Immersive Tech Meets Sustainability

By Sheila McLean, NA Citizenship & Sustainability Practice Director, MSL Much has been said and written about how immersive tech will transform the communications industry, ushering in a new era of evolved storytelling. While that is true, it will also considerably impact – and transform – social purpose in sectors like food and beverage. Imagine, […]

The post Immersive Tech Meets Sustainability appeared first on MSLGROUP’s Blog Critical Conversations: Critical Conversations.

Friday Reading #101

After a brief break following the publication of our 100th edition magazine, we’re back in your inbox! Who was lucky enough to get a copy of the magazine? If any email subscribers didn’t, and would like one, email us at with your postal address and we’ll be happy to pop one in the post for you. Since we last spoke, we’ve had Campaign visit our (suddenly remarkably tidy) office – and thrown a thank you party for our media owner friends and partners to celebrate our first independence day as a fully, 100%, no minority stake in sight indie agency. Did anyone catch Big Bob on the hog roast?

We all read stories online about therapy dogs (and actually,
even a duck
found its way onto a plane once) but some airports in the US, including
Cincinnati/ Northern Kentucky, have introduced teeny tiny horses
as emotional support animals
for nervous flyers. Twice a month Seven Oaks
Farm in Northern Kentucky send 34 mini horses to trot around the airport in
order to sooth the stresses and anxiety of those flying nerves. Brands are
paying attention to the consumer interest in the importance of managing mental
health alongside physical health & initiatives and programs that are
addressing these emotional needs are likely to bring significant attention.
Just look at their little faces…

As more and more people personalise their news feed and
iPhone screen to hone in on how they like to read their news, a new app has
been developed to help people see the news from more ends of the spectrum. Read
Across The Aisle, born out of the American election, is designed to help people break out of their “filter bubble” – giving people a more hollisitic view of news and diverse point of
view. The platform has the ability to track a user’s reading habits to monitor
what their political stances are then find other, reliable news sources that
vary across the spectrum. Although it may be uncomfortable, it is important.

This one is sure to be music to the ears of Amazon, but flies in the face of everything we know about the power of brands in FMCG. The inventively named Brandless is a new e-comms business which aims to upturn the established retail model and sell directly to consumers in the same way Harry’s have done for shaving, and eve for mattresses. Selling a range of 115 food and household products for less than $3 each will undoubtedly win some fans, but it’s unlikely to have a major impact on the established commercial brands who already command significant price and share premiums over ‘unbranded’ supermarket value ranges. That said, as Amazon – with their powerful brand and distribution channels – continue to move into groceries, this is definitely one they’ll be watching closely.

Official portraits can tell you a lot about their subjects, the subtle symbolism building the wider picture of how that person wants to be portrayed. The election of Emmanuel Macron was seen widely as a triumph of centrism against the shifts to the right and left seen in the UK and US elections – and Quartz have had an interesting look at the signs of this in his recently revealed state portrait. from the balance of the EU and French flags, to the books and iPhone’s on his desk.

Instagram vs. Snapchat: Who’s Doing It Better?

Instagram has figured out a way to capitalize on existing ideas, and make them their own. But who’s doing it better? Instagram or Snapchat?

It’s no secret that Instagram has been making a name for itself as the “The Fat Jewish” of the social space in recent months. They’ve essentially copied others’ work, but are managing to do it better, or at least better than Snapchat.

How is Instagram Succeeding?

Much like the instafamous account, Instagram has figured out a way to capitalize on existing ideas, and have succeeded in making them their own by sharing them with their enormous audience.

What’s New?

This spring, Instagram introduced Direct, the uncannily similar tool that allows users to send photos and videos to friends that disappear after a few seconds, like the claim to fame feature of Snapchat.

Not to be outdone, Snapchat is rolling out Paperclip, a new feature that allows publishers to link to websites within their stories. This could be a game changer for Snapchat users who can now drive traffic to their sites without needing to buy an ad. And, for brands that don’t have large social media budgets, this will most likely drive large volumes of organic traffic. Lastly,  the update gives Snapchat a leg-up on Instagram’s “link in bio” system.

What Does This Mean for Advertisers?

As they say, competition breeds success, and that’s exactly what’s happening here. The ongoing rivalry between Snapchat and Instagram is making advertising easier and more effective on both channels. Now, with so many brands vying for the attention of their cherished viewers, advertisers have more placements for their ads and more options for creative.  

