No Freshers Fair? No Problem, Paperclip HQ has a Virtual Solution.

In these uncertain times, it is unclear how many unis will be able to reopen in September, with many already announcing their plans to continue lectures online for the foreseeable future. But what does this mean for coveted student events such as the freshers fair? Where students can usually avail of many freebies and discounts. Will the incoming class of 2020 have to miss out on these perks and rite of passage for most first years?

Well, fret no more as the team at Paperclip HQ have announced their very own ‘virtual fresher’s fair’, so you won’t miss out. You will be able to experience all the deals and exclusives you would expect at your uni’s fresher’s fair from the comfort of your own bed.  The online initiative will bring students the hottest deals straight to their inbox in the form of a virtual welcome pack. This welcome pack will be jam packed with discounts and freebies from top brands including Amazon and UberEats.

The pack is completely free to sign up for and only takes a few seconds and will entitle you to over £3,000 worth of freebies and discounts. So it’s really not one to be missed. There will also be exclusive competitions for great prizes such as holidays, iPads and cash with a 1 in 10 chance to win. The only catch is that you’ll have to wait till 20th August to receive your pack, in fitting with university start dates and traditional fresher’s fairs.

This new initiative from Paperclip comes after the success of their online marketplace platform which allows students to buy and sell their stuff such as old textbooks and electronics. This could be a great place for postgrads to make some cash or undergrads to save some dollar on their textbooks. Over 50 unis have exclusively signed up to the site already and it’s also free to join. Students can also create their very own buy/sell group for their halls, accommodation or course to help find what they are looking for.

To sign up for the virtual freshers fair head to https://yourfreshers.co.uk/

How Is Social Media Facilitating Social Distancing?

What is ‘Social Distancing’?

So if you’re reading this post you are probably social distancing. Social distancing can be described as an infection control measure intended to slow down the spread of contagious disease. In this case Coronavirus.

You may have heard people talking about ‘flattening the curve’, so what does this mean? Well this involves preventing a sharp peak of infections like what we have been seeing in Italy, to allow healthcare facilities to be able to cope and also provide time for treatment to be developed.

Here’s a simple diagram showing the effects of protective measures such as social distancing on flattening the curve. This is the reason that many of us are now in isolation in our own homes.

Promoting ‘Social Distancing’

So I’ve recently saw a lot of companies and LinkedIn users utilising their platforms to promote social distancing in different ways here are a few of my favourites:

Brands After Corona’ By BlueSteak Media

This campaign imagines what brand logos would like like in light of social distancing, I think it’s great as it uses recognisable brands that everyone is familiar with and takes a new take on them. This has great share-ability for social media and is great for creating awareness of social distancing.

#AloneTogether by ViacomCBS, Comedy Central and MTV

The Alone Together campaign has combined giants of the TV and Entertainment world to raise awareness for social distancing. The content utilises the power of social media influencers to share the message among their followers.

Making Social Distancing Social

So back to the title of the blog post, how is social distancing being made social? By Netflix Party of course. If you can’t have a movie night with your friends do the next best thing and download Netflix Party Chrome Browser Extension which allows you to watch the same programmes as your friends and chat about it within the same browser. Here’s a screen grab of Love Is Blind on Netflix Party:

This is a great way to stay connected with your friends whilst social distancing and I know I’ll definitely be utilising this feature. Although in everyday life it’s gets criticisms for making us anti-social, social media is really proving it’s original purpose in bringing people together at this uncertain time.

Support for Those Unable To Social Distance

Something I have also noticed is the amount of discount and support being made available for NHS Workers and those who are unable to self isolate and this is also being promoted through social. The below thread tracks all the offers and discounts available.

My International Women’s Day Winner and Loser of Advertising

Winner: The Apple Behind The Mac Campaign

The Apple Behind The Mac Ad really stood out for me this week as the best International Women’s Day Ad Campaign. At first it just seemed to be an inspiring advert celebrating women in business and tech. But upon further inspection every woman in the ad was shown for their particular contribution to their industry or their work for women’s rights, which I personally think is great.

