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AMV BBDO Advertising Agency

Evan Schall

            No matter where you are in the world consumers will be surrounded by advertising campaigns whether they realize it or not. Advertising in general has become so relevant in recent decades because it is such a vital part of businesses in today’s global economy. Whether it’s the McDonalds ‘golden arch’ or the Nike ‘swoosh’, these logos combined with advertising tactics, help to establish a strong brand that consumers can associate with. Creating and maintaining a strong brand is not easy though, which is why there are firms like Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO (AMV BBDO) that specialize in doing this for businesses.

            AMV BBDO was founded by David Abbott, Peter Mead, and Adrian Vickers on January 1, 1977 out of London. Today AMV BBDO is located on 151 Marylebone Road in the heart of London, just minutes from Regent’s Park. This location is ideal for business in the United Kingdom because of its central location in London. The company itself is part of the BBDO network which is the 3rd largest agency network in the world, with 287 offices in 77 countries, employing 17,200 people. AMV BBDO also currently belongs to the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, or IPA, and has belonged to the IPA since 1979 (IPA Agency / Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO).

            AMV BBDO specializes in advertising, public relations, and expanding their clients’ brands.  They do this through unique methods of advertising through various forms of media including digital, experimental, print, and broadcast. They work with a variety of different clients, all of which have a unique position in their market. Some of their clients are global brands like Adidas and Doritos who spend millions of dollars on advertising each year while other clients like London’s Museum of Childhood are local and spend much less. All in all, AMV BBDO has done business with 88 different companies, and that number continues to grow (About – AMV BBDO).  A few of their top clients include Blackberry, Guinness, M&M’s, Mercedes-Benz, and Starbucks (Clients – AMV BBDO). What separates AMV BBDO from the hundreds of other PR firms in London is that their advertisements are not about promoting a new product, but rather expanding the brand of their clients. An example of this would be a commercial that they shot for Starbucks Coffee.  The advertisement didn’t promote their newest type of coffee, but rather highlighted the Starbucks philosophy and showed the consumer why they care about the customer as a person and not just another way to profit.

            Over the years AMV BBDO has fine-tuned the way they work with clients to near perfection, and thus recognized for their superior work. In 2013 they were named the ‘Agency of the Year’ at the Marketing Week Engage Awards. This awards ceremony judged companies on their ability to demonstrate innovative thinking, creative implementation, and return on investment. They also won two separate awards in the same awards show for two different campaigns with clients. Additionally, AMV BBDO won the ‘Agency of the Year’ and ‘Digital Agency of the Year’ awards at the Kinsale Sharks 50th International Advertising Festival. Not only are the awarded for their work, but also their friendly atmosphere as they were recognized as the ‘best media or advertising place to work’ and was ranked the 17th best place to work in the UK among all businesses in 2011 (Langdell).

            Part of the reason AMV BBDO is located in London is due to the city’s global recognition. Because of this, a lot of their competition (other advertising/public relations firms) is located just minutes from their offices. One of these companies is Brothers and Sisters. Located just minutes from AMV BBDO, B&S was founded in 2007 and specializes in brand strategy and social media innovation. Some of their top clients include Adidas, the Museum of London, and Sony Playstation (Brothers and Sisters).  Another local advertising agency to London is Grey London. Their 97 year tenure in London is longer than most companies, and as a result they have quite an impressive list of clients including Nokia, Visa, and Toshiba (Humphrey). These are just two prime examples of many advertising firms located in the London area which shows that AMV BBDO needs to stay on top of their game or else they will be surpassed by one of their many competitors.

            When comparing the United States to the United Kingdom it is easy to find many correlations either culturally, economically, or even the way the countries do business. From a structural and functional point of view, AMV BBDO operates very similarly to its American counterparts. Whether it is brand management, social media insight or communications planning, advertising from a global perspective is done almost systematically now with each firm putting their own individual touch to it.  An American agency that closely resembles the business model of AMV BBDO is Brunner. Brunner, just like AMV BBDO, specializes in all forms of media including digital, print, and broadcast.  Brunner has been around for over 20 years with offices in Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and Washington with top clients including Heinz, Consol Energy, and GNC (Brunner – About Us). Both companies, as stated previously, take a very similar approach to advertising to their clients and showcasing their work.

            As technology continues to advance, it will provide advertising firms with more tools to market their clients and help expand their brand. Leading companies like AMV BBDO have shown that they can not only adapt to any change, but also be innovators and thrive in an ever-changing market.  Their advertising campaigns are unique, and as a result they are one of the top agencies in their field in not just the United Kingdom, but the world. Companies will always need assistance with promoting their businesses which means the future is bright for AMV BBDO.

Works Cited
“About AMVBBDO.” UK’s Most Creative Agency – AMVBBDO. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Feb. 2014. <http://amvbbdo.com/about>.
“Brothers and Sisters | ABOUT US.” Brothers and Sisters. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2014. <http://www.brothersandsisters.co.uk/about_us/>.
“Brunner – About Us.” Agency / Brunner. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2014. <http://www.brunnerworks.com/agency.aspx>.
“Clients – AMVBBDO.” UK’s Most Creative Agency – AMVBBDO. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Feb. 2014. <http://amvbbdo.com/work/clients>.
Humphrey, Will. “Top 30 London Advertising Agencies.” NewsDrill Digital RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2014. <http://newsdrilldigital.com/?p=122>.
“IPA Agency / Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO.” Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Feb. 2014. <http://www.ipa.co.uk/Agencies/Abbott-Mead-Vickers-BBDO-Ltd>.
Langdell, Jessica. “AMV BBDO Win ‘Agency of the Year’ and ‘Digital Agency of the Year’ at Kinsale.” UK’s Most Creative Agency – AMVBBDO. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Feb. 2014. <http://amvbbdo.com/news/awards>.

Iris Nation Worldwide Lmtd: A Global Communications Network

Kelli Murphy

            Iris Nation worldwide Limited was born when employees working at an advertising agency in England became fed up with agency politics and bureaucracy. They decided to break away from that environment and create a new, more creative agency that specializes in building participation brands—brands that are interactive. They wanted to create brands that people love being involved with; brands that stand out in their category; brands that outperform and threaten their rivals. These brands can be driven by a variety of things—content, conversations, experiences, communities—but they all have one thing in common: They make brands more open, accessible, involving and successful (Iris Worldwide 2). Providing that iris uses their strategy of building participation brands, they will become a global powerhouse in advertising and become a key leader in the development of new-age marketing.

Ian Millner, Stewart Shanley, Sean Reynolds, and Sam Noble founded iris Nation Worldwide Limited in 1999. The marketing agency is an international company based out of London, England. The agency offers an array of services, including brand consultancy, communications planning, public relations, point of sale and direct marketing, print and retail marketing, TV marketing, sponsorship, advertising, marketing research, digital marketing, social media development, and launch support and promotions. They hold offices in thirteen countries on the European, North American, and Asian continents (“Company Overview” 1).

Iris focuses on maintaining “a global creative innovation network,” and insists they can’t be called just a digital or a marketing agency because of their intense diversity. They pride themselves on the company culture of being creative, innovative, and “ahead of the game.” At Iris, there is no place for ordinary. Iris employees are those who aspire to make extraordinary a reality, “because innovation is all about competition and in competition there’s no place for ordinary (Iris Worldwide 1).” This is different than agencies in the United State, where many agencies focus on specializing in one type of marketing, such as sports marketing or digital marketing, rather than integrated marketing. Iris Nation is an integrated marketing communication agency if there ever was one, and they try to provide all evolving marketing tactics all the time. This truly shows how devoted they are to developing their participation brands. Without integration, participation brands—brands that are interactive—would die. In order to communicate effectively and egage people efficiently, clients need to be wherever their target market is; whenever they’re engaged in that particular space. Integration becomes a necessity, not an option. The DNA of iris Nation aids in their effort to build their brands. In any iris office around the world, you’ll find “hybrid teaming in leadership and delivery; faster, more collaborative ways of working; open access to an enormous pool of diverse, creative talent; no borders, no boundaries, and no bull (Iris worldwide 8).”

