2014 has been a year of charity challenges, animal pranks and heart-wrenching advertising campaigns. To mark the lead up to Christmas and the New Year, I’ve taken some time to look back over the past year to pick out our top videos of the last 12 months.

1) Would you help a freezing child?SOS Children’s Village International released an under cover video, earlier this year, to highlight the plight of Syrian children.  The use of hidden cameras to capture strangers giving the small boy scarves, gloves and coats enhances the heart-warming nature of the film as the branding is less obvious. This video hit the top spot on Ad Age’s Viral Video Chart back in March and has now secured almost 5 million views on YouTube.

2) Strangers First Kiss – It’s the moment everyone dreads – the first kiss. But doing it with a complete stranger in front of a camera is even more terrifying! Not for this group of 20 complete strangers in America who were paired up and asked to lock lips. What perhaps viewers may not have known is that this challenging experiment was for LA-based women’s clothing brand Wren.

3) Budweiser’s Puppy Love – Gone are the days of friends sitting around shouting Whatsuuuuuuup! at each other. The memorable yet rather irritating iconic phrase has been replaced with a more sentimental advert including two puppies that just want to be together. The video which appeared in January’s Super Bowl has been voted 7th in an annual list of top videos release by YouTube.  This video marks the changing face of advertising which is seeing more companies pull on our heart strings to engage us.

 4) Spider Dog – The ultimate prank of fooling people in thinking their worst nightmare has come true – that a giant spider has found its way to a town near you! This video, uploaded by the ultimate prankster on YouTube secured over 115,000,000 views since its upload in September.

5) Honda ‘The Other Side’ – Although this video has not been mentioned in YouTube’s trending videos for 2014 we think this video is extremely clever and very engaging. Providing the audience with an opportunity to be interactive with videos isn’t something new, however using technology which allows the audience to watch a different version or flick between the two is such a great way of advertising the intrigue of the new Honda. Have a go yourself and see if you can predict the end….

6) Ice Bucket Challenge – By far one of the biggest charity pushes in recent years, this campaign saw world leaders, celebrities, children and adults join together to feel the freeze of a bucket full of ice cubes in the name of raising money for Motor Neurone Disease. The success and popularity of the challenge even saw other charities piggy back on to the hype as well. From 29 July to 28 August this year ALS received $98.2m – compared with $2.7m donated during the same period last year. In total, a simple summer of buckets and ice water raised a total of $115m since July alone. Here’s one of the most viewed Ice Bucket Challenges with Bill Gates accepting Mark Zukerburg’s challenge. Check out the bucket dropping workmanship!

7) Hero cat saves child from dog attack – Now I’d say I’m more a dog person than a cat person but this video shows nature at its best! Although it’s not a branded video this received huge interest from new outlets and on social media. Who knew cats were so caring!

8) John Lewis Monty the Penguin – We can’t forget the long awaited Christmas advertising campaign from retailer John Lewis. Since it’s humble beginning in 2007 after a three year break from TV advertising which saw presents being stacked in a warehouse creating shadows to replicate the people they were for, John Lewis’ messaging has been clear: that it’s the place to find that perfect gift over the festive period. Audiences waited with baited breath over the next few years as they saw snowmen buy presents, the bear and the Hare, and this year; the much loved Monty the Penguin. These campaigns have changed the way advertisers are now searching for way to get into our emotions and hook us in to their products in a subtle way.

9) Nike Football: Winner Stays – The World cup was a highlight for football fans worldwide this year with committed fans travelling out to Rio to be involved with the action. Nike has always remained near the top when it comes to campaigns surrounding the World Cup – in 2010 their Write the Future commercial dominated YouTube. This year saw a modest children’s footie match taken over by a star studded pitch including the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr, and Wayne Rooney. Even the Hulk appears on the pitch! The messaging – to inspire its audience, to let them know that taking a risk has benefits.

10) McVities – Let’s face it, we would all love a cute kitten or cuddly corgi to appear from a pack of biscuits (most of us animal lovers anyway!) and McVities nails it with this diverse advert which is different every time. Something like this keeps the audience engaged and reflects the key messaging for the brand. Although it’s Christmas campaign joins the list of festive commercials coming under fire this month for suggesting people buy pets this Christmas, we still love it! So sit back, and enjoy some super cute animals sing for only you!



Post by Daisy Bambridge, Project Manager @ TNR Communications

You might be thinking it’s nearly time to put your slippers on and your festive feet up because Christmas is a bad time to get some coverage – however we at TNR couldn’t disagree more!