Here are the women included in the advert:

Malala Yousafzai: The youngest Nobel laureate for her work on girls’ right to education.

Ava DuVernay: Director known for “Selma” and “When They See Us”.

Marie Kondo: Tidying expert, bestselling author and Emmy® -nominated television star.

Greta Gerwig: Director known for “Lady Bird” and “Little Women”.

Gloria Steinem: Women’s rights activist who helped start second-wave feminism.

Lady Gaga: GRAMMY® and Oscar artist and founder of the Born This Way foundation.

Megan Rapinoe and Shannon Boxx: Four-time World Cup champions, fighting for equal pay.

Olivia Wilde: Actor and director known for her feature debut “Booksmart”.

Diane von Fürstenberg: Fashion designer and founder of the DVF Awards.

Elizabeth Banks: Actor and director of “Pitch Perfect 2” and “Charlie’s Angels”.

Alicia Keys: GRAMMY® winning artist, touching hearts and inspiring the world through her art.

Lily Singh: The first LGBTQ woman to host a network late-night talk show in 30 years.

Audrey Gelman: C.E.O and first visibly pregnant woman featured on a business magazine cover.

Black Mamba: South Africa’s women-run anti-poaching unit.

Victoria Monét: On-the-rise artist and GRAMMY® nominee, known for her hit songwriting.

Tarana Burke: Founder of The ‘me too.’ Movement.

DJ Switch: A 12-year-old DJ and founder of the DJ Switch Foundation for education.

This was a very well thought out advert by Apple managing to celebrate women that awards shows have not this year. There is a great variety of sexuality, race and nationality represented in the advert which is great to see also. I also love the choice of music featuring Flawless by Beyonce in the background, who is also a powerful woman in the industry and has many empowering songs.

Loser: PSNI

I mean I’m sorry but I’m not sure who thought this was a good idea. I hate posting negatively about local companies but I couldn’t not talk about this as EVERYONE on Twitter was talking about it. The International WOMEN’S Day Event included the female staff having to nominate their MALE colleagues. Yes on International Women’s Day, women had to nominate men. The whole point of the day was kind of missed with this campaign. In a follow up video a representative tried to defend the campaign as supporting ‘equality’ of both genders in the PSNI but viewers weren’t impressed.

Is Disney’s ‘Onward’ a Step in the Right Direction for Inclusion or Another Example of Blatant Tokenism?

So I wasn’t sure whether to talk about this subject today, but it’s something that’s extremely important to me so I felt I should share my perspective. So when I heard that Disney Pixar was incorporating an LGBTQ+ character into it’s latest film I was obviously very excited by this prospect. Especially when I found out it was going to be a female character. But this is a prime example of expectations versus reality. Whilst I was expecting some beautiful Disney gay princess this is what we got:

So I have multiple issues with this:

The Appearance

Whilst I was expecting some beautiful and gorgeous Disney princess, I got this. I’m not saying this character couldn’t be considered beautiful but I don’t think young girls are going to see her as a role model. Her one eye and manly figure wouldn’t look out of place in Monsters Inc. and just feeds into negative portrayals of the LGBTQ+ community.

The Stereotypes

Obviously because the character is a lesbian she had to be very butch because apparently femmes don’t exist in the world of Disney and also a police officer. I mean could you get anymore stereotypical. I’m imagining a few Disney executives sitting in a room and thinking ‘What job would a lesbian have?’ Oh yes a police officer.

The Small Screen Time

Whilst I haven’t personally seen the movie and don’t plan to, I have heard that this character is only a side character and doesn’t have that much screen time or exploration. Appearing in one scene and casually throwing in a comment about her ‘girlfriend’ to get across that she’s gay. I think if Disney were really going to commit to this cause they could have at least gave us a main character and a little more exploration or character arc. Just another example of a brand/franchise throwing in a token LGBTQ+ personality to please both sides of the argument, whilst not upsetting traditional parents.

Maybe I’m being too harsh and other members of the LGBTQ+ community are just pleased to have been included but I feel the character is not an accurate representation of our community and is painted to look like some sort of freak. I feel this is a blatant example of lazy tokenism with a big company just trying to please everyone by I throwing in a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ LGBTQ+ moment. Can we please try and do better for our LGBTQ+ characters in Film and Television.