Iris tries to build these participation brands through “Extraordinary Ideas,” which provide compelling and diverse insights into certain areas of marketing. By thinking outside the box, they’re able to create distinctive results for their clients (Iris Worldwide 2). However, they do not do it alone. They have some help from a view of their system put it place to increase global communication and strengthen secondary research.

One of those system is named Project 72. In the project, the goal is to strengthen the agnecy’s global communication and is defined as their rapid response system.  If iris has a client, one office will drawy up a creative brief. In advertising, that is the basic outline of the “look and feel” of the campaign. They send the creative brief to all other agencies around the world. Each agency will collaborate on their ideas for the campaign and send a response to the main agency within 72 hours—hence the name. This strategy helps charge their creative output and gain a global perspective on the product (Iris Worldwide 4). This effort helps give the agency an edge over other global agencies, and especially over local ones. Project 72 has worked so well that clients request it as a single service.

A couple other system they use include “Urgent Genius” and “Meredith.” Since 2010, iris has used what they call “Urgent Genius” to track the trend of real-time creativity and news-jacking, or injecting ideas into a breaking news story and generating tons of media coverage and social media engagement. Editors of their blog search the world to find the power of this real-time creativity, whether it is work done elsewhere or under their own roof. (“Urgent Genius” 1). With this mindset, they have created melting QR codes on the frozen canals of Amsterdam to highlight climate change for the World Wildlife Foundation. If creative work is done swiftly, originally, and makes a social impact, it can be labeled under Urgent Genius (“Iris Worldwide 5”).

With Meredith, the world’s leading publishing and interactive media company, iris has the ability to tap into the lifestyles and values of its target markets. Iris’ main goals are to reach out to generation Y and millennial mothers. This insight into these key markets give the necessary information iris needs to create useful, compelling content over the right platforms that speak to the wants, needs, and values of the target. (“Iris Worldwide” 6). In order for iris to develop effective participation brands, they need to know what targets are participating through their platforms. Iris picked these two target markets because they are deemed the most digitally connected people of the digitally-influenced age.

To help their particicpation brands even more, iris is conducting their own primary research studies that look into the minds of generation Y, millennial mothers, and retailers. They named the study devoted to generation Y and “always online” millennial mothers “Planet Hyperconnected.” This global study investigates the digitally-influenced attitudes and behaviors of these two targets, and will provide insight into their day-to-day thinking (“Iris Worldwide” 7).

The second study, labeled “The Outsellers,” looks at retail companies and their strategies to reach their customers, such as which companies outsold their compeititon and how they go there. They’re looking for more than just discounts, but how those retailers “get into” the mind of their target markets and maintain brand equity and healthy profit margins. Many retailers strategies were becoming outdates, so in summer 2012, iris gathered 200 industry experts at a conference called “Retail Retold” to talk about he new age of retail and envision the new retail experience (“Iris Worldwide” 8).

This is a growing trend among all marketing agencies around the world, including the United States. Agencies around the U.s> are looking for ways to tap into generation Y and millennials—the “networked” age—for lack of a better term. This age of networking has changed the shape of marketing forever, and agencies are striving to keep up wit hthe lifestyles of their clients in order to provide compelling, relevant content. Iris has a lead in the game by knowing which direction the world is headed and actually taking action to keep up with it. This global communications reservoir will become a leader in the marketing world for their efforts, and have already received numerous awards fo the world on generation Y and their creative output.

Described on Glass Door by reviewers as an innovative, creative, entrepreneurial think tank, they seem to have the creativity and culture of the agency at the forefront. On every industry review, culture of the company was listed very high. Iris seems to have a sense of identity and “self” that their employees can recognize and appreciate, which allows for better team work on projects. They also have a number of prestigious clients, including Sony Mobile, Adidas, Shell, Reckitt Benckiser, Heineken, Nestle, Volkswagen and Barclaycard. However, the agency had many previous employees complain of disorganization and lack of direction from upper management. Even so, creativity can often seem disorganized.

Regardless of the lack of direction former and current employees see, iris remains one of the largest most successful agencies in the world, and will probably only grow larger and strong as time progresses. Iris will become a global powerhouse in advertising and become a key leader in the development of new-age marketing, shaping the future of marketing for years to come.

Works Cited
 “Company Overview of Iris Nation Worldwide Limited.” Businessweek.com. Boomberg, 2013. Web. 13 Feb. 2014.
“Iris Nation Reviews.” Glassdoor.com. Glassdoor, n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2014.
“Iris Nation Worldwide Ltd.: Quotes & News – Google Finance.” Iris Nation Worldwide Ltd.: Quotes & News – Google Finance. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2014.
“Iris Worldwide :: Hello There.” Iris Worldwide :: Hello There. Iris Nation Worldwide Limited, 2014. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.
“Urgent Genius – The Power of Real-time Creativity.” Urgent Genius The Power of Realtime Creativity. Urgent Genius, n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.

Bell Pottinger Wired Emphasizes Online PR in the Digital Age

Kim Roberts

            Public relations is a field that has embraced the digital world. No longer a field reliant on traditional media, PR has expanded to incorporate digital PR tactics to better reach and interact with audiences around the world. The widespread popularity of social media across countries and continents has made social media a necessary digital marketing tool. One firm that embraces these new media tools is Bell Pottinger Wired, a digital PR firm that focuses specifically on digital communications services. Founded by managing director James Thomlinson, Bell Pottinger Wired launched 2010. It is a subdivision of one of the world’s leading public relations and communications companies, Bell Pottinger Private. Bell Pottinger Wired is located at Bell Pottinger Private’s world headquarters on High Holborn Street in the heart of London, nestled among universities including London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of the Arts, as well as a mix of hotels and businesses. Bell Pottinger Wired is made up of a team of 17 digital PR professionals. As a PR-based digital communications company, Bell Pottinger Wired approaches the digital age head-on through its innovate and creative use of new media to effectively serve its clients.

            Bell Pottinger Wired provides a wide range of expertise to clients around the world, but the majority of its clients are concentrated in the United Kingdom. The company provides services in the following areas: design, production, development of websites and mobile applications (apps), social media campaigns, multimedia relations, and search engine optimization (“Services”). Bell Pottinger Wired helped the London Chamber Orchestra by developing a new website, lco.co.uk, with a creative design and logo just in time for the orchestra’s performance at the royal wedding. The digital PR work resulted in global media coverage, the all-time highest number of visitors to the orchestra’s website in history, and the orchestra’s royal wedding album featured on the iTunes home page. Another client was The British Association for Adoption and Fostering. Bell Pottinger Wired developed and designed a free mobile app to help couples hoping to adopt find all the important information they needed in one simple, easy-to-use app. Also, Bell Pottinger Wired launched a social media campaign for a United Kingdom-based tour operating company, Canadian Affair, on Twitter and Facebook that succeeded in building an online fan base and increasing engagement (“Portfolio”).

            International clients include All Global, an international healthcare data research company that wanted to improve its digital presence; the Malaysian Investment Development Authority, a division of the Malaysian government, which needed helped increasing online awareness of the prime minister’s visit to the United Kingdom; and Plan International, a global communications company that needed help developing an internal communications platform (“Portfolio”). The wide variety of digital services provided by Bell Pottinger Wired demonstrates its expertise in the digital world and its ability to help clients succeed in the digital age with any kind of communications needs. In 2013, the company was commended for its high quality work through national recognition and awards from PR Week, the Drum Marketing Awards, the CIPR Excellence Awards, the digi CorpComms Awards, the Digital Awards, and the Sabre Awards. These accomplishments have helped make Bell Pottinger Wired a leading agency in the United Kingdom’s digital PR landscape.

