Creative content or advert? It’s increasingly hard to tell

A new, short film premiered recently by Spanish brewer Estrella Damn is a conundrum. Is it a 15 minute advert for their product, is it a very expensive piece of product placement or is it something else entirely? It is a perfect example of how companies with something to sell need to be creative in new ways to appeal to an audience who no longer have to sit passively through commercial breaks. With more and more on demand viewers avoiding adverts altogether, the ‘this is what we sell and t...
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Is there a place for the Twitter essay?

The Twitter essay, an oxymoron surely. But, it seems apparently not. Although the concept has been around for a while, it’s only since stumbling upon one of the technique’s more enthusiastic proponents that it has appeared on my radar as a social media writing style. The New Republic’s senior editor Jeet Heer is a self-confessed Twitter essayist. For him it is a writing form that 'creates vibrant, democratic conversations.' For his critics, it as an assault on the Twitter community. It ...
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Don’t allow DFID’s St Helena PR debacle to dilute foreign aid

With a £12.2 billion budget to work with the scope for carving out good news stories at the Department for International Development DFID should be like falling off a log. Working with some of the world’s poorest countries, DFID is in the position to demonstrate just how willing Britain is prepared to put its money where its mouth is and drag some of the most disadvantaged people on the planet out of poverty for good. Except it doesn’t. Instead, it is constantly fire fighting bad news with...
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Panama leaks and avoiding a prolonged media storm

Prime Minister David Cameron has been fighting a rearguard action this week in the face mounting criticism for him not coming clean about his financial affairs. News that has father took advantage of tax havens for the family finances as disclosed by the Panama leaks, put him firmly on the back foot. From a damage limitation perspective he and his advisors should have known that by not being completely open, when he had no reason not to be, they were only prolonging the attacks and dee...
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Shock tactics more effective for Third Sector campaigns

The combination of social media and video as communications tools is powerful, but those embarking on attitude changing campaigns should always remember first and foremost, it is the idea that is key. The mechanics of spreading the message is important, but if the message behind the campaign is no good to start with it, it doesn't matter how clever the communication medium is, it is destined to fail. For all the resources that commercial organisations have to persuade consumers to buy thei...
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Biggest PR howler award 2015

This year has seen its fair share of corporate disasters, hindered, rather then helped by incompetent PR handling. The number of high profile cases I've watched through my fingers as they stumble from rescueable situation to total implosion, proves yet again that reputational management has little to do with the size of the budget and everything to do with quality of the judgment of people making decisions. A Euro lotto chunk of cash can be thrown at a communications problem, but if th...
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Queensferry Crossing a mere sticking plaster

The main motorway in Cuba stretches from the tip to the tail of the island, is six lanes wide and the last time I was there had about one vehicle passing in each direction everything 30 seconds or so. Now the planners that built this infrastructure artery back in the 60s didn't build it anticipating private car ownership for every citizen, but for military emergencies. But with and the rules around who can own a car being relaxed, it will soon be see much more traffic but will be able to cope...
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UK’s King Coal abdicates

An industry that in 1925 employed more than 1.2million workers will this week employ precisely none. After decades of decline, the very last working deep mine in the UK will lower its cages to seams two miles underground for the last time. Kellingley Colliery near York will close this week, bringing to an end an industry which for decades of the 20th century was perhaps the most powerful in the country. With the transport and power industries heavily reliant on coal, as well as it being th...
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Maybe more to Britain’s Belize return than meets the eye

Taken at face value, the British Army reopening its Central American training base in Belize makes sense. There are thousands of soldiers returning from active duty in Afghanistan and they need somewhere to go. The jungle, easily accessed from Price Barracks, provides a testing training ground in some of the harshest, most inhospitable environments anywhere on the planet. The ideal place to hone survival skills and keep units in peak physical condition. After all, the army has a long stand...
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Would a slicker Jeremy Corbyn be better PM material?

More accomplished, or at least higher profile PR pros than I have given their tuppence worth on why Jeremy Corbyn would be unelectable as Prime Minister. Westminster kingmakers say he's not slick enough or media savvy enough for a modern politician, he's a throwback to the 80s, he's a 21st century Michael Foot. He has the wrong image. But it is precisely this lack of polish that is making him popular with the disenfranchised and the disconnected. His policies are certainly popular w...
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