In last week’s edition of Marketing Magazine it was announced that the Great British public found GoCompare.com’s operatic advert the most annoying TV advert of 2010 (59%). This was closely followed by WeBuyAnyCar.com (48%).

Although annoying, nobody can argue that these two adverts have created a significant amount of word of mouth around two brands that would ordinarily struggle for stand out. In a world where consumers are bombarded by more and more marketing messages all of the time, I’m sure we’re going to see this brash, ‘in your face’ style adopted a lot more as marketers struggle to generate cut through.

Although I’ve heard a couple of people saying they wouldn’t use GoCompare.com due to the annoying nature of their advert, I bet the vast majority of traffic that goes to the price comparison website is as a direct result.

GoCompare.com

WeBuyAnyCare.com

Advertisements

Over the last couple of months, it seems as though the country’s professional footballers have been flocking to Twitter. There have been a few high profile players using it for quite some time now with the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Darren Bent and Robbie Savage ‘Tweeting’ on a regular basis. I’m a big Middlesbrough fan and the last week alone has seen three or four players join up to the micro-blogging service.

It's evident that Umbro worked closely with Darren Bent to establish his presence on Twitter. Bent carried is username on his boots for a number of matches

Unsurprisingly, footballers have been slow to jump on the Twitter bandwagon unlike their professional sportsman counterparts from the world of cricket, golf and athletics. Many professional sports people have identified Twitter as a fantastic vehicle to attract commercial sponsorship and endorsement – things that they rely heavily upon to make ends meat. Footballers rely less on sponsorship as the bulk of their income comes from the wages that they are paid by the clubs that they play for.

From a personal point of view, as a football fan, I’m delighted to see footballers join the ‘Twittersphere’ and I believe it can have many benefits for them and for their clubs: 1) It can attract sponsorship and endorsement, 2) It gives the player an unregulated voice which they can use to set the record straight on a given issue (something that I’m sure gives many a club press officer sleepless nights), 3) It gives people a glimpse into the world of what it’s like to be a professional footballer, 4) It makes a player seem approachable and personable – footballers are idolised up and down the country by millions of kids, Twitter gives them the opportunity to interact with a player without having to stand outside a stadium on a cold Saturday afternoon with hundreds of other people.

There have been a number of instances recently that will have given Twitter a bad name within the football world. Last Sunday, Liverpool player Ryan Babel ‘Tweeted’ a picture of the referee wearing a super-imposed Manchester United shirt shortly after the two clubs met in a FA Cup tie  (many of the big decisions going against Liverpool), Babel also ‘Tweeted’: “And they call him one of the best referees. That’s a joke”. Ryan Babel’s actions have led to him being charged by the Football Association for improper conduct – the first time a player has been charged over something that they have said through social media.

The image that Ryan Babel 'Tweeted'

I’d imagine that it’s not long before the FA introduces rules/guidelines around the use of social media for people involved with the professional game. The NFL in America has already implemented rules regarding the use of social media on match days with players given hefty punishments if they break them – read about the guidelines here.

There are a handful of clubs out there that are social media savvy, but now that Twitter is very much part of everyday life, it’s time for all clubs to capitalise on this (and other social media platforms). Players shouldn’t be banned from using Twitter by their clubs and clubs shouldn’t be scared of them using this powerful medium – it can have huge benefits for them too! However, footballers need to understand the pitfalls (and associated implications) and ground rules need to be put in place) e.g. players shouldn’t be allowed to comment on tactics, injuries and unable to ‘Tweet’ for at least an hour after a game when they have re-gained their composure and thoughts.

This week, Pakistan will take on Australia in the 2nd MCC Spirit of Cricket Test Match at Headingley Carnegie Cricket Ground.

Over the last couple of months, we have been working closely with Yorkshire County Cricket Club and a number of partners and supporters to raise awareness of The Yorkshire Cricket Mela. The Cricket Mela is a festival of all things cricket, culture, community and commerce and has been taking place throughout the region in the build up to (and will continue throughout) the historic Test Match.

A host of major events have been taking place across the region as part of the Mela. Highlights include The Business of Sport Event, a national panel debate featuring high profile celebrity speakers, an exhibition at the Bradford Industrial Museum to celebrate the 107th anniversary of the Bradford Cricket League and the Business Link Eve of Test Match Dinner with special guest, Wasim Akram, at the Aagrah Mid Point restaurant.

It’s been a great project to have been involved in and we’ve secured a significant amount of coverage in national, Asian, regional and online media to create word of mouth around the Mela and indeed the Test Match (watch out for the case study soon!).

Fingers crossed that last week’s bad weather is behind us and that the sun shines down on the famous old cricket ground here in Leeds this week!

The media industry is fast moving, doubters only have to look at this year’s General Election to see this is the case. When Tony Blair was elected back into Number 10 four years ago, social media (as we know it today) was very much in its infancy. Facebook was still a closed community with only a select number of people qualifying for access (mainly students of certain Universities). Twitter launched around the same time as the last election, but it’s safe to say that it’s only really taken off over the past 18 months.
 
This year’s election is being dubbed by many commentators as the ‘People’s Election’. This was backed up by Lib Dem leader, Nick Clegg, who last week stated that the surge in his party’s opinion poll ratings has captured the nation’s imagination. Although a valid point, it could be considered a ‘people’s election’ due to other reasons, namely, the emergence of social media and the fact that people are now able to interact and share in all things ‘General Election’. Obama understood and grasped this power of the crowd and ran with it all the way to The White House. But who will succeed in Blighty?
 
The three main political parties all have a very strong social media presence (Twitter feeds for the Labour Party @uklabour, Conservative Party – @conservatives and Liberal Democrats – @libdems) and a large number of MP’s and Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPC’s) have a personal social media presence. The benefits to individuals and political parties are huge. Empowering them with greater access to people living within their constituencies, allowing them to canvas at the touch of the button, and live, real time reactions to policies and speeches. But who will understand how to really harness this to work in their favour?
 
Commentators of last year’s American presidential claimed that Twitter enabled Obama to become President because he gave the voters a voice and reached a demographic that was previously difficult to access – at the end of the election campaign, he had three times as many followers as his opponents.
 
Social media appears to be key to the reporting of this year’s election too. During the first live TV debate, a social media expert was in the studio on the ITV ‘reaction’ programme, following and tracking online word of mouth around the three leaders/political parties as it happened.
 
A number of applications have also been developed to monitor online sentiment around the three parties. A good example is Tweetminister.co.uk (currently working closely with the Independent, ITV and the Press Association) which will be conducting an experiment to see if activity on Twitter correlates to electoral success.
 
Facebook has created Democracy UK, a dedicated page to engage users. Fans can answer questions to identify their political leaning, and also take part in their own debate, commenting on questions posed while chatting in real time as the television debates take place – known as social TV. A total of 220,000 people logged in to the site to watch the second leaders’ debate with nearly 67,000 status updates.
 
All of this said, as the Financial Times recently pointed out, traditional media still rules in the ‘Twitter age’. However, it will be interesting to see if the social media strategies of the three main parties will have an impact on swing voters – particularly the younger generations.