we now know is really engaging and relevant for our audience. 

America Road Trip

Taking the time to celebrate personal goals as well as professional, I am pleased to say I took life by the balls and booked a trek with strangers to drive and camp from New Jersey to Miami.

It was something I had been wanting to do for years but always found an excuse to push it back. I'm so glad I went, it was an incredible experience and I recommend it to everyone.

Buying my own flat

This may be a little premature, but I am a mere signature away from closing the deal on my very first flat.

I have saved ruthlessly for the past 3 years to save up enough for a property of my own - so I think that's probably something to be proud of, despite that fact I'll have no money left to fill it with furniture.

When I invite someone round for a cup of tea


Saving the utter best for last, my absolute proudest moment was going on the Coronation Street tour with my sister and doing THIS.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Brands Who Failed At Real-Time Marketing

Here's a true story. Last week I read that a 14 year old boy had made £14,000 by selling crisps, snacks and energy drinks to fellow students at school. As part of his black market stock, he was also selling Lucozade, the brand that I work for. Obviously at this point the feelers were out. I heard murmurings in the office... 'should we do something?', 'keep an eye on it'.

don't hate tha player, hate the game

Then as of yesterday this boy decides to sell a signed (by himself) bottle of Lucozade Energy on eBay. It's all over the news. Oh, and now the bidding has gone up to £2.5million. Suddenly, I'm having people come up to me left, right and centre. 'Are you jumping on this?', 'So what are you going to do on social?', 'There's budget if we need to create a really cool response.'


One of the main reasons we are not getting involved with this story is because we are a company that only markets to over 16's. So when a boy of 14 is selling to other under 14's/children - we're not going to encourage or make light of it.

When it comes to big brands, with huge power comes huge responsibility and, even though it might mean sometimes we're 'boring' or 'need to lighten up', we have to remember that social media can make or break your reputation in an instant. 

But at least this story was about our brand....

I believe there is a time and a place for brands to jump into conversations and use it to advertise on Twitter. Below is a good and bad example of brands chiming in on online convos that have NOTHING to do with them.



Social Media is the hub of real-time marketing. Ever since Oreo's 'Dunk In The Dark' Superbowl tweet, it's now a never-ending rat race of brands trying to be the first to tweet, the first to do something cool, for fans to be like 'You Sir, you've just won the internet.'

But often brands choose events that are not relevant to their product and are so far removed that they just end up looking forced and cringe.

Person 2: "OMG What can we do?"
Person 2: "Amazing connection! Let's use our time and budget to create something really forced!"

Someone's had a baby, buy toilet paper!

Prostate Cancer, buy chocolate!

iPhone's malfunction, buy Pringles!

Transfer Deadline Day, buy anti-spam software!

The Oscars, buy life insurance!

Real-Time Marketing Checklist:

  • Is this conversation topic actually relevant to your brand?
  • Understand what’s important to your audience - will they care about this?
  • Make sure the content is being planned around your brand and your tone of voice
  • Plan posts in advance, like events or holidays you know your target audience engage with
  • Experiment!

Things to avoid:
  • Don’t just jump on any trend or hashtag that comes along – do research. Do you have a right to get involved? It might be a sensitive topic.
  • Have something interesting to say to add to the conversation - You can’t just include a trending hashtag and expect your engagement to go up

What Real-Time Marketing can do for your brand:
  • It can get your audience interested in your content.
  • It can get your audience to look forward to you being in their social channel.
  • It will increase your audience with people who understand your brand and are hopefully more receptive for when you share your own branded content.

Good luck and don't forget, the eyes of billions are upon you.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Halloween ads are a SCREAM!

HALLOWEEN, aka the best time of the year, is right around the corner. I am squealing like a butchered pig at the thought of watching terrifying films, eating spider shaped sweets and carving spooktacular pumpkins - all whilst in fancy dress! Is there anything better? I think not.

