Is ‘The Circle’ Just a Sad Satire for the Realities of Life on Social Media?

If you haven’t watched The Circle, I’ll break it down for you it’s basically a Reality TV Show where contestants are put into an apartment block but don’t meet and just communicate over a social media platform called ‘The Circle’. When a contestant goes in they build their own profile and can choose to play as themselves or to take up another identity as a ‘Catfish’. If they play as a ‘Catfish’ they can completely change their entire identity including their name, age, gender, gender, sexuality and use different pictures, in order to deceive the other players into believing this is truly them. Some players do this as a social experiment as they think they may be ‘more popular’ playing as another identity and some players just have the £100k prize money in mind.

The show is a self confessed ‘popularity contest’ with players ranking other players each week from their favourite to least favourite, in which the most popular player becomes an ‘Influencer’ and has the power to eliminate another player.

On the surface the shows is an enjoyable watch and is something never before seen on TV. (Fun Fact: I was actually interviewed to be on Season 1 of the show, but didn’t get to the next stage).

But when you think about it the show really is a sad reflection of what our society has become, simply a popularity contest, where anyone can be anyone online.

It easy to forget that on social media platforms like Instagram, you are only seeing what people want you to see and someone could be portraying their life completely differently than what the reality is, just for popularity ie – likes.

One of the finalists in this year’s show was ‘Sammie’ a single mum with a baby called Charlie. Who was actually a 26 year old man named James.

James was ‘faking it’ the entire time, thinking people would find it harder to block a single mum with a cute baby, which led him all the way to the final.

It got me thinking that the show completely mirrors our own use of social media. We only post the sides of ourselves that we want people to see and that we think will gain us popularity.

So the message of the day from me it’s important to view social media like the Circle and realise that what you see might not always be what you get and anyone really can be anyone.

Rise and Shine – Kylie Makes Money From Memes

If you aren’t familiar with Kylie Jenner – she is basically the Queen of the Internet and also the youngest self made billionaire according to Forbes.

In the past week Kylie has made headlines for her ‘Office Tour’ which she posted on her Youtube Channel. But it wasn’t Kylie’s million pound office pad that caused her to make headlines but rather the small sample of her singing the words ‘Rise and Shine’ whilst waking up her baby daughter Stormi.

This led to a Twitter frenzy of memes around ‘Rise and Shine’ and even the Queen of Pop Ariana Grande doing a cover of ‘Rise and Shine’.

So what did Kylie Jenner do? She got her business head on and thought how can I capitalise on this. Honestly she is a mini Kris Jenner if i’ve ever seen one.

She made Rise and Shine merch, selling her hoodies for $65 each, to make a pretty profit off this viral meme.

The hoodie even features the iconic sun with Kylie’s face in the centre which has become synonymous with the meme.

This just goes to show the fast pace at which marketers and brands need to move at to keep up with current trends.

Creators Like Shane Dawson are Bridging the Gap Between Youtube and Traditional Television

If you are a fan of Youtube or follower of the ‘Beauty Community’ you will probably have watched Shane Dawson’s recent online series’ featuring Jeffree Star, Tana Mongeau and his popular ‘Conspiracy Theories’ Series.

In the past few weeks Shane has just released his second series with Jeffree Star following on from the success of the first. The nine part series follows Shane making his first steps into the beauty community by creating a makeup collection with Jeffree Star Cosmetics.

Although Youtube series’ have been around for years, for me this was one of the first of it’s kind. Shane has over 20 million followers on the platform and commands audiences from multiple different genres on the sites.

Watching fashion and beauty videos on Youtube I’m used to watching videos that are around 20 mins long, usually makeup tutorials, clothing hauls or vlog style videos that follow the life of the creator. What I’ve watched from Shane recently is something completely different His videos are documentary style episodes that last one hour, sometimes more and follow the life of a particular person or give an insight into a particular culture. The new ‘Beautiful World of Jeffree Star’ series even has opening credits and theme music. The series’ Shane creates are more reminiscent of Netflix or Channel 4 style documentaries.

When I watch Shane’s videos I see a lot of comments that say things like ‘Shane should have his own Netflix series’. But I honestly feel like that would be a bad move. I think Youtube is a great platform for this type of video creation and that Shane’s videos take the platform in a different direction. It would be great to see other creators following suit and creating high level video series online.

