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Inspiring Female Fitness Influencers

Inspiring Female Fitness Influencers

Fitness influencers today generally speak of self-love, self-worth and the importance of health over image. There are thousands of influencers these days doing brilliant work for women, both inside and outside of the gym. They use their stories to encourage and empower, and they all work for different women in different ways. These are just four of these many powerful women who inspire us to work out for our bodies, not against them.

Jessamyn Stanley is a yoga teacher, an author and an inspiring public speaker. Yoga is supposedly for everyone; one of the most inclusive and modifiable forms of exercise, working for all from the elderly to the pregnant. Yet, the vast majority of ‘Instagram Yogis’ in our feeds today are young, white, slim women. Jessamyn drives body positivity and inclusivity with every post, she holds all the challenging postures that we long to manage, and she isn’t a size 6 white girl. Whilst covering all the essentials of a yoga-blogger, she also speaks powerfully and openly about life on and off the mat. Her book, ‘Every Body Yoga’, neatly sums up what makes her empowering to so many: “Let go of fear, get on the mat, love your body”.

#ad I've been lusting over #JoyLab for months- imho, it's the best plus size friendly athletic wear brand that @Target has ever sold. The leggings and sports bras provide top notch support with designs that are genuinely sleek and sexy. Cost is one of the biggest barriers to finding good quality plus size athletic wear and some of the best brands are completely out of the question for those of us who have to pay bills every month. It's nice to know that when I want cute and functional yoga clothes, I don't have to break the bank. So often, plus size athletic wear is all about function and never about confidence- as I step into the new year, I’m glad to have clothes that offer the best of both worlds. Click the link above to shop! Outfit by #JoyLab available only @Target Photo by @zoelitakerphotography

A post shared by Jessamyn (@mynameisjessamyn) on


Brooke Ence is just a total badass. She smashes any preconceptions of how women should look, act or exercise. With so much of the gym considered a gendered zone,  Brooke encourages women to get involved with heavy lifting and serious strength training. Endlessly cool, Brooke flips from Red Carpet to Amazonian warrior to Cross Fit athlete. Follow her if you want incredible displays of strength and cute pics of her Labradoodle.

Stay in the Fight 🔥 #itmakesence #crossfit #workingagainstgravity #brutestrength #thecomeback #HWPO #domynipplesoffendyou #whatdoesntoffendyou haha

A post shared by brookeence (@brookeence) on


Kaisa Keranen has taken the US by storm. Insanely strong and agile, she smiles through every one of her workouts, which is simultaneously impressive and terrifying. Her focus is on feeling, and being, powerful ahead of aesthetic considerations (of course she still looks incredible, but that’s not really relevant). Her whole ethos is just to get moving, and she provides plenty of inspiration to get others doing the same. Her workouts are incredibly varied, from short moves you can do in the office, to full resistance sessions. Kaisa almost never mentions physique, which is incredibly refreshing, and her feed is totally free of posed mirror selfies. A win-win for proper fitness inspiration.


Happy Wednesday Team! . If you want a fun challenge try one of the cross-brain rope exercises! Super challenging but fun! Let me know how it goes 💪💪

A post shared by Kaisa Keranen (@kaisafit) on


Natacha Oceane is primarily a YouTuber, which is where she does her best work and best workouts. She’s known for her cheat day ‘10,000 calorie challenges’ and insane 2000 calorie workouts. She brings a playfulness and curiosity to her work, devising experiments to answer some of our longest held fitness questions. From her journey, as a girl with a severe eating disorder, to studying for her PhD, her content is endlessly interesting, and definitely one to binge-watch on YouTube. Also, she’s pretty incredible in the gym and doesn’t look like she’s slowing down anytime soon.


Not there yet. Working every day to bring it together.

A post shared by Natacha Oceane (@natacha.oceane) on

#PressForProgress: Female Chefs

This #InternationalWomensDay we’re asking individuals from across the agency which women they find inspiring and empowering. The #PressForProgress motto spans every industry and facet of life, and we’re highlighting women from all across board who have pressed for progress in their own way:

What people consider inspirational and empowering will of course vary hugely, but for me it’s a powerful woman who lets nothing stand in her way, will give her male counterparts a run for their money, and do it all in one of the most male-dominated industries in the world.

