Take your pet into the office on #BringYourDogToWorkDay


Friday June 23rd is Bring your Dog To Work Day!

Today (Friday 23rd June 2017) marks national Bring Your Dog to Work Day. Obviously if you work as a bus driver or in a hospital that might not be particularly practical. But for a lot of office workers taking a dog into work can add to the positivity and productivity of your workplace.

Personally I’ve always loved dogs and would welcome them in any office, any day of the year. It’s also much better for the dog than being stuck at home by him or her self. However, I mostly work from home so it’s not so much of an issue anymore. 

You can get involved in the conversation online with the hashtag #BringYourDogToWorkDay and see the dogs of the UK’s workforce in the office! 

You can also see the four main benefits of bringing your dog into work here.

Our favourite Mannequin Challenge so far – underwater with the Little Rock Trojans swim team


There’s certainly nothing new about The Mannequin Challenge. I first became aware of the  latest phenomenon during the US election when Hillary Clinton and her entourage filmed one on their plane.

Since then the world has gone mad with every man and his dog (quite literally in the case of this one featuring a very statuesque boxer dog) filming the Mannequin Challenge and setting it to the song Black Beatles by Rae Sremmurd – indeed it all seems reminiscent of The Harlem Shake a few years back, remember that.

However, I really like this one below from the Little Rock Trojans swim team in the US because it’s one of those that you watch and you really do think ‘How on earth did they do that?’

For Shiny Shiny today I’ve reviewed my Top 5 Mannequin Challenges so far. As this particular viral phenomenon fades, it makes me wonder what’s coming next.

The beauty of the world we live in now, is that broadcasters no longer dictate the next trend, it’s us the viewers! No doubt the next viral phenomenon is already being incubated somewhere, ready to be unleashed into the world.

YouTube’s Kevin Allocca talks about how video streaming is influencing mainstream, including John Lewis!

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Last week I went to Google’s swanky new HQ in London’s King’s Cross for a talk about trends in video streaming with YouTube. Apart from being told by an overly zealous security guard that I couldn’t take pictures of the building (a bit rich from a company that never asked me for my permission to take pictures of where I live!) it all went very well.

The main speaker was Kevin Allocca (pictured above) who talked very articulately about the influence that YouTube is having on mainstream culture (particularly TV broadcasting, but advertising too) as well as the company’s recent partnerships with top vloggers/YouTubers as part of its #MadeForYou campaign.

These include Humza Arshad (pictured below) who has over 300,000 subscribers on his Humza Productions Bad Man YouTube channel  and Dino Tokio who has over 550,000 subscribers on her lifestyle and fashion channel, both of whom were at the launch event.


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Actor, comedian and vlogger Humza Arshad has built up a large audience thanks to his popular Bad Man videos

Starting with a history of the service (did you know the first YouTube video, Me At the Zoo , dates back to April 23rd 2005), he began by talking about some of the viral sensations that YouTube has witnessed over the course of its history.

As well as all the obvious ones, such as the Ice Bucket Challenge and the more recent Mannequin Challenge, he also talked about the Whisper Challenge where you have to decipher what someone is saying while wearing noise cancelling headphones (similar to what we called ‘Chinese whispers’ when were young).

Supposedly created by vlogger Joe Sugg for his Thatcher Joe channel, and picked up by mainstream US chatshow host Jimmy Fallon, it powerfully shows the influence that vloggers are having on mainstream media. However, an even better example is the recent John Lewis ad featuring animals on a trampoline which was undoubtedly inspired by YouTube clips uploaded several years earlier.

For example he showed a clip of a boxer dog jumping on a trampoline made in 2007 which has so far been watched 3.5 million times. Then there’s this one below featuring foxes dancing on a trampoline which has been viewed over 27 million times since 2008!

John Lewis may be never knowingly undersold, but clearly it’s knowingly ‘borrowed’ or at least been influenced by the internet!

To read the article in full click here.

Happy Donkey Hill. What’s in a name? Quite a lot it seems

HappyDonkeyHillLast year we went to see a friend of ours in West Wales. We only wanted to go for a few days and couldn’t find anywhere that would take bookings for less than a week.

One holiday park even told me that they would take my booking but only if I booked it 48 hours in advance after they’d tried (and presumably failed) to find someone who would take it for longer!

‘Why don’t you try Happy Donkey Hill?’ said Sue when I called her in a state of mild panic. ‘Great name,’ I said, ‘do you have a number?’ ‘Just Google Happy Donkey Hill, you’ll find it’.

Sure enough I found it straight away on my phone, called the owner and made a booking over the phone immediately for 4 nights staying in a newly converted static caravan next to a chicken shed (sadly the donkeys  were in a field down the road).

Now I discover that owner Kate Clamp is at the centre of a linguistic row with the Welsh authorities who are trying to, pardon the pun, clamp down on traditional Welsh place names being changed (in this case the original Welsh name is Faerdre Fach).

An internet search for Kate Clamp reveals that she has incurred quite a bit of hatred from local Welsh bloggers since moving to Wales a few years ago, one of whom has branded her a ‘foreigner’ and ‘colonialist’ (she is English) for her actions. It seems a bit harsh to me.

Now, I met Kate and I found her completely bonkers in the nicest possible way, and although I have some sympathy with Welsh speakers trying to preserve their culture and language I can also see her point of view which is basically she needed to change the name in order to attract tourists – especially those searching online.

Would I have Googled ‘Faerdre Fach’ as I was out and about trying to book somewhere to stay via my mobile phone? No almost certainly not. And that’s the reality.

I suspect the vast majority of people staying there probably don’t speak any Welsh whatsoever and the only reason the place survives and makes money (much of which goes into the community) is because of tourists like me who go there for the memorable name ‘Happy Donkey Hill’.

You can hear the feature on Radio 4’s Today programme here. Go to 1 hour 22 mins 30 seconds. 

Is Snapchat a great social media platform for publishers?

I’m not sure many people over about the age of 30 really ‘get’ Snapchat. But it’s certainly attracted attention among publishers, especially those in the US including the US version of the Daily Mail.

But is Snapchat Discover really a great way for younger audiences to find your content? In this article for FIPP I look at how several publishers have used Snapchat so far and ask whether it has been successful.


Social media becomes more transactional – with ‘Buy’ buttons promised for Facebook Pages

Social media may have started off as a way of keeping in touch with friends, posting updates and pictures etc. But increasingly venture capital funded companies are looking for new and innovative ways to monetize their platforms, in order to satisfy investors (if not always consumers).

The latest trend is towards ‘transactionalization’ – an inelegant word but one that covers the move towards adding ‘Buy’ buttons so you can shop without having to leave the company’s platform. Latest to go this route is Facebook with the company experimenting with ‘Buy’ buttons for its Pages.

You can read my article here on how it might affect the Content Marketing industry here: http://www.the-cma.com/news/social-media-makes-shopping-easier-for-consumers