#NoLikesNeeded here.


Social media has created many positive moments for self-expression but a dark side to sharing exists especially for young women and their lack of body positivity on their own social media posts. In the UK research of young women has shown that 6 out of 10  girls feel their prettiest online, that they feel even prettier if they get more Instagram likes on a selfie and feel bad about their appearance if they don’t.

Dove like yourself campaign

One brand railing against this worrying trend is Dove who consistently use all their media channels to incite debate and thought around women’s self-esteem & body issues.                A statement from Dove reveals that “The consequence is that a girl’s presence and participation in social media can become so carefully constructed that it no longer represents the reality of her life, with the average girl taking 12 minutes to prepare for a single ‘selfie,’” .

Turning the trend for social “like chasing” on its head –  their latest campaign takes this shocking research and translates it into a powerful online statement. Dove are encouraging people to show body positivity  by sharing posts with the brand hashtag #NoLikesNeeded and to help promote self-love by NOT liking a friends post if you see this # in use.


It’s a bold move for a brand to look at the negative aspects of social media and encourage people to reconsider their true motives with social posting but its a fantastic initiative built around very worrying research. By putting its millennial target base first and creating content that speaks directly to their consumer issues Dove is hoping that they can use social media to have a positive impact and that’s a great thing indeed.


Dubstep & Penguins: Creating Digital Impact This Holiday Season


A large supermarket retailer in the UK released its latest holiday ad offering this week to much fanfare. The one key difference for this campaign is that they released it ENTIRELY via digital media.

In the first week of the Sainsbury’s online video being available its racked up over 1m views alone on You Tube and over 1m views on Facebook. Its lo fi “non ad” production quality and cultural nods to the popularity of dubstep in the UK are helping to make it a viral success and gain traction during a busy and noisy ad period.


The trend for retailers to create elaborate holiday campaigns isn’t a new one nor is it showing any signs of slowing down but what’s interesting is the shift from creating heartfelt TV ads with a social effort on the side to full scale digital focused marketing campaigns where TV is only a part of the story.

The fact is that digital ad spending is on the rise whilst TV ad spending slows down. According to the Wall Street Journal and Magna Global  “Mobile and social media were the primary drivers behind digital media’s 17% growth in ad dollars this year” The firm expects global digital revenues to reach 30% of total ad revenues in 2015, and to catch up with television in 2019.” These figures have a massive impact for brands and agencies who are not focusing their creative attention and ad budgets on the digital space and creating immersive brand experiences.

Ads have to work harder than ever nowadays to have impact, be more viral and likeable in order to deliver returns to marketers. This time of year in particular makes standing out hard. The more brands invest in sharing emotional stories that can resonate with an audience on a multitude of levels and platforms the more success will be found. We already know from research that emotional and positive stories are shared more frequently than negative ones – its one of the major factors in getting content to go viral.

Take John lewis for example and their recently debuted  “Monty the Penguin” Holiday Ad. This tearjerker of a campaign was akin to that of a movie production with a budget of over $7m, teaser trailers, a hit soundtrack featuring a young up and coming artist,  a primetime TV spot (and ensuing feature on a hit tv show) and a supportive outdoor campaign. However the agency chose to debut the concept via twitter, which had the #montythepenguin trending and captured peoples attention before the ad had even aired and as a result drove increased interest in the brand, the penguin’s profile on twitter now has over 32k followers actively engaging with the brand character.

This digital juggernaut of a campaign barely mentions the brand and isn’t promotional at all, yet it has a reach that is currently sitting at over 19m views on You Tube, 150k likes and 159k shares on Facebook. Many stores have sold out of the accompanying merchandise (another play taken from the movie studios) because really, who doesn’t want a cute fluffy toy penguin for Christmas? The proof is in the pudding – sales for the retailer are up YOY by 5.1%  and 17% online giving it a great start to the holiday trading season.


Now there’s no doubt John Lewis has seen such huge success because it fully invested all its marketing and $ resources into this campaign. They didn’t just make a cute ad, post it online and hope it would go viral for their brand – they created a full 360 digital marketing campaign that supported and promoted the brand message at every possible turn – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Social advertising, You Tube, outdoor, PR, TV, charity partnerships, and in-store merchandise too. This was a carefully thought out and well executed campaign.