Monica Galetti works in an industry where a common assumption is that women aren’t tough enough, committed enough or have the “fire in the belly” (to quote Tom Kerridge) to really succeed in the kitchen. Yes, women occupy positions as cooks all over the country, whether it be in schools, corporate and catering or even the free labour of women cooking for the family every evening. But the world of Michelin starred restaurants is a little different, just 8% of starred NYC restaurants are run by women. Of the 172 UK restaurants with a Michelin star, only ten have a female head chef, and while there are 250,000 professional chefs in the UK, only about a fifth of them are female.

Monica Galetti Le Gavroche Mere Chef London

Galetti is a brilliant chef, and regularly demonstrates her skills and knowledge on Masterchef: The Professionals, her no-nonsense approach is admirable, and her story is one of dedication, sacrifice and passion. Galetti is the highest-ranking female chef ever to work at Le Gavroche, but she is by no means the most decorated female chef in the UK. That prize goes to Clare Smyth, a legend in her own right, the only woman in the UK to hold 3 Michelin stars.

But Galetti is a household name, and her visibility (I hope) inspires and empowers other women to consider a career in the kitchen. She offers a simplicity to the whole situation, put your career first, when you can, and take no prisoners. Being a chef is a gruelling job, whether you’re male or female, the hours will get to you. If you’re not in a kitchen at work, you may well be in a kitchen at home, testing and trying new recipes. For Monica, she put her career first for a number of years, and when the time came she put that on the back burner and made time for a family. Now, years later, she has a 12-year-old girl, Anais, and her own restaurant, Mere, which she runs with her Sommelier husband.

Galetti has built a family and a career in a sometimes hostile and male-dominate climate. She’s pressed for progress by just being that good, demanding her position by outclassing the rest, and simply proving that women can get the job done. Like she says, “once you put a white jacket on you should all be the same”. With women like her, Clare Smyth, Angela Hartnett and Hélène Darroze paving the way, we’ve seen an influx of brilliant new female chefs. Take Erchen Chang, one of the minds behind outstanding Taiwanese restaurant, XU, and the Londoner’s beloved Bao. I’m all for this long overdue #GirlPower, for the sake of equality, diversity and better eating! 🙏

Erchen Chang XU London Restaurant Chef


We’re kickstarting our #IWD2018 campaign by launching #PressforProgress PHA Pledge. 💰 We’re donating 10p to the Woman’s Day charities, Catalyst & WAGGGS, for every follower we get over the next 2 weeks! Simply click below to be taken to our page.





Best Brands On Snapchat

2 minutes reading time.

Snapchat is fantastic for brands looking to use creative and dynamic campaigns to captivate those elusive millennial and Gen Z audiences. This platform focuses almost entirely on visuals, from images and videos, to interactive lenses and rich AR experiences. This ability to provide something ‘new’ taps into a core desire of these younger audiences, who are constantly striving for new information and experiences in today’s ever-evolving digital world.

Two of the core experiences on offer to brands on Snapchat are geofilters and lenses. These are often particularly appealing due their standalone ability, meaning you can engage with your core audience, without the commitment of a long-term campaign or ongoing account management. These work perfectly for driving conversation around a particular event or theme. With brands worldwide capitalising on this opportunity, we take a look at some of the most creative campaigns:

  1. Stranger Things: This is a brilliant example of using lenses to drive hype around a release. Stranger Things turned everyone into Eleven and plunged them into the Upside Down to get them excited for Season 2.  Stranger Things Snapchat
  2. McDonalds: Of course, the fast food giant were quick to make use of the Snapchat geofilters, using the below at many of their busiest locations around the US. People of course shared these with their friends, and once you’re thinking about McDonalds there’s no going back… McDonalds Snapchat
  3. Taco Bell: And hot on the heels of McDonalds, famously funny Taco Bell came out with the below Snapchat lens for Cinco de Mayo. This was a huge success, being viewed over 224million times. Because of course, who doesn’t want to be turned into a giant taco? The campaign wasn’t limited to sharing within Snapchat either, users were quick to screenshot and share all across social, giving the brand huge visibility. Taco Bell Snapchat Twitter
  4. X-Men: This was another clever opportunity that capitalised on the power of Snapchat lenses. With an upcoming film release, X-Men gave fans the chance to turn themselves into their favourite characters. 
  5. Disneyland: The entertainment giant proved that sometimes, simple is best. This longstanding geofilter has been hugely successful Disney, set up at their Florida location, it adds an extra layer of engagement for all their thousands of daily visitors. It would have been incredibly easy and cheap to make, yet delivered big time! Disneyland Snapchat

Impressed by what you’ve seen? Think it could work for your brand? Snapchat offers solutions for every size and scale, allowing complete customisation. Why not see what they could do for you, even if it’s just for your Summer Party.