            Bell Pottinger Wired does not significantly differ from its United States counterparts in its approach to its online work. Because social media and the Internet are global entities, their use and development are very similar—particularly between the United States and the United Kingdom. Both countries have similar Internet and social media usage habits. For example, Google, Facebook, and YouTube were all within the top five most-visited websites for both the United States and the United Kingdom in 2013 (“Websites”, “Most popular”). Additionally, the United States ranks thirteenth worldwide for average number of hours per day people spend on social media at 2.3 hours, while the United Kingdom ranks seventeenth with an average of 1.9 hours per day (“Average numbers”). Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube are among the most popular social media networks in both nations as well. Because of these similarities in Internet usage, Bell Pottinger Wired’s digital PR tactics on social media in particular translate well across borders and effectively reach wider audiences in similar cultures.

            As mentioned previously, Bell Pottinger Wired maintains social media accounts for the United Kingdom-based tour company, Canadian Affair. The company’s Twitter and Facebook accounts are well-maintained with daily posts. The Canadian Affair Twitter account is used for customer service (direct interaction with customers’ questions, complaints, and comments), to share links, announce sales and special offers, hold contests, and humanize the account through humor and “just for fun” content. The Twitter account, which has 8,000 followers, uses relevant hashtags, tags related users in tweets, and occasionally retweets. Similarly, the Facebook account has 20,333 fans, and it is used for similar purposes—sharing offers, photos, humorous posts, and contests. When these social media accounts are compared to the Facebook and Twitter accounts of U.S.-based travel company Travelocity, it is clear that the social media strategies are similar. Travelocity, though based in the U.S., follows the same digital marketing strategies as the London-based Canadian Affair on Facebook and Twitter. This example shows the similarities between digital PR agencies in the United Kingdom and the United States. Social media accounts for a tour company run by United States-based PR agencies look just like the Canadian Affair accounts.

            The popularity of the same social media networks in both the United States and the United Kingdom has encouraged use of the same social media tactics from digital PR agencies in both countries, and these accounts have been successful across both nations. However, there are some differences between United States and United Kingdom-based social media campaigns. Canadian Affair’s social media accounts, while thriving, are limited to Twitter and Facebook. United States-based companies make sure to have a wider range of social media accounts. Travelocity, for example, has a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+. The social media strategy of Bell Pottinger Wired is to only use the social networks that will most effectively reach the client’s target audience. Rather than stretch team members and content to maintain profiles on a large number of sites, the company chooses to only focus on key sites instead to ensure that the content is high quality and well-maintained (“Services”). This example shows the similarities in online content in US and UK-based digital PR tactics despite differences in online social networking platforms.

            The Bell Pottinger Wired website, bellpottingerwired.com, is a well designed website with information presented in a way that is visually appealing. It is complete with creative photos, videos, and design elements. For example, the website features short videos with animation and graphics to tell about the firm’s areas of expertise and its approach to working with clients. These videos demonstrate the firm’s abilities to produce creative, high-quality videos. Additionally, the website features innovative takes on common subjects. For the “team” page that introduces the user to the team members working for Bell Pottinger Wired, the website does much more than just list names and occupations. Instead, the seventeen team members’ images are displayed as looping videos that make them look as if they are really there on the screen, living and breathing. When the user’s mouse hovers over a team member’s image, the person does an action, such as laughing, winking, smiling, taking a photo, or something else that gives the user a bit of insight into who that person is and what his or her personality is like. Users can click on the moving image to learn more about that person and what they do for the company. These features make Bell Pottinger Wired’s website stand out compared to other websites because of its inventive approach to using the Internet.

            Interestingly, Bell Pottinger Wired’s own social media accounts are not quite as popular or well-maintained as its clients’. While the Bell Pottinger Wired Twitter account, @BPWired, has a solid fan base of 964 followers, its intermittently updated Facebook page has only 70 likes. As is the case in the United States, the popularity of Facebook is declining in the United Kingdom—particularly in the eyes of the younger generation (Shaughnessy). Rather than pouring time and effort into maintaining a Facebook page, the team at Bell Pottinger Wired chooses to invest its time in the upkeep of newer social media sites, like Twitter. This choice on the part of Bell Pottinger Wired is reflected in the company’s own Facebook and Twitter accounts and the number of fans and followers associated with them. However, the company continues to maintain a wider variety of social networking sites for its clients. Bell Pottinger Wired also maintains a presence on LinkedIn in order to make a name for itself in the professional online landscape. Digital PR agencies in the United States place more of an emphasis on building a fan base on Facebook, Twitter, and a variety of other social media sites instead of just focusing on one or two, like Bell Pottinger Wired.

            Bell Pottinger Wired does an effective job of serving its clients to the best of its ability through the use of creative and effective digital PR tactics. The company has proven that it is able to handle digital communications needs from clients ranging from national companies, to nonprofits, to government organizations. Though fairly new, the company has a positive reputation as a subdivision of the larger, global Bell Pottinger Private, which was ranked as the number five PR company in London in 2013 by PR Week and 29th globally by the World PR Report in terms of revenue (“Top 150 Table 2013,” “Top 250 Global Rankings 2013”). Bell Pottinger Wired has proven itself to be a competitive contender in the digital PR environment because of its range of clients and its full portfolio of work. The agency has shown that it is able to be successful as a niche PR firm by concentrating specifically on the digital aspects of PR in the ever-changing world of new media. The company has made itself a contender in the digital public relations landscape because of its abilities to handle all aspects of its clients’ online communications needs.

            Bell Pottinger Wired is important to professionals in all areas of the communications field. As a digital PR agency, it requires design, multimedia, production, PR, and marketing skills. Team members’ occupations range from web designers and developers, to production managers and digital strategy directors, to SEO managers, strategists, and account executives. The skills of many different kinds of communications professionals are essential to provide the wide range of digital services Bell Pottinger Wired offers. Bell Pottinger Wired has made a name for itself in just the few years it has existed. It can be expected to continue to flourish as a digital PR agency thanks to the fast-paced and global importance of social media, mobile devices, and the Internet.

 Works Cited
“About.” Bell Pottinger Private. Web. 05 Feb. 2014.
“Average numbers of hours per day spent by social media users on all social media channels as     of 2013, by country.” Global Web Index, 2013. Statista. Web. 08 Feb. 2014.
“Most popular websites in the United States in January 2013, based on market share of visits.”   Experian Marketing Services, Jan. 2013. Statista. Web. 08. Feb. 2014.
“Portfolio.” Bell Pottinger Wired. Web. 08 Feb. 2014.
“Services.” Bell Pottinger Wired. Web. 08 Feb. 2014.
Shaughnessy, Haydn. “Facebook Is Dead And Buried To Teens, Says EU Study Lead.” Forbes.   Forbes Magazine, 27 Dec. 2013. Web. 18 Feb. 2014.
“Top 150 Table 2013.” PR Week. Web. 05 Feb. 2014.
“Top 250 Global Rankings 2013.” World PR Report. Web. 03 Feb. 2014.
“Websites ranked by share of visits in the United Kingdom (UK) as of September 2013.” Experian Marketing Services, Sept. 2013. Statista. Web. 08. Feb. 2014.

 

The Role of New and Social Media in the Royal Wedding

Kim Roberts

            New and social media, consisting of the Internet and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, have changed the way that people all over the world consume and share news. Few events in recent years have been more widely publicized than the royal wedding of Great Britain’s Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, to Catherine Middleton on April 29, 2011. The modern-day fairytale of a regular girl marrying a prince caught the attention of virtually everyone, and that global fascination was reflected in the sheer volume of royal wedding-related content online leading up to and on the day of the event. The wedding was a landmark event for the royal family because it brought the British monarchy into the twenty-first century through the extensive use of new and social media to connect with people around the world. Often called the “wedding of the century,” the wedding of Prince William and Kate was the first major royal event made accessible to the world via new media (Sutu 28). New and social media usage by both representatives of the royal family and by worldwide audiences marked the royal wedding as an event with global importance in the digital age. The royal wedding exemplifies the ability of new and social media to create global conversations and escalate interest in a topic of shared interest through the British Monarchy’s use of the social networks Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr, as well as websites.