The news agenda slows right down, but media outlets still need to fill their pages and airtime with quality content. The Press Association (PA) are about to start putting together their annual “Christmas basket” – stories, photos and video content which they can drip feed out during the festive season to the hungry media.

Carnaby St Christmas lights 2014 - London

 

We went to our colleagues at PA and asked them why Christmas is actually a really good time to get some coverage.

Jonathan Grun Editor of PA:

“News editors working for our customers can struggle to find good stories over Christmas and New Year – particularly ones with good multimedia content. We build a substantial file of stories that we issue over that period and many get impressive coverage. If you have a genuine, credible story that can be told in words, pictures and video it could be a key item on the PA service this year.”

Martin Keene, Head of Pictures:

“The Christmas Basket is an essential part of the PA Christmas service and a great opportunity to get your photo-stories in the papers at a time when there is not much news around”

Isabelle Potts, Head of Video:

“Christmas doesn’t mean people stop wanting to see engaging video content, so any video stories you have coming up with a festive feel please flag with us. We still have to feed the online beast no matter what the season so don’t forget about us!”

Talk to us, the seasoned pros and let’s see if we can make your story a video or photo cracker for the Christmas basket. Get in touch with the team on 020 7963 7163 or email hello@tnrcommunications.co.uk.

Post by the team @ TNR Communications

Mastering the art of media interviews, particularly on TV and radio, is a must-have skill for senior executives. An unfortunate slip of the tongue from an unprepared, or under-prepared, spokesperson can wreak havoc on your organisation’s reputation and weaken your brand. Media training is an essential investment, says Bridgid Nzekwu, our head of media training.

Media Training by TNR Communications at the Press Association

Media Training by TNR Communications at the Press Association

Remember Tony Hayward? The former CEO of BP will always be remembered for a monumental cock-up during an interview. He was forced to resign after telling a reporter “I’d like my life back” following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. Millions of barrels of oil had poured into the Gulf of Mexico and 11 workers had been killed in the disaster. Yet the man at the helm of the company responsible appeared inappropriately concerned with his own situation.

Hayward has since conceded that BP was “not prepared to deal with the intensity of the media scrutiny…” An astonishing admission. Yet this is a pitfall which any organisation, even those with smaller budgets than multi-trillion pound oil companies, can avoid if their spokespeople are given the right training.

The best speakers are confident, credible and authoritative. They are cool under pressure, interesting to listen to, with a memorable turn of phrase. The good news is, these skills can be learned. Most people are not born fully-fledged media stars, so high quality training is the solution. In fact, the majority of the best media performers in business have had media training. They recognise that it’s just too risky to put themselves in the path of a John Humphries, Jon Snow, or indeed any journalist, without proper preparation.

Knowing how to control an interview is a vital skill. Being trained in effective techniques pays dividends, allowing your spokesperson to make the most of their time on air or in print, rather than slavishly following the journalist’s agenda. Every interview is a valuable opportunity to promote your brand and communicate with customers and investors. In 2013 some ITV1 advertising slots cost over £16,000 per 30 seconds. Consider, then, the value to your business of two or three minutes of air time on the BBC Breakfast business slot or Channel 4 News?

A confident, engaging interview is also a chance to steal a march on competitors and rolling, 24-hour news generates endless opportunities for expert comment. The power of this exposure for a brand is considerable, positioning it as a trusted name in the mind of the audience. Yet many organisations miss out on these opportunities by having too few “oven-ready” spokespeople. Most interview requests come with very little notice, so having several media-trained spokespeople is wise. If your sole front man or woman is travelling, off sick, in a Board meeting or unreachable for any reason, your media capability is severely limited. A chance to put your case or respond to news or industry developments is highly likely to go to a competitor. If their spokesperson performs well, journalists will remember and are likely to go straight to them for comment next time there’s a story. You have possibly lost a whole series of chances to put your brand in the limelight.

The rise of social media has been a game-changer in the way organisations communicate. Twitter, YouTube and social media in general are undeniably powerful channels but they have markedly increased the risks of having untrained or poorly trained spokespeople. Tweets can disseminate a faux pas worldwide in seconds and video clips go viral long before damage limitation can kick in. A poor interview or unguarded comment can damage reputations, tarnish brands and end careers.

The best media training goes far beyond practising answering questions and getting to grips with microphones, cameras and studios. Developing and refining your organisation’s key messages, particularly in times of crisis, is an essential first stage of preparing for an encounter with a journalist. What are you really trying to say to your audience? What will the journalist be most interested in and pursue? How will what you say actually come across in a soundbite? Most importantly, how do you not just survive the encounter but turn it to your advantage, especially if your organisation is on the back foot, for example because of poor financial results or a product or service failure?

These key messages are only effective if they are subtly worked into interviews. Masters at this include Angela Knight, Chief Executive of Energy UK, Justin King, former Chief Executive of Sainsbury’s, and Willie Walsh, Chief Executive of International Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways, all skilled at deftly taking control of the agenda during interviews, even under pressure. Less adept performers, politicians especially, lack effective techniques for handling tricky questions. They alienate their audiences – and make an enemy of the interviewer – by simply repeating their key messages regardless of what they’ve been asked.

Coming across well in print, on camera, or on radio is not merely about saying the right thing. An interview is a performance and, like any good performance, delivery is just as important as content. Tone, body language, even appearance can undermine what a spokesperson is trying to get across. At TNR Communications, bespoke media training includes work on an individual’s breathing, intonation, articulation, posture, gesture and facial expressions, as well as techniques for controlling nerves and eliminating “tells” which betray stress.

Another important factor is the training environment. A spokesperson trained in the comfort and safety of their own office can falter when expected to perform in a studio, where the journalist is on home turf and has an additional psychological advantage. Those who do practical exercises in a realistic setting are much more likely to feel secure and in control when it comes to doing it for real in the ‘Today’ Radio 4 studio or on the ‘Good Morning Britain’ sofa. The lesson here is to choose a training supplier with the appropriate training facilities and strong media credentials to make the most of your investment.

Possessing the right skills is non-negotiable for those who speak on behalf of their organisations. High quality training can transform a spokesperson’s confidence and credibility, developing them from mediocre to outstanding performers in a matter of hours, ensuring your organisation can harness the power of the media.

Post by Bridgid Nzekwu, Head of Media Training @ TNR Communications

Last Friday on 7th November we partnered with the CIPR to host a breakfast event here at the Press Association (PA). We got in the tea, coffee and croissants and lay on a host of speakers for the delegates to enjoy.

Being part of the Press Association we are in the fortunate position where we can call on our colleagues to provide insight into the multi-media world of news and content. Alongside the prestigious company of Jonathan Grun (Editor), Martin Keene (Head of Pictures) and Isabelle Potts (Editor PA Video) TNR provided delegates with an insight into other areas of PA that they can take advantage of.

CIPR GLG at The Press Association/TNR

As the broadcast and content experts of PA we spoke  about how to convey your message and story across a variety of media including video (broadcast & online), radio and photography. While people are aware of the need to create content and stories, they aren’t always as sure how you utilise the media available.

Keeping on top of the news agenda in the world of PR & Comms can be incredibly tricky, so to provide help we had David Fitzgerald from Globelynx who spoke about connecting your spokesperson with broadcast media, and Jeff Jones discussing Mediapoint and how to keep ahead of the news agenda. Being current and reacting in real time is so vital in the industry and having a spokesperson that can speak on behalf of your organisation is vital. The tips and benefits of this were  emphasised by Liz our Media Training co-ordinator.

CIPR GLG at The Press Association/TNR

After the talks had finished we had a Q&A where the audience got to grill all the speakers directly! This was then followed by a tour of the studios, broadcast facilities and of course the newsroom. The morning was a huge success and it was a pleasure to meet so many industry folk.

We are looking at dates early in the new year to run another joint event with the CIPR. Keep an eye on the @LondonPR Twitter feed or get in touch with me for info on future dates.

Post by Alex Waite, Marketing Manager @ TNR Communications

So you’ve come up with a great idea, but you don’t have the facilities in-house to create that amazing video to get the results you need. You need a reputable production company with integrity, honesty, and a track record of producing high quality and eye catching video content to make the most out of your own or your clients investment.

Here are a few things to bear in mind when briefing a video production company:

1. What’s your video objective?

What do you want the video to do – make people laugh, create sales, promote a service etc. The possibilities are endless but it’s important to know why you are creating the video and to have a clear objective for what you want to achieve.

2. Funding

Know your video budget beforehand. Whilst budgets can be restrictive, be realistic about how far your money can get you. While a larger one is ideal for producing quality content, a smaller budget can still get you great results depending on your requirements. The video production company should be able to guide you on best use of the budget and will know how to help you get the most from it.

3. Know Your Target Audience

This is important to bear in mind. Be clear about who it is you are targeting and what it is you want them to do so the production company knows what type of content to create. This goes hand in hand with point 1.

4. Location, location, location

Where will the video be filmed? Studio or on location? Think about what is realistic for your production and what best suits the content you want to produce. The right location and creating the right environment can be vital to the end result.

5. Spokespersons

Depending on the style of video and its purpose, it can be great to use spokespeople from your company rather than actors. They come across as more authentic. However, it is important to make sure they are confident to speak in front of a camera!

6. Timing

Be realistic with the time needed to produce the content. Coming to a video production company in the early stages allows both teams to work together to come up with a schedule and utilise the best ideas for your campaign, right from the start.

7. Stock footage and elements

Do you have any stock footage which might be of use to include in your final edit? You may have produced content before that your production company can make use of, so let them know what you have. It’s also important to share your brand identity so the content created complies with your look and feel.

In Summary…

Whether you already have a clear image of how you want the video to look, or you need advice from the initial stages, it will be helpful to get the above clear before speaking to a production company.

Video is an incredibly impactful way of getting across your key messages and increasing awareness for your brand. There’s so much content on the internet that people will make a decision about your video within the first ten seconds of viewing.

So remember, think straight, have a clear goal of what you want to achieve and follow these 7 easy tips to create great content!

Any Questions?

If you have any other questions about video production you can submit them via Twitter with the hashtag #AskTNR, or fill out the below form. We will take a variety of questions and release the answers in a soon to be released video – stay tuned!

There was some rather interesting research done by the media regulator Ofcom featured in PR Week recently. A survey of 2,731 people showed that 41% of them now accessed news on websites and through apps which has slightly risen above newspapers at 40%.

To be honest this in itself isn’t a shock as the rise of digital consumption is very well documented and still on a steep increase. The part that interests me is whether this will ultimately impact the end client and their perception of success.

For instance in relation to photography, through the Press Association news wires we get PR Photography coverage for our clients in both print and online media. It’s always really interesting to hear the client’s reaction to both sets of coverage, with them frequently placing emphasis of importance on the print success.

Virgin Media's Big Kahuna quad-play bundle launch

Virgin Media’s Big Kahuna quad-play bundle launch – Print or online?

I know there is always the prestige of seeing your PR in print and physically getting the ink on your fingers, but with the continued increase in digital news consumption and the longevity it has online there will surely be a tipping point when clients rank importance of online coverage above print.

It’s also encouraging to see TV still ranking so highly at 75% for news consumption, although there was a slight decline on 2013. I still think that nothing beats a good broadcast PR campaign and while digital is certainly a rising force with online media going from strength to strength, the impact of seeing your PR campaign on TV still can’t be beaten.

I’d be interested to hear what industry folk think; does the client still prefer print over online coverage?

Post by Alex Waite, Marketing Manager @ TNR Communications 

 

 

It’s certainly been a long week in the midst of a bank holiday overloaded month so we thought we’d bring a little something to brighten up your Friday – little being the optimum word!

As you can probably tell from the previous blog, we love animals here at TNR and the more cute animal stories we find the better! And, let’s face it; animals have some sort of super power to make us feel so much better about life in a word which can seem a struggle at times.

This week’s news agenda has been dominated by hard news: the killing of a teacher in Leeds, the tube strikes, the conviction of Max Clifford as well as the inquest into Peaches Geldof’s death. For this reason, we thought we’d bring you a slightly different video – it’s small, it’s cute – what’s not to love about it!

Post by Daisy Bambridge, Project Manager @ TNR Communications 

03.04.2014

Animal crackers

‘Ahhhhhh!’ This is the reaction in our office each day as the newspapers showcase the latest crop of animal pictures from around the world.

The other day we did a count of how many animal pictures featured in the national newspapers and we were quite amazed at how many were used – we counted 34, which is quite a lot considering how much hard news there is right now. The animals ranged from polar bears, horses and tigers to rats.

These pictures aren’t your average cutsie shots of kittens in teacups; these are pictures of animals that add more than a sense of humour to the shots than any sentimental greeting card ever could:

Francois Langur baby at Howletts Wild Animal Park

Some are just fantastically shot images that could easily be considered as a work of art focusing on and accentuating the amazing colours of these creatures, such as the image used on the front page of The Times (below). This shot insists the viewer takes in the majestic beauty of the tigers. The photographer struck lucky when he aimed to capture the tiger and her cub as he also caught a third approaching or even spying in the background, which to me takes the image to another level.

Back in August, which is traditionally ‘silly season’ – an optimum time of the year to get the lightest, picture-led stories into the papers – I noticed that instead of the expected seasonal shots of giant tomatoes and the like, the papers were full of stand-alone images of animals – exotic creatures in their natural habitats and the latest additions to a zoo. This trend didn’t stop in September when the news agenda traditionally returns to its normal pace and content, it just kept going.

Photographers and newspapers have got wise to the impact animals have on humans – especially cubs and baby monkeys, and it seems as though photographers are increasingly being allowed access to nature reserves and zoos spending hours waiting to get the right shots:

Animal pictures in newspapers act as great antidotes to the horrors and misery of what is the majority of the news. It seems that these kinds of pictures are competing with the usual PR images, so with this in mind, stand-alone images need to be impressive and eye-catching enough to get picture editors’ attention – making them choose the synthetic over the natural.

Post by Nicola Charalambous, Head of Photography @ TNR Communications

What can you do if you cant get your weekly shop in the back of your car? Stick it to the bonnet, obviously! Not sure it’ll be much success driving down a busy motorway (unless your stuck on the M25 in rush hour, in which case you MIGHT be able to keep all your purchases in tact) but this is what Tesco did in order to rasie awareness of their new petrol offer.

The supermarket chain decided to pimp their ride with carrots, eggs, toilet roll, and cheese, catching the eye of bewildered passers by at a petrol station.

Tesco Car Small

 

This masterpiece appeared last week in a Tesco in Watford to support their research which showed nearly half of us are claiming fuel prices are preventing us from seeing their loved ones. As there was no news hook to the story (research by Tesco to promote Tesco Clubcard offers) it is important to think of other avenues to make it appealing to the online media. So to make a story like this more exciting and to give it more appeal, we made it as visual as possible by sticking food and cleaning products to a hatch back!

In the world of PR no day is the same and the joys of working alongside brands and agencies for varying projects means we work on some of the strangest stunts. Although not entirely bizarre – who doesn’t want to carry their beans on their car from the shop back home(!) – this one did get some great pick up online from the likes of the Mail Online, BT.com, AOL and Yahoo, and at the end of the day, it’s pretty random and subtly gets the message across.

 

 

Post by Daisy Bambridge, Project Manager @ TNR Communications

This week we attended a Gorkana Breakfast meeting with Jonathon Boseley, Head of Programming, and Vikki Cook, Head of News and Current Affairs at London Live. As the new channel launches at the end of the month, it is important to understand how PR’s and the channel coordinators can work together and benefit from a hyper local channel – one of 19 to launch this year around the UK.

London Live’s main focus is supporting new talent and will be the only channel which has 3 hours of peak time original content. For comedy writers, budding drama creators and filmmakers not to mention budding presenters, this gives them a massive step up in their career.

But as the call to action may appear to be directed towards programming content this does not rule out the importance of a PR to help produce content (both news and other). PR’s can not only submit ideas forward for programmes – as long as they have a pilot episode prepared (this can be brand based but do bear in mind that it is still Ofcom regulated). One example series for this is a weekly show focused on one influential figure so perhaps PR’s can think about putting forward, for example, a new entrepreneur their client may have waiting in the curtains.

Another great opportunity is that whilst the channel only has a small news planning team, there is scope for PR’s to promoting London content (people/places/launches) which may otherwise be overlooked by national broadcasters and their London counterparts. London Live have a massive 5 and a half hours of news content to produce every day and it’s not just focused on the doom and gloom dominating some other London outlets coverage.

The news department will be looking at the news agenda at the beginning of each week and morning. PR’s are being encouraged to keep up social interaction as the channel are launching the London Eye – a section reaching out to bloggers and members of the public who can provide them with original content and commentary on stories. In terms of the running order, there will be a breakfast show from 0600 each morning that will look at the big questions of the day while the lunch time show will be 1 ½ hours long focused on news and current affairs (still maintaining a strong output of politics, business and social news), and the evening show which will look at more entertainment news.

It’s a really interesting shift to incredibly local content and bespoke news for regions. While it only targets a really local audience, it could be a fantastic opportunity to connect with them and engage them on a far deeper level that national media would allow.

Post by Daisy Bambridge, Project Manager @ TNR Communications