PHA Snapchat

Five ways a social media agency can boost your business

2 minutes reading time.

It’s something we all do daily, whether its posting that holiday snap on Instagram or tweeting about your Monday morning commute to work. Technically we all think we’re social media savvy. So, do we really need to invest in an agency to build our brand or business?

In short, the answer is yes.

Social media agencies do far more than just curate your Instagram feed and tweet all day long. Our social media experts at The PHA Group add value throughout your sales or communications strategy process. Find out how.

Integrated creative campaigns   

Delivering an integrated creative campaign can be harder than you think. The additional support from our experts enables you to pull together a cohesive approach, ensuring your brand messaging and content strategy is consistent across every channel and consumer touch point. Our team can work with you to produce a creative content calendar tailored to your business needs, optimizing your opportunities on social media.

instagram new trends

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Latest industry trends

We make it our business to stay ahead of the curve. We stay up to date with the latest software updates and tools available, ensuring we provide our clients with the best competitive approach. In today’s competitive and crowded marketplace, falling behind here can be fatal.

Digital assets

There’s no doubt about it, the importance of producing creative content is at an all-time high. Brands need content that will help them stand out from the crowd. But producing high-impact, striking infographics, GIFS and websites takes technical skill. Our dedicated social media team at PHA have worked with a multitude of clients to achieve just that.


Paid campaigns

Advertising on social media over the last ten years has skyrocketed, brands will attribute thousands of pounds a month to deliver results. It’s vital that every campaign is positioned correctly. We work with you to pinpoint the correct demographic, targeting the right decision makers, whilst providing campaign feedback and analysis to ensure you do not waste your time or budget on paid campaigns. This is one of the most cost-effective and crucial tools in any brand’s social arsenal.

Teaming up with influencers

We are experienced in working with influencers from multiple industries. We work with influencers to create a personalised approach, ensuring we have a clear understanding of their background and following to make the right match with our clients. We have a diverse influencer pool at our disposal, from the up-and-coming micro-influencers to the established stars with global reach.

Are you looking to see how digital can reignite your PR strategy? Speak to our expert-led team today.

Direction and Identity are top of Everton’s Christmas list

A month has passed since Ronald Koeman was relieved of his duties at Goodison Park, and yet we are still no closer to knowing who will take up the reins as his full-time replacement.

A lot of speculation has been made in the press over two men in particular who have both made storming starts to the season with their respective clubs. But who, if either will be unveiled as the next Everton manager.

Photo by Sandro Schuh on Unsplash

The men in question? Sean Dyche of Burnley & Marco Silva of Watford.

Two men with contrasting methods and approaches to coaching but both who have proven to be shrewd tacticians and have excelled at getting their teams to perform to the best of their abilities consistently this season.

Make no bones about it, one of Everton’s biggest problems with their pedestrian approach to this campaign is a major lack of identity. Mr Moshiri splashed the cash in the summer almost £150m of it, but for what?

By not adequately replacing hitman Romelu Lukuku and almost bulk buying No.10’s has left the Everton squad looking very thin in certain departments.

The toffees historically have been a club that has used its fullbacks well, with the crossing threat of Leighton Baines and the acceleration of Seamus Coleman as key figures.

The gamble to sign Wayne Rooney & Gylfi Sigurdsson hasn’t worked so far. Koeman hoped that they could dovetail off each other, instead, they have clashed, with both wanting to lead and dictate the tempo of games.

Photo by Brendan Church on Unsplash

Someone needs to decide what direction the club is going to go from here before relegation becomes a real prospect.

Let’s take a deeper look at the two men who have been made the bookies’ favourites.

