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Boris is at it. So is Amanda Wilkie, a participant in the recent charity ‘moonwalk’, and so are countless others including charities, sporting organizations and government.

Nothing cynical, underhand or even remotely relating to expenses scandals here. What are they all doing then you ask? The answer is ‘phlogging’. The aptly named concept of sending a blog entry live from your telephone.

The clever idea has been coined and developed by ipadio, a subsidiary of communications company Nemisys.

So simple to use, you sign up with your name, email address and up to two telephone numbers, and are presented with a dial in number and pin code. Then you’re all set to do your first phlog!

So what is different about this to other blogging/video/audio online? For one thing it’s instant. As soon as you dial in, you are broadcasting live over the internet. (Good thing or bad I haven’t decided yet). For another, you don’t need to buy anything. No new equipment, no geographical restrictions, no need to have wifi available where you are, or any cables to move something from your phone to your computer. You dial in from a landline or mobile and you’re set.

I think this is amazing, and you can listen to my first attempt right here

Likely uses? SO many. This thing is so simple that there’s no training required. It’s also so friendly that even people who have no idea how to handle anything web-related should be able to manage it. And the fact that you can do it anywhere in the world is really cool.

Have a look at Boris in action.

Downsides? I am sure there are many. Firstly cost. I have so far only tried a really short entry and I’m nervously awaiting the phone bill. As you’re calling an 0845 number, chances are that there will be a cost of around 50p per minute in the UK on most networks. So if you were interested in using this for recording something longer – an interview for example – the costs may mount up pretty quickly, particularly when compared to recording something for free onto your laptop using something like audacity.

Having said all of that, I think this is really neat and I’m going to play around with it some more. I’m hoping others will too!


I’m loving the current fashion for nostalgia in PR and advertising. You’ll have done well if you managed to miss the massive Wispa campaign last year. Stuff like that is just such strong testimony to the power of using brand advocates to spread your messaging for you.

The recent trend is a bit different but aims to generate that same nostalgic buzz. Three examples are Persil, Hovis and Nestle (with Milky bar).

Persil is cutting in clips from their ads over many years  – I love the ’90s one with the teen pouring powder all over the floor – celebrating 100 years of the brand. It’s great. Really can’t help smiling watching it.

The Hovis ad is a little bit different – same concept as the Persil ad, we watch a boy running through time from when Hovis first launched, through to the present day. I don’t recognise the clips or the music so I think it’s been made from scratch, but it’s meant to feel familiar.

Then today the Milky bar Kid found his way back into our hearts. I can’t find the ad, but Zoe Wood’s Guardian article looks at all of these examples.

I hadn’t read the Guardian article until I sat down to write this post, and I feel a little sad that it wasn’t just me wondering what the psychology is that is behind this – although also secretly pleased that my random musings on the journey home may actually be interesting.

So what is the psychology behind this trend? Well according to Wood, as well as researchers from Washington State Uni and Wolverhampton Uni, it’s about remembering ‘better times’. Wood’s article contributes the rise to the current economic doom and gloom. People look back on the past with a fondness, so the nostalgia ads give us that warm happy glow that makes us want to part with not only our money but our brand loyalty too.

Harper Collins last week launched HarperPlus (see Bookseller coverage here). The site describes itself as “designed to enhance the reading experience”. By entering a page number from the print title where a symbol is displayed, you will get access to a variety of additional content (either video, audio, image, text or game).

The first book on the site is Apache by Ed Macy. It’s easy to see why a book like this works well. There are lots of additional photos, and creating a platform like this is a way to introduce additional value without adding to production charges, while at the same time creating something that readers can interact with.

This is a great strategy by HC. Not just in terms of reader engagement, but more for the benefit of providing the book with free online advertising. Readers get to experience something of the book’s essence outside of just the print title.

Where I think HC’s site falls down is in the levels of interaction possible. Given this is a very glossy-web.2.0-looking site, it’s almost frustrating to find that actually, once you’re on there, it’s all pretty much flat content, with little or no opportunities for the fans to engage on the site. They can read the additional content, listen to the audio and watch the videos, but they have no choice other than to do this on their own. This is missing a trick: while reading is a solitary activity, sites like this should be faciliating dialogue, and letting fans connect. Other than social media bookmarking, you’re on your own on HC Plus. Shame.

CIPR are running a series of ‘Meet the Editor’ sessions over 2008. This one took place on May 19.

Carol Lewis gave a brief yet informative talk on her role as Editor of Career, The Times and Times Online. These sessions have been designed as an opportunity to brief PRs on how to work better with the press, and it was certainly very well attended and I hope these sessions extend beyond the CIPR’s anniversary celebrations.

Carol’s overview was straightforward and to the point: know who/what you’re pitching to. Read it, know what they will be interested in. Don’t send them something they won’t want, or something they’ve just written about already.

Nothing new there of course, but there were some interesting insights. One thing for example is that the Times and Times Online are now fully integrated. This is the second time I’ve heard of the broadsheets doing this in recent months (the first time being with the Telegraph). Interesting, since it suggests that there’s more than one opportunity to get a story heard, and suggests that a story may get a better chance to be expanded as an online story as well as getting into print. The Careers section is not the only example of a paper that also has some content exclusively online, which again widens opportunities when pitching.

Another interesting point: while the print paper has a majority UK-focus, stories with a wider EU/international appeal do have a better chance of getting used online, where the audience is more like 1/3 UK, 1/3 EU and 1/3 ROW.

Third very useful point. It’s not something as a single-handed PR office I get much of an opportunity to do anyway, but it’s definitely worth bearing in mind: ringing to meet over coffee? good. Meeting for lunch? bad. No time, not interested. I’d be interested in knowing whether this stands true for the smaller B2B and niche media as well as the mainstream. I’m guessing yes: particularly as multitasking print and online and the 24hr news and blogging cycle are now the norm.

Overall it was a useful session, and I’m looking forward to hearing about the next one.