onechocolate loves… the view from France

Our French office selected this week’s round-up of inspiring PR and digital marketing campaigns, smart new tech and cool events…

#1 Google and Levi’s are teaming up to create interactive jeans

 

After smartwatches and Google Glass, your jeans may be the next piece of clothing to help you access your tech without digging into your pockets. Levi’s is the first major American clothing designer to announce its partnership with Google’s ‘Project Jacquard’, it seeks to develop interactive clothes, woven using conductive yarns adorned with sensors discreetly integrated into buttons and seams. It gives a whole new meaning to the term wearable tech. So, are you ready to answer a call or send a text by simply touching the pocket of our jeans?

#2 Pepper, the new robot

Japanese telecom,SoftBank, began selling its Pepper robot for 198,000 yen (about $1,600) on 20th June, 2015. Pepper first debuted last year and was developed by French robotics group, Aldebaran. The robot interacts with humans verbally but is also meant to put people at ease in a more subtle way. Pepper – weighing 61 pounds and almost four feet tall – can mirror emotions and even express its own, for example, it will convey loneliness if you don’t interact with it. This emotional awareness is meant to make Pepper a better companion, because it is supposed to be fluent in the subtle forms of human communication. Robot emotions are still just simulations of human feelings. But at least robot roommates don’t leave dishes in the sink or lose the remote.

#3 #BellyButtonChallenge vs. #BoobsOverBellyButton

challenge

If you thought the ice-bucket challenge wasn’t enough to show how crazy and wacko our generation has become, we now have the Belly Button Challenge. The challenge has exploded in China, making it the number one trending topic on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter. It involves attempting to reach around your back and touch your belly button. The challenge has now reached more than 130 million hits – attracting even men – in just two days. While it appears to be nothing more than harmless fun, the challenge has been criticised in Western media for sending out negative messages about body image. Thus, another challenge has appeared, #BoobsOverBellyButton to fight back against the Belly Button Challenge. Indeed, British lingerie brand, Curvy Kate, known to promote body positivity, has countered the Belly Button Challenge. On the blog, Curvy Kate is asking women to post pictures of themselves touching their breasts to promote all body types, as well as the importance of breast exams.

#4 SNCF launches #TGVPop

On 16th June, SNCF, France’s national state-owned railway company launched a new digital campaign giving internet users the chance to start/stop a train. The first train will circulate on 5th July and the last one on 30th August. The principle is quite simple: if a passenger is interested in a train, the passenger can vote for its departure. A passenger can also invite their community to vote for the train. Once the selected itinerary has reached the required number of votes, trains go on sale and its departure is fixed four days later. Prices range from €25-€35, depending on the destination.

#5 Michel et Augustin in partnership with Starbucks

Capture

The French biscuit SME – known for its crazy communication – has just signed a partnership with Starbucks. The process happened at an incredible speed – just 48 hours. Initially, it was a mere sample request from Starbucks to send products to the corporate headquarters in Seattle. Instead, Michel et Augustin sent two of its employees to meet Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks. To publicise this meeting, the two employees of Michel et Augustin shared their journey on social media, posting videos of their adventure and mobilized their online community with the hashtag #AllezHowardUnCafé (#HowardGoesToACafe). The success was huge and this is a great example of how a social campaign can lead to a strategic brand partnership.

#6 Paris.fr updates its website

Capture

After eight years, the website of the City of Paris is getting a makeover. Launched on 24th June, by Mayor, Anne Hidalgo, this website is the digital showcase of Paris and attracts over 3.5 million visitors per month. Its goal is to bring together all the information the public will want or need to know. This refresh was needed in order to fit users’ expectations in terms of ergonomics and ease-of-use.

 

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Weekly social scoop

The latest news and developments on Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, just in case you missed them…

Weekly social scoop

#1 Twitter boss Dick Costolo steps down

By Sky News

  • After months of pressure, Dick Costolo has stepped down as CEO
  • Twitter’s active user growth has slowed in recent months, particularly in comparison to Facebook
  • Co-founder, Jack Dorsey, will step in temporarily until a permanent CEO is found
  • Following the announcement, shares in Twitter rose by more than 7% in after-hours trading on the New York Stock Exchange 

#2 Facebook’s News Feed algorithm changes

By Forbes

  • Changes to News Feed mean that Facebook will now factor in the amount of time you spend looking at posts
  • It is reported that the algorithm will even be able to tell if a user is actively looking at a post, or has simply walked away from their computer
  • This is in addition to other News Feed changes in recent months, including preferential ranking of friends’ posts over Facebook pages and downgrading the visibility of likes/comments from friends in News Feed

