New Pitch’d platform enables easy Vine and Instagram‏ contests

One of my recent favourite online campaigns has to be the RSPCA #HappyPet competition, where users were asked to send in Vine videos of their happy pets. A simple idea which grabbed attention by utilising the new app and created endless sharable content!

I included the campaign in my Wall Blog article ‘Five ways your brand can use Twitter’s Vine app’, and it enabled the UK charity to reach millions of potential supporters thanks to thousands of votes for more than 600 entries to its #HappyPet contest.

The contest was powered by technology from London startup Pitch’d as part of a closed beta.


Pitch’d have have today launched their social video competition platform to brands and agencies who want to harness their followers’ creativity.  The Pitch’d platform looks really easy to use and allows you to initiate Vine and Instagram video competitions in a matter of minutes, asking users to shoot short videos on a specific topic – then encouraging them to share amongst their network.

Entries can be easily pre-moderated and a live analytics dashboard shows per-channel entries, reach and voting status throughout the contest. To enter a Pitch’d-powered contest, users simply need to Tweet their video @mentioning the brand with a specific #hashtag. This low-friction mechanic is designed to maximise entries.

Brands get an easily-integrated leaderboard ready for three channels: a widget for web content, a Facebook page tab, and a mobile-ready HTML5 page. Each format allows voting on entries via Facebook or retweets on Twitter. Agencies can skin the leaderboard too, to fit their branding.

Pitch’d is offering a limited number of subscription packages for digital marketing agencies from £749 plus VAT per month, whilst standard pay-per-contest pricing begins at £1,795 plus VAT. Find out more on their site.

It will be interesting to see how many brands utilise this easy new platform!


Celebs, brands and fake fans

Monday’s episode of Dispatches was a must-see for anyone working in social media.

In the one hour special,  Channel 4 went undercover to investigate what’s real and what’s fake when it comes to celebrity endorsements on Twitter, and Facebook ‘likes’ of some of the world’s top brands.

For anyone working in the industry, buying Facebook ‘likes’ and YouTube ‘views’ isn’t unheard of, nor is it a new thing. During some of my time at advertising agencies this is something that has been discussed, especially when promises have been made to clients about how many likes a campaign can generate.

I found this frustrating, especially with the larger brands, as the success of a campaign always fell down to vanity metrics of likes, rather than meaningful engagements or links back to sales, or improved sentiment.

Likes really are purely a vanity thing, as brands don’t want to come out short in comparison to their competitors, not do they wish to look unpopular. Brands are putting pressure on agencies to perform, so they are looking for any way possible to hit their targets.

However, some agencies are going too far, and are looking to buy fake likes from backstreet ‘click farms’ in India, as seen in the Dispatches documentary. This is beneficial for no one. Brands end up with fake profiles, and skewed fan data. Surely it’s got to be quality over quantity, and I don’t think this is going to end until we properly educate brands on this.

An interesting documentary, and worth a watch. It’s available here on 4oD. Let me know what you think on Twitter @alisonbattisby!

BT Sport launches in style

Last week I was invited to return to the scene of our amazing London 2012 Games, on the anniversary of the Opening Ceremony.

I headed to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London for the launch of the new BT Sport television channels, whose studios are based in the media centre there. The channels go live tomorrow (1st August 2013) and aim to finally give Sky a bit of competition.

Where Setanta and ESPN might have failed with this football and rugby content, BT has pulled out the big guns with a huge marketing campaign and some well-known pundits from the sporting world like Clare Balding and Jake Humphrey.

I recently wrote about how BT is using social media to generate interest in the channels here.

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We took a studio tour at the event, are were shown the fabulously impressive rooms at the media centre which are now covered in BT branding. BT are the first major company to invest in the building, and only moved in 3 weeks ago!

Jake Humphrey and Clare Balding took to the stage to give a welcome speech. Jake said he wants the channel to be fun and approachable, in a laid back style. Michael Owen was wondering around the party, as he takes a commentator role in the new channels.

The great evening also included music from Jessie Ware, sampling the finest Portobello gin and having a good F1 chat with Jake. It will be interesting to see of BT pull this off – but so far they are looking confident.


