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Latest news from The Drum

Washington Post reporter's trial in Iran only lasts few hours, next one to be determined
Posted on Tuesday May 26, 2015

Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian’s closed-door trial espionage that began in Iran on Tuesday (26 May) ended after a few hours with the next one still to be determined by the judge.

The 39-year-old has been accused of “espionage for the US government and activity against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” according to IRNA, the country’s official news agency.

According to the Washington Post, he became the paper’s Tehran correspondent when he was 37. Last July, he was detained.

Martin Baron, executive editor of the Washing Post, said in a statement on 25 May: “The shameful acts of injustice continue without end in the treatment of Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian. Now we learn his trial will be closed to the world. And so it will be closed to the scrutiny it fully deserves.”

In the statement, he added that Rezaian was arrested without any charges, imprisoned in Iran’s worst prison, and was isolated for many months.

Special Olympics, along with Bank of America, ESPN, ABC and others launch cross-country relay race
Posted on Tuesday May 26, 2015

The Special Olympics and Bank of America will host the first-ever Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America, which will give Americans the chance to carry the relay flame across the country to Los Angeles.

The entire initiative was both created and developed by Havas Media's sports and entertainment agency, Ignition, which is also responsible for Coca-Cola's FIFA worldcup trophy tour.

The relay race will take place over 46 days when teams and individuals across the country will walk, run, and bike the flame through all 50 states.

 "Through our partnerships with Bank of America, ESPN, ABC and all of our other great Relay partners.” said the chief executive of the Special Olympics, Janet Froetscher.

“We are able to bring awareness of the skills and abilities of people with [disabilities] to all communities and towns in the United States so that even more people are aware of the significant impact our athletes make each and every day.”

The Special Olympics will air on ESPN from 25th July till 2nd August. 

Facebook launches Amber Alerts in Canada
Posted on Tuesday May 26, 2015

Facebook will launch Amber Alerts in Canada this week.

The system, which was launched on the social media site earlier this year, issues alerts to users in targeted locations when children are missing. The alerts include pictures of the missing children along with other relevant information.

So far, more than 40 alerts have been issued via Facebook in the US, and one child has been successfully recovered.

“We’re only going to deliver these alerts to people who may actually be in the search area. So if a child goes missing in Ottawa, people in Toronto won’t see the message,” Facebook trust and safety manager Emily Vacher told a Canadian television station.

“It’s only going to be people who may have that critical piece of information that will lead to bringing that child home safely.”

Facebook Amber Alerts will be available in all ten provinces, but in none of the territories.



Unlocking the internet of things: Five key takeaways from Internet Week
Posted on Tuesday May 26, 2015

While attending the various panels and presentations from some of the brightest minds at Internet Week in New York last week, I detected some recurring themes regarding how we, as humans, fit into the “internet of things” (IoT).

Here are the five key takeaways from the event.

1) Data is as important as what you do with it 

Full-service digital agencies need to be more mindful of data from an input as well as an output perspective, ideally connecting the two ends as tightly as possible. Nicholas Felton, of is a pioneer in the Quantified Self (gaining self-knowledge through self-tracking) space and has spent years doing beautiful visualizations of data he's collected about himself. It’s worth looking over in order to become instantly familiar with specific examples of what can be collected using the IoT and what it can mean. In action, the reams of data being collected allow Google’s Nest (learning thermostat for the connected home) to automatically respond to the preferences of the people who are present.

2) Forget the branded nudge 

Push notifications are the crudest way for a brand to bring an idea to life on their customer's wrist. Watches are timepieces, and a customer’s time is not to be wasted with marketing pitches. Instead, marketers must find an angle that relates a brand to the concept of time in order to politely provide utility. For example, an automotive brand could provide drivers with odometer-based milestones with a CTA to learn more about how regular maintenance saves money and headaches. A food category brand could reward families for spending dinner together, tracking that they were close to each other and that their phones were off while they connected in real life.

3) Wearables promise health and improved quality of life 

Wearable technology provides numerous opportunities for brands and agencies to understand consumer behavior, especially as it relates to health and wellness goals, and we can help consumers to understand the opportunities for their quality of life that these new tools provide. We must constantly ask the question, “How can we help customers do the things they already want to do?”

4) Fashion is as important as function

Apple understood better than anybody that form is as important as function when it comes to interactive technology, and wearables are no exception when it comes to consumers’ demand to look good. If technology fits your personal style it's less likely to sit in the drawer collecting dust after the initial ”wow factor” wears off. Anouk Wipprecht is one sought-after artist pushing boundaries by embedding sensors in fashion that look like science fiction, reminding us that the future is closer than we think.

5) Never forget the human

Technology helps create connections, but without that core experience a campaign will fall short. When a branded tool resonates with customers enough for them to use it to express themselves, it's a huge win. Stickers (high resolution emoticons seen in Facebook Messenger and other chat apps) are underutilized in that regard, and an inexpensive move for brands to gain traction on wearables and social media in one fell swoop. Stickers are especially relevant to the watch space where users can’t type long responses, but want to reply with more character than is afforded by a thumbs up.

