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Latest news from The Drum

Exclusive Interview: Eurovision Winner Conchita Wurst on life and social media
Posted on Saturday May 23, 2015

BAFTA’s prestigious offices in Piccadilly hosted an unusual gathering last week as academics, broadcasters, fans and performers gathered to mark 60 years of Eurovision, an event watched by nearly twice as many people as the Super Bowl.

The conference, organised by the European Broadcasting Union, looked at the cultural, technological and political impacts of the event, and reminded us all that yes, you can get a PHD in Eurovision.

On behalf of The Drum, Carat's Jerry Daykin took the opportunity to interview last year’s winner, and the reigning queen of Eurovision, Conchita Wurst on her experiences since winning, how social media has impacted her and what the opportunity for brands and marketers is around the show.

JD: How has your life been for the past year? One interview after another? It must be crazy. 
CW: I’ve been talking a lot, which I love as I have a lot of opinions. I’ve had so many invitations and I was allowed to experience so many great things over the last year, it’s just overwhelming. It hasn’t sunk in yet what I’ve actually experienced.

JD: And for your own social media in particular, how has that helped you tell your story and communicate with people? 
CW: It’s very important. It’s such a fast way to get and also send information, and it’s such a lovely way of connecting with those people, the most important ones when it comes to career, the fans. Without my supporters all over the world I wouldn’t be here and no one would be interested in me, so it’s everything, an unbelievably important tool.

JD: So how do you manage that? Do you get time to read a lot of what they say to you?  
CW: Well I do read as much as I can, I do have people helping in this kind of area. I have a stylist, I have someone doing with my promotion, so of course I have someone helping me with social media or else it would just be too much and there’s no time. Of course, I try to get as many Tweets and Instagram pictures, I ‘like’, and I look at it so I really try to get into it and not lose that connection, because as I say it is an easy way to stay connected.

JD: Is there a bad side to that? Have you had people being rude to you and saying horrible things? 
CW: Well, even if… I really have a very impolite way to deal with it, I just don’t care.

JD: In terms of how much it’s blown up, Google reported that in the months after Eurovision last year you were searched for more than Beyoncé. When you went into it did you realise how big it was, how much it would change your life? 
CW: No, because I went into this competition because I’m such a Eurovision fan. I really wanted to be in it badly and I’d tried for so many years. I was bothering the Austrian broadcaster so hard that they just said ‘send the bearded lady and get over it’. My manager and I really saw this event from two sides: First, fulfilling my dreams, being able to stand on this ridiculously huge stage and giving the performance of my lifetime; And on the other side, in a very business kind of way because no one knew me, but with this we can reach so many people.  
 
JD: At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year there was a life size picture of you advertising Parrot Headphones, which must have surprised the Americans. How has it been for you, working with a big brand, have you found that a positive experience?  
CW: You know really I have to be completely honest I don’t think about anything or anybody else except me when I make those decisions. I was like ‘oh my god, I’d love to be in a Commercial, I’d love to do that, and of course these headphones are great let’s do it’ and only after that I realised this is going to be printed in American magazines and they actually sell their product all over the world. This is the way I went into it - quite naïve, though of course I have my whole team in the background seeing numbers and facts, which is good that I have them.

JD: So one of the things we see is that marketers, especially in the UK, are nervous about getting involved with Eurovision because it has a funny reputation – some people love it, some people hate it. What would you say to marketers thinking of sponsoring the Eurovision or being part of it? 
CW: Well I think it has the same reputation everywhere, it’s the same with Austria. We haven’t won for 48 years and so last year no one was staying home to have a party, but this year obviously everybody’s totally into it.

I think that’s not depending on a country, but people should really understand what a great opportunity it is and what a beautiful message the biggest music event in the world sends out. Everybody is allowed to come as they are, do whatever they want on stage. That’s great, and at the end of the day it’s really so many people joining one event by doing what they love the most, making music.

This year's Eurovision Song Contest will be screened on BBC1 tonight at 8pm.

