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, […]

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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.

Trends In Content: 02 Instagram Football, Bots and Jay-Z on QVC?


Photo Credit: Viceland

It’s the next installment of our weekly series looking at content, trends, tech and creative inspiration.

TREND: Home shopping and album exclusives 

You’re too young to imagine buying something on a home shopping channel. You’re too cool you say, you’re too hip with your apps and next-day Amazon fulfillment. But with QVC buying Home Shopping Network for $2.1 Billion, a lot of people are buying a lot of stuff on their TVs, and it (soon) could be you.

With Jay-Z (47 years old) releasing his album 4:44 exclusively on Tidal, could there come a time when his aging user-base buys it exclusively from the home shopping network? With the average QVC customer averaging 50 years old, that time is closer than you think.


CONTENT: Football publisher over creates on Instagram content

Instagram is a major strategic focus for Bleacher Report, the football network has nearly 500K followers. For all their off the cuff posts, there’s a rigid program of over-creation happening behind the scenes. Monetisation is tricky for Instagram heavy publishers, as their audience doesn’t bother visiting their website. Bleacher Report is starting to collaborate with brands in order to create an additional revenue stream. Can football memes and content formats do the trick?


TECH: RED Cameras is making a holographic modular phone

I thought that when Google gave up trying to crack the modular smartphone after their Project Ara, that we had seen the end of modular tech. The design challenges proved too great for what seemed like little customer pay-off. People are happy to buy a new iPhone rather than upgrade it.

But now RED the camera manufacturer is making a high-end phone for videographers, breaking into a new tech category isn’t easy, particularly mobile phones. But modularity gives companies an opportunity to sell a whole eco-system of products and control pricing.

Airbus is also toying with the concept of a modular plane. Could our future be a modular one?


UNEXPECTED: We have a problem with bots

Bots used in support of the Trump campaign fell silent when he won the election. Now they are back but this time in France, targeting Macron – Think Progress. The study goes on to “suggest the possible existence of a black-market for reusable political disinformation bots” – University of South Carolina. These bots hold no national allegiance and whoever is controlling them is likely doing it for profit, not patriotism.

Is our growing threat from bots an opportunity for brands? Will there be a day when a brand creates their own swarm of bots to protect their online reputation or to attack their competitors? Could bots be used for good as well as political dis-information? Perhaps we may see a brand win a way into our hearts and stand up to these online bullies and spammers.


WATCH: What would Diplo do?

Diplo is an artist who really gets content. He makes music bought by cool, young kids. He’s got to stay relevant, the best way to do that is to not take himself too seriously and use his brand to pump out some really fresh content. This new series from VICE sees Dawson’s Creek James Van Der Beek play Diplo and be hilarious doing it. Be warned this will be a meme/reaction gif generating machine.

Bonus round – Did you watch the Major Lazer cartoon? It’s aces.

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.

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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.

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