The IoT is marching sensors and machine learning into every corner of our lives. Like all technology, these neutral tools are only as good or bad as the designers approaching them. We’re afforded the opportunity to pioneer this emerging space. Let’s use creativity to unlock IoTs' full potential for enriching lives and creating meaningful connections. 
Jordan Gray is manager of Creative Labs at Organic. He tweets @starpause.

BBC’s Never Mind The Buzzcocks cancelled after a 18-year run
Posted on Tuesday May 26, 2015

The BBC has called time on comedy quiz show Never Mind The Buzzcocks after an impressive run spanning 18 years and 28 series.

Following a 2014 revamp with comedian Rhod Gilbert as presenter, the show failed to pick up on slumping figures.

A BBC spokesperson said: "After 28 series we've decided not to bring Never Mind the Buzzcocks back to the BBC, this will create space for new entertainment formats in the future.

"We'd like to thank the team at Talkback, Rhod Gilbert, all the brilliant hosts over the years and of course Noel and Phill for the years of enjoyment they've given BBC Two viewers."

Comedian Phill Jupitis featured in almost every one of the show’s 270 episodes as a team captain.

SMG unites with News Corp’s Storyful to give brands real-time access to ‘authentic’ social news content
Posted on Tuesday May 26, 2015

Advertisers looking to bolster their newsroom approach to content marketing can now access authentic, journalist content in real-time via a global partnership between Starcom MediVest Group (SMG) and News Corp’s media agency Storyful.

The deal spans the media agency’s LiquidThread, Relevant 24, MRY and Big Fuel content shops, which will use Storyful to provide instant services such as brand intelligence, thematic insights and licensed user-generated content.

Each agency will dip into the News Corp company’s global newsroom, which discovers, verifies and acquires the most valuable content on the social web, to ensure their clients can exploit trending news stories with speed and accuracy.

Brands are being sold the proposition as an opportunity to “understand what the social web is sharing and talking about, as well as acquire the rights to content for both public and commercial use”. The aim is to get advertisers to buy into the agency’s “SmartContent” approach to developing meaningful content at scale through its patented combination of journalism and technology. 

Olivier Gers, global president of Starcom’s LiquidThread added that “brands today need social content that is relevant, engaging and authentic and Storyful will help us to provide that to our clients”.

Comscore figures cited by the agency support the ethos, claiming that the right blend of professional content and user-generated posts can have a bigger impact than just focusing solely on one or the other. When people were exposed to both professional content and user-generated product videos, lift in share of choice for the featured product jumped to 35.3 points and 28 points for the brand’s total line, according to the data.

“Our clients are increasingly looking for high-quality local and global digital content, and with this partnership, we are going one step further on our vision of delivering SmartContent, as we will be able to provide that on an immediate and continuous basis, at scale,” said Gers.

The global deal is indicative of a paradigm shift caused in the wake of the content marketing explostion that is encouraging brands to think more like a newsroom. From Adidas to Pepsi, Heineken to Coca-Cola, companies are erecting newsrooms to help ease their transformation into publishers, enabling them to respond faster to industry trends and help gain mindshare and sales opportunities.

Millennials seeking new kind of social network, says iPlayer creator Anthony Rose as he discusses launch of 6Tribes
Posted on Tuesday May 26, 2015

Former BBC iPlayer boss Anthony Rose has unveiled a new social app – 6Tribes – designed to connect people with like-minded individuals based on shared interests.

The free app, which launched on iTunes today (26 May) has been created to offer an alternative to the likes of mainstream social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, and is geared around connecting individuals to other people and groups who share similar life interests.

Once the app has been downloaded users are encouraged to create Tribe feeds, which can span anything from favourite coffee outlets to music concerts and other forms of entertainment and interests.

The app will also guage a person’s “social DNA” by scanning the music on the user’s phone to identify music tastes, and noting if they have taken numerous photos of venues such as restaurants, to help understand and make suggestions of which tribes could be of interest. It can also suggest tribes based on a phone’s location, and can pull in relevant data from Facebook to suggest tribes to you based on your interests there. 

6Tribes is the brainchild of iPlayer creator Anthony Rose (pictured above) and former president of marketing at EMI Music Ernesto Schmidt, both of whom co-created social TV app Zeebox, which later became rebranded to Beamly after Sky took a 10 per cent stake in the venture.

Rose told The Drum that extensive research the company has conducted with millennials has revealed that although everyone has a Facebook account most are on the lookout for something new. “We all love Facebook and Twitter but the world is evolving and social feeds are becoming cluttered with increasingly irrelevant commercial stuff. Not only that but people are aware that employers look at their feeds which can make posting more constrained,” he said.