#3 Twitter to lift 140 character DM limit

By BBC

  • In July, Twitter will increase the DM character limit to 10,000 from 140
  • The change comes two months after the company announced that DMs could be received by anyone

#4 Facebook Open Compute Project

By Business Insider

  • Business Insider has provided a look at Facebook’s free Open Compute Project, 4 years on
  • OCP allows anyone to look at, use or modify designs of computers that businesses use to run their operations for free (affecting companies like Cisco)
  • Since it launched in 2011, OCP has saved Facebook $2 billion, created better careers for hardware designers, launched an ecosystem of products and start-ups and created a more than $1 billion business for at least one Chinese manufacturer 

#5 Snapchat adds two-factor authentication

By Gizmodo

  • Repeatedly criticised for being lax with security, Snapchat finally adds two-step authentication
  • SMS login verification is being incorporated in the latest update of the app
  • The two-factor system works by sending a text with a verification message to your mobile whenever you log in from a new device
  • The update is part of a broader drive towards building a more secure Snapping platform, which has so far seen the company introduce a bug bounty program and hire Google’s social network security guru 

#6 Instagram redesigns for the web

By The Next Web

  • Instagram’s redesign includes larger images, added white space, as well as a flatter design
  • Scrolling has also improved to make browsing through images much smoother

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Weekly social scoop

The latest news and developments on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, just in case you missed them…

Weekly social scoop

#1 Video ads are now being offered by Facebook

By The Drum

  • Videos on the site are reportedly being played 4 billion times daily, revealing untapped marketing potential
  • Facebook will cut down on feed ads and replace with video, rather than increasing Facebook’s ad capabilities
  • There is currently no word on when Facebook the video ads will come into effect

#2 LinkedIn has brought a fact-checking system

By Tech Radar

  • LinkedIn has bought a patented interactive fact-checking system that will test the ‘facts’ you add to your profile with a lie detector test
  • Profiles will be checked and any ‘lies’ will need to be verified by users
  • Any lies discovered will be prevented from being published by LinkedIn 

#3 Facebook releases smartphone app, Hello

By The Register

  • Facebook’s new app, Hello, will match numbers to friends and businesses on the social network
  • The app will allow users will be able to call each other directly from their Facebook pages and will show information on the person calling, even if the recipient doesn’t recognise the number
  • Android users are able to download Hello now from the Google Play Store. There is no word on whether an iOS version will be released

#4 YouTube App gets deleted off devices

By The Huffington Post

  • Apple devices, game consoles and smart TVs manufactured before 2013 will see YouTube automatically removed
  • The YouTube update, which is thought to happen in May, will not let the app survive on certain devices
  • Google says the move is necessary to allow the introduction of new features

#5 New mini-news hub may become Facebook’s new notifications system

By Mashable

  • Facebook is trialling a new notifications tab with content from across the whole site presented in one central place
  • Testing is currently being carried out for mobile users in the US before expansion to the rest of the world

#6 New filter and tighter rules on Twitter to crackdown on abuse

By The Guardian

  • Twitter users’ notifications will now be filtered to avoid people seeing abusive messages
  • Temporary suspension of accounts will be handed out if the rules are not followed
  • Filtered tweets will exist on the site and will not be deleted, but the targeted individual will not see them

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5 smart ways to add Meerkat into your marketing mix

Meerkat

It was the hot topic on everyone’s lips at SXSW; Meerkat, the live streaming social video app that currently has more than 120,000 users (and growing, fast). The basic principle behind the technology is that users can live stream directly to Twitter using their mobile and anyone can tune in to watch.

There is potential for Meerkat to have an enormous impact on brands’ digital marketing. However, the streaming app should not simply be viewed as a way to broadcast; it’s all about real-time interaction and engagement. The benefits for brands are plentiful; never before have brands had such insight into exactly who is watching, listening and engaging with them right at that moment. Moreover, companies have the power to schedule upcoming live streams and alert their followers with notifications on Twitter.

The fact that Twitter recently attempted (and failed) to block Meerkat from accessing its social graph, and has acquired Periscope – an app to hotly rival Meerkat for a reported $100m, clearly proves that live streaming video is a new trend that’s set to explode.

