View a full range of our ebooks

View full library

Explore

Our Location

The PHA Group
117 Wardour Street,
Hammer House,
London,
W1F 0UN

0207 0251 350
info@thephagroup.com
PHA Digital Studio
Fourth Floor,
47 Dean St,
Soho,
London,
W1D 5BE

0207 0251 350
info@thephagroup.com
PHA Finance Department
117 Wardour Street,
Hammer House,
London,
W1F 0UN

0207 0251 350
info@thephagroup.com

We try…Meta-Row at Metabolic London

We try…Meta-Row at Metabolic London

As we come to the end of week two in our #30for30 campaign, new classes and fitness inspiration have been very welcome here in the Sport & Fitness team. Partly because we love trying the latest creations of course, but mainly to help break up the endless runs and spinning classes that have been churned out day-after-day to date.

So, when I heard about Metabolic London, and their innovative Meta-Row class, I was instantly intrigued (if not slightly intimidated) by the class description. It simply read: “Not for the faint-hearted. This class is brutal and will test the best”. Despite my better judgement, I signed up then and there.

Sunday morning soon came around and I was on my way to Mornington Crescent for the class. Having dropped off my bag in the changing rooms, I was good to go. Meta-Row was London’s first boutique group rowing class when it launched in summer 2017. The gym itself is unlike anything I’ve seen before – a huge open space decked out with black walls and more equipment than you could ever wish for.

Scott, the instructor for our class, gathered us together to walk everyone through what we were about to do. Asking if anyone was nursing a hangover, I must admit I was tempted to raise my hand – only to make it less embarrassing for when I inevitably passed out mid-class, but I ultimately thought better of it.

The class itself is made up of row and total body circuit intervals, with interchangeable rounds. With all of the rowing machines lined up, we kicked off with a four minute row. Straight on to the first circuit, which entailed a combination of medicine ball throws, burpees, squats and crunches. One round down and I’m already feeling it. No time to let up, however, as we are into another four minute row and then back on to the mats for the next circuit – featuring kettle bell swings and lifts, followed by a crawl into a press up.

Back on the rowing machine we went – this time for a five minute stint – to try and beat our stats from before, cheered on willingly by the ever-present Scott. A final circuit which included “explosive” burpees and I was well and truly spent. Despite the physical trauma I’d just been through, the feeling of achievement was unparalleled.

The best thing about Meta-Row is it’s suitable for all levels of fitness – you can go at your own pace. At £10 for your first class, it’s cheaper than the majority of boutique classes out there, and you’ll do well to find a better workout. We’ll be back, just as soon as our DOMS ease up.

Kraft Macaroni’s brilliant ‘likeapella’

I can never help but smile and click ‘like’ whenever I come across a selfless campaign by a brand that shows them giving something back to their fan-base.

One campaign that I came across last week, which was no exception to this rule, was the recent Likapella video released by Kraft Macaroni, with the purpose of individually thanking 4,600 of their online fans.

In case you missed the story and have no idea who or what I am talking about, Kraft Dinner, known as Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in America, are a popular and inexpensive convenience food, better known in the USA and Canada. At the end of April this year a post was sent out on the Kraft Facebook Page urging fans to ‘like’ the Facebook post, as they “never know what could happen”.

Two days later – low and behold – a video called Likeapella appeared on the Kraft Facebook wall showing Kraft reciprocating the ‘likes’ of the 4,600 fans that had responded to the post.

Within Likeapella, a barbershop quintet perform a song that individually thanks the 4,600 fans that responded to the original post, name-checking many mid-song and pointing to a scroll containing the remaining fan names.

A fantastic and very shareable piece of content that adds personality to the brand and drives fans to its social feeds as they lie in wait for the next stunt to go off – Note: Yes I am now a fan of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and yes, I would indeed very much like to have my name sung aloud by a chorus of men in yellow waistcoats and bowties.

You can view the video here:

A couple of other brands that have seen the benefit of thanking their online fan base would be Porsche and Heineken.

You might remember at the beginning of last year when Porsche celebrated reaching 1 million fans on their Facebook page by putting all 1 million fan names on a specially customised 911 GT3R Hybrid car, which now sits in the Porsche museum. However, did you know that when the car manufacturer reached the 2 million mark, they printed the names of all 2 million fans on a Cayman S? You can view the video here: https://2m.porsche.com/

Pretty impressive, right!

Heineken decided to take a different approach and instead thanked their fans with hugs:

It’s really refreshing to see big brands giving something back to their communities and making their fans feel included in their campaigns. Hopefully, this is something that we will see more of in the future, greater emphasis on engagement and building a loyal fan-base over obvious sale pitches that will result in an alienated community.

 

Cover image courtesy of: Mike Mozart, 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…

Tippexperience – Bigger and Better!

Since the TippExperience was released on YouTube (and quite literally took it over) last year, many have been waiting to see what creative genius Tipp-Ex will come up with next.