Marco Silva

If Messrs Kenwright & Moshiri want a quick fix, Silva is your man. He has breathed new life into Watford. After a lacklustre season under Walter Mazzarri, Watford fans are now having the time of their life, what a contrast of emotions.

In a matter of months, Silva has taken a team who narrowly avoided relegation to arguably the most improved side in the league. He’s re-installed fight and passion to an uninspiring Watford and made smart signings like the impressive Richarlison and Will Hughes.

They play expansive football, it’s fast, dynamic and end-to-end action. It’s been all positive for Watford fans this season bar the 6-0 home defeat at the hands of Manchester City.

Watford FC Formation. Image courtesy of Fantasy Premier League

It’s clear to see that Silva is an ambitious man who has big plans for his future, so the opportunity to take over at Everton, a club with a glorious history, a fantastic fan base and an owner who backs his manager must be incredibly appealing. Only time will tell if he leaves the Hornets, but Watford fans must know that his time at Vicarage Road is numbered, as his stock continues to rise with each victory.

So far in his short managerial career at Watford, Silva has favoured flooding the midfield with a solid back three in defence which can allow the more creative players such as the aforementioned Richarlison to wreak havoc on the opposition. A big difference to Watford this season compared to last is the intensity which Marco Silva has installed, they are also getting many more touches on the ball.

Jose Holebas was the only Watford player to break into the Premier League top 50 for touches during last season’s campaign, and he came 40th in the list. This season Abdoulaye Doucoure is taking Watford to new levels, sitting 11th in the same listing.


Sean Dyche 

Man of the moment Dyche has certainly proved his doubters wrong. After a superb start to his coaching career with Watford and ensuring their best-placed finish in 4 years, Dyche found himself fall foul of Watford’s ‘manager a season’ approach.

Watford’s loss led to Burnley’s gain. It’s been refreshing to see a manager be given considerable time to set in place his philosophy and tactics and see them come to fruition. Even more impressive is that Burnley stuck with him even after relegation from the Premier League after 1 season, what a decision that has turned out to be.

Burnley currently sit 7th in the league on the same amount of points as Arsenal, quite the turn around from Championship football only a few years ago.

As much as Burnley fans like to dream, Everton would be a major step up for Dyche. He would bring with him a stability that Everton crave, but without the attacking gusto and intensity that Silva would install.

He’s made his Burnley sides hard to beat and often praised for their herculean effort in terms of distance covered in games. Although sometimes it’s fair to say style has been sacrificed for the result, something Everton supporters would relish to see now from their beloved Toffees.

Do the Everton board go down the pathway towards attacking flair or welcome the stability that Sean Dyche will undoubtedly bring with him.

If it was my decision I’d go for Silva, but make sure he signs a very long-term contract because it won’t be long until Europe’s elite will come calling for Marco.


iPhone X: Made for Social Media

A new iPhone launch is pretty much guaranteed to make a big splash; there’s the hype before, the constant chatter, the infamous Apple Store queues and of course, the fallout. The weeks where the only things you see on Social Media are iPhone related, endless new technology fads and features played out over every inch of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. This is normally easily divided into two camps: 1. Those with the iPhone, telling us all how marvellous it is, and 2. Those without it, telling them how stupid they are to spend £1000 on something they’ll probably leave in the back of an Uber next Friday night.

The latest of these escapades should have been the iPhone 8, but alas, this was overshadowed, if not totally eclipsed by the 10-year anniversary marking iPhone X. So, now that the launch of the famed X is here, what features can we expect to hear about?

This phone was designed for a generation of selfie-takers, a generation that lives and breathes Social Media and puts new experiences and interactions at the top of the agenda. There are countless features on the iPhone X that cater to these desires, though perhaps the most obvious are those involving the camera.

This includes options for studio, contour and stage lighting, built into both the back and front-facing cameras. The humble torch has practically evolved into a halo light, both rear cameras have optical image stabilisation and super-fast lenses to capture scenes in low light, and its incredible new depth sensors will transform the way we use and play with Augmented Reality. This ability to merge reality with more fun additions and embellishments is a key draw for younger generations, whose world is ever expanding into the realms of VR and AR.

