June 29, 2018 By FTI Consulting
With the group stage complete, half your colleagues having removed the flag printout blue-tacked to their monitor (cheers, Australia), of course we’re going to kick off this week’s edition with another World Cup piece. It’s beyond our pay grade to discuss what’s happening on the pitch (although it is an official opinion of the FTI Digital Team that Young over Rose makes sense down the left), so we’re going to review something we’ve seen lots of beyond the white line – social media trolling from associated organisations, and “ambush marketing” campaigns.
Trolling, in this context, means the tongue-in-cheeky approach to major events that Paddy Power have done so successfully in the past – think the messages they scrawled in the sky over Medinah for the Ryder Cup. Similarly, fast food chains tend to be pretty good at pulling off the right tone of voice and turning it into full-blown campaigns, often in direct response to each other. As a strategy, it’s authentic, engaging, and can be cost-effective for the visibility it can generate.
Ambush marketing, on the other hand, is a different take on a similar approach, and flirts with the law to a greater degree. Paddy is an example once again, with their not that London Olympics billboards that caused such a stir in 2012. Other examples include paint manufacturer Rona’s opportunistic banner, Stella Artois becoming the unofficial beer of the 2011 US Open. Trickier to land this one, but similarly a great potential return on investment in terms of visibility, engagement, and impact.
You might have spotted a very cool bit of tech wizardry last week (that is, if you made it down to the “also this week” section). The Times (and ad agency Rothco) won a Cannes Lions Grand Prix for Creative Data, taking eight weeks to analyse 831 speeches and interviews given by the 35th President of the United States John F Kennedy.
The objective? Produce 116,000 sound units to painstakingly recreate the 2,590 words that JFK intended to give in 1963, but famously never got to deliver. The remarkable amount of work needed to bring the words of to life is clearly impressive, and do give it a listen this afternoon (perhaps reflecting on England’s glorious route to the final).
This powerful demonstration of data manipulation raises more than a few questions, however. In an era of fake news, where the written word is called into question, video and images have taken on an unimpeachable level of authenticity. With the rise of “deep fakes” – like this piece put together by Buzzfeed and Jordan Peel – increasingly we need to apply grains of salt to video, and clearly now, audio.
The little blue bird is on the lookout for abusive bots, and this week sharpened its beak with an interesting startup acquisition, its first such deal since 2016. The company? San Francisco-based tech firm Smyte, which offers tools to stop online abuse, harassment, and spam.
It’s a fascinating company, with a background in anti-fraud, and founders who’ve worked for the anti-spam and anti-abuse teams at Facebook, Instagram, and Google. Its suite of tools will be used to track conversations in real-time, identify conversations of interest and delve into the particular accounts. Analysts can also test custom rules on historic data (flagging particular language use, for example), and then roll it out in real-time.
It’s interesting to see Twitter resuming innovation through acquisition, particularly in an area so fundamental to their business. By all accounts they’ve picked up a smart bunch in Smyte, and we’ll certainly be keeping an eye on how they get on.