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Spotlight on… Film Technology

Spotlight on… Film Technology

The 2018 awards season is well underway. Commentators are announcing their last-minute predictions ahead of today’s Oscar nominations and #TimesUp is making this one of the most memorable and poignant seasons of all time. It’s no surprise that the media has a sharper focus on the film industry than ever before.

The filmmaking business has undergone some real change in the past couple of years, and technology has been monumental in driving progress and empowering independent filmmakers and content creators. But which Film Technology companies should we be keeping an eye on in the next year?

The edit: Frame.io

Frame.io is the tool that helps creatives keep the creative process moving. Editing content is often slowed down drastically by file transfer and lengthy review processes. Frame.io replaces Dropbox, for file sharing, Vimeo for video review, and email for feedback. Integrated with all of filmmakers’ favourite tools including Premiere Pro, After Effects, Final Cut, Slack, and Vimeo, this is a collaboration platform with some serious streamlining powers.

The training: Masterclass

Masterclass has firmly made its mark on the online learning space in the last year with its all-access pass to online classes taught by some of the biggest names in the creative industries. With screenwriting programmes from Aaron Sorkin, film scoring lessons from Hans Zimmer, directing classes from Ron Howard, and writing masterclasses from Shonda Rhimes, the platform offers unparalleled access to flexible learning course from world-class industry professionals.

The grade: DaVinci Resolve

A favourite of editors and colourists around the globe, the latest iteration of DaVinci Resolve is an industry leading set of tools for editing, colour correction and professional audio post production. The software – which is completely free – was originally designed for the industry’s elite colourists, but is now available to all. With Resolve 14, creatives can switch between editing, colour correcting and audio mastering almost seamlessly, making it one of the easiest tools to use.

The soundtrack: Filmstro

Finding or scoring music for pre-shot footage can be an incredibly frustrating process for creatives, but new platforms such as Filmstro aim to make this time-consuming process far easier. Filmstro is a music library for content creators and filmmakers that sits behind ‘intuitive software’ and allows them to create musical scores to accompany their footage. Now integrated with both Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro, the platform uses a roster of talented composers from across the globe to allow users to control the momentum, depth and power of their music.

The gadget: DJI Osmo

DJI have been leading the way when it comes to drones in recent years, but one of their newest tools is a game-changer for creatives looking to create professional looking video on the go. The newest version of the Osmo Mobile is a compact handheld gimbal for smartphones. With a lightweight design, cinematic movement, and active tracking, this is the perfect tool for professionals on the move.

The subscription: Flix Premiere

The appetite for independent films is growing year on year, and Flix Premiere is looking to feed this growing demand for originally storytelling with its video-on-demand platform. With new, exclusive, releases each week, it’s an online cinema that helps overlooked independent films find their audiences. The platform offers exclusive access to curated theatrical releases, and award winning independent productions making it perfect for movie goers tired of studio blockbusters.

How to grow instagram for your start-up

Frequently termed ‘The King of Social’, Instagram started as a simple picture sharing app, used mainly between close friends and some carefully-selected family, to display the ‘best’ snapshots of your life. It was a refreshing alternative to the swathes of imagery that confronted you on Facebook, each one only slightly different to the last. It’s single-picture format enforced a kind of self-control not seen elsewhere. Of course, this wouldn’t last forever. Years later we have video, galleries and stories, and Instagram has expanded far beyond your own social circle. It has, however, kept its highly-polished aesthetic and fetish for ‘authenticity’.

Photo by @argonautphoto (Aaron Huey). Spider Rock, Canyon de Chelly, #NavajoNation. Headed to #BearsEarsNationalMonument in Utah on assignment for the magazine. More photos from the region here and at @argonautphoto all this week!

A post shared by National Geographic (@natgeo) on

Now the app is one of the biggest Social Media sites in the world, with over 700 million users, 400 million of which are active daily! It’s impressive to say the least and the potential audience reach on this platform is ever growing. It took only four months to gain the last 100 million followers, whereas the previous took six months.

So, what makes it such a great platform? It’s seen as considerably cooler than Facebook, more interesting than Twitter, and more useful than Snapchat. Instagram has become incredibly sophisticated in storytelling and doing so in an artistic manner. The ability to fluently and diversely communicate a brand or individual’s story has become indispensable. Authenticity is key to modern marketing, and Instagram is the platform that allows this ‘intimate’ insight into a brand. And what better brand to apply it to than a Start-Up? A company that is rooted in individuality, ingenuity and passion. One that is already trying to tell its own story, and express its personality, unlike many conglomerates that churn out an all-encompassing ‘brand’ worldwide.