Perhaps the biggest technological innovation in the iPhone X is their facial recognition tool, which will elevate communication to a new, weirdly abstracted level. As we all well know, emojis have become a language and elaborate dialogue in and of themselves. There is now even a man with job title: Emoji Translator. Their ability to be universal, both language-less and boundary-less, has led to widespread adoption and daily use, so much so that a post without an emoji is a rarity these days.

Apple has taken this one step further, by allowing you to physically speak through an emoji. Animoji is the curious lovechild of Emojis and facial recognition technology, and will no doubt soon be plastered all over Social Media, WhatsApp and iMessage. Apple has captured the desire for new quirky experiences, and the need for constant communication, and rolled it into a perfect millennial shaped talking poop. Why not I suppose?

And again, this same technology can be applied to the Gen Z favourites, Snapchat and Instagram. Their in-built face filters can now be used with hugely increased accuracy in both application and tracking, which will be especially noticeable around the eyes. This seamless integration of AR into Social Media is a trend of the last few years, and one that certainly isn’t going anywhere. Apple, as usual, are right on trend and will continue to push development of these technologies for themselves and their competitors.

These features are all image or video driven and will be a key selling point for so many willing to part with a cool 1K for the latest gadget. Apple has honed in on what matters to people now, and as we’ve seen across Social Media, video is King. The iPhone X was made for Social Media, made to be shared and made to be talked about. We saw this at their launch, where they quickly brushed over the ‘techy’ bits. Apple knows its software is cutting edge and its processors are faster than ever, but they also know that a lot of consumers don’t really care about that. We were all going to buy the newest model anyway, we just needed a good excuse to skip the iPhone 8 and drop a couple extra hundred quid…Perfectly contoured selfies every time? Sounds good to me.

Instagram Stories: Have You Got The Latest Update?

You may have noticed that your Insta stories have become rather inquisitive overnight, thanks to Instagram’s latest update, polls!

The Social Media giant have rolled out a small but perfectly formed bundle of updates for their stories, including polls, a colour dropper and a new alignment tool.

The polling feature can be found in your sticker section, and gives you blank two-option poll for you to tailor to your needs. So now you can ask the really important questions, like:

Instagram Story Dog Poll                              

You can then view the results of your poll in the usual viewers list, detailing the total vote numbers, who voted and how they voted. This is an example of another great engagement tool from Instagram, who have brought out some brilliant updates recently, making their stories more immersive than ever.

Instagram Stories are now one of the most important tools for driving repeat engagement in followers, and making this process more interactive and sophisticated will do users and brands alike a world of favours. Not to mention, giving Instagram another edge over their competitor, Snapchat.

Aside from the polls, there has also been the addition of alignment guidelines, which may not seem the most exciting tool, but is well needed! Gone are the days of re-doing stories because your profile picture covered your caption – good riddance we say, we’ll be sleeping sound tonight. We should say, alas, that currently this tool is only available on iOS.

Lastly, Instagram have added a great little tool in the form of a colour dropper. This tool is found to the left of the existing colours and can be used for any text and brushes; it’s pretty accurate too!

Instagram Story Update Poll

Now you’re all caught up with the update! Available on iOS and Android.


How To Make Your Pet #Instafamous

By Elisha Wilson, Creative Strategy Intern

Instagram is a huge social media platform (100 million daily active users) – and it’s great in that it enables anyone, with any niche, to have their own space on the Internet.

From Doug the Pug with 2.7 million followers, to Hamilton the cat with 744k followers… We’ve put together some useful tips on how you too, can make your pet #InstaFamous

Todays to do list: be a couch potato.

A post shared by Yogi Bear ✨ (@lifeofyogibear) on

1. You must be committed.
Before endeavouring on the journey to pet stardom it is important to consider that it is going to be an investment of your time. The biggest pet stars on Instagram post regularly (sometimes 2/3 times a day) and are constantly engaging with their followers. The more active your account is, the more likely it is that you will attract attention…

2. People LOVE good quality pictures.
Although smartphones have a great camera, there’s nothing quite like the quality of a DSLR. If you really want your pet to be #Instafamous, then you will probably need to invest in a good camera. To add to this, using a good editing app (VSCO/Photoshop) will enable your pictures to be even more special.