            Some of the key social networks in 2011—Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Flickr—played an important role in creating online interest, or buzz, about the royal wedding around the world. The royal family’s communications department oversaw official accounts for the British monarchy on each of these social networks, giving the public unprecedented, behind-the-scenes access to the royal family’s preparations for the wedding.

            Twitter served an important role in starting conversations about the royal wedding. The social networking site functions through 140-character updates that anyone in the world with a Twitter account can view. This site serves as an ideal method of sharing up-to-date information and interesting tidbits that can be quickly shared, making it a good method of communication concerning the royal wedding preparations and events. Tweets from the royal family (@BritishMonarchy) and the house of Prince William’s father, Prince Charles, (@ClarenceHouse) gave the public “exclusive information” leading up to the royal wedding and on the day of the event, sharing details about the event as well as live updates (Sutu 31). Even the account for Westminster Abbey, where the couple was wed, actively tweeted news during the day of the wedding. In addition to this official information, Twitter users around the world actively engaged in conversations about the event. In fact, the majority of social media buzz about the royal wedding in the 30 days leading up to the event happened on Twitter, as seen in Figure 2 (“The Social Media Buzz”). The public used Twitter to discuss everything from speculation about Kate’s dress to commentary on every aspect of the ceremony. Twitter allowed people all over the world to connect with each other and converse about their shared interest: the royal wedding. The ability of people to access this “insider information” from official sources created interest because it bypassed traditional news sources and went straight to the people. According to the web analytics company Webtrends, 911,000 tweets about the royal wedding were generated in the month prior to the event, which evened out to about 30,000 tweets per day (“Royal Wedding Chatter”). On the day of the wedding, the topic was mentioned in a tweet 67 times a second (“24 Million”). Twitter proved to be a useful tool for sharing and communicating live updates.

            The British Monarchy’s official Facebook page (facebook.com/TheBritishMonarchy) served as a resource for inside information about the royal wedding as well. It kept people updated through posts including status updates, photos, and videos, in addition to a Facebook event that people could RSVP to as a sign of their commitment to watching the royal wedding unfold. Facebook was the second most popular social media platform for people to comment on the royal wedding leading up to the event. More than 200,000 Facebook updates were posted from around the world in the 30 days leading up to the event (“Royal Wedding Chatter”). It was extremely popular on the day of the wedding: “In [the] 24-hour interval [of the royal wedding day] more than 10 million posts were registered on the social network Facebook, where people commented on the clothes of the participants or on the religious and military ceremony” (Sutu 31). While the ceremony was taking place, the royal wedding was mentioned on Facebook 74 times every second (“24 Million”). Facebook and Twitter were the most popular social networking sites for royal wedding conversations both in the month leading up to the event and as the wedding happened in real time.

            The royal wedding essentially took over social media in terms of the general networking sites discusses above, as well as niche platforms like YouTube and Flickr. The British Monarchy used its official YouTube channel to share behind-the-scenes videos of preparations for the event, from the cake to the dress, as well as a three-and-a-half-hour video of the entire royal wedding. YouTube “became so busy that [it] encountered distribution problems at the prime time of the ceremony transmission” (Sutu 31). Official videos were not the only royal wedding-related content gaining popularity on the social media platform: “YouTube videos tagged with top Royal Wedding-related keywords (Royal Wedding, Kate Middleton, etc.) [grew] more than 10 times from 37.5k per day to 460k per day” since the announcement of Prince William and Kate’s engagement (“Royal Wedding Chatter”). Through the use of social media sites like these, the British Monarchy was able to help shape itself in a positive, favorable light in public opinion not only in Great Britain, but around the world. The photo-sharing site Flickr served as a platform to share and organize collections of photos from the royal wedding. Because of the high visual appeal of the wedding, these photos were extremely popular and circulated throughout the Internet, on other social media sites, and also in traditional media. The British Monarchy’s official Flickr account houses collections of photographs from the day of the royal wedding, giving visitors a sense of what it was like behind the scenes, during the event, and in the city of London during the day. This method of sharing photos allowed people around the world to see for themselves what was happening in London instantly. The British Monarchy used Flickr for its ideal mode of sharing and storing photographs. The efforts that the British Monarchy invested in social media was able to effectively spur online conversations about the royal wedding that began long before the wedding and continued long after the event concluded. This social media usage symbolizes an era when social networking and the Internet in general serve as the most effective and far-reaching tools of public relations.

            New media consists of the capabilities of the Internet in general in addition to specific social media sites. The royal family’s official website (royal.gov.uk) provided a wealth of information about the royal family and events related to the wedding, and it served as a base that linked to each of the official social media sites (“Official Website”). Also, an official website (officialroyalwedding2011.org) was set up for the wedding specifically. Although the site is no longer available, it served as a resource for all wedding-related information to keep the public informed and involved. It is possible that the British Monarchy found that its social media accounts were more effective for storing the content from this website rather than attempting to keep the website updated as well. By taking advantage of features such as Facebook’s timeline, content from the past can be stored and organized easily. The Internet also allowed for live streaming of the royal wedding: “More than 6 million worldwide audiences followed on their personal computers the live streaming generated by Associated Press, UK Press Association, CBS and Entertainment Tonight” (Sutu 31). Other uses of the Internet to highlight the royal wedding included an interactive map by BBC that showed the route of Prince William during the day of the wedding to supplement the news outlet’s coverage, and more than 145,000 posts about the royal wedding were also posted on blogs from around the world leading up to the wedding (Sutu 30).

            The scope of royal wedding buzz on social media as well as the Internet in general increased the global interest and importance concerning the royal wedding. New and social media allowed everyone to have a say in the “wedding of the century,” whether they were official representative of the royal family, proud British citizens, or admirers from around the world (Suku 35). The popularity of the royal wedding online exemplifies the ability of the Internet to bring people together and create a sense of unity around a shared topic of interest: “Fans experience mutual feelings regarding the royal fairy tale and interact with admirers from different places in the world through social networking” (Suku 32). The positivity surrounding such a happy, ceremonious event proved to be something that people everywhere really wanted to talk about. In fact, royal wedding buzz surpassed that of other major world events happening at the time, including the uprising in Egypt and an earthquake in Japan. (“All Abuzz”). While new and social media are important tools for disseminating information about all types of news, the joyous occasion of a royal wedding brought people together for something happy, which “demonstrated that media events continue to exercise a restorative role in society, and offer a shared sense of humanity and membership in the global community” (Suku 34). Social media showed its ability to highlight and share news and information globally and instantly while creating conversations across borders. Additionally, the Internet’s unique multimedia capabilities made it the most effective medium for sharing news, stories, and information about the royal wedding through a combination of text, audio, and video. The popularity of the royal wedding on the Internet and social networking sites in particular exemplifies people’s interest in finding news for themselves rather than having it spoon-fed to them through traditional means and being able to share and comment on that information as they pleased. This ability to gather information from both inside sources and official new sources and then share it immediately is a capability of the Internet that has only increased in popularity around the world in the years since the royal wedding.

            New and social media played an important role in publicizing and increasing interest in the royal wedding, and it was embraced by the royal family for its ability to make the monarchy more accessible than ever, as well as by the global public for its ability to share information instantaneously. New technology allowed Great Britain’s royal family to engage and share with the public like never before: “the organizers of the [royal wedding] proved that they know how to use the new technologies to efficiently deliver the message” (Suku 35). In addition to traditional media coverage, new and social media coverage by both official sources and fans highlighted the royal wedding and turned it into an event of worldwide importance.

 Works Cited

“24 Million Tune in to See Royal Wedding as Facebook Updates 74 times a Second During           Ceremony.” Daily Mail. Associated Newspapers, 30 Apr. 2011. Web. 27 Mar. 2014.

“All Abuzz About The Royal Wedding.” Webtrends Blog. Web. 23 Mar. 2014.

