#BlueMonday hits 2015

Yesterday was Blue Monday, the day considered to be the most depressing of the entire year. But as we climbed out of our warm duvets to face the cold winter morning and the slog to the office, many of the brands we know and love took to social media to cash in on this now highly competitive diary date – with freebies, fun and games.

Across all of the social platforms, the media marketing machine went into overdrive, with giveaways, creative promotions and a blast of fun to beat the January blues.

So where did the idea of Blue Monday come from? No, it’s not just a New Order song; it’s actually a PR invention! Back in 2005, the now defunct Sky Travel channel ran a publicity campaign that cited the third Monday of January as “scientifically” the most depressing day of the year. The idea, fuelled by social media, has stuck ever since.

It’s a great day for creative newsjacking so we thought we’d share our favourite #BlueMonday moments from this year…

Pret kindly offered us a free caffeinated pick-me-up for a limited time in exchange for an aptly chosen buzzword, a great way to start the day. (Well, apart from those of us who didn’t notice the tweet until after the deadline.)

Pret

Supermarket brand Aldi handed out £20 gift vouchers throughout the day to those who participated in the #AldiChallenge on its Twitter feed, which consisted of a series of competitions; from sharing your favourite joke to caption contests. To add to our happiness, they also tweeted a picture of an adorable sleepy baby.

Aldi

It wouldn’t be true internet-based happiness production without throwing a few kittens into the mix. The charity Cats Protection shared pictures and videos to make us feel as warm and fuzzy inside as the kittens themselves.

Cats Protection

And finally, this little missive from Innocent Drinks made us smile…

Innocent drinks

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Weekly social scoop

Weekly social scoop

Latest news and developments on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter – just in case you missed it

#1 Facebook at Work

By The Guardian

  • Last Wednesday, Facebook launched a test version of Facebook at Work – a version of the social network designed for use within companies
  • The move is Facebook’s answer to existing workplace communication and collaboration tools such as Yammer, Huddle and Slack
  • Facebook has not yet announced whether or how it will profit from the service

#2 Facebook places restrictions and warnings over graphic video content

By BBC News Technology

  • In response to advice from its own safety advisors, Facebook has begun placing warnings over its videos, stating the contents might “shock, offend and upset” if viewed
  • The videos are also prevented from automatically playing in feeds, unlike other clips
  • Any user identified as being younger than 18-years-old will be prevented from viewing the video all together

#3 Snapchat charging $750,000 for disappearing ads

By The Drum

  • Snapchat is charging brands as much as $750,000 per day to advertise on the app
  • The decision to demand such a high sum highlights how much brands are willing to risk to find out the value of the social channel
  • Brands that have been early adopters of the disappearing ads include McDonald’s, Samsung, Macy’s and Electronics

#4 How to get ROI from Instagram

By The Guardian

  • Instagram has now topped Twitter with its 300 million monthly users and in doing so has quickly become the social network of choice for marketers
  • The Guardian has compiled case studies from SMEs such as The Bright Company and  Black White Denim who share their secrets to success on Instagram and how the network is driving sales

#5 YouTube celebrities

By Pocket-lint.com

  • onechocolate has been writing about the power of vlogging for some time now, but in case you are new to the world of celebrity YouTube, here’s a little more info on the trend making ordinary folks into celebs
  • Young stars such as Felix Kjellberg, better known as PewDiePie, have millions of subscribers. PewDiePie had 680,000 more views of his latest video than the premiere of Game of Thrones and recently revealed that he had more than 4.1 billion views of his videos in 2014
  • Check out Pocket-lint.com to find out who the top vloggers to follow are and how they are profiting from their YouTube success

#6 New creepy ‘choose your own adventure’ story on Twitter

By The Independent

  • A new version of ‘choose your own adventure story’ has been created on Twitter by Terence Eden
  • In order to move from one part of the story to the next, users navigate a network of Twitter accounts that all represent certain actions
  • The story begins with @wnd_go, named “A dreadful start”, which offers the options to run or hide

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Weekly Social Scoop

blog-PRCA-2

Latest news and developments on Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest – just in case you missed it

#1 Facebook vying for YouTube’s crown

By Guardian

  • Facebook has set its sights on YouTube’s place as the king of online video
  • Last year, Facebook began to show the number of views on videos published directly to the social network, and it has claimed that with 1bn views a day users are now seeing nearly four times more videos than this time last year
  • Facebook is also partnering with media companies to bring even more videos to its service. At the end of last year it struck a deal with the NFL, which will be posting footage on Facebook

#2 The end of SMS messaging?