Romantic Kong 🌹 tag ur lover

A post shared by King Kong Da Savage Pom (@kongdasavage) on

3. Follow similar accounts.
To build yourself a base, it’s a good idea to follow animal influencers and other accounts like your own. This allows you to gauge the competition, get some ideas of what to post and see what’s popular! To add to this, we’ve found that most animal accounts will follow back

4. Be creative.  

People love accounts which show off the pet’s personality. If you post your pet in the same pose, every day, people will just get bored and unfollow. Shoot them in different locations and position them in different angles. Also, having creative captions is another way to make your account stand-out from the crowd.

"‪Save water, shower with a pug‬" -Doug

A post shared by Doug The Pug (@itsdougthepug) on

5. Make ‘Furiends’ and stay engaged with followers.
Yes, that’s a thing. There are millions of other Instagram users posing as their pet – so why not make friends? Follow, like and comment on accounts similar to yours. It’s a great way to build a fanbase and almost guarantees some likes and comments on your page. A win-win!

6. Use #Hashtags.
An easy way to reach people from all over the world. Simple hashtags like #dog & #instapet will allow your picture to be seen by people who don’t follow you already.

The hooman left me for 4 days… How rude! Now she is expecting me to participate in a photoshoot 🙄Naturally, I pulled my grumpiest face, what do you all think? Good to be back furriends! 🤗

A post shared by Rudy (@rudyinthecity) on

7. Try and stick to a theme.
Many #Instafamous accounts which we’ve come across generally have a good-looking feed because they’ve stuck to a ‘theme’. For example, @theobonaparte is a cream French Bulldog, who has over 219k followers. His feed is very aesthetically pleasing as his owner takes pictures with backgrounds that are neutral and flattering to his colouring.

8. Enter Competitions! (or hold Giveaways)
There are ALWAYS competitions in the #Petstagram world. Whether it’s a competition to win a load of toys or a model search. Enter as many as you can, because if you win, it will be GREAT exposure for your account. Even better, when you start to have a following, you can hold giveaways yourself. This type of engagement is a great way to gain followers.

9. Always tag companies.
Don’t forget to do this!! If you buy your pet something new (collar/lead/bandana/food) always tag the company. This potentially means that you’ll get a repost, which means more exposure for your account.

Teddy looks adorable in his very first bandana! 😍 I bought this from @fifisbeautbows and am so happy with it, I really recommend checking out their shop ☺️💗🐾 . . . We have booked Teddy in for his final puppy groom at the @groomroomchristchurch – where has all the time gone 😧🐶❤ . . . #BHmodelsearchUK #follow4follow #dog #yorkie #paw #puppy #photography #bandana #cute #boy #meowzartandbark #happypawsmodelsearch #meowzartandbarkdotcomdotau #nautical #anchor #yorkies_forever_ #yorkshireterrier #dailydog #dogsofinsta #like4like #comment4comment #love #pizza_puppies

A post shared by Bella and Teddy 🐶 (@_booandbear) on

10. Have fun!!!
This is one of the most important tips. If your account is fun, engaging and the captions are light-hearted, then people will definitely want to follow you!

…If you have consistent content, make time to engage with your followers and have a bit of fun, then you’ll have no problem turning your pet into a social media star! ?

Social Media Surveillance & Personal Reputation

It is getting harder and harder these days to get away with doing stupid things. No longer can you end up thoroughly trollied on a Friday night and expect no one to remember your antics on Saturday morning. Social never sleeps, and unfortunately, it also never forgets.

The elephant of the digital world, Social Media has increasingly become a site of constant surveillance. Watching and collating every move you make, and alas, every mistake. I learned this the hard way when a whole Facebook group was set up in honour of my particularly spectacular tumble in the school cafeteria, in year 9. It still exists.

Social Media Digital Facebook

With 2 billion users worldwide now on Facebook, and a total 2.5billion Social Media users more generally, the audience for these slip-ups is huge. A third of the world huge. Okay, so nobody really cares about what daft thing your mate Paul got up to, but when you’re in the limelight, this can quickly spiral out of control.

As is the case with one of David Attenborough’s earlier producers, Fergus Beeley. Normally the man behind the camera, his recent road-rage incident has put him firmly front and centre on everyone’s screens. Part terrifying, part outrageous and part hilarious, this outburst has certainly tarnished the reputation of a man who likely previously had no bad words against him.