He also cited behavioural science research which has shown that the average person has multiple personalities, not just one, which has made posting to specific social networks, in which users are friends with hundreds of people, challenging and is partly what is driving them elsewhere. 

“The problem with social networks today is you’re friends with everyone – people you went to school with, family members, work colleagues – it’s not based on current interests or passions. There is a pressure to conform and have a certain online personality which is acceptable to family, as well as friends and employers – and that is driving them to new platforms,” he added. 

The app currently has 200 users who have been trialing the app while in beta. Musicians and artists have also been approached over establishing certain tribes, ahead of the summer festival season.

Rose added that the app could open up new opportunities for brands once it has reached the right scale. "For brands it could be a reinvention of the Facebook brand page. Brands can create tribes themselves and will be able to target specific groups of people with certain interests with their messages."

Should the app be a success it will also look to roll it out internationally, according to Rose. The app is also available on Android devices. 

National Trust’s Neptune Coastline Campaign hits 50 years with White Cliffs of Dover projection
Posted on Tuesday May 26, 2015

The National Trust has celebrated 50 years of the Neptune Coastline Campaign, designed to maintain and support UK coasts, by projecting the god Neptune onto the White Cliffs of Dover.

Launched in May 1965, Neptune is one of Western Europe’s longest running environmental campaigns. As a result, the body manages 775 miles of coast in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, equating to over 10 per cent of the UK’s coastline.

To thank the public for the support the project has received, the National Trust created a stunning projection film to ensure the coast remains protected for another 50 years.

Virginia Portman, general manager of White Cliffs, said: “Looking after the White Cliffs of Dover is a privilege and a big responsibility at the same time. The Cliffs are an iconic symbol of Great Britain, visited by people from all over the world.

“They’re an example of rare chalk grassland habitat, home to many endangered species of plant and animal life, so it’s critical we continue to care for this important piece of land. Without the support of the National Trust's Neptune coastline campaign the challenges would have been so much greater.

“We’re delighted that the White Cliffs have been chosen as the backdrop to highlight the Trust’s care and protection of our coastline in this innovative way.”

Kelly Eagle of Projection Artworks, added: “This type of stop-motion animation has never been done before with this projection technique – let alone to this incredible scale. The White Cliffs of Dover provided the added drama and majesty to set the scene”.

Neptune’s White Cliffs projection marks the start of the National Trust’s ‘summer of coast’, a six month campaign that will highlight the power and beauty of the coast.

Twitter-backed Periscope debuts on Android
Posted on Tuesday May 26, 2015

Twitter-backed streaming app, Periscope has made its debut on Android.

Available only on iOS devices until now, the app dominated its strongest competitor, Meerkat in initial sign-ups with more than one million users in just ten days.

The Android version is very similar to its iOS counterpart, with the biggest difference being the way in which a broadcast is started. On iPhone, the function is a separate tab, while it appears as a big red button in Android.

"When you go into a broadcast, it's going to be very much like the standard Periscope that you have come to know and love, with the hearts and comments and all of that," Sara Haider, who led the Android project, told The Verge.

Periscope for Android is available on phones running Android 4.4 and above.

Japan Tobacco joins fight against plain cigarette packaging design
Posted on Tuesday May 26, 2015

Japan Tobacco International, the UK's second biggest cigarette seller, has today (26 May) joined the fight against the introduction of standardised, unbranded packaging in the UK. 

The company follows Philip Morris International (PMI) and British American Tobacco, which both filed a suit on Friday against the rules, which could come into effect from May 2016. 

The trio are arguing that the removal of branding from cigarette packaging violates English and European Union law and constitutes seizure of property. 

“The government cannot deprive people of their property without compensation,” said Marc Firestone, PMI’s general counsel, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “I’m optimistic [we will succeed] because I believe the systems of laws and common sense and consumer choice still mean a great amount.”

Under the proposed legislation only the colour brown can be used for packaging, while text must be in grey in "drab" tones. All logos will be removed and instead replaced with graphic health warnings. 

In March The Drum spoke to a number of UK design agencies about the proposed legislation, with Hugh Roberts, strategy partner at Design Bridge, arguing that consumers should fight against the plain packaging proposals.

“Design makes the world a better place," he said. "Amongst other things, it helps us make the right choices. So, it seems obvious that by stripping design away from tobacco packaging we are helping consumers to make the right choice; 
the choice to give up smoking or to 
never start.

“But perhaps, by signing up to plain packaging, we are doing something that is even more dangerous to 
society than smoking. We are reducing the freedom of consumers to make their own decisions. We are reducing the ability of people to be individual. 
We are forgetting that consumers are not rational beings, that sometimes we want to make an emotional choice. A choice that is irrational, selfish, stupid – but still makes us happy.

“Plain packaging feels like an 
entirely rational thing to do, but consumers are not robots and we should fight against it.”