In summary the delivery of great content and sharing it online is only the beginning of a successful digital campaign, brands need to think about, and have answers too, the bigger questions. Why would a consumer care about this content? Why would they want to share and engage with it? How can I make this a seamless and enjoyable experience for them? Investing in creating a full 360 marketing & advertising strategy that not only answers these questions but supports the content with marketing spend and sales promotion is the key to making an even bigger impact – no matter the time of year but especially during the holiday’s.


IS it time to break up with Facebook-

Last week Facebook announced that it was making changes to brands promotional posts  and how often these will be viewed in a fans newsfeed. What’s deemed a promotional post? Well for Facebook these are determined as posts that do these 3 things:

  1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  2. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

So why should I as a brand marketer care about this? Well Facebook is basically forcing brands to engage in PAID placements to maintain social presence rather than relying on their existing organic reach.  The reality is that currently your Facebook posts are only being seen by 1-2% of your total follower base and according to an Ogilvy study this organic reach number has been falling by 0.5% EVERY MONTH and could even hit zero.

So given the above stats why bother with Facebook at all? Whilst its true there are other social platforms out there that will continue to allow you to promote your products (like Pinterest) and grow your following through image curation and ambassador relationships (Instagram) and yes of course you should be investing your social energy into these – Facebook will still be relevant to your marketing strategy and you can still make it work.

How? Your content output will certainly have to change. Questions, competitions & flat images will be out, focusing on creating less but better quality content will be in – generating engaging stories around your brand AND involving your fans in this storytelling. Investing in a video marketing strategy to drive reach and engagement  –  Video is an incredibly powerful mechanism to communicate a brands values and its currently underused by a large portion of brands. Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has even stated that he expects most Facebook content will be video based in 5 years time.

Facebook has also proved itself to be an incredibly useful customer service tool and consumers will continue to seek out brands that can give them support or help socially. Investing your time on Facebook in improving customer service responses and being proactive to comments & posts will reap rewards.

Adapting your social marketing strategy to the times and trends will allow you to continue to reach and even grow your hard earned followers, otherwise expect to see a steep decline in your organic reach very soon.

How a 4 yr old won the Instagram game.



In the frenetic and short attention span of the social media world its almost impossible to stand out and make an impression but its not unheard of. I read this amazing article yesterday from the Huffington Post about a 4 yr old photographer, Hawkeye Huey, who through his natural ability and interest in analog photography has taken the Instagram platform by storm. Its a fascinating and beautiful story of a talent being nurtured and shared online by a father who also happens to be a National Geographic photographer.

So how exactly did a 4 yr old gain a follower base of over 38k in a matter of weeks? And what can a brand learn from this little artist? The key elements here to the success of Huey’s Instagram account are two fold 1) Authenticity and 2) Story.

Lets Start With 1) Authenticity.

In the social media game authenticity is EVERYTHING. All the images on Huey’s account are taken by Huey or are of Huey in action. There’s no manipulation or even digital trickery here – these are analog images, simply shared on a digital platform. In the photography world image manipulation is at an all time high and so for the viewer its refreshing for them to see authentic art created by someone who is doing it simply for the LOVE of the act. Huey is 4 – he isn’t creating these images because he will win some internet popularity contest or it will secure him his next big contract – he’s doing simply because he wants to and because he enjoys it. He’s sharing his point of view and his followers resonate with this completely authentic message. If your message is NOT true to your brand then it will not resonate and people will not engage with it.

Which Brings Me Onto Point 2) His Story.

Huey is 4 (only 4! Just let that sink in for a minute!) and he is already creating images that MANY of us wish we were capable of making. How many of us are lucky enough to find something we are so passionate about at such a young age? Its a very powerful story and as a follower knowing it makes his art that much more enjoyable.

Now you can argue that there are those who are only following due to the “cute celeb” factor – because Huey was featured in a news article or because he’s 4 and pretty darn cute and you might be right initially but I believe that people will continue to follow and engage with the images because they are good. Huey is not a flash in the pan – this is not a marketing stunt – he will continue to create beautiful images and so there is longevity in his story.

The Bottom Line

If your story is what drew people to you in the first place then your follow up work also better be good enough to keep them engaged because in this digital age retaining someone’s attention for longer than 5 mins is a challenge. Its not enough to just have a great story – its how you share it and embody it in EVERYTHING that you create moving forward.

To follow Huey on his photographic journey click here. For more  Social Media tips & tricks and interesting brand stories follow us on twitter @Howesocial or join us on Facebook here.