Engage your audience

So, we know Instagram has the audience and the tools to effectively tell your story, but what techniques can you employ to make Instagram work for you? As a Start-Up, it’s important not only to put out great content, but to actively engage with your following, and users who you feel would be interested in your brand. This engagement, or ‘community managing’, is what will help you grow your channel, awareness, and ultimately your brand. It may seem like a lot of work, but just taking the time to reply to comments and reach out to users and brands can make all the difference.

Hashtag it

Building this community can be done in several ways, but the most immediate is through hashtags. By putting up to 30 relevant hashtags underneath your post you can make yourself visible to the potentially millions of daily users who are engaging with account and brands like yours. Engaging with other users in these hashtags is the next step to generating conversation, and this is worth remembering. Social Media is not a one-way street, you need ask questions, respond authentically, get people interested and keep them talking with you and about you.

If you are a local business, such as a restaurant, boutique or event, then you can utilise these hashtags to target a specific audience. Likewise, you may also use geo-tagging to involve the local community in a location-targeted campaign. These techniques allow you to build a community both offline and online.

Collaborate and listen

Many brands have taken to cross-posting and collaborations to bolster their online presence. This is a mutually beneficial process that sees both brands raise awareness, and is particularly applicable in a Start-Up environment, where both have a chance to establish themselves in an industry. It’s not just other brands that you might consider this tactic with; featuring your customers is an increasingly valuable tool in promoting your brand’s merit. Not only will this provide potential customers with authentic, positive feedback for your brand, but it also rewards fans for being fans. In doing this, you encourage them to continue to share their interactions with your brand on Social Media. It’s a win-win, they get to interact with the brands they love in an authentic way, and you get exposure and great content for your own channels. Just make sure you always credit them!

 

For me?! @chapabouttown is ready to chow down on some Turkey and Duck Dinner!

Do what works for you

There are a plethora of techniques to employ on this ever-expanding channel. To do it perfectly, you would be using a variation of careful curated daily posts and stories to provide the most artistic storytelling experience you can. You could run competitions, and cross-post and promote other brands. You could shout about your brand down every relevant avenue, and target it perfectly with paid posts and influencer marketing. This is a lot to take on, especially as a Start-Up. It can seem overwhelming, but it is also wholly unnecessary to try to do all of them at once, and to sustain them. Our advice would be to cherry pick what works for your brand, and remember that creativity and authenticity are at the heart of successful Social Media marketing.

Get Creative

If you want to champion your brand on Instagram effectively, the main thing to consider in this whirlwind of possibilities is creativity. Instagram is a platform that welcomes creativity more than any other. This is the point of difference needed to stop users endlessly scrolling through their feeds and focus on your post. This is the first point of engagement with a consumer, and one of the hardest things to engineer. You want to disrupt and simultaneously engage; having a creative edge here is key.

Of course, this is perhaps easier said than done. But with a proper strategy and some practice, you should quickly find yourself building your brands presence and identity online. Building and maintaining this presence is of huge value to brands and businesses, after all, 32% of all internet users are on Instagram. That’s a big slice of the pie to be missing out on!

If you would like to talk about how our digital services could help grow your Instagram following, why not get in touch with us today.

Five legal tech apps disrupting the legal market

Since the dawn of crime, technology and law have managed to co-exist together almost entirely indifferently. Yet, as they say, all long periods of slumber and denial must come to an end. And for the legal world, technological apps hell-bent on increasing efficiency and destroying the businesses of all honest lever arch files salesman, have arrived to transform the profession and challenge its robust conservatism.

Total investment in UK Lawtech firms has only just reached £16m, in comparison, Fintech generated £1.5bn in 2015-16 alone. But the market is still in the initial stages of development and is largely unexplored. The expectancy, however, given the UK’s legal services generate over £25bn annually, is that this is where the next tech drive is going to take place.

Here are five of the early contenders attempting to disrupt the legal market.

CaseCrunch

In May this year, the world’s best Go player lost to an AI machine for the first time. ‘Go’ is a hugely complex ancient strategy game where hundreds of years of received wisdom and intuition were believed to mean humans would always retain the edge over machine calculations. It’s different in that way to chess, where more than twenty years ago, IBM’s Deep Blue defeated world champion Kasparov in its first-ever game. For two decades since that defeat, however, professional Go players had remained undefeated to technology.