Tesco Proves Every Little Does When It Comes To Diversifying Their Product Range.

This week Tesco made headlines with a new addition their Health and Beauty Product Range. A new line of plasters which provided colour options in light, medium and dark. Something which has never before been done by a UK Supermarket chain and is a huge step in the right direction for inclusion of people of colour in the UK.

Whilst this might seem like only a small change to their product selection, it has received rave reviews from people of colour who hadn’t been able to find skin tone matching plasters before. The plasters also show the power of social media, as the product was developed as a response to an emotional tweet from a US Man who was able to find a ‘band aid’ in his own skin tone for the first time.

Nicola Robinson, Tesco’s health, beauty and wellness director, said: “As one of the largest retailers in the UK, we understand that we have a responsibility to ensure our products reflect the diversity of our customers and colleagues.

“We believe the launch of our new skin tone plaster range is an important step and a move that we hope will be replicated by other retailers and supermarkets across the country.”

Tesco, which is the UK’s biggest seller of own-brand plasters, said its new plasters would be available at all of its 741 UK stores.

The step to add these plasters to the range is a step in the right direction for Tesco’s representing all their customers and comes after fashion brands have been expanding their underwear ‘nude’ ranges and makeup lines have introduced larger shade ranges to incorporate all skin tones.

Hopefully this addition will see more larger companies follow suit and diversify their product range.

Mouldy Whopper: A Good PR Campaign or Simply Disgusting?

So a campaign that really caught my eye this week, was surprise surprise Burger King’s latest advertising campaign which has been widely talked about on social media. On first look it looks like it might be a campaign for Food expiry dates, spores included but it’s actually Burger King’s take on advertising their popular Whopper burger.

The Ad seeks to prove that Burger King’s food is fresh, by showing a Whopper Burger after 34 days, including an online video of the burgers decaying process. From the outset this might seem like a disgusting way to let customers know their food is fresh.

But actually in traditional Burger King style it’s another little dig at their competitor McDonalds. In November 2019 a video was posted online of a McDonald’s burger decaying over 10 years – spoiler alert it looked exactly the same after 10 years. See for yourself

So this Burger King campaign is a clever clapback to questions about the freshness of McDonalds food. But is an appealing ad campaign? Not really is the answer, most customers have expressed that seeing a mouldy burger wouldn’t want to make them run out and buy a whopper in a hurry. Clever yes, appetising, no.

Why Mixed Messages Mean Bad PR for Starbucks?

So if you’ve seen the recent Starbucks #whatsyourname Ad Campaign you probably know its a huge step in the right direction for Trans Rights. The campaign depicts a Trans male being able to choose his own name at the Starbucks counter when ordering a drink despite being upset at being called his birth name on other occasions. Watch the ad here:

When I saw the advert I thought this is amazing, what a positive and inclusive message for a huge company to be promoting. A massive win for advertising inclusivity in the LGBTQ+ community, something a lot of my research focuses on.

But then I was shocked to read that although Starbucks is promoting Trans inclusivity on a national scale they don’t have the same rules for their own employees. Former Starbucks employee Maddie Wade has spoken out against the company who she previously sued for misgendering and discriminating against her as a transgender woman.

Wade’s attorney, Arnold Peter, issued a statement calling the ad “a cruel slap in the face to their own employees who have faced hateful and derogatory discrimination in the workplace. The company’s attempt at marketing their position on inclusion and gender equality is both phony and hypocritical to their own employees who have faced discrimination while working in their stores.”

Other past employees have spoken out about their struggle to get gender reassignment surgeries covered. Many people joined the company after it announced it would be expanding its’ health insurance plan to cover top surgery and facial feminisation but this surgery was not obtained by employees.

Other employees have spoken out about not being able to use their chosen name within the company without first obtaining a legal name change, often a lengthy and costly process.

My take on this, maybe have a look at your internal affairs and what you can do for your employees who commit to building your business everyday before you try and cash in on the pink pound by releasing a hypocritical ad campaign.