Official Website of the British Monarchy. British Monarchy. Web. 23 Mar. 2014.

“Royal Wedding Chatter Amps Up on Facebook, Twitter [STATS].” Mashable. Web. 23 Mar.    2014.

“The Social Media Buzz Behind the Royal Wedding [INFOGRAPHIC].” Mashable. Web. 23       Mar. 2014.

Sutu, Rodica. “The Role Of The New Technologies In The Coverage Of Media Events. Case        Study Of The Royal Wedding Of Prince William Of The United Kingdom And Catherine             Middleton.” Communication & Marketing / Revista De Comunicare Si Marketing 3.5           (2012): 25-37. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 23 Mar. 2014.

 

flag-2   Paris

Openness to the World

Alexandra Clemence

This public television channel started off simply filling frequencies left by the
first French commercial television network, La Cinq. Although there was very little
actual programming, 1992 was the official start to Arte. Arte is a television network in
both France and Germany specializing in showing the culture and the arts through
programs such as documentaries, scripted series, live performances, art pieces and more.
For a short period of time, Arte only had evening programing, while other channels
occupied the frequencies during the daytime. There are three separate divisions that
make up Arte including; Arte France, Arte Deutschland, and the Strasbourg based
European Economic Interest Grouping Arte. Since the channel is split into these different
divisions, Arte France is located in Paris, France, Arte Deutschland in Baden-Baden,
Germany, and the headquarters are located in Strasbourg, France. The interesting thing
about Arte is that not only is it located in two different places, it is available in many
other places such as Belgium, Austria, Lebanon, Israel, the Netherlands, Portugal,
Switzerland, Poland, and many others. This vast variety of audiences is exactly what
makes this television channel so unique and they accentuate this quality with their
mission, their content, and the various procedures, like subtitling, they go through to
make it viewable to so many.

Arte strives to be different from other television channels in both France and
Germany by providing a cultural backbone to both locations. Arte was a game changer in the television industry when they introduced their multi-location station. “Creating a
chain for two public channels was a first in the history of television and remains a unique
phenomenon in the global media landscape”(Arte Group). Although first of its kind, Arte
has yet to become very popular with their audience. In January 2014, Arte was ranked
number ten of the most viewed channels in France, however did not make it onto the
chart in Germany. Arte is forced to adhere to certain standards due to them being a public
channel. For example, they are not allowed to advertise, but they can use sponsorships to
seek out revenue. This is a standard throughout all of France and also in most places
throughout the world. This ban on advertising on public television in France was passed
in 2009 by President Nicolas Sarkozy. He felt that many of the state-owned channels
were producing poor quality shows in order to get ratings.(BBC). Most of the budget for
Arte goes to the programming itself and it is equally funded by both Arte France and Arte
Deutschland. Arte France in particular, helps out the media industry by supporting and
contributing to independent producers by displaying their work on their channel and it
plays a significant role in the French and European audiovisual economy, or the sector of
the economy that focuses on creativity while supporting business innovation by
employing experts in many different departments, everywhere from program directors to
marketing (Communication Chambers). Although Arte may not be as popular as some
other channels, it thrives on sharing its content with viewers from all over the world.

When first researching this channel, one channel stuck out in particular as a good
comparison to Arte and their mission. That station is PBS and in a lot of ways they are
very similar with their operations, but they do have various differences. As mentioned
earlier, Arte is only allowed to receive funding through sponsorships, and they receive equal amounts of funding from sponsors in both France and Germany. Another part of
Arte’s operation system is their decision-making bodies. In each of their divisions, there
is a board of members that makes the final decisions when it comes to budgeting and
programming. After these members make the decisions, they are then sent to the main
headquarters to be approved. Due to Arte being viewed in different countries, their
operations take on additional tasks in order to connect to each audience. They do this in
two main ways. The first way is through differing their programs with subtitles, dubbing,
and even finding multi-lingual hosts so that anyone who watches these programs can
understand them. The other way they link their viewers is through their social media
presence. Arte is on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and YouTube as well as social media
sites in France and Europe such as Daily Motion and RSS where they can upload
programs for all to view. Similar to Arte, PBS is a public channel that cannot
commercially advertise. “The PBS Foundation looks to transform public television into
an even stronger and more powerful institution by soliciting funding for PBS through
extraordinary gifts and grants”(The PBS Foundation). Basically, PBS relies more on
viewers, through things such as telethons, than large sponsors for their funding. PBS has
a very different way of running their decision-making bodies than Arte does. PBS has
something called local station autonomy where each of their member stations get to
decide on their programming so that it relates more to the audiences they are reaching.
This differs from Arte in that Arte shows most of their programs to all of their viewers
while PBS shows programs adhered to the viewers of that area, which is why Arte is
forced to take on the task of things like subtitling. Although there are obvious differences, the two stations are very similar in the way they operate as well as their mission and
vision for their channel.

The main similarity between Arte and PBS is their mission and how they strive to
portray it in their programming. Both channels are dedicated to exposing culture and
providing multiple perspectives in an effort to open up the minds of the viewers so that
they can reveal the world in a whole new way. Arte is unique in that their “mission is to
provide cultural programming that promotes unity and understanding throughout
European Nations” (The Arte Group). PBS is different in the fact that they cater more
towards their local audience instead of creating one big entity to connect the U.S. PBS is
more geared towards the educational side of programming while Arte focuses more on
the creative and independent aspect. “PBS invites everyone to explore new ideas and
broaden personal horizons-with content that expands the minds of children”(The PBS
Foundation). PBS focuses on being more family friendly with all of their programming
and Arte simply has specific programs for kids and some programming that is not
recommended for children to watch. For example, one of Arte’s short films on their
YouTube channel was titled “Sex Tape”, which was just as it sounds; a man and his wife
making a sex tape. This program would be more catered to late-night television if shown
in the U.S. because of the provocative content. Because Arte does not discriminate
against a lot of content permits the creators to express their creativity and focus on
showing the culture of France and Germany. The distinctive part of Arte is that they
spread their message and content even further by using social media so that the whole
world can experience their mission being portrayed through their programs. Arte places its values on “creativity, commitment, and an openness to the world”
and that is exactly what they portray in their programming (Arte Group). They allow
talented filmmakers as co-producers to express and experience their creativity so that
they can all connect through their culture. When they say “an openness to the world”,
they mean not restricting their creators and really giving their audience an opportunity to
see so much of the world through one single channel. I believe Arte is culturally vital to
France and Germany because it is one place where all cultures are celebrated and
displayed; the citizens gain an interest in the arts, music, film, and other cultural outlets.
Mostly, my research on Arte has opened my eyes and made me think that we need a
channel like this that connects multiple countries so that even if we aren’t fortunate
enough to visit that country, we can still immerse ourselves in their culture while relating
it to our own.

Works Cited
Arte Group. (2008. January 9). Arte Mission. Arte.tv. Retrieved February 3, 2014,
from http://www.arte.tv/fr/le-groupe-arte/2153580.html.
Broughton, Tom and Foster, Robin. “Creative UK: The Audiovisual Sector and
Economic Success”. Communications Chambers. Retrieved March 14, 2014,
from http://www.commcham.com/pubs/2011/4/27/creative-uk-the-
audiovisual-sector-and-economic-success.html
BBC News. (2009. January 5). “French TV ditches prime-time ads”. News.bbc.
Retrieved March 14, 2014, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7812747.stm.
The PBS Foundation. About the PBS Foundation. PBS.org. Retrieved March 14, 2014,
from http://www.pbs.org/foundation

Agence France-Presse: Making History

Brenda McGrath

            Agence France-Press (AFP) was born out of the world’s oldest international news agency.  In 1835, Charles Havas created the Havas Agency, the world’s very first international news agency.  It came from humble beginnings, starting out by using homing pigeons and trains to deliver news around France and other parts of Europe.  A decade later, it began to use telegraphs to spread news, which allowed the agency to begin to grow rapidly.  Its popularity spurred even further when new technology such as the telephone and radio allowed for faster news delivery, and by the late 1800s its network extended all the way to Saint Petersburg, Russia.  In 1940, the Havas Agency divided and separated its news branch from its advertising branch.  The news branch was called the French Information Office until August 20, 1944 when it was renamed Agence France-Press.  Its main headquarters remains in Paris, though it has 250 total bureaus, some located throughout France and others located in 150 different countries (“AFP in Dates” np).  As the world’s very first international news agency with reach in so many different areas worldwide, it is easy to see the influence of AFP in other international news agencies throughout the world today.