How to be your own boss (and then take over the world) by innocent and friends

innocent smoothies sure do put on a good event. As part of their innocent inspires series, I was invited to Fruit Towers to attend the ‘be your own boss’ evening. The evening promised to be a good one – with speakers such as Richard Reed (one of my heroes), Sophie Cornish of, Martin Morales owner of hot new London restaurant Ceviche, and many more!

In a typically innocent laid back affair, each speaker was invited to chat about their experiences in starting their own business from scratch and share anecdotes and lessons from their journeys. The room was full of budding entrepreneurs – from people who have started their own businesses to those with just an itch to work for themselves, but no business ideas as yet.

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One thing that struck me about each speaker is the passion they each had for sticking with their ideas, not giving up and doing whatever it takes to get that business going.

Sophie Cornish said she wanted to be her own boss because she wanted a great working life on her own terms.

Martin Morales confessed he pitched the Peruvian restaurant idea 300 times, and had to sell his house before he could purchase the space for Ceviche on Frith Street in Soho.

All clearly had a strong desire to make a success of their ideas. Richard Reed said it is definitely worth setting up your own business, and you can do it, even when it gets tough.


Eben Upton of Raspberry Pi said focus on what you do well – and agreed with jewellery designer Bec Astley Clarke that it’s all about the implementation of your business not necessarily the idea.

‘You need the will and the skill, but the will must be stronger than the skill’ added Morales.


A theme that came up a few times, particularly after questions from the audience, was that there is never a right time to start your own business. Like many things in life, you will always be able to think of hundreds of excuses. All the business owners advised the audience to just do it – as there will never be a right time. Even if it’s just a side project while you are working full time.

innocent actually encourage this too, and a few of the current employees were promoting their side-businesses on stands in a marketplace area of Fruit Towers, including the yummy Sweetcheeks cakes. Infact, some innocent employees have left the business to start their own ventures, something which Reed and co are proud of and encourage. The likes of Popchips, Peppersmiths and Scandikitchen all worked at innocent at some time in the careers, and obviously build enough confidence and skills to venture into the big world themselves.

The founding guys behind innocent are set to start their own venture fund Jam Jar Investments this year.  £2 million is initially being set aside, with an aim to invest £50,000 to £250,000 in each start-up they pick.

Reed is obviously a huge fan of entrepreneurialism – and rightly so, judging by the enthusiasm and excitement for new business in that room at Fruit Towers last week!



Thanks to Felicity for the photo, and to Richard for signing my innocent book.

Glastonbury 2013: The First Truly Digital Festival

Glastonbury 2013 was a fantastic festival, and not just because of the Rolling Stones. This year also marked the first truly digital festival.

It was the first time I took my iPhone to the festival – and could access EE’s brilliant Glastonbury app to check out stage times and clashes, as well as Instagraming my pictures on the go (until my battery ran out…).

The BBC went to town on their coverage online – streaming more than 250 hours of live coverage and over 120 live performances.

It was also the “most social Glastonbury” ever, with coverage stimulating huge reactions across social media from both audiences and artists alike. The BBC also ran a live blog “curating the best images and news stories from Worthy Farm”. A dedicated @BBCGlasto Twitter account was also set up to answer audiences’ queries and shared the best tweets from DJ’s, presenters and station accounts throughout the weekend.

The clever chaps at Fiasco Design have illustrated how audiences from beyond the festival walls engaged with Glastonbury Festival across digital platforms on TV, desktop and mobile devices.



Fergie Quits And Social Media Reacts

The news of Alex Ferguson quitting his job as manager of Manchester United today blew up very quicky in social media. After speculation all over the internet, the news was broken officially by the Manchester United Twitter account.

In the hour following the announcement, there were more than 1.4 million mentions of the story on Twitter, and the original announcement Tweet had more than 18,000 retweets and favourites.


Rather than just spreading the news, a couple of brands used the announcement in a quite creative way. Here are my 3 favourites from today:

1. Ladbrokes launched a range of Facebook adverts promoting a debate and bets on who his replacement would be.

2013-05-08_1215The ads seemed to give live as soon as the announcement was made, so the team were working very quickly to create these.

2. Smarta, the support platform for business and entrepreneurs, created a great piece of content on their site offering readers some top business lessons from the world’s greatest football manager. They promoted their blog post on Twitter and Facebook.

2013-05-08_12203. Friends Reunited dug out a great black and white image from their extensive archives of Ferguson winning a trophy. They linked through to a memory box on their site, which has images of every trophy he has ever won!