Are ASOS Leading The Way For Innovation In Fashion E-Commerce?

If you are on Linkedin or follow fast fashion business you may have seen ASOS’s latest development, which looks like a step in the right direction for improving the shopping experience and usability of their site for the consumer. The new AR feature aptly named ‘See My Fit’ allows customers to see a simulated view of a product on models of different sizes. There are 16 different sized models to choose from ranging from size 4 to 18. So far the response seems to be have been overwhelming positive and it looks to be a great development for the company. Here are some other useful ASOS tools that make the company one of the most forward thinking and innovative in the business in my opinion:

Fit Assistant

ASOS Fit Assistant is a tool I use quite a bit on the site, while some retailers might have a generic size guide. ASOS go one step further and ask you a series of questions about what brands you wear and what sizes you wear in these brands. It then compares this data to people who wear that size in another brand, what size they bought in this product and whether they returned it. Giving you an overall percentage of customers that were that size, that bought the product and were happy with it. I think this a great way to use customer data for helping inform customers in their purchases. The fit assistant also saves your information to your account so that anytime you click on a product it recommends your size to you. Really great use of technology there.

Buy The Look

Ever see an top you like on a model, but love the shoes and jacket they’ve paired with it? Only to spend ages looking for the jacket on the site, after typing a variety of possible keywords. ASOS takes the hassle out of this for you and offers you the option to ‘Buy the look’ where you can click into the items paired together and automatically add them to your basket. This takes out the time spent browsing and often getting frustrated on the site.

Boards

ASOS takes saving items to your favourites one step further by allowing you to create ‘boards’ which you can name and then also share with friends. This feature is great for creating a wishlist to share with friends/family or also for shopping for a particular occasion so you can see all your options together, such as a wedding, formal, birthday etc.

Virtual Catwalk

ASOS has their first stint with AR back in July of this year when they realised their Virtual Catwalk tool which allows consumers to view a model walking the runway through their camera. You are able to see the model place them on the floor and then move the model around. This was another step in the right direction for the brand to keep up with popular technological advances and certainly had people talking about the brand.

Personalised Recommendations

One of the main things I love about ASOS and rarely see on other sites is the level of personalisation in their recommendations within the app. Especially the many different categories provided. Today when I logged onto the app I could see:

  • Alternatives for ‘Sold Out Stuff’ in Your Saved Items
  • Similar Vibes To Your Saved Items
  • We Found These For You In The Sale
  • Styles Based on Your Shopping Habits
  • Key Picks From Categories You’ve Been Looking At

I absolutely love that ASOS takes the effort out of online shopping for me and usually the recommendations are pretty accurate of brands I like and buy from and style I’ve been looking at. I especially love that they recommend alternatives to sold out items which you have saved. This is extremely clever and saves me a lot of time in the purchasing process.

Overall I think the innovation and use of technology shown by ASOS on their E-Commerce site pits them far beyond their competitors and shows as a brand they consider their customers purchase journey and buying experience. Customers value the personalised touches and ASOS goes the extra mile to take the hassle out of online shopping, other brands take note.

Are Influencers Moving Away From Instagram and Towards TikTok? What does this mean for brands?

So over the Christmas break I’ve had some extra time on my hands, some might say too much time. So I decided to download TikTok to see what the hype was about and I’ve well and truly fell down a rabbit hole. Rengade is stuck in my head and I’m now Charli D’amelio’s biggest fan. (You will only get these references if you’re a TikToker like me x). For someone who is basically obsessed with Instagram, I never thought I would say this, but I now spend more time on TikTok. Something I have noticed is as a 21 year old, I’m one of the oldest people on the platform. The majority of people I see on the ‘For You Page’ (basically like Instagram explore page) are like 14-19 and a lot of videos revolve around things to do with being at school.But aside from that I still love it and I’ve also got some of my friends addicted now too.

One thing is certain you can’t deny TikTok’s influence, through it’s growth in 2019. The platform was the most downloaded app in 2019. With Youtube being the second most downloaded app – it shows a move towards video content being preferable for consumers.