Ad of the Day: Huawei's School of Pronunciation - Huawei
Posted on Saturday May 23, 2015

Former Arsenal stars John Hartson, Ray Parlour and Nigel Winterburn feature in this snappy slot, acknowledging the difficulty some westerners have with pronouncing the name of Huawei (Wah-Way by the way).

The three minute ad shows the pundits school in how to pronounce the names of server current Arsenal players in humorous fashion.

It follows Huawei becoming an official global sponsor for the North London club last January.

Campaign by This Is Dare.

Millennial Media snaps up Ernie Cormier as chief operating officer
Posted on Saturday May 23, 2015

Millennial Media has hired former Nexage chief executive and president Ernie Cormier as chief operating officer.

Cormier, will be responsible for overseeing the company’s product, technology, and operations teams, reporting to chief executive and president Michael Barrett.

On the appointment, Barrett said: “It’s critical to maintain a solid technology and product foundation as we accelerate our Managed Media and Platform business units.

“Ernie’s experience developing and scaling Nexage into the industry’s leading programmatic marketplace will be vital in solidifying this foundation and continuing Millennial Media’s growth and superior product offerings. I’m honored to welcome him to the team.”

Cornier added: “Millennial Media continues to innovate across media and programmatic, I’m excited to lead the Company’s technology, product and operations teams as we make mobile simple and accessible for our partners.”

The move follows the company’s acquisition of Nexage in 2014.

Social media’s Eurovision winner is… Guy Sebastian of Australia
Posted on Saturday May 23, 2015

Australia’s Guy Sebastian generated 55 per cent of Eurovision mentions on social media - with over a quarter coming from the UK.

The Aussies are newcomers to the Eurovision - although a long-time top consumer of the event. They are touted as the favourites to win, if social media sentiment is anything to go by.

Adobe Digital Index analysis places Guy’s entry with ‘Tonight Again’ top of the social buzz ahead of Eurovision’s 60th anniversary this evening.

The full mention ranking is:

1.       Guy Sebastian (Australia)

2.       Elnur Huseynov (Azerbaijan)

3.       Elhaida Dani (Albania)

4.       Mans Zelmerlow (Sweden)

5.       Electro Velvet (UK)

6.       Edurne (Spain)

7.       Uzari & Maimuna (Belarus)

8.       Daniel Kajmakoski (FYR Macedonia)

9.       Il Volo (Italy)

10.      Polina Gagarina (Russia)

Guy Sebastian’s social boost may be due to his 411k followers on Twitter – this week the competition mustered 10,000 mentions a day.

Jerry Daykin, global digital director for Mondelez at Carat/Dentsu Aegis Network and The Drum's man-on-the-ground at Eurovision analysed the event's marketing opportunities, noting that 36 of the 40 competing countries allow brands to open and close the show.

US senate shoots down Freedom Act designed to block mass phone spying
Posted on Saturday May 23, 2015

The US senate has damaged president Barack Obama’s attempt to end the NSA’s mass surveillance of telephone calls.

After a prolonged in-house debate the USA Freedom Act fell 60 votes short of progression, following the bill making its way through the House of Representatives with ease just last week.

Effectively, the bill would have ended the government’s mass collection of its citizens’ phone records – instead relying on telephone companies to gather and divulge material when required.

Critics of the bill expressed their unease however at placing the responsibility of surveillance in the hands of telecom firms.

Mitch McConnell, Senate majority leader, said the proposed system was “slower and more cumbersome than the one that currently helps keep us safe,” according to the Telegraph.

He added: “At a moment of elevated threat, it would be a mistake to take from our intelligence community any of the valuable tools needed to build a complete picture of terrorist networks and their plans.”

As a result of the block, the US’ current programme, the legality of the current system, granted by the Patriot Act, will expire 31 May.

Amazon restructures to pay corporation tax on UK sales
Posted on Saturday May 23, 2015

Amazon has abandoned a complex tax structure which enabled it to substantially decrease its UK tax rates on sales.

The e-commerce giant previously operated a complex corporate scheme which saw it taxed for UK sales in Luxembourg where rates were vastly lower.

