“Boris” Bikes and Barclays’ Problem with Authority

London’s rammed with bicycles. Everyone’s on two wheels. It’s fun, cheap, and good for you. Barclays-branded hire bikes are everywhere. But no one thinks of the sponsor when they pick up their wheels: instead, everyone calls them Boris Bikes, after our haystack-haired mayor, Boris Johnson. Why? Because Barclays is, uh, a bank with no authority in pedal power, unlike our nutty figurehead, a cycle-clipped champion of the joy of spokes.


There’s No Content Like No Content

I'm annoyed to see Google’s use of  a Rembrandt self-portrait across their logo today, on the 470th anniversary of his death.    

I live a short way from Kenwood House in London, home to one of Rembrandt’s greatest late paintings. In this painting, the sad sack stares us down, brushes bunched in his fist; a confection of in-your-face paint strokes which brag about being the difference between what things are and what they mean. In the background, a map of blank hemispheres asks us if an empty hunt for money and the new is worth a spit without knowing the truth about yourself. Looking in a mirror is a nasty business. You never know who’ll stare back.


Baking Brand Storytelling Into Your Lunch

Any restaurant is rich in stories, from the founding of the establishment to the experiences of its patrons. Because of that, the restaurant business is an interesting venue for content marketing, social media and brand storytelling. 

I like to think that the best part about going out to eat, particularly with friends, isn’t the food (though don’t get me wrong; I adore food). It’s the stories we share and the stories we create. It’s like the times spent with my wife reviewing our plate of nachos in hopes that someday we’ll cull all those reviews into a blog just about nachos (though that’s a whole other story). It’s the times spent with friends catching up and reminiscing about old times.

Restaurants have a unique opportunity to tap into brand storytelling, and there’s a restaurant in the U.K. doing just that. 


3 Brands Winning the Real-Time Media Game

This post originally appeared in our February Issue of “Live Report from the Future of Marketing,” our monthly Post-Advertising newsletter. Subscribe for free here.

The blanket of snow that fell across the UK a few weeks ago reminded me of one of my favourite marketing campaigns in recent years. If you haven’t seen this fantastic piece of opportunistic advertising before, the Polo Snow Stamp was pressed into thick snow on cars, park benches and roads across London, creating a perfect replica of the iconic white mint with the hole.


LOCOG & Cadbury Strike Social Media Gold at the London Olympics

Last week we suggested a top pick for Social Media Week London: a talk by Alex Balfour of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG). We weren’t disappointed. Alex shared with us some impressive statistics and insights learned during LOCOG's digital adventure during the Games, so we wanted to share them with you, along with a very interesting case study on Cadbury's social media efforts during the Games.


Fight Club, Cinderella, and What Storytelling Means for Brands

What does Cinderella have in common with Fight Club?

Lots, according to Jon King, Story Worldwide's Chief Storyteller. During the ‘Storytelling for Brands’ session at our London office last week, part of Social Media Week London, we shared Story’s brand-centred approach to narrative content.

We draw our inspiration from the most important study of storytelling ever done, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell. Campbell’s insights have influenced and guided the approach, which he called the hero’s journey and which is used in all forms of narrative, including classic films from Cinderella to Fight Club.


Social Media Week London 2012: The Full Story

It’s time to get your Twit on and fire up your Facebook! Social Media Week London is back and it promises to be bigger and more collaborative than ever.

For those of you who don’t know, Social Media Week returns to London for it’s fourth consecutive year from 24th – 28th September 2012. Hosted by Chinwag, this year’s theme is Empowering Change Through Collaboration. Digital dons and social-savvy client-siders will reflect on the global impact of social media and its role as a catalyst in driving cultural, political, economic and social change.


T-Mobile Reinvigorates the Flash Mob

T-Mobile has been pulling some cool stunts lately. Most recently, they had a group of performers take over Terminal 5 of London’s Heathrow Airport to greet tired travelers with a song and dance. It's all part of the brand's “Life’s for Sharing” campaign, and judging by passenger reactions — and 26 million views on its YouTube channel — T-Mobile is nailing it. Will flash mobs ever get old?