            The AFP website defines the agency’s core values as truth, impartiality, and plurality.  The agency prides itself on being “free from political or commercial influence” (“AFP’s Values” np).  Furthermore, elaborating on the value of plurality, the website says “Much of what is reported deals with conflicts and a clash of ideas. Our duty is to present the positions of all parties involved, favouring none” (“AFP’s Values” np).  These stated values are very similar to the values of some other major international news agencies.  For example, the BBC website defines its values as being “independent, impartial and honest” (“Mission and Values” np).  Also, on the website of the American news agency Associated Press (AP), former general manager Melville Stone is quoted to say, “the thing it is striving for is a truthful, unbiased report of the world’s happenings” (“AP News Values & Principles” np).  While these values may seem rather basic and standard, the emphasis on unbiased or impartial reporting is important to note.  As the world’s first international news agency, if AFP had not set these standards of impartiality and honesty, it is possible that the standards for international news reporting could have turned out differently from how they are today.

           Associated Press is one of the closest counterparts to AFP in the United States.  They are similar in many ways in addition to sharing many of the same values – the AP website even states that they started out delivering news by carrier pigeon, just as AFP did (“AP’s History” np).  However, the two agencies also differ in a multitude of ways.  One small difference is in the importance of speed versus accuracy.  AP’s website states, “AP reports history in urgent installments, always on deadline” to emphasize the fact that they always try to get stories to their readers as quickly as possible (“AP’s History” np).  In comparison, AFP’s website states that while speed in reporting stories is important to them, “speed must always remain secondary to truthful reporting, or the accuracy and reliability of information” (“AFP’s Values” np).  While AP also values accuracy, AFP specifically stating that accuracy is more important than speed demonstrates differences in the core beliefs of the two agencies.  Another difference between the two is the range of stories that are focused on.  On February 18 2014, the main stories being headlined on AP’s website were for the most part all relevant to US news, focusing on the Olympics, awards season, and a US nuclear weapons investigation.  This contrasts dramatically from AFP’s website on the same date, where there are stories covering Uganda, Tokyo, Syria, and many more areas, with only one small section focusing on the Olympics and only one story relating to France.  This wide range of stories demonstrates that AFP’s primary focus is what is happening everywhere in the world, not on what is relevant to their own country.

            One particularly unique aspect of AFP is its use of technology to provide media reports digitally and socially.  In addition to having a free mobile app, they have a Twitter feed and a Facebook page that are both constantly updated with links to new stories.  They also have a YouTube page where they frequently post video news reports.  They print their stories in six different languages – French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and Arabic – and have a separate web page for each one.  However, AFP moves beyond the basics of social media reporting to more innovative methods of digital reporting.  The “Projects” page of their website lists all of the new digital media projects AFP is currently working on.  One of their biggest new projects is called GLOCAL, which is an interface intended to classify stories according to the ‘who, what, where, and when’ of an event to allow readers to search and navigate through stories quickly (“GLOCAL” np).  Another one of their projects is called OTMedia, also called the Observatory Project, which is intended to “develop processes, tools and methods to better understand the challenges and changes in the media sphere” (“OTMedia” np).  These projects demonstrate how AFP adapts quickly to the changing media world and the importance they place on innovation in digital media.

            Thus, as the world’s oldest international news agency, AFP fulfills its role to serve international news not only to France, but to the whole world.  With bureaus in 150 different countries and stories written in six different languages, they are able to provide a wide range of reporting that appeals to people all around the world.  They seem to successfully uphold their stated values of truth, impartiality, and plurality with unbiased, accurate stories.  Their innovation in digital and social media allow their audience to have easy accessibility to their stories online and on the go with mobile apps.  Overall, it seems that as the world’s first international news agency, Agence France-Presse has set a high standard for how international news reporting should be done.

Works Cited
“AFP in Dates.” AFP.com. AFP, n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2014. <http://www.afp.com/en/agency/afp-history/>.
“AFP’s Values.” AFP.com. AFP, n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2014. <http://www.afp.com/en/agency/ethics/>.
“AP’s History.” Associated Press. AP, n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2014. <http://www.ap.org/company/history/ap-history>.
“AP News Values & Principles.” Associated Press. AP, n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2014.            <http://www.ap.org/company/news-values>.
“GLOCAL.” AFP.com. AFP, n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2014.   <http://www.afp.com/en/innovation/projects/glocal>.
“Mission and Values.” BBC News. BBC, 3 Sept. 2013. Web. 16 Feb. 2014.        <http://www.bbc.co.uk/aboutthebbc/insidethebbc/whoweare/mission_and_values/>.
“OTMedia.” AFP.com. AFP, n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2014.   <http://www.afp.com/en/innovation/projects/otmedia>.

Suite 101: Where Magazine Meets Blog & Wikipedia Meets Journalism

Corinne Volosky

            In 1996, a group of Canadian writers came together to create Suite101, a site dedicated to providing Internet readers a place for expert advice on a variety of topics. This type of collective writing idea is not an uncommon phenomenon in history, from gathering of the 1920s “The Lost Generation” writers creating works that society still finds applicable today or simply just a group of college student writers brainstorming back and forth over a few beers.  Local writers in Vancouver found their collective place to share their advice and their bylines with anyone who wanted to learn new information; it was the beginning of a blogging online magazine.

After about 10 years of local publication, the site had about 4 million monthly visitors but still was not bringing in much revenue. The site’s large audience, however, caught the attention of German investors Boris Wertz, an Internet investor, and Burda Digital Ventures, a German media company, who bought shares of the company in 2005 and 2006. The site also got revamped with a new CEO, Peter Berger, in 2006 (Andrews 1-2). After a few successful, revenue-generating years, the company branched out to Europe in 2008 with a site in the German language (suite101.de), but was still based in Vancouver. In 2009, Suite101 was looking to branch out internationally and set up offices in Paris and Madrid, birthing the sites Suite101.fr and Suite101.net (Teicher), giving Suite101 just about 17 million monthly visitors between all sites.

The set up of the sites are modern looking with big top header graphics and then streamlined stories underneath; it resembles a blog layout with multiple, specific topics. Like the Spanish and German Suite101 sites, Suite101.fr stories are broken into categories:

Mode & Tendances – Santé & Médecine – Sciences & Technologies – Voyages & Découvertes – Auto-Moto – Beauté & Bien-Être – Cuisine & Saveurs – Culture – Économie & Finances – Éducation & Carrière – Environnement – Famille & Relations – Conso/High Tech – Histoire – Loisirs & Sorties – Maison & Décoration – Nature & Animaux – Politique Société & Médias – Religions & Ésotérisme – Sports

With such a vast amount of categories, stories can be extremely specific to a topic. The writing tone of the stories is more blog-like and respectively informal, as many of the posts are the opinions of the selected freelance writers that are commissioned to write the pieces. There are only 3-staffed employees and approximately 10 paid freelance editors and writers (Couve). According to former editor-in-chief Joy Gugeler, Suite101 has “the intention to give well-researched advice, but it’s educated opinion that is sourced journalistically. There is a high level of accountability” (Andrews 1-2). Because of this trust in the writers, the educated, opinion-based stories are treated more like blog posts, where there does not need to be formal citations to information that is mentioned in the article. This is most apparent by looking at the ends of articles; some include “Compléments d’information” with links underneath, while others do not. Suite101’s editors believe that the site stands out against Wikipedia, for even without the sources at the end of articles, there is still reliability to the story because there is a byline and accountability of the person that writes it.