Well, you will be happy to know that the wait is over! And if I don’t say so myself they have come back bigger and better than before:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQtai7HMbuQ]

In their latest addition to the TippExperience Tipp-Ex have given us an insight into the Hunter and Bears first birthday party. Alas, during their celebrations a meteor can be seen heading towards earth…lucky for them they have some Tipp-Ex handy (what are the odds?!) and are able to rewrite time. This incredibly clever viral allows you to travel through different eras of history to see how the Hunter and Bear would have celebrated their birthday.

If you don’t have time to go back through all the years, then all is not lost. I have spent (maybe too much) time trawling through the years to bring you the best of Tippexperience 2. I really recommend taking a look, not only is it fun but it is fascinating to see how with a bit of imagination you can create an interactive and engaging viral that stands out from the rest.

My Favourite years:

1 – Here you will be taken back to 1AC, the birth of Jesus Christ, with some slightly alternative insights on how He was named.

500 – See the Hunter as King Arthur and help him remove the Sword from the Stone.

1980’s – Make your own graffiti whilst the bear bops away to his music.

2000 – This year sees the Millenium bug take over your computer…

2004 – Being a digital PR bod, it was inevitable I’d look to see if they had anything for the birth of Facebook, and they didn’t disappoint!

2005 – This year celebrates the start of YouTube

2007– Following my success with Facebook and YouTube, I looked for the year that the Apple iPhone was launched, and again Tipp-Ex have delivered another comical clip.

Type in the year you were born to see there take on the era, the 90’s is suitably cheesy! And any year with historic significance tends to be amusing.

All in all, I am very impressed, it seems to me that Tipp-Ex have more than covered all areas, demonstrating just how much thought has gone into this campaign.

Take a look and let me know what your favourite years are in the comments below!

Online Check-OUT?

Today I stumbled upon this gem:


It is a satirical video by Google, which highlights the main faults in the online shopping experience. Whilst watching this video is quite amusing, it also rings home some truths. In a previous blog post, we have discussed how many brands are going online to flaunt their fashion fixes. Many have tried to tap into the market by recreating the traditional shopping experience online…

But what is it about the experience that annoys us so much?

Google point out that you need to see where your customers are leaving your site. And the likely answer to this is when it starts to become complicated.

My pet hate is having to prove that I am not a robot at every turn. The words and symbols that they give you are not even readable to the majority of us that are, believe it or not, human. Not to mention the soaring prices of delivery charges, the anxiety of whether it will arrive on time, refunding process etc.

But with many major retailers now selling their products via smartphone apps this process is set to become a lot easier in the future. Famous outlets such as New Look, Zara and River Island have all jumped on the digital bandwagon with apps which allow people to purchase an item with a single click. Your shopping app remembers your name, email address and delivery address to minimise the steps to your final purchase. Apps are a popular shopping channel this festive season taking the convenient online shopping experience a step further and allowing you to buy on the move. However, this only accounts for about 20% of the overall shopping experience, with many people still experiencing late deliveries or wrong orders. Clearly, the process still needs to be fine-tuned.

It is great that these retailers are moving with the digital times – as we mentioned in our post on digital darwinism those who don’t keep up will struggle to survive into the future. However, if they are going to streamline the purchase process (to generate sales) then they should make the overall shopping experience enjoyable for the customer as well. For example, refunds should be as easy as the initial purchase. This is what will encourage brand loyalty, and that is what really counts.

What do you think?

 

Cover image courtesy of Robbert Noordzij, 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.

Social media – the best video viral campaign

If social media makes every man a broadcaster, then YouTube makes every man (or animal) a film star, with the potential for worldwide fame.

With homemade virals rocking up millions of views, businesses have not delayed in producing their own branded videos. A recent survey has revealed that the equivalent of 35 hours per minute of footage is uploaded to YouTube every single day. In this noisy landscape, it is difficult to be seen and heard.

Home videos of dancing cats, or teenagers taking hairbrush singing to new heights, naturally lend themselves to tens of millions of views. Indeed many of the most famous virals fall into this category.

To me, this makes the success of famous branded virals even more impressive. However cleverly veiled, these videos are still essentially adverts – that millions of people have chosen to watch.

The debate over the best viral video campaign is endless. Friends have suggested some serious contenders – from the Evian baby, to Tippex’s Hunter Shoots a Bear and of course, the Old Spice guy. Personally, I like to champion the ‘Will It Blend?’ series.

All of these great virals have certain shared characteristics – humour being the most obvious. However for me, ‘Will it Blend?’ just pips the post for one key reason – the whole concept is designed around the product itself. Blending iPhones, iPads and Justin Beiber in a Blendtec blender is not only comic genius, it also showcases the quality of the product. When watching a ‘Will it blend?’ video (in the short breathing space between laughs) I found myself thinking ‘Blending an iPad? Well, it must be a pretty good blender’.

Frankly, if I ever have the need for a blender (and I have just remembered how much I like smoothies!) then I might just Google Blendtec.