Mattel Shows they Understand the Modern Consumer, by Paving the Way For More Inclusive Products – Other Brands Take Note

For a brand that once prided itself on it’s stick thin unrealistic ‘Barbie doll’, Mattel have been in the news recently but this time for all the right reasons. This month Mattel have been in the public eye for not one, not two, but three amazing new product launches that celebrate the need for inclusion to facilitate a modern day consumer. As someone who is highly interested in inclusion and diversity within marketing, this came as great news for me and I knew I had to write about it straight away.

The first product is a braille edition of the popular card game ‘UNO’ which for the first time will allow visually impaired and sighted folks to enjoy the game together. This is great news for members of the visually impaired community who will now be able to enjoy the game with their family and friends. Personally I think this is a great move for Mattel to show it cares about catering for all of it’s customers.

The second product is probably the one that excites me the most as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. It’s the launch of gender inclusive dolls that are free of labels. The dolls named ‘Creatable World’ have 6 variations and come with customisable accessories including wigs with short or long hair and the option for a skirt or trousers.

The brand states: “Through research, we heard that kids don’t want their toys dictated by gender norms. This line allows all kids to express themselves freely…We’re hopeful Creatable World will encourage people to think more broadly about how all kids can benefit from doll play.”

Lastly the third new product launch is this year’s ‘Career Barbie’ where Barbie is portrayed as a lawyer and not just your regular white and blonde barbie, ethnically diverse barbies too. this is a huge step forward for women’s representation in professional careers and is great to teach young girls that they can be whatever they want to be.

As you can see below this is not your typical ‘legally blonde’ style pink robe and sparkly purse lawyer that some might expect from the brand but instead a professional career look for barbie that shows a modern representation of the working woman.

These developments come shortly after the brand recieved praise in the summer for the launch of a Rosa Parks Doll in honour of the Civil Rights Activist. As well as an African American doll who used a wheelchair. The brand is just going from strength to strength in my opinion. Other brands *cough Victoria’s Secret* should look to Mattel as an example of the right way to respond to criticism of lack of diversity. It’s 2019 and we are here for this change.

“I Am Looking For A Professional Marketer – Not a Bikini Model” – In Defence of the Austin Bikini Shamed Job Applicant.

If you follow things on the great realm of Twitter, you’ll probably have heard this story. Girl applies for job at Marketing company. Company asks for her social media handles. Company stalks girl and judges her. Company body shames girl on their social media. Wait rewind. What

Yes you read that correct, the girl in question followed the company on Instagram only to find that they had posted a screenshot of a bikini clad picture from her profile. On the picture which was posted on ‘Kickass Masterminds’ Story said: PSA (because I know some of you applicants are looking at this): do not share your social media with a potential employer if this is the kind of content on it. I am looking for a professional marketer – not a bikini model.” Go on with your bad self and do whatever in private. But this is not doing you any favours in finding a professional job.”

The company has received a lot of backlash for this on social media and have subsequently shut down their social media accounts and website.

Personally I think it’s ok for companies to scan a candidates social media and I think it’s almost expected nowadays. However I don’t think it’s ok for a company to call out a candidate on their Instagram page, especially for the way she dresses. I saw absolutely nothing wrong with the girl’s post, she was clearly on holiday enjoying herself like any normal person and I don’t see any issue in posting a bikini picture. I personally think the girl had a lucky escape not to work with such an unprofessional company.

The thing that bothers me most about this whole escapade however is the fact that the company said “I am looking for a professional marketer – not a bikini model.” Why can’t you be both? Since when does being a bikini model limit your ability to be a good marketer. This comment personally bothers me as I have faced similar situations in the industry, where I was once told by an employer (targeting students) that parents would not take me seriously as I was also an ambassador for an underwear company. It was insinuated that I should remove some of the underwear/bikini posts from my profile, in order for them to able to share my content.

I now have a job in a great company doing PR and Comms, obviously my experience of being an ‘Bikini model’ has not hindered this in any way. So can we stop shaming women because of their bodies please and thanks.

Yesterday Free Costa Coffee, Today Free Skechers Trainers – Why are Brands Adopting These Types of PR Campaigns?

Today Skechers teamed up with Translink in Belfast City Centre, to offer Translink customers the chance to ‘Step Up’ and get a free pair of Skechers. The initiative took place in Donegall Place, at 8am and worked on a first come first served basis. Those who had a valid travel ticket were offered the chance to queue up and do Steps Ups for 60 seconds, to get a free pair of trainers. In total there was 100 pairs of trainers (up to the value of £60) up for grabs and I was one of the lucky few to get a pair.