            Specifically in France, Suite101 is still trying to find its bearings in the Suite101 family. All of the Suite101 sites’ revenue comes from advertising, which is used to pay the writers, so many of the French Internet users are concerned that the topics covered and the articles written are too driven by advertising keywords and by also stories that are “timeless” and more feature-like in nature that can be found easily in the archives, making them more profitable over time (Couve). Although not a direct news source, some audiences come to read the editorial pieces like they are a news source, or they come to read material as follow-up articles. They often become unhappy to find profit driven how-to articles, and it becomes challenging for the site to keep users coming back. This is also a problem that is happening in America with news sources like CNN posting full spreads of Miley Cyrus and her VMA performance and not relevant news. The balance of profit and newsworthiness is a challenge for both national outlets.

            The United States does not have a revenue-generating blog/magazine site like Suite101. The only comparable American sites are Medium, Wikipedia and About.com, and counterpart blogs or editorial sections of major news organizations. Medium is probably the closest comparison of them all. Medium is a blog-sharing site where anyone with an account (which is free) can post about whatever topic they want. Although the sites look almost identical in layout, Suite101.fr and Medium differ because Suite101 is a small group of writers with the occasional opening for other invited writers, while anyone can post on Medium. Also because Medium is so open to whoever wants to write a piece, the majority of posts are not pertinent to news or trends; for example “Don’t date a girl who travels” or “How I Lost My $50,000 Twitter Username” are titles of posts. Medium is more of a public journal, while Suite101 is a database of public opinion by a select few of individuals.

            Although there are not many comparisons of Suite101 in the United States, the foreign Suite101 sites are vastly different from the original Canadian Suite101. There is more explanation of what the site is on Suite101.com compared to Suite101.fr, as well as more attractive layouts to break up the categories of posts called “Suites.” Also, Suite101.com has opened its doors for anyone to write posts. There are still only a select number of writers that are shown in the Suites on the Explore page, but it is more interactive for users, like Medium in the United States.

            Both the Canadian and French Suite101 organizations do not have the best social media presence or efforts. The Canadian Suite101 has about 13,200 likes on Facebook and 4,300 followers on Twitter, but hasn’t made a post on Facebook since March 2013 or on Twitter since December 2013. The French Suite101 is even worse; almost 2,600 likes on Facebook and about 430 followers on Twitter; no posts since March 2013 and June 2013. Social media does not seem as big of an issue for this organization as it does for companies and organizations in the United States. A possible explanation for this could be because the social media strategy used in the United States treats brand communication as a public affair; it is part of the commercialization for everyone to see feedback, whether it is good or bad. French brands do not seem to have that same strategy implemented into their present day system of public communication, which seems logical because they are not as commercialized as American marketing.

            The Suite101 sites serve their audiences for what their purposes are: to be a secondary, editorial source to news and trends around the world. The French site was created with the intent of giving more specific editorial information to the Parisian audience, who focus more on beauty and fashion. However, the Suite101 staff needs to look into ways to satisfy their audiences better without being too driven by revenue and profit. A simple solution to this is to just keep advertising and writing separate; place ads on the side and categorize them by related topics. If the article is a beauty product how-to, they can put a beauty product ad on the side. Luckily, Suite101 does not have much other competition because it is one of the first of its kind to be a strictly opinion-based blogging news source. It is a concept that seems to be welcomed by millions of monthly users. It may even be a new type of journalism site to look out for world wide in the next coming years.

Works Cited
Andrews, Marke. “Vancouver’s Suite101.com faces stiff new competition.” Vancouver Sun. 05 Aug. 2008: 1-2. Web. 15 Feb. 2014.
Couve, Philippe. “Suite101 : des articles rémunérés selon leur performance publicitaire.”Journaliste & Entrepreneur. 14 Sept. 2010: n. page. Web. 18 Feb. 2014. <http://www.journaliste-entrepreneur.com/2010/09/suite101-des-articles-remuneres-selon-leur-performance-publicitaire/>.
Teicher, Craig. “Canada’s Suite101 Writers Profit, Expanding to France, Spain.” Publishing Perspectives. 14 Jul 2009: n. page. Web. 15 Feb. 2014. Websites Referenced:
Medium. Web. 16 Feb. 2014. <www.medium.com>.
Suite101 France. Web. 16 Feb. 2014. <www.suite101.fr>.
 Suite101. Web. 16 Feb. 2014. <www.suite101.com>.
 

The Life and Times of Paris Match Magazine

Emily Bastaroli

            As a popular news and current events magazine targeting the French middle class, Paris Match features stories on public affairs; profiles and interviews of government officials and celebrities (Encyclopedia Britannica). France’s weekly pictorial publication Paris Match began in 1934 as a sports magazine and republished in 1949 as the successor to L’Illustration.  The magazine also has stories on entertainment, fashion and consumer products and was compared to Life magazine when it was in print.  Recent stories include pieces on Prince Amedeo’s engagement, a plane being hijacked in Switzerland and former president Jacques Chirac’s hospital visit. Jean Prouvost, publisher of the daily Le Figaro, led Paris Match to its high standard and financial success. Prouvost owned the magazine until the early 21st century when it was sold to the French conglomerate Lagardère and is now one of the most widely circulated magazines in France. Paris Match has come a long way since its beginnings, and has developed its publication to reach a wide audience through its different sections; and though it has had its ups and downs, it has overcome them and is still widely read in France and around the world.

            Comparable to America’s People magazine, Paris Match publishes articles in categories including news, people (sightings, sports, music, politics, and movies), culture (movies, books, music, etc.), and royalty. Most of the articles under “People” are about French, American and international celebrities. Some recent articles include an interview with John Travolta on the death of his son; Katy Perry being crowned Woman of the Year at Elle’s Style Awards in London; and Leighten Meester and Adam’s Brody’s secret wedding. The politics section includes stories on Michelle Obama’s advice to Justin Bieber’s mom, and a piece on Silvio Berlusconi’s divorce; and Arnaud Montebourg and Zylberstein’s love story. The culture page features a story on the real faces of Daft Punk, written in something reminiscent of a Rolling Stone article; reviews of French and foreign films; and a section on the Cannes Film Festival. There is also a Royal Blog on the magazine’s website, covering the news of French, United Kingdom, Monaco and worldwide royalty. Paris Match recently published a piece called “A Secret Day with William and Harry” – if that is translated correctly – about the royal brothers helping soldiers fight against some flooding in Windsor, U.K.

As any publication, Paris Match has had its fair share of criticisms and ordeals. In 1997 magician David Copperfield sued Paris Match for publishing an article stating his relationship with and engagement to model Claudia Schiffer was fake. The magazine published a “contract between Copperfield’s German promoter and Schiffer that showed the model was paid $20,000 for attending the 1993 show where the two met,” stated an article on the situation in Time magazine, published in August of 1997. Paris Match then claimed Schiffer was paid to pretend to be the magician’s fiancé despite the fact she doesn’t like him, and he sued for $30 million (Luscombe). Then in September of that same year, lawsuits were filed against Paris Match and other French weeklies and two photography agencies. The al-Fayed family claimed the “paparazzi contributed to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales and Emad Mohamed ‘Dodi’ al-Fayed on August 31, 1997,” according to an article published in the Wall Street Journal – Eastern Edition.

            In 2006, journalists at Paris Match demanded a guarantee of editorial independence after claiming the editor was forced to leave after publishing a controversial cover photo of then interior minister and president hopeful Nicolas Sarkozy’s wife Cecilia with a “male companion” (Jones). While the French press is typically opposed to exposing and examining private lives of its public figures, Sarkozy’s marriage was often the subject of concern in the domestic media. After this cover was published, the editor Alain Genestar was under pressure “for political reasons.” At that time other French publications including Liberation and L’Humanite, were struggling and under pressure (Jones). Genestar was eventually fired.