By The Independent

  • Texting has been in decline since about 2011, and now WhatsApp has announced that it has 700 million users sending 30 billion messages per day, in comparison with about 20 billion messages a day sent over SMS
  • Not only is WhatsApp beating traditional text messaging, but it’s also bigger than most of its OTT competitors such as Facebook Messenger and WeChat, as well as social network rivals such as Twitter and Instagram

#3 Facebook buys Wit.ai

By BBC News Technology

  • Facebook announced last week that it had brought speech recognition, Y Combinator start-up Wit.ai
  • It has not been revealed what the companies are planning to develop, but it has been speculated that there could be a Facebook app which the user would be able to navigate via speech, voice messaging or voice control of connected appliances in the home

#4 Twitter expands its ad reach

By Brand Republic

  • In an attempt to reach users who have not yet signed up to Twitter and to boost ad revenue, Twitter is reportedly planning to sell ads against tweets embedded on external websites, alongside those on its own site
  • Twitter announced the plans at CES last week and cited ESPN and Flipboard as potential partners, although neither have confirmed

#5 How Pinterest is transforming our homes

By The Telegraph

  • The Telegraph examines an interesting case study on how Pinterest is transforming the world of interior design – featuring Laura Gallagher, who is redesigning her new home with the help of Pinterest
  • Pinterest now has more than 70 million users, and usage in Britain grew by more than 130 percent last year
  • The Telegraph reports that more than five million home décor pins are pinned to the site every day

#6 How to stop leaving employees poaching clients on LinkedIn

By Personnel Today

  • Most companies with employees in client-facing roles have clauses in their contracts to prevent them poaching clients when they leave the organisation
  • But LinkedIn is throwing up new difficulties for HR departments. When an individual leaves a company and update their profile with details of their new role, LinkedIn will send out an automatic message to all their contacts – including any ex-clients they have previously connected with
  • In Personnel Today, employment lawyer, Michael Farrelly, looks at what steps companies can take to prevent client poaching through LinkedIn

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Weekly social scoop

Latest news and developments on YouTube, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn – just in case you missed it! 

Weekly social scoop

#1 LinkedIn redesigns its home page

By CBR

  • LinkedIn has announced that it will be redesigning its homepage in an effort to improve user experience
  • The changes will include a dashboard where users will be able to see how many people have viewed their profile and a ‘Keep in Touch’ box, which will enable users to comment on posts, while also suggesting people to connect with

#2 Facebook quietly dumps Bing

By Tech Crunch

  • It appears that Facebook will be developing its own search tool, after it quietly parted ways with Bing this weekend
  • Facebook has reportedly been developing its own search tool for a long time in an effort to give users the ability to filter through old comments and other information from friends

#3 Could Facebook be getting a dislike button?

By BBC News

  • During a recent Q&A session, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, said that Facebook is thinking about adding a “dislike” button, to allow users to dislike others’ posts
  • Zuckerberg said that it had been one of the most requested features the social network has received, but that they are trying to find a way to make sure it does not become a way to demean people’s posts
  • According to Facebook, 4.5 billion “likes” are generated every day

#4 Facebook wants to help you stop drunk posting

By Independent

  • Have you ever posted a picture whilst drunk and woke up cringing the next morning? Well, Facebook is considering inventing a tool which would prevent this happening
  • Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence Research department chief Yann LeCun explained to Wired that the “artificial assistant” would say “Uh, this is being posted publicly. Are you sure you want your boss and your mother to see this?”