So, how do you make your mark on the hottest newbie in digital marketing? With our five smart tips of course!

#1 Events and news announcements

Live conversations are key to an event’s success, so open up your conference, speech or product release to a whole new audience, anywhere around the globe. Live video access to an event or announcement will convey a new depth of information about your brand and combining a live stream with the relevant hashtag will supercharge your reach on social.

#2 Product demonstrations and tips

Product demonstrations tie into the above point, as the unveiling of a new product is often the focus of an event. However, brands can take this even further; got a complex B2B tech product? Inviting a tech expert to do a live demonstration, answering potential and existing customers’ questions in real-time, goes beyond providing entertainment and offers something uniquely valuable to both customers and prospects.

#3 Behind-the-scenes access

People love to feel that they are part of something ‘exclusive’, so offer a fly-on-the-wall experience to build anticipation to your brand’s events or announcements. Seeing behind the scenes allows your audience to discover the ‘human’ side to your brand which, as we know, goes a very long way to building consumer trust.

#4 Promos and deals

In much the same way as Snapchat, brands can use Meerkat to offer exclusive, limited-time deals and promos. And unlike Snapchat, Meerkat has an audience in the B2B arena. Twitter is home to many business professionals and producing content that users can only get via Meerkat will help brands build a large following, right from the word go.

#5 Q&As

Live ‘ask me anythings’ are a great way for B2B brands to prove their expertise, position themselves as thought leaders and build the profile of C-level execs. Meerkat offers the opportunity to show the brand’s ‘human’ side through a Q&A with ‘unscripted’ answers in real-time.

It’s still too early to tell whether Meerkat is here to stay, or whether it will be another ‘fad’. While it can add genuine value to your marketing mix, the main barrier to brands adopting the streaming service will most likely be lack of control over content. Unlike Instagram and Snapchat, the live nature of the app prevents any editing and once it’s out there, it’s out there. However, it’s precisely this ‘realness’ that we think makes it special.

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Election 2015: A vote for social media?

Social media and politicz

We know that social media has the power to alter our personal perceptions – but will it truly influence the party we vote into power? The General Election in the UK is approaching rapidly and yet social media’s strength is still proving to be an unknown quantity. What we do know however, is that the clout of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn has grown dramatically since the last general election in 2010, when it failed to have the expected degree of impact on results.

There’s an important difference between this election and the last. Five years ago just a quarter of MPs and only one party leader used Facebook. Now, two-thirds of MPs and all the party leaders have a profile. While they are now all online, the tactics each party has adopted differ greatly; one aims to engage people in debate, while another is using paid social advertising to disseminate its messages. Perhaps that explains recent research suggesting that one experiencing greater success on Twitter and the other is dominating on Facebook.

PR Week thinks social media will be key; the publication says that this year could be the first truly integrated election we have experienced in the UK. All the major parties have continued to use traditional media to explain their key messages and most have then used social media to augment their significance.

According to a recent Ipso Mori survey, more than a third people aged 18-24 think social media will influence their vote. However, voters outside of this group are doubtful. That’s to be expected; surely the key to any successful campaign is to reach the target audience in the place they prefer to absorb information? True, social media has a strong resonance with younger demographics – who prefer to get their news from social platforms as opposed to printed broadsheets – but older audiences are still more likely to ascertain their information from traditional sources. Supporting this argument, the same survey pointed out just 19% of people are likely to trust information gained from social media above newspapers. It also explains why social media is apparently lagging behind TV debates, newspapers, and election broadcasts in terms of influence.

Disregarding the debate, and looking at the maths, here are some stats for you: 

  • There are more than 46 million eligible voters in the UK
  • Approximately 6 million of those that can vote are aged 18-24
  • In 2010 44% of those aged between 18 and 24 voted – that’s around 2.6 million voters
  • In 2010 there were 29.6 million total votes cast (27 million aged 25+)

That means, should the 6 million eligible to vote in this age group take to the polls this May, they’d make up more than 20 percent of the total voters. That’s a lot of influence, given that the winning party took just 36.1% of the vote last time around!

Perhaps then, the big question is, can social media influence traditionally apathetic 18-24 year-olds to head to a polling station in May? If the answer is yes, then this really could be the first election to be won through the power of Twitter and Facebook.

Of course, nothing is certain and we, like everyone else, will have to wait until May (and the post-election analysis) to discover the true power of social media. In the meantime, what do you think? Can a party get your vote by engaging with you on Snapchat?

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