As of 1 May however, Amazon opened a London branch in Luxembourg enabling HM Revenues and Custom to collect fees based on UK sales.

A spokesman said Amazon was “now recording retail sales made to customers in the UK through the UK branch. Previously, these sales were recorded in Luxembourg”.

"As of May 1, Amazon EU Sarl is recording retail sales made to customers in the UK through the UK branch. Previously, these retail sales were recorded in Luxembourg.”

The move pre-empts the 25 per cent fee now imposed upon oversea profits as part of George Osborne’s diverted profits tax.

Crabbies enlists Vic Reeves to urge viewers to try its Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer
Posted on Saturday May 23, 2015

Drinks manufacturer Halewood International has launched a multi-platform marketing campaign for Crabbie’s Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer featuring the voice-over talents of comedian Vic Reeves.

The push runs with the brand proposition ’Try it you might like it’ and kicked off with national TV activations 21 May. It will be supplemented with additional content across radio, TV, PR, social media and trade press,

Richard Clark, marketing director at Halewood International, said: “The next chapter of our campaign sets out to remind consumers what they love about Crabbie’s Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer and encourage the few who haven’t sampled the liquid to give it a try.

“We’ve been delighted and encouraged by the support received from retailers and customers since the brand launched in 2009. We hope this exciting new campaign will take the brand to the next level and reinforce the brands fantastic taste credentials.”

To drive sales, sampling will be held at outdoor events across the UK. 

Microsoft threatened job cuts after proposed IT reforms, says ex Conservative strategy head
Posted on Saturday May 23, 2015

Microsoft told MPs it would shut down UK facilities if the government implemented IT reforms in the early days of the Liberal Democrat and Conservative coalition, according to a former Conservative strategy chief.

Steve Hilton, who led strategy in Downing Street for two years, accused Microsoft of using its weight to kill reform during a discussion about lobbyists.

Speaking in Westminster during the promotion of his new book, Hilton said: “You just have to fight them off. I can give you specific examples: the thing I mentioned about IT contracts. Maybe there is someone here to confirm this from Microsoft? When we proposed this, Microsoft phoned Conservative MPs with Microsoft R&D facilities in their constituencies and said, ‘we will close them down in your constituency if this goes through’.

“And we had the same from other tech companies as well. We had the stories from the MPs saying I’ve just had this call from – sometimes a global CEO – phoning a Conservative MP, saying we will close down this plant.”

He concluded: “We just resisted. You have to be brave. You just have to say sorry: it’s the right thing to do.”

A Microsoft spokesperson told the Guardian: “We have looked into the nearly decade-old matter and we don’t recognise these claims.”

The company added that it has an "honest" and "opne" engadgement with the government.

France legislates to redirect supermarket food waste to charity
Posted on Saturday May 23, 2015

France has introduced a bill which would make it illegal for supermarkets and retailers to throw away ‘edible’ food.

The bill, introduced by former food minister Guillaume Garot, looks to help the country towards its European Union pledge to reduce food waste by half by 2025. Furthermore, the canned food, could be redistributed to those in need of it as part of the scheme.

Bill introducer Garot said: “It’s scandalous to see bleach being poured into supermarket dustbins along with edible foods.”

Centre-right deputy Yves Jégo told parliament: “There’s an absolute urgency – charities are desperate for food.

“The most moving part of this law is that it opens us up to others who are suffering.”

Under the bill, introduced on Thursday, large stores would have to sign up to donate expired foods to charity.

Snapchat looking for journalists to cover 2016 election
Posted on Friday May 22, 2015

Snapchat has put out a job query looking for ‘political junkies’ and ‘news aficionados’ to cover the 2016 US presidential race.

In the job posting, Snapchat states that it is looking for members to join its NYC team to help review snaps that are submitted to ‘Our Story’ events and cover other news in addition to the election.

The company is looking for applicants that are ‘creative storytellers’ with ‘experience in journalism and storytelling of all forms.’

It also states that it is looking for candidates with experience creating, editing, or curating media content.