Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Daybreak Dreaming

One of my dreams when I was younger was to be a TV presenter and thanks to ITV I came a step closer to living the dream during an ITV studio tour.

Although an early start (7.30am) this easily topped the list for being one of the best experiences on the MEC grad scheme. Having watched Daybreak (or GMTV as it was previously known) from a young age, it felt so surreal to physically walk around the studio and sit in the green room where all the celebrity guests usually wait before going on air.
I have always been a