Me, my future hubby and the kids on Halloween
I have a love of All Hallow's Eve and advertising, so you can imagine my excitement when brands start to incorporate the holiday into their marketing campaigns.

Last year, Tide and Oreo both did these creative Vines which were fun 7 second videos recreating scenes from The Shining (click on the hyperlinks to view). This film seems to be the cult horror classic of choice, even this year with Ikea in Singapore.

Take a look - I bloody love it

I love how relevant the advert is, not only to Halloween, but that they've chosen a scene from a film that works so well in their own environment - The Shining really wouldn't have looked out of place if it were set in Ikea (REEDD RUUGGG)
Not only does this ad show they are now open until late, but they have made this a multi-channel campaign with a social competition. Viewers have to spot any of the 13 items listed here for a chance to win a £30 giftcard. (could have offered a bit of a more high-value prize though?)

In other news, Subway are causing waves in America with their 'Eat our healthy sandwiches so you look hot in your slutty Halloween outfits' adverts.... True story!

You are a disgrace to Halloween

I have been working on something with the brand I work with for Halloween, I'm excited to finish it up and release it to the public. Unfortunately it's not as genuinely horrific as I wanted it to be (apparently you can't do that if you're a world famous brand.....WHATEVER.) but I'm still proud of the idea and reckon it will work nicely for our brand. And it will definitely be better than these....

a cheating website!

looks... like.... poo

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Self Promotional Charity - Part 2 (WakeUpCall)


So we have yet another charity awareness social campaign designed for female narcissists. This time it's taking a selfie the moment you wake up and then posting it online with the hastag #WakeUpCall. So far it's mainly celebrities taking part, however I'm sure this will spread quicker than ebola and you'll soon see suspiciously flawlesss pics of that Facebook friend you know full well is a right munter.

Jemima Kahn started the trend that asks people to post a selfie and then donate $8 to child right's charity, UNICEF. The selfies aim to serve as a "wake up call" that alerts people of the child refugees in Syria. Nice idea, ruined by vanity.

Wish I woke up with a naturally filtered face like Paris',.....

Generally, I believe you can never do a non-self-gratifying wake up selfie for two reasons:

1. Either your photo will be contrived and designed to show everyone how "amazing" you look when you wake up, boosting your ego. OR
2. It will be a genuine photo of your wake up face, but yet one you are still happy with enough to post it into cyber space to show people how comfortable you are with your appearance, ergo boosting your ego.

Ruffled hair! She totally must have just woken up

Again, like I acknowledged in my previous post, if people are actually donating and raising money for a good cause then you can't really attack the campaign. I suppose my point is that it's a shame that the only way of raising money is appealing to people's vanity. We already have a wide range of social media platforms whereby you can show everyone what an amazing life you have, so do we really need more excuses to parade ourselves before people who don't really give a shit? It's just encouraging a future generation of narcissists, obsessed with their personal adequacy! (Dramatic of me but true)

Never wanting to end on a deep or depressing note, here is one of my favourite #WakeUpCall selfies. Men can make it funny, girls make it shit.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

A Song For Your Story

So I pretty much just got back from my holiday in US which was incredible. I hopped in a people carrier with random strangers and we road tripped it from Newark to Miami, via DC, Tennessee and the Deep South.

the gang

One day in Panama City Beach it was raining so we went to see a movie, and one of the pre-show ads really caught my attention. It was for Spotify and the tagline was

'You have the story, we have the song'.

The ad shows Jason telling us about when he got fired from his job and handled it like a rockstar thanks to Whitesnake's 'Here I Go Again'. Check it out: 

You'll see at the end of the ad is the hashtag #ThatSongWhen. This is just the beginning of Spotify's new campaign which encourages viewers to share their memories where music played a pivotal role. 

The aim is that this will drive conversation, evoke emotion, and thus result in people signing up to Spotify over other more popular US music streaming platforms such as Pandora and iTunes Radio.