How then did they finally teach an AI machine to outthink the world’s best player? Well, in many ways, they didn’t. Instead of providing it with information about the game as had previously been the technique, they let the machine teach itself. AlphaGo played millions of games in the space of a few days and by correcting its every error, generated its own knowledge. It then baffled the world in its first game (over 100 million people tuned in) by producing moves unseen before, but which in hindsight, made perfect sense.

The development and potential of ideas like this outside of the realm of board games are what is captivating the legal world now and it’s not hard not to see why. What could happen if AI strategy games could be developed into legal strategy?

Cambridge graduates were out to test this theory when they created CaseCrunch, an AI software that can predict legal decisions with high accuracy, and it appears, a higher accuracy than human lawyers.

Lawyers from the leading law firms in the UK, including magic circle firm Allen & Overy, were asked to assess 800 historic insurance misselling claims in a week-long competition and predict the outcomes of the cases. The results?

Lawyers  – 62%

CaseCrunch – 87%.

The first ever competition to pit lawyers against AI, and it was decisive. The expectation going forward, however, is the two will work together, rather than apart, we hope…

Premotion 

This company may be the most disruptive of all. Premonition knows “Which Lawyers, Win Which Cases, In Front of Which Judges.”

The database is gigantic and growing by 40,000 cases every day in the US alone. The slogan is you can “Select Your Lawyer on Data, Not Anecdote”. By entering your requirements into the database, the technology will return the lawyers with the best success. This includes who wins the most, who are the most hired and who are the proven losers that are continually re-hired. Hard to guess why lawyers have been resistant to technology, isn’t it?

But it’s not all bad news, as the data alone is fascinating. In Civil Appeals there is a barrister with 11 straight defendant wins, despite the fact, plaintiffs win 75% in UK courts. It also revealed Law firms select barristers 38% worse than random, and General Counsel’s 18% worse than random!

Aside from collecting this hugely valuable data and significantly strengthening the hand of the consumer, a more juvenile dive into the stats gives the perfect opportunity to settle old scores. According to the data, female partners win 12% more than their male colleagues and female associates win 3% more than their male colleagues. Something to do with multitasking etc…

Cognitiv+

Another UK legal tech start-up, Cognitiv+ applies artificial intelligence to the task of contract reading to background music of grateful cheers from training contract applicants everywhere.

As legislation, contracts and new regulations continue to grow to sizes of the extreme, the argument in favour of this technology is that managing contract changes are going to become an increasingly impossible job for humans. The AI should be able to monitor changes in legislation and then compare its analysis to a company’s own contracts, flagging up potential conflicts or alerting its users to the important changes.

The AI’s engine effectively automates contract analysis and management, offering businesses a way to stay on top of legal risks, contractual obligations and changing regulatory landscapes. Brexit has likely come along at exactly the right time for this startup, with new legislation and regulations likely to arrive in their droves in the next few years.

Check recipient

While so much time is dedicated now to worrying about the next big cybersecurity attack, Check Recipient worries about what happens if a data leak is done from within, by mistake. The technology studies your emails and alerts the user when it believes an email has made its way to the wrong person, blocking the attempt and allowing the grateful and-still-in-a-job associate a second chance.

 

There’s more to this idea than just potentially saving you from accidentally sending your boss your CV. The future of data protection may mean the consequences of email misdirection will result in more than just social faux pas. EU regulations set to enter legislation in 2018 could mean mandatory reporting of data breaches and subsequent fines.

A plethora of horror stories has entered the press recently regarding misdirected emails. From an HIV clinic accidentally releasing the names of its patients to a school in Australia sending its students a link to an “inappropriate adult website” instead of the intended annual breakfast event. Yet, closer to home, something as simple as sending the wrong email to an opponent or client when a legal case hangs in the balance would be mortifying enough. Check recipient has got that bit covered.

FLEXEBOSS

FlexeBoss.com is an online legal marketplace which enables people to search, select and interact with high quality, affordable (20% cheaper than the market rate), vetted by UK solicitors to solve their legal issues. Lord Justice Jackson may not have been able to convince the profession of fixed costs outside of personal injury claims, but this app goes ahead and fixes them for you. You place the service in your shopping basket, send the documents the lawyer requests, and the Lawyer returns the work to you in the agreed timeframe.

