In the outside world: 13th December

Anjali Ramachandran, Head of Innovation on interesting media news this week:

The Anchorman film team continue to make their presence felt with a ‘year in review’ video featuring Ron Burgundy, as seen through Yahoo! searches. YouTube’s now much-anticipated Year in Review video, Rewind, also came out this week – see if you can spot all the memes and hit videos this year. Contagious Magazine released their Most Contagious 2013 report, handily available as a PDF here – definitely worth a read for some inspiration as it lists global campaigns that are truly creative.

Vodafone have announced a change in their marketing strategy: they’ve dropped their sponsorship of the F1 and are going to focus on social media with a new campaign called Vodafone #Firsts. This will get a boost with a ‘multi-sensory display’ story thanks to their sponsorship of London’s New Year’s Eve fireworks; people everywhere will be able to participate with the free VodafoneNYE app, out on 28th December. They are also working with food specialists Bompas & Parr to being food tastes and smells to the fireworks display (curiouser and curiouser). This is an interesting evolution for the brand; news also broke this week that they are going to kill the Yoda ads from next year, so it’s all part of a bigger picture, no doubt.

If you’d like to know how a small website grew to be the world’s second-largest media website, just behind Gawker Media, then may I present to you the growth hacking story behind Upworthy. It’s been steadily increasing traffic this year and it’s fascinating to read about their strategy. For example, read this bit about how they test the likely virality of their headlines: “first, they pick two promising headlines for the same content and create a url for each—one with url A and one with B. Next, they find two cities with similar demographics and populations amongst their Facebook fans and share one with each city. They set a timer and wait for the clicks to roll in.” A/B testing isn’t new but the Facebook + combination is interesting.

I’ve mentioned the growth in the number of brands acting as venture capitalists before, some creating in-house incubators to work with technology companies. The latest addition to that crew is McDonald’s who are holding a 24-hour hackathon in London in January. The brief is to develop tools that provide ‘relevant services and enhance the experience of the Millennials’. That’s an audience that is in high demand for brands of all kinds, so it will be interesting to see whether McDonald’s manage to get improved traction with them through this competition.


The Daily Mirror have created a new site dedicated to data visualization. The one-liner, in their words, is ‘making journalism more accessible through data visualization and infographics’. As we try to swim in the sea of information that is the web, this is another take on curation and one that I didn’t quite expect the Mirror to bring out – one of their smarter pieces of work.

The great Nelson Mandela died this week, and a branch of Woolworths supermarket in South Africa got a flash mob consisting of members of a choir to sing a tribute to him (thanks Catherine Aylward for the link). It’s very unusual and taps into a milestone occurrence – a subject that isn’t easy to handle and they’ve done it very well, as reports so far indicate: see here and here.


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