In an Oprah-esque performance, he attempts to hand out a ‘citizen’s arrest’ to all of the members of the affected family, including their 14-year-old son. Claiming dangerous driving and assault, Beeley launched a fully-fledged verbal attack after the family of four collided with another car, driven by Beeley’s wife. Quite apart from being a wholly ridiculous way to resolve such an issue, Beeley totally undermines himself with constant death threat towards the family, claiming; “I want you dead right now. Get back in your car before you die”.

Bizzare? Yes. Uncalled for? Certainly. Irreparable damage to his reputation? You betcha. In this case, the backlash is undoubtedly deserved. Beeley looks a fool and a nasty piece of work. If he were still at the BBC he would soon be relieved of his position, just as quickly as Clarkson was.

All this commotion raises questions about the general state of Social Media, especially as a surveillance tool. We now have potentially 2.5 billion eyes watching, 2.5 billion people to be made culpable to. Some would argue that this is an invasion of privacy, that a blip in someone’s judgement may be made permanent for the world to view, again, and again, and again. In this case, kicking and screaming in a service station, we can assume it was no ‘blip’. However, cases such as these, highlight the problems with managing one’s personal reputation in the ever-changing and growing digital world.

As a retired producer, the consequences from this may be short-lived, especially as neither side want to press charges. But for a CEO, political figure, or established celebrity, it can send shockwaves through their career and personal lives. It is always worth thinking about the impact of such behaviours, avoiding them where possible, and having a plan in place for when it might happen. This cannot be stressed enough if you are the figurehead of a company or organisation, after all, it may not be only you that suffers from your actions.

Facebook 2 Billion Users Surveillance Data

Today’s digital landscape can be a difficult one to navigate. It is seemingly unforgiving and unrelenting when it wants to be. Everyone should watch what they say, how they behave and how they interact with members of the community both off and online. Beeley’s blunder is a PR disaster, and one he clearly wasn’t anticipating. Such is the online world. It is far too easy to get caught up when everyone is a walking CCTV unit and tabloid magazine rolled into one.

And perhaps they should be? Perhaps people, at all levels, should be held accountable for their actions at any given moment. It might encourage people to be kinder, more reasonable and more forgiving. Probably not though…at least we’ll have a steady stream of outrageous and entertaining videos.

Me, Myselfie and I. A look at social media’s debut into the art world

Selfies, like Marmite, are something you either really love or totally detest. Either way, as Kim K has made quite clear, selfies are here to stay. You find these pictures everywhere on social media, from Instagram and Twitter, to Facebook. However, where you don’t expect to find such photos is in an art gallery, and yet, they have found their way into this cultural realm, placed front-and-centre at the renowned Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea, London, at the exhibition titled ‘From Selfie to Self-Expression’.

Now before we delve further into implications of the aforementioned exhibition, we should backtrack a century or two to help us acknowledge that ‘selfies’ have always existed. Self-documentation and self-portraiture can be and has been produced for a myriad of reasons. Exponents of the selfie genre may wish to tap into their soul, revealing their inner essence, displaying this through painting. Or, one may have wholly egotistical, vanity-driven intentions. But either way, we, as humans, are in perpetual pursuit of expressing ourselves. One chap who couldn’t get enough of his face was Rembrandt, a Dutch painter in the 17th century, who produced nearly 100 self-portraits! Similarly, but less obsessively, Van Gogh produced over 30 self-portraits.

Rembrandt, Self-Portrait - 1640.

Rembrandt, Self-Portrait – 1640.

Individuals lacking artistic abilities, who lived in a time before photography, and who were willing to pay a king’s ransom, would likely commission a portrait of themselves or their families as a way of legacy preservation. Royals, the aristocracy and wealthy merchants often littered their homes with these portraits in order explicitly to boast and maintain their status. And yet, surprisingly many people in the 21st century assert that #selfie culture is a new-found form of narcissism. However, narcissism isn’t new… the only difference between those in the past is not a matter of etiquette; it’s a matter of medium. Instead of oil and turpentine, we are using the swift click of a button to capture the self. And instead of the acclaimed portraits in history being limited to royalty and the like, nowadays the classic #selfies are of celebrity royalty such as Harry Styles, Ellen DeGeneres, & Obama. Give it 100 years and chances are the iconic Oscar selfie will be part of the A-level Art History syllabus.