It’s a win for both sides, however, as Lawyers can also sell their services through the site. It functions a little like an Amazon for legal services and the potential for growth, as more lawyers become self-employed could be endless. It could be an interesting future for the legal trade should concepts like this become the preference of the consumer. It gives more certainty over cost and an online interface more familiar to the modern customer. Viva la legal revolution.

The PHA Group PR Student Awards – we have our winners!

The The PHA Group 2017 PR Student Awards have received a number of amazing entries and we would like to say a very big thank you to all of you who entered, we really enjoyed reading your entries and were impressed by your enthusiasm for PR.

After much deliberation, the team couldn’t narrow it down to one winner, and therefore have decided on the following three winners:

Josh Dunne – Addict Aide’s Louis Delage Instagram Campaign

Kate Eldridge – Smirnoff’s “Love Wins” Campaign

Jasper Stanley – The Royals’ Heads Together Campaign

As a leading UK PR Agency, The PHA Group are advocates of recognising talent and we are committed to reaching out to students to help inform them on what a career in PR can offer them. We run a very successful PR Internship programme, regularly attend University Careers Fairs and host PR Open Days at our offices for aspiring PR professionals to gain a unique insight into what it’s like to work in Public Relations.

Over the years we have been hugely impressed by the creativity and ideas of the great interns we have had at our agency and so we wanted to create an initiative designed to give students a chance to discuss PR campaigns that they felt particularly engaged with.

We asked students to tell us about their favourite and most inspiring PR campaign from the past 5 years in 300 words or less. The campaign could be from any size company but had to be a PR campaign specifically.

We hoped to hear from students who are interested in a career in PR and who are excited about the prospect of joining The PHA Group team for a day of interactive and bespoke activities at our London Offices – and we weren’t disappointed!

We received so many engaging entries which had hard-hitting topics at their core such as mental health, equality and addiction. It was a tough process choosing a winner, and so we decided on three of our favourites.

Josh Dunne impressed us with his understanding of the impact that PR can have and how campaigns can be effective on a low-budget for his entry on Addict Aide’s fictional Instagram account for socialite Louise Delage to highlight how easy it can be to miss the addiction of someone close to you.

Like my addiction

A post shared by Louise Delage (@louise.delage) on

Kate Eldridge wowed us with her description of the “Love Wins” PR campaign for big brand Smirnoff and the real world impact that they achieved with their bespoke ‘equality collection’ vodka bottles which created awareness and supported gender, sexuality, race and nationality equality.

New bottles!! #love #loveislove #lovewins #❤️ #

And finally, Jasper Stanley stood out for his awareness that a successful PR campaign doesn’t have to have a monetary impact, but can simply create a conversation where previously there has been stigma – this was achieved by the mental health campaign Heads Together in partnership Prince William and Harry.

The winners will spend a day at The PHA Group learning from industry experts and gaining a unique insight into one of the UKs leading PR agencies. There will be Q&As with our senior team, including ex-national newspaper journalists and the founders of the PHA brand. As a multi-sector PR agency we have expertise across consumer, sport, business, fashion, corporate and political PR and our friendly team are excited to welcome Josh, Kate and Jasper to the agency on Wednesday 19th July.

 

 

Is That My Instagram in My Klout Score?

Instagram images will finally play a role in your Klout score. Although you have been able to connect your Instagram account to Klout for some time. Your Instagram influence did not play a role in your overall Klout score, until now.
Your Instagram images will now join the likes of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to measure your social influence. Your most influential updates will feature in the ‘Your Moments’ section of your Klout profile.
 
Klout is a San Francisco based company that provides social media analytics to measure a users influence their social network. Measuring the size of your network, the content created, and how others react to that content. Klout scores range from 1 to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a higher social influence.
 
In addition, Bing has been made a Klout partner that will result in high-profile influencers having their scores displayed on search results. So if you are searching for a particular individual you can see at a glance not only their score, but also where their influence lies.
 
Here in the digital PR team, our personal accounts increased by an average of 3, thanks Instagram. Has your score been affected?
Image courtesy of: Kevin Sablan, flickr.com

Ann Summers take their social media to the next level

Ann Summers have managed to add over 250,000 new Facebook fans in the last three months alone. As a result, the retailer has rocketed 36 places up the Facebook League table since the last study back in December 2011.

So how have they managed it? The answer is high-profile campaigns.