#5 G+ allows users to choose infinite gender options

By TIME

  • Google+ is following in the footsteps of Facebook to allow users to choose any word they like to describe their sexuality
  • The new Google+ options will be “Male”, “Female”, “Decline to state” and “Custom”. If “Custom” is chosen, a field will appear where users can choose whichever word they like

#6 YouTube testing out GIF maker

By IT Pro Portal

  • YouTube has opened up a new beta programme which lets users transform lengthy videos into six second length clips
  • YouTube has also included a caption option to allow users to create humorous memes
  • Anyone interested in participating in the beta phase is invited to put forward how they will use the GIF maker and the options are “create GIFs to promote my channel”, “allow fans to interact with my videos” or “Other”

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onechocolate loves

Our weekly round-up of the most inspiring PR and digital marketing campaigns, smart new apps, cool events, ventures and happenings that have caught our eye…

#1 #Skeletakeover

Honda Skeletakeover

We love a bit of nostalgic marketing, so this week we had to feature Skeletor (yes, the character from the ‘80s cartoon programme, He-Man) and his ingenious takeover of Honda’s Twitter account. At first, the takeover – which ran for an entire day – was mistaken by many as a genuine cyber hack. It was, in fact, used to promote Honda’s offering to a younger demographic and will be followed up by adverts featuring Skeletor and other nostalgic toys such as Strawberry Shortcake. The stunt was a great way for Honda to inject humour and personality into the brand and appeal younger audience, whilst gaining a great level of engagement on social.

#2 #Traindeer

Virgin Trains caught our eye this week with its very cute #Traindeer activity. Two little girls won a ‘design a Christmas card’ competition, run by Manchester Piccadilly Station and local charity Riff Raff, with their drawing of a reindeer train. Virgin Trains caught wind of this and decided to make the girls’ creation reality by wrapping one of their trains in the ‘Rudolph’ design. The girls had no idea until they were invited to the station to be met by the transformed train pulling in, driven by none other than Santa! Not only does this make a heart-warming (and more importantly, PR-able) story, but the fantastically simple #Traindeer hashtag is likely to spread like wildfire throughout December as people excitedly share that they are on the way to visit loved ones in a novelty train. A straightforward but inspired partnership.

#3 Blink and you miss it

stareoff

Here’s one to throw you back to your childhood … when was the last time you had a staring competition? To introduce Alcon’s Dailies Total1 contact lens brand to consumers, passers-by are being invited to take part in stare-offs against virtual opponents all over the capital, with the tagline; “Don’t let anything make you feel uncomfortable”. The installations use high-tech facial recognition technology to determine who blinks first, and print off a free trial voucher for you if you emerge victorious. You’d think we wouldn’t care too much about beating a pre-recorded opponent, but eight installations have recorded a huge 160,000 engagements so far. We love this innovative idea which appeals to the competitive streak in all of us.

#4 Flea Reads

While Zoella might be cool, there’s a new generation in waiting – meet the new, even younger vloggers and bloggers. One of our favourites is Flea of Flea Reads who is just amazing!

Not only is Flea brilliant (and cute), but her key messaging skills are awesome. Of course, she’s probably taken a leaf out of her mother’s book. If you don’t know Sally Whittle (@SWhittle) of whosthemummy fame, responsible for the Tots 100 list of parenting bloggers (and also the foodies 100), you really ought to check her insightful and often hilarious stories about motherhood and all that it involves.

#5 A snapshot of 2014 from Instagram

Poppies

The social app, Instagram, has released its top pics of 2014 from the UK and around the globe. The Tower of London and Tower Bridge have become the most Instagrammed locations in Britain due to the stunning memorial ceramic poppy display. On a slightly less cultural note, the most popular photo of the year was from Kim and Kanye’s wedding, which has received 2.74 million likes! Check out some of the other images that made the list for a nice snapshot of the trends and tastes of Instagram users in 2014.

#6 ‘Appy New Year

best apps of 2014

At times it can be hard to keep up with the number of apps being launched. What’s even more difficult is knowing which ones are worth downloading and which would simply be a burden on your phone’s memory. This is why we’re grateful to Mashable’s Karissa Bell for compiling 2014’s best apps for iPhone and Android. Check out the lists to see if there are any gems you’re missing. We’re excited to see what will be the hot picks for 2015!

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