Taken by Bradley Cooper 86th Annual Academy Awards. March 2, 2014

Taken by Bradley Cooper 86th Annual Academy Awards. March 2, 2014

There is a distinct difference however between having and experiencing art (especially self-portraiture) and culture of bygone times and the present day, and this ultimately comes down to a matter of accessibility. Today anyone and everyone seems to have a phone, even your ancient Gran who doesn’t know what ‘texting’ really means, has an iPhone. In fact, according to data from the Pew Research Center in Washington, over 95% of Americans own a cell phone of some description, and over 78% of those own a smartphone. Additionally, according to statistics sourced from HTC One, Samsung & Google research, over a staggering 1 million selfies are taken every day!

Saatchi’s ‘From Selfie to Self-Expression’ exhibition tapped into the topic of accessibility by providing an opportunity, whereby persons and artists low on the radar could submit their best #selfie portrait with a chance for their work to be displayed in the gallery. Over 14,000 people submitted their work, and only the most innovative and engaging photographs were chosen. This democratic approach to selecting art, using social media, helps to diminish the damaging influence of nepotism & elitism in the art world, as it instead focuses solely on the quality of an artwork, not the quality of someone’s contacts…

However, Saatchi also looked at the accessibility of selfies and portraits in a shallower respect by addressing humankind’s attention seeking tendencies. On a large wall at the exhibition visitors had the opportunity for their own image to be briefly flashed up on a projection for all to see! Of course, many complied to instructions – automatically snapping and uploading to twitter with the hashtag #selfieseer. Not only has social media lead to a shortening of attention spans, but a narrowing of our desired time frame for fame. The public, especially millennials, are not interested in 15 minutes in the limelight, we would much rather a few seconds on a trendy Instagram or Snapchat story.

Other popular uses of interactive elements in the exhibition came from the work of Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, in particular his piece titled ‘This Year’s Midnight’ (2011), in which viewers were presented with a digital mirror which obscured their eyes to make it seem as though dreamy smoke flowed from them.

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. This Year’s Midnight. (2011)

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. This Year’s Midnight. (2011)

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. This Year’s Midnight. (2011)

Having interviewed some of the public who attended the show, it was striking the number of diametrically opposed views the exhibition produced. The main disparity in opinions related to thoughts on viewer participation, and general behaviour in the gallery space. Some visitors believed that much of the interactive art was “a cop out”, only designed for populist intentions, to satisfy the generic needs of the masses. One interviewee, Erin, 23, was particularly unimpressed with the digital displays of classic paintings by artists such as Frida Kahlo, Picasso, and so forth, commenting that “these ‘work’s’ are simply locking onto the cheap trick that is interactive art. Everyone can get behind it, because it is easy and quick, so pleases everyone. It has no depth.”. However, Eleanor, a student from London disagrees, she believes that this exhibition is really exciting as it has helped to engage young people with art. The youth of today were born into a digital generation, and so, embracing something which is part of their virtual DNA – social media – is a wonderful and effective tactic for sparking a broader conversation about art and culture.

Both opinions hold water, however, if you want to remain current, you (maybe reluctantly) have to get on board the virtual train. The digital world and art world are constantly evolving. We can see this evolution of form and content in the of artists old and new. For example, David Hockney has wholly embraced bleeding tech into his artistic practice, by producing detailed drawings on an iPad! And so, shunning such developments, refusing for the two entities to fuse, allowing for new artistic expression, may seem a little Canutish.

One feature of the selfie revolution that does draw my ire, however, is the true narcissism of whose who at lightning speed rush around a gallery or museum, taking flash snaps whilst they go, without taking a minute to observe. These snaps then result on social media, to prove to others that they are truly cultured… Do not be fooled, I am very much pro social and pro selfie, however I feel the need to document our own cultural coolness should not be ranked higher than us actually experiencing art first and foremost with our eyes and brains, and then, if the work genuinely interests us for its conceptual or aesthetic content, only then we can bring out the camera lens.

Hannah Ladmore, Creative Strategy Intern