The People’s Panel concept started the social media ball rolling. The campaign searched for 10 women from across the UK who wanted to work with the sexy brand to create a new and unique sex toy – known as ‘The People’s Vibrator’. Chief Executive of Ann Summers, Jacqueline Gold, said: “We sell more than two million sex toys a year and we know the appetite to create and design a toy that will revolutionize orgasms is absolutely there; it is a great way of giving women exactly what they want. This panel of talented women will be followed by a TV crew on their unique journey and we hope they will deliver a product that will blow our minds.”

The People’s Panel is a great example of a brand becoming aware of its consumers and recognising that social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are key to reaching these ‘everyday’ consumers.

Ann Summers integrated a second 3-month campaign to find a new face of the brand for the 2012 Valentines campaign. Lucy Moore beat over 4,000 other entrants and was one of the few curvy girls to take part in the competition. Lucy, who studies criminal justice at the University of Westminster, won with 22 percent of the votes.  The big reveal caused quite a stir online and in national, regional, trade and broadcast media.

In addition, the lingerie brand launched a jaw-dropping campaign right here in Wardour Street. To celebrate National Cleavage day and the launch of their refurbished Wardour Street store, 20+ women marched along Oxford Street in their underwear in front of shocked and delighted onlookers. The march can be viewed here on the Ann Summers YouTube page – note that it’s reached nearly 10,000 views!

CEO of Ann Summers, Jacqueline Gold, has an impressive 24k Twitter following. She continues to run a Women on Wednesday competition, hash-tagged as the #WOW competition. From 1-3pm every Wednesday, over 200 female entrepreneurs tweet Jacqueline about their business in the hope of a retweet and a #WOW winning badge.

Clever and regular campaigns result in social media success, that much is undebateable but still, a lot of brands are neglecting their social media accounts over periods when social networking activity is at its highest. To improve strategies and to develop their following, retailers need to ensure that they are researching their social media audience and releasing the types of content. Ann Summers are doing this incredibly well at the moment – their social media is obviously in safe hands…

Digital killed the television star

Every once in a while, the media landscape shifts. Radio enjoyed a reign of power for several years until the television industry began to take off in the mid-1930s. It wasn’t long before moving pictures were the medium of choice in households across the Western world.

Television has held a pretty strong monopoly on entertainment ever since. That was fine, until a few years ago when internet streaming became faster and more powerful, and the online world began to soar with constant new inventions, disruptive ideas and lightning-fast reactions to current events. The television industry instantly began to feel the brain drain as creatively minded young graduates were drawn towards funky start-up companies with AstroTurf meeting rooms and pizza Fridays.

Not only that, but producers began to fear that their audiences would be drawn elsewhere, and there was fuel for their concern. In a study from NMIncite, it was revealed that despite the fact that one-third of the social media population were under 18, only 12% of all conversation about television on social media sites came from the next-generation age group, begging the question ‘is television only being watched by the out-going generations?’econ-logo-rgb-largeIt doesn’t look great, but in my opinion, the television industry doesn’t need to panic. As with every industry across all sectors of the economy, the digital revolution represents a shake-up and an opportunity to demonstrate just how nimble, creative and forward-thinking your organisation really is.

EConsultancy recently labelled Twitter and Facebook “virtual watercoolers”, and they’re right. The incidental, ‘isn’t the weather terrible’ conversations that used to be reserved for taxi drivers and hairdressers has gone virtual. At any time of the night or day, we can tap into the chitty-chatty world of social media to air our opinions and see what everyone else thinks. That kind of Facebook or Twitter campaign is perfect for television – something whole nations have in common.

Sign in to Twitter during an episode of X-Factor and you’ll see what I mean. When Amanda Lily was kicked off the show a couple of weeks ago, the Twitter-sphere went into overdrive and a ‘twitition’ was launched within minutes, demanding that she be allowed back on the show. For a show like the X-Factor, a Twitter campaign is an absolute godsend. ITV have also been quick to encourage TOWIE viewers to take to social networking, setting up dedicated pages and reading out fans comments during the ad breaks. It’s ‘added value’, and viewers love it!

Digital won’t kill television anymore than television killed radio. The media landscape is as broad and varied as it’s viewers, and there’s room for more than one central player. Instead of panicking or burying their heads in the sand, television producers should be taming the beast, and integrating Facebook and Twitter campaigns into their shows to create richer content and more engaged viewers.