I personally heard about the campaign as a Paid Ad on Belfast Live, which in itself shows the power of Paid Facebook Advertising, for informing the general public especially young people. Had this been in a newspaper, would I have knew anything about it? Probably not. I’m by no means saying In Print Media is dead but this campaign shows the instant nature of Social Media, this was posted around 20 mins before the event started and I arrived around 8:30 and ended up being number 95/100 in the queue.

This comes just after yesterday, I was able to get a free coffee from a Costa Coffee machine, which I found out about on Twitter also. So why do brands give away free products? Well it’s all about creating a buzz isn’t it and making people aware of the brand.

People were stopping in the street to see what all the fuss was about, people were videoing the challenge and putting it on their social media. The people at the Skechers were telling us to use the Hashtag #SkechersXTranslink on our social media to post about it. Yesterday #CostaCoffee was trending on Twitter and people were made aware that they don’t have to be close to a Costa store to still be able to get their caffeine fix.

It’s a similar scenario to the ever important question of ‘Why do brands gift free product to influencers in return for posts’? Well here’s the answer: To create a buzz, to get people talking about the brand and make people want to buy into it. Here we have a very similar idea but instead relying on real life people and a mixture of word of mouth as well as social media. What did everyone do after they got their free trainers? They went back to their offices and told everyone how great it was and showed of their new kicks. Or they went on to social media and told everyone there how happy they were with their new trainers. Similarly with the Costa Coffee Campaign.

Also campaigns like this don’t actually cost the brand anything apart from complimentary product. Skechers only actually gave away 100 pairs of trainers but around 100 people were also given 30% off vouchers to go and purchase a pair in the store (which I saw many people do.) The fact is these people using the 30% off probably had no intention of leaving the house that morning and buying a pair of Skechers but they were so caught up in the buzz that they did. (But this is something I’m going to talk about in detail in another post)

A Day Without Whopper – When Corporate Social Responsibility Meets Clever PR

So this week something peculiar caught my eye when I was doing my daily scroll through social media. Presenting exhibit one below.

An apparent truce in the Battle of Burgers. On first glance you might feel shock horror, two titans of the food industry coming together in the name of charity. What’s next? Tesco promoting Asda’s Pizza Counter? or House of Fraser giving it’s staff a day off to let people shop at Debenhams? Has the world gone mad.

Ok enough dramatic narrative.

Let’s now look at this from a PR and Marketing perspective, Burger King want to kill two birds with one stone. Or rather two aims with one budget. (Really no budget as they just took a potential hit on sales for one day). One, they have a corporate social responsibility to give to charity. Two, they want a good social media campaign. Possibly throw in a third, that McDonalds are going to give all their Big Mac profits to charity, so how can they ‘one up’ that and do something better.

Enter ‘A Day Without The Whopper’ (whoever thought of this deserves a pay rise, cause I personally think it’s so clever). Here we have a campaign that not only show’s Burger King supporting Charity but supporting their competitor to support charity. The sheer shock value of the whole thing makes it the perfect social media campaign, Burger King knew what they were doing here and did it well. The design itself is eye-catching and you automatically recognise the two brands, which if you’re like me will have made you stop in your scrolling and think ‘What’s this about?’. And for me the post has great ‘share-ability’ value for social media, it’s a talking piece. It stuck with me, I automatically asked my work colleagues if they’d seen it and what they thought and that’s exactly what a good campaign should do.

This is infact not the first time that Burger King has played on the rivalry as part of an Online Campaign and the brainchild for this idea may have started back in 2015 when the ‘McWhopper’ was born.

Back in 2015 Burger King created the ‘McWhopper’ and sent an open letter to McDonalds proposing a collaboration between the two brands in honour of ‘Peace One Day’. Burger King called for a ‘ceasefire on Burger Wars’ in the name of peace with all proceeds going to the cause. McDonalds didn’t bite at the McWhopper and politely declined the offer.

So it seems this time around, Burger King have taken matters into their own hands, with this charity campaign and in my opinion Burger King came out looking better than ever. On social media people praised Burger King for their great campaign and it afforded them a day of trending online and looking like the ‘bigger person’ in said Burger Wars.