I think it's safe to say that everyone has one, if not hundreds, of songs that stir up nostalgia or connects them back to a specific moment in time. Spotify have created the hashtag so you can share your stories with the world. Here are a few examples of what they've had so far.

It was weird for me to see this campaign whilst on a trip I had been dreaming about for years. Ever since I first developed these itchy feet to drive around and explore America, whenever I heard a chillout house tune I'd imagine driving down long stretches of asphalt, my hair blowing in the wind and the sun setting on my face. There are definitely a few songs that were the soundtrack to my trip, songs which will ensure I never forget the amazing experience.

I hope Spotify do well out of this campaign as it's a great idea, despite the bad rep they've obtained. Just to end, here is another one of their ads which is really sweet. #ThatSongWhen nine-year old Mikey put everything on the line to win the heart of his playground crush.

(waiting for a song to come on the radio to press record on the tape player. Classic)

Friday, 29 August 2014

Self-promotional Charity

So, the Ice Bucket challenge. I'm sure we all have our own feelings about it.


In my opinion, this year has been a bit of a charity showcase what with the "no make up" and "cock in a sock" selfies. Social media is a great way of raising awareness, however you have to admit that along with the do-gooding, there is an egotistical, attention-seeking element to it - just like everything else that gets posted on a social media site

This kind of self-promotion charity works so well and is fantastic for raising awareness, but a reported half of Brits who did the Ice Bucket Challenge did not donate to the ALS charity....

this is my surprised face

And now with news coming out that out of $10million raised, only an apparent 14% goes towards the fundraising, everyone is acting shocked like this is BRAND NEW INFORMATION! Come on, every charity has staff, overheads, admin bills - if you have a problem with it (those who actually donate), then why don't you actively find other forms of fundraising where you know all your efforts are 100% going to the people who need it?

Case in point....

Last week I read about this hairdresser, Mark Bustos, who spends his spare time cutting the hair of homeless people for free. A personal effort which directly benefits those he chooses to help, giving them back a sense of pride and self confidence. Here are some images and quotes from his Instagram, where he has started the hashtag #BeAwesomeToSomebody...

My point is, charity doesn't begin and end on Facebook. If you want to make a difference or help a charity then there are plenty of ways to do it, most don't involve you preparing how you'll look on camera.

Massive kudos to those who do it and donate, just don't be shocked when only a small percentage of your efforts are going towards those you've done it for.

If you're still reading..... here's an extra half-related story I wanted to share.

A year ago I read about this amazing campaign that a guy, Greg Karber, set up on his own.

Basically, the CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch stated that he would never create large or XL clothes as he wouldn't want anyone who was overweight or not of a certain caliber to be seen in the clothing. Apparently he refused donating leftover clothes to the homeless.

Greg gathered loads of A&F clothing and started handing it out to homeless people, encouraging the public to do the same and #FitchTheHomeless. Of course this campaign is probably more about sticking it to Abercrombie than clothing the homeless, but it's still an awesome idea.

Watch the video here:

Monday, 7 July 2014

Desperados Twisted Mission

Last week our PR company gave us some tickets to attend the very mysterious Desperados Twisted Mission; an exclusive event to celebrate their new lime and mint flavour, which involved an Instagram challenge followed by a private Sub Focus gig. It was hard finding out anything about this apart from the fact we had to turn up at 7pm in London's XOYO.

On entering the luminous green bar area which was urbanly decorated with gritty metal cages of Desperado beer, we were handed a wristband, two tokens for a couple of Verdes, and a lanyard with instructions for the mission.

The challenge was simple; to visit 5 bars around the area, take a selfie, and tag it with the hashtag #DVTM. Make it back to the bar in time and you'll get to see Sub Focus.

It was a fun, simple challenge which didn't require too much effort and wasn't too cringe so people would back out. Missions and challenges to win is something I've always wanted to do on social for the brand I work on, however it's sometimes hard to get people off their asses and take part unless the prize at the end of it is awesome and obtainable.