 

Cover image courtesy of Quinn Dombrovski, flickr.com

 

 

Social Media: TV times are a changing

We have known for quite some time that the way in which consumers are targeted by advertisers has changed in recent years. The traditional media have been hit hard by advances online, with many brands cutting their above-the-line spend accordingly. But TV advertising has been somewhat constant, or at least the format has remained relatively unchanged; until now that is.

The golden rule for advertising agencies has always been that audiences need to see something 15 times for it to sink in. But the rulebook has been well and truly ripped up by a new breed of advertisement and it follows the online example that content is king.  Social media is set to play a huge part in television advertising of the future, with advertisers not only linking their campaigns to online content, but also taking their lead from online audiences.

Image AVIVA

Image Courtesy of Aviva PLC, flickr.com

There have been two great examples of both this weekend: Insurance company Aviva’s sponsorship of the hugely popular ITV show Downton Abbey saw them run their own dramatic storyline of a motorcycle accident in between segments of the first episode in the series. Content is king, right? Wrong. Aviva made a massive gaffe with their approach as the content wasn’t in keeping with the tone of the show and the audience found it both distracting and in poor taste. The British public took to Twitter to complain, with hundreds of thousands commenting on the topic. But although Aviva got it horribly wrong in the first place, they deserve great credit for listening to their audience and reacting quickly with a swift re-edit for the following week’s episode. Power to the tweeple.

While Aviva got it wrong, organic yoghurt producer Yeo Valley got it absolutely spot on. During a commercial break on Saturday night’s X Factor Yeo Valley’s own boy-band ‘The Churned’ burst out of a barn singing to 13 million people. Their debut became a viral sensation, becoming the biggest trending topic on Twitter worldwide, and amassing over 170,000 views on the brand’s YouTube channel, rebranded ‘YeoTube‘. The song went straight into the iTunes chart at number 31!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTrG7mpb61U]

But Yeo Valley haven’t stopped there, they have supported the campaign with activity on Facebook, with a tab giving fans the chance to sing along with ‘The Churned’ and have their efforts judged, with the winner appearing in the Yeo Valley ad that runs during the X Factor final.

The relationship between television advertising and social media is paramount, and as these examples show, it works both ways.

Of course, there is a risk in producing an advert designed specifically to run in one very specific and expensive point in the advertising schedule and for a brand like Yeo Valley, it would mean gambling much of its annual advertising budget. But engaging with audiences in this way can generate a much higher retention. Advertising Consultant Paul Thomas describes it as “sending up a flare” that ensures millions see the launch ad and the content can subsequently be used online, safe in the knowledge it is likely to be recognised.

The model has worked with great success in America, who as usual have led the way. Specially created adverts for major sporting events like the Super Bowl have had huge success across the states. Now that model is being replicated in the UK, thanks largely to the revival of ‘event’ television on ITV1. Guinness sent up a similar ‘flare’ during the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals this weekend, with their rugby themed advert.

Of course, in a world where many viewers have the power to fast forward the adverts simply by watching their favourite shows a little later, this concept won’t work with every advert. But the combination of the right event, a bright idea and a social media campaign to compliment it could deliver huge results.

Horsemanning you must be off your head!

Horsemanning is the latest online photo craze to go viral, and a bizarre one at that. It is thought to have originated in the 1920’s based on the myth of the ‘The Sleepy Hollow’ in which the ‘Headless Horseman’ beheads villagers.

The pictures that have been popping up all over the Internet are, thankfully, not of this sinister nature. With a postmodern twist on the ghostly tale, parodies include human heads in pizza boxes, sitting next to them on the sofa and being thrown in the bin. Charming isn’t it?

Image Courtesy of Juanjo Bazan, flickr.com

Image Courtesy of Juanjo Bazan, flickr.com

This follows a series of photo crazes that have been going viral throughout the year. The first to spread globally was ‘planking’ which involved taking a picture of yourself lying face down in a random or unusual location. ‘Owling’ was the second craze that, true to its name, is sitting in an owl-like position and capturing it on camera…

Somehow I don’t think I’m alone in thinking this is a bizarre trend! The cynical part of me is wondering how on earth this has gone viral?

However…

It takes one look through the images to realise it has gone viral for the very same reason millions of videos do each year; it’s funny. The light-hearted humour of the pictures makes people laugh, share with their friends and join in themselves. And after browsing the pictures for much longer than anticipated, the optimist in me has decided that… I love it.