It’s clear, social advertising is the future. With the rate of brands advertising on social consistently rising every month, channels will have to continue to improve and create innovative options to stay at the top. Is your brand advertising on social yet?

Final Thoughts

So, with all these new features, who’s coming out on top?

With over 250 million users actively engaging with Instagram stories (100 million more than Snapchat), IG has clearly won this battle. However, with all of Snapchat’s new features continuing to roll out (voice filters, Snap Map, backgrounds, Paperclip), there’s no saying who will win the war.

Lauren Mello is a Social Specialist at Genuine where she assists in the strategic preparation and management of social profiles for Genuine’s clients.

Want to learn more? Check out our other blogs.

The post Instagram vs. Snapchat: Who’s Doing It Better? appeared first on Genuine.

Four Tips for Taking Delicious Food Photos on Instagram

By Gillian Stippa, Photographer

If you’re on Instagram, then you’ve experienced food envy. That conflicted feeling of desire and jealousy that whatever your friend is eating is more delicious than anything you’ve ever tasted before. Want to elicit the same reaction from your friends or followers? Just follow these simple tips for drool-inducing food photography:

1.    Use Natural Light

Shoot in natural light. This could be outside in the shade, or inside near a window. Avoid shooting in the same direction of the light. In other words, use directional light, make sure the light is coming from the side or the front of the product/food. Avoid using a flash, especially if using a cell phone to take a photo.

2.    Point of View

Overhead photos are received very well and are usually the safest bet. If you do shoot from another angle, try 90 or 45 degrees. Always make sure the background is blurred so that the product is the main focus. If using a DSLR camera this is done by widening the aperture (f/5.0)

3.    Take time to Compose your image

Overcrowding your image is a common mistake. Instead, play around with negative space to balance your image. Think about plating – does the dish complement the food? Is the surface distracting from the food? Style your food, but don’t obsess over perfectly placed parsley or pristine plate because keeping it real often makes for the best photo. Remember that you are creating art, whose function is “to present what the narrow and desperately practical perspectives of real life exclude.” 

4.    Tell a Story

Find your aesthetic niche. With each image try to answer the question, what is my story? Make sure your images look great as one cohesive piece. Think of each photo as one note of the symphony, and make sure you have a consistent finish or look.  

Interested in professional food photography? Contact us to find out more.

We respect your privacy.

Thank you!

Trends In Content: 01 Addictive Tech, FB TV and Lego Cats


Photo Credit: ThisBugsLife.

In the first of our new series, Karel and Sarah from the Content Team will be bringing you our weekly highlights. Expect a mix of interesting reads plus trends from the worlds of content and technology. We’ll also be throwing you a healthy dose of creative inspiration and topping it off with our (hopefully) funny take on an industry buzzword.

WATCH: Scott Galloway Why Technology Is Irresistible (See below)

Half of teens are addicted to their mobile, the average Brit spends 2hrs a day purely on their phone.

How do you make your next tech product irresistible?

  • Make rewards intermittent and unpredictable, like a slot machine
  • Build in social functionality where possible; case study hipstamatic vs. Instagram
  • Seeing the Likes on one of your posts go up gives you a shot of dopamine (the stuff that makes your brain addicted)

TREND: Welcome to Facebook TV: Social Media Meets Original Programming

Targeting the broadest demographic of 13-34 year olds who like comedy and reality TV, Facebook is setting up to launch itself as an original content publisher, hoping to rival Netflix and Amazon.

CONTENT: Make Branded Content People Actually Care About

Brands that are winning online are consumer centric. What does that mean? It means you entertain your audience, not advertise to them… like Coca-Cola.


  • Allow people to talk about themselves
  • Make people feel a part of something
  • They’re new and surprise people

UNEXPECTED: Lego models of cats

You can now buy nonofficial lego models of cats. While it’s cool, we can’t help but wonder if Lego have missed a trick. Boo the most famous dog in the world has 17m fans on Facebook – why doesn’t Lego release sets for the most famous cats and dogs on Instagram? The animal influencers would even do the job of marketing the product to their already engaged fanbases.

WATCH: Jonas Lindstroem’s Truth or Dare 21 Performances

Not totally SFW but we love it so much we just had to share it. It’s intense, eye-ball grabbing snapshots into our modern life. For any Kendrick Lamar fans out there, Jonas directed the recent ELEMENT music video.

Buzzword Basher: Media Agnostic

Noun: a person who believes that the existence of advertising cannot be proven, regardless of irrefutable proof; they remain skeptical.