How a social phenomenon can inspire your next big idea…


WaterstonesAirbnb-20141022020304384A week ago there was an amusing incident involving  a US tourist getting himself accidentally locked in the Trafalger Sq branch of British bookseller Waterstones overnight. According to The Guardian David Willis had been browsing in Waterstones in Trafalgar Square on Thursday night, but went downstairs shortly after 9pm to find the lights out and the shop deserted. His calls to security & police went unanswered and he was trapped until he took to Twitter to share his plight.

Becoming an instant twitter sensation David’s original tweet was retweeted 17 thousand times and sparked a trending hastag of #freethewaterstones1

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This great graphic from the folks over at Twitter Reverb shows you just how much traction this incident got in a single 24 hour period!

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Finally after a few hours David was released from the store  and Waterstones were quick to respond socially to all the tweets:

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However what they probably didn’t account for was the fact that the response on twitter  to David’s plight was largely positive with many people (myself included!!) wishing it had been them in his exact situation – getting to spend a whole night in a quiet bookstore is a fantasy for many people!!

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As a brand they could have ended it there  – chalking it up as a fun social incident but instead Waterstones have cleverly taken this moment and turned it into an innovative brand marketing opportunity. Building on the social traction already in place they quickly created a competition where you can win a sleepover at their flagship store in London and they partnered with Airbnb Uk to enable this.

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Bookstores have had a tough time of it in the past few years  with many failing to find ways to market and appeal to the new social generation but Waterstones has cleverly sidestepped these issues by engaging socially and rapidly responding  to what could have been a PR disaster in a lighthearted and humorous tone which undoubtedly won them over new fans. Through their partnership with a influential millennial brand for this competition they get to expand their audience reach and by creating a unique experience they can shift some category perceptions that bookstores are stuffy places to hang out.

This is a great case study for how social media could inspire your next big marketing idea if you dare to think big enough.

Creating Buzz Around Ugly Fruit!


I was vacationing in France recently when this amazing campaign  from the French supermarket giant Intermarche caught my eye and it wasn’t long before it was all over my social feeds as well. Its brilliant re-marketing of wasted fruit & veg leaves you wondering – does everything always have to be perfect?

This is another perfect example of how a simple idea can catch on and go instantly viral. So what makes an idea like this go viral? At its core was a simple idea, a positive  feel good message and a clear solution to a global issue that made it easy to comprehend for all. Tapping into these 3 things makes this an easy video to share, an easy campaign to get behind and an instant social media hit.


Print your own makeup!!


Sometimes something comes along that leaves us completely stunned! Can you imagine being able to print your own makeup, from any color you like, in any form at home?? Introducing The Mink – It can take any image and instantly transform it into a wearable color cosmetic!

The Mink debuted at techcrunch disrupt to mass acclaim.  Watch this demo video and prepare to be amazed at the forthcoming beauty revolution:

Using #’s In Social Media: A Guide


The # (hashtag) has become a ubiquitous form of communication across all social media channels – whether on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook  but what does it mean? And are you utilizing them properly? like-hashtag (image via mashable)

First up what is a #?  A hashtag turns any words immediately following it into a searchable link i.e. #justdoit . The # allows you to follow trends, enter conversations and organize your branded content and track where its being shared.

Where can I use them? Whilst they started out on twitter, hashtags are now useable & searchable on most social channels including Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, tumblr, Linked In & Vine.

So its not a fad? No, in fact 58% of people on social media use # and they are more likely to click on a #link to learn more.

Where do I start? Here’s some quick tips for getting started:

  1. Create your band campaign #  and unify all social messaging around it – it can be anything relevant to your brands messaging and content i.e. Nike & #justdoit  or Oreo and #OreoSnackHacks
  2. Make sure its unique – check for it on your social channels first to make sure its new and hasn’t been used before.
  3. Keep it short – if its too long people wont use it!
  4. Use popular # to build awareness and engage – including # like #tbt on Instagram or #protip on twitter will help your brand be a part of bigger conversations that are happening.
  5. Don’t over use the # or add in too many. Whilst you can add as many # as you like to your posts we don’t recommend more than 2-3 as you start to look spammy and engagement can drop!

Other resources to help you get started using #’s:

Mashable has a great getting started guide avail here.

Forbes has a great article here on why you should care about #.



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