Anyway, after quite a few Verdes (which I have possibly favoured over the original), and a bottle-blowing band who performed a whistling rendition of Nicki Minaj's Starships (i dunno either), we headed downstairs to see Sub Focus in action.

Photos of the mission were projected onto a huge screen at the back of the club as the bass reverberated through the tequila-soaked crowd. All in all a fantastic night and brilliant social media challenge that got everyone in the spirit of the brand.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Stop ruining songs!

At the risk of sounding like I use my blog to just rant about ads that annoy me... I need to get this off my chest.

Has anyone else noticed the increase in ads which use old hip hop classics?

First, Money Supermarket and their bizarre Snoop Dogg partnership. This ad never bothered me much until I was about to get down to 'What's My Name?' in the car, when my sister immediately changed the song and said that she couldn't enjoy it now because it reminded her of 'You're So Money Supermarket'! Such a thoughtless ad, ruining a great song for my sister and most likely the nation.


A one off? Well no. Because suddenly comes along a mankini-wearing gnome, exposing himself to one of my all-time faves, 'Mr Boombastic'.

They have called this paedophilic gnome Gavin, in hope of making him some kind of fun spokesperson for the brand. Fine, I don't even have time to go into the pointlessness of this disturbing ad: I'll never be able to enjoy Shaggy in the same way again.

Put away those fiery biscuits, Gavin

You're probably thinking this is the most outraged I'd ever be right?
Well, what pushed me right over the edge into the depths of this blog post, was this advert for Shreddies...

They have not only murdered an absolute classic, Montell Jordan's 'This is How We Do It', but also dismembered it, marinated it in acid, set fire to the remains and poured the ashes into hell.

So maybe a little dramatic... but why Shreddies? Why old ladies? Why that song? Nothing fits in this advert and actually, when I first watched it I thought it was for fabric softener, as the ad seems to feature a lot of upholstery and bedding....

The common denominator in all these ads is that they are not massively 'cool' brands. However, they have all tried to be cool by playing cool songs whilst showing uncool things?

I don't feel like any of them really focused on what makes their brands so great, but instead distract us with nudity, pimps and Rolf Harris statuettes... oh, and ruin songs.

Friday, 9 May 2014

sex sex sex sex sex and yogurt

I'm so sick of non-sexual foods doing overly sexual ads.

Main reason for this outburst is Muller's new Deluxe Fruit Corner ad featuring Nicole Scherzinger.
Her 'muller-licious' line was cringe enough without her now orgasming in the back of a cab.

Not only does she scream 'yes baby.. YES!' after taking a bite of a yogurt (A YOGURT), but then when the cab throws her forward, she sits up with the creamy substance on her nose... basically like the yogurt just jizzed on her face. She then giggles it off like this is normal behaviour whilst the cab driver is most likely thinking she is clinically insane.

Take a look:

Nicole really shows off her wide range of acting skills as she's also the current spokesperson for Herbal Essences, another ad in which she climaxes whilst washing her hair. No wonder guys think they don't have to work hard.

She really loves chocolate sprinkles

Another one that really angers me is the Flora advert. What is sexual about butter? Not much, until Flora decide to show some cartoon children walk in on their parents boning, which they watch for ages. Then they all go and have some toast. Bit weird.


Definitely not sure why horny mum and dad are animated in the style of a children's story? Not sure who this is aimed at as, even though mum is the obvious consumer choice, this ad wouldn't look out of place on CBeebies. Which frankly creeps me out.

If you've read my Pussy is for Women blog post you will know that I'm not a prude, I just like my adverts to be more dimensional; to sell me the product in an original way and not just unnecessarily base it around sex.

HOWEVER, in the spirit of proving that sometimes sex CAN work, I am giving a shout out to a genius spoof Aston Martin print ad. It's not real, but it's brilliant - made for pre-owned cars….

"You know you're not the first, but do you really care?"