Did you see any great examples of brands using the breaking news as a conversation starter? Let me know!

Some creative ideas for Twitter’s new Vine App

During my time away travelling in South America, I missed the launch of Twitter’s new Vine App. On my return I was excited to give it a try, and also to discover the creative ways which brands had started to use the video tool.


I was slightly surprised that many of my forward-thinking favourite brands were not using Vine regularly, as there is a lot of scope and it does not take long to create a campaign using the app. However, I did find a few great examples including the RSPCA and my fave London cafe The Breakfast Club. I wrote an article for Brand Republic’s The Wall Blog on how brands can utilise the new app, including some of these examples.

It’s also worth mentioning an article I recently came across by Reason Digital, listing some great uses of Vine by charities. Vine can really help bring a cause to life, especially when appealing for a cause or raising awareness.

This example from Barnados really stuck in my mind…


I’ll be really interested to see how Vine grows over the coming months, and let me know if you see any great examples!

New Startup Prizeo Offers Amazing Celebrity Experiences

Fancy cooking with Jamie Oliver? Or lunch with Samuel L Jackson? How about appearing in one of Dynamo’s magic tricks?


Today I came across Prizeo – a new Beta site hosting unique competitions with once in a lifetime prizes up for grabs. The fun twist is that each competition requires a small donation (£3) and the total amount goes to charity.

Previous competitions have successfully raised money for JLS Foundation, Red Nose Day and the Mind Charity with the help of celebrities including Stephen Fry, One Direction and Keith Lemon.


It’s great to see such charities trying out new innovative platforms like Prizeo rather than relying on predictable Facebook and Twitter competitions.

The Prizeo co-founders Bryan Baum and Leo Seigal state on their website that they met whilst organising glamorous auction fundraisers at Oxford University – with celebrity prizes spanning every interest. They felt that the auction model was limiting as only the wealthy were able to enter to win.

“Rather than restricting these prizes to the few who are wealthy enough to bid thousands of pounds, surely the public have the power to get together to raise an even greater sum…”

Prizeo is now universally accessible, and everyone has the chance to win big and make a difference. It will be interesting to see which charities sign up to this service over the next few months – and what prizes they offer!

‘Benefits of social media are overwhelmingly positive’ says Sheryl Sandberg

Although I have been working in social media industry for five years now, I still meet businesses and entrepreneurs who feel nervous about the marketing tool.

Many have held off creating a Facebook Page or signing up to Twitter because they are worried they might mess up their company reputation, some are concerned about competitors spying on their activity, and others just can’t understand what the fuss is about, still!


The COO of Facebook and one of my favourite businesswomen, Sheryl Sandberg was on the Andrew Marr Show yesterday. Aside from discussing all of her campaigning for female success in the workplace, she was asked about Facebook by Sophie Raworth and something she said during the interview struck a chord with me. Asked about Facebook’s privacy issues, Sheryl said:

‘Every technology presents it’s challenges, and social media does as well – but I think the benefits are overwhelmingly positive.’

She went on to say:

‘We give people a very powerful tool, and with that power comes a responsibility to understand it, and to use it responsibly…’

I think social media can too be easily overlooked as something to be nervous about – but there are so many benefits to using it that don’t get shouted about enough!

Here are just a few to whet your appetite…

  • Social media does bring in new business. Keeping front of mind to clients, potential customers and anyone else within your business network. By regularly producing engaging content in social networks, people are more likely to remember you.

  • Social media is a great networking & recruitment tool – I’ve landed 2 jobs through Twitter, and gained countless valuable contacts.
  • Social media is a great way to show off your expertise as a business – by shouting about your achievements!
  • Social media helps overall website traffic and also help to improve your SEO rankings in Google.

It’s understandable that people may be nervous to use social media and ‘mess it up’ but with a bit of careful training and a simple strategy in place it really does become beneficial and enjoyable.

If you are not using social media, you are soon going to be in the minority I’m afraid. The proportion of the UK population registered with Facebook has gone over the 50% mark for the first time. 18% of the UK population are using LinkedIn to network with other professionals.*

If you are interested in social media consultancy or training then do get in touch, or if you simply want to find out how social media marketing can benefit your business.

*(Stats from