Along with the popularity of TikTok comes a new class of even younger and more popular influencers. The group named ‘The Hype House’ consists of 19, 15-22 year olds living in LA with a combined TikTok following of 66.4 million. So they have major influence, see some of the members pictured below.

So what is TikTok all about, Tik Tok is solely a video platform similar to Vine which allows users to record 15 second videos or combine videos for a 60 second video. Trends on the platform include dance videos, lipsyncs, comedy videos and makeup videos aptly named ‘Tik- tourials’.

Currently there isn’t a huge influx of ads and branded content on TikTok and most of the popular videos are organic content or variations of a trend. I have seen a few ads on the platform, similarly to Instagram mostly beauty and fashion related, such as an influencer wearing a particular band of clothing and tagging the brand in the video. However it is no where near on the scale of what ad’s are on Instagram. A lot of popular TikTik stars have been promoting their Instagram and Youtube accounts, to build their following off TikTok also to be able to monetise on it. Unlike Youtube TikTok does not offer any monetisation options to add adverts to your videos, but this creates a more user friendly platform and is probably the reason why it is so popular.

So what should brands do if they want to capitalise on this popular platform, here are my top 3 tips:

Consider their audience: Brands need to take into account that the biggest age group on TikTok is 16-24 and possibly younger. If their product or service is aimed at an older age group, then TikTok might not be the platform you.

Tread carefully: As advertising and paid content is not that popular on TikTok yet, brands should tread very carefully, as this could come across as unauthentic and would actually be a turn off for potential customers. Brands should make sure any product placement fits in naturally with content which is commonly produced on TikTok.

Research: The type of content on TikTok is completely different to that on any other social platform, so brands should definitely do their research before blindly posting. Checking out trends and the type of videos which make it to the for you page. Two brands which are killing it right now on TikTok in my opinion are Asos and Pretty Little Thing. Check out their accounts for some inspo.

I definitely think in the next few months we will say way more brands using TikTok and TikTok influencers as part of their marketing strategy and as long as this is done carefully and considerately it could be a huge win for the industry.

The Power of Social Media For A Cause – Digg Mission Christmas

Many critics have been quick to dismiss the power of the ‘Social Media Influencer’. Often celebrity influencers can give Instagram promotion a bad rap. But this week the power of social media was proven to me in a campaign for a cause within Northern Ireland.

Digg Childrenswear is a designer kids clothing specialist based in Dungannon and owned by Caroline O’Neill. Caroline has a large platform on her Instagram page and has recently been involved in Co-founding the NI Social Media Awards.

It came to Caroline’s attention that the donation box for Cash For Kids in her store was looking a little empty compared to other years, as Caroline had been off having a baby and was unable to promote it.

If you are unfamiliar with Cash For Kids, it is a Uk Charity which provides presents for children who won’t otherwise get any presents on Christmas. The NI Mission Christmas Scheme is supported by Cool FM and Downtown Radio. It has been noted that there has been 16,000 applications this year for children who require presents and the mission is to fulfil this.

Not wanting to see children going without presents this Christmas, Caroline put out a link on her social media asking for donations. In her Instagram story she notes that she hoped to raise about £500 and be able to buy some gifts to donate to Cash For Kids. Well Caroline raised an amazing £20,000 for Cash For Kids and is still receiving donations.

Caroline has now enlisted the help of some popular social media influencers who are friends of hers to shop for the presents. Each receiving £1,000 and either the 0-18 month or 14-18 years age category, (as these are the most sparse categories at the Cash For Kids Warehouse) the girls have been charting their journey on social media using the hashtag -DiggMissionChristmas.

Local businesses have also been getting involved by messaging the shoppers on social media offering generous donations or discounts.

It is really humbling to see an often criticised social media platform being used for good at a vulnerable time of year for many people. I am so impressed at the effort that the shoppers have been putting into getting their gifts and the generosity of many local businesses and most of all to Caroline for using her platform to launch this amazing campaign.

To donate to Digg Mission Christmas head to:

https://www.paypal.me/missionchristmasdigg?locale.x=en_GB