            Since then, Paris Match has fought through its struggles and is now one of the most widely circulated magazines in France. Its similarities to People magazine make it easy for American and non-French speakers to understand. Most of the pieces on the website are short and to the point without going into unnecessary details.

            Overall, the success of Paris Match is well-deserved because it appeals to different readers, attempting to reach all aspects of life and interests: music, politics, movies and television, celebrities and news. However, its readership has decreased in recent years, according to Bloomberg Business. Its only real problem –in order to keep up with the competition and gain and maintain readership – is that it seems to be delving too much into the lives of political figures, something that the French press had never really done before. As of January 2014, its readership was 651,700, down from 708,200 five years ago. However, these numbers are still better than its competition, Closer, whose readership has decreased by nearly half within one year. Perhaps if Paris Match would focus more on its culture sections, they would be more successful because French culture is so rich and unique, especially when it comes to fashion and art.

Works Cited
“Al-Fayed family files suits against weeklies, agencies.” Wall Street Journal – Eastern Edition                  10 Sept. 1997: B5. Academic Search Complete. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.
Jones, Adam. “Paris Match in Sarkozy furore.” Financial Times – London Edition 27 June 2006: 8. Lexis Nexis. 13 Feb. 2014.
Luscombe, Belinda. “Copperfield V. Paris Match.” Time 150.5 (1997): 74. Academic Search                    Complete. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.
Matlack, Carol. “Why the French President’s Private Life Is Getting a Lot Less Private.”                         Bloomberg Business Week. Bloomberg, 10 Jan. 2014. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.
“Paris Match (French Magazine).” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica,                  2014. Web. 17 Feb. 2014.
 

BETC Paris

Creative French Advertising

Emily Kolek

 BETC Paris describes themselves as a “creative hive.”  Owned by Havas Worldwide, BETC Paris (BETC) was established only 17 years ago in Paris, France where it found its home in the 10th arrondissement.  BETC also has an office in London, England and most recently they just announced that the company will open up shop in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  The largest agency in the French market, BETC is perhaps the most creative agency in France.

Though the creators of BETC were not aware of this at the time, the building that they chose as BETC’s home in France offers some heavy history.  During WWII, Jewish prisoners were held and forced to work manual labor before being sent to concentration camps (Pic). Once BETC was made aware of what once occurred in their industrial-like, beautifully reconstructed building the company placed a plaque in front of the building in memory and honor of the deported Jews (Pic).  In addition to the building, the actual location in the 10th arrondissement is rather significant.  It makes sense for a young agency that is full of creativity and excitement to be housed in what could be considered an up-and-coming neighborhood.  The 10th arrondissement, once a run-down industrial part of town, witnessed a rebirth about 15 years ago and is still growing as new bars, galleries and cafes open bringing in the young and curious personalities.  In fact, the New York Times listed the 10th arrondissement as the neighborhood to visit while in France (Lobrano).

BETC’s client list is full of international companies, big businesses, non-profits and startups such as: AirFrance, Lacoste, Evian, McDonland’s, Canal+, NPNS (women’s rights organization) and hellomerci.com.  The work they do for their clients is vast and award winning.  In 2012 BETC’s client, Canal+ won three top advertising awards from the prestigious Art Directors Club in the global competition.   When looking at their work it is clear that BETC commits its entire self to the project and business they are working for.  BETC wants to be a part of people’s conversations and pop culture.  Their work does just that.  Trying to balance art and business, BETC creates creative campaigns to ignite a conversation with the intentions of it becoming pop culture.  For example, their AirFrance commercial made one think about flying in a completely different way.  The imagery and sound made flying a beautiful piece of art that one wanted to be part of – a part of the sky.  Furthermore, a commercial they created for Evian was well received and became quite popular, logging over 170 million views on YouTube.

Adding to their creativity is BETC’s Startup Lab where they believe in “Making the World of Tomorrow Happen Stronger – Faster – Sooner.”  A division of BETC, Startup Lab focuses on small startup companies who need help telling the world who they are.  With a staff of its own, BETC Startup Lab believes that there is an exciting new entrepreneurial era about to be born and they want to be a part of it.  They want to help new businesses build their brand and identity.  Having a designated group of individuals whose focus is primarily on startup clients is perhaps a unique characteristic to French advertising.  Compared to other French agencies, such specific services are not available.  Today it appears to be the norm to work with non-profits, both in the U.S and France; however, specifically working with startups is rather exclusive.

 BETC knows who they are and who they want to be.  As a French business they understand and cultivate the French culture in the work that they do.  Holding true to French values and culture is pertinent. BETC uses that knowledge to its advantage.  During a financial crisis in France, many French brands moved their manufacturing abroad to alleviate costs.  Le Slip France, a high-quality underwear company, chose to stay in France and BETC used their loyalty in the commercial they created for the company.  The commercial states that Slip X, a generic brand that is manufactured abroad, had a lower quality than le Slip Francais which is designed and manufactured in France.  Furthermore, BETC Paris understands what it is like to be a stereotypical Parisian – rude, annoyed and loud.  Though this stereotype may not hold true for all Parisians, they used the stereotype in a commercial for le Parisian, a daily newspaper available in Paris, where it is “better to read one than meet one.”  In other words, one is better off reading the Parisian than meeting a Parisian because of how rude they are.  This is a solid example of BETC understanding their client and what the world, in this case, Paris, thinks about their client.

European advertising features exuality more frequently than what may be seen in the United States.  The French advertising industry is no exception and continues to use sex to sale their campaigns.  Due to recent complaints regarding the overuse of sex, changes have been made to the French self-regulatory system (Boddeewyn & Loubrdou 220).  In their article, researchers Boddewyn and Loubrdou discussed these changes and briefly described the similarities and differences between American advertising and French advertising.  They are as follows:

  1. French advertising focuses on preserving the dignity and discrimination of all human beings while American advertising focuses on protecting the dignity and discrimination of minors.
  2. Politically weaker and less affluent United States consumer organizations have little influence on the government while French consumer groups have a large influence on the government and their thoughts on advertising.
  3. The government is the leading control of advertising regulation in both the U.S. while self-regulation is also quite popular.
  4. U.S. government agencies like the Federal Trade Commission have limited the amount of profane and indecent materials in the media.  The French government does not necessarily have such agencies to report to.
  5. Both French and American advertisers appreciate and prefer industry rules that are created by them – the industry.  They believe that they know how to solve their own problems and would appreciate the opportunity to do so without the government or government agencies stepping in.
  6. France and the United States share the same concerns about sex in the media.  They do not want to contribute to the desensitization of people and the negative behavior towards women (223-224).

Additionally, by observing their website content, I found that BETC honors similar values as their U.S. counterparts like believing that their employees are invaluable.  The people who make up the agency are key to agency success.  Through personal experience, I have found that more often than not American agencies put great value on their employees, understanding that the employees bring the creativity and life to the agency which essentially leads to clients’ successes.  BETC shares these same views.

BETC Paris does not consider itself to be an average advertising agency, its modern campaigns and business practices all add to its unique style and creativity.  BETC works to be a competitive force in the industry, just releasing a new campaign during the 2014 Winter Olympics for fashion retailer Lacoste.  Not only was the commercial’s sound and music mesmerizing, it was launched at the 2014 Olympics.  If BETC continues to release creative advertising similar to the work they have completed for AirFrance, Evian and Canal+ and build upon its Startup Lab, BETC could grow into a bigger creative force impressing not only its clients but impacting pop culture, both nationally and abroad.

 Works Cited

Boddewyn, Jean J, and Esther Loubradou. “The Control Of ‘Sex In Advertising’ In France.” Journal Of Public Policy & Marketing30.2 (2011): 220-225. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.

Lobrano, Alexander. “A Paris Quartier Surges.” NewYorkTimes.com. The New York Times Company, n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2014.

Pic, Floriane. “Agency Profile: BETC Paris.” Ihaveanidea.com. I Have an Idea, Inc., 25 June 2012. Web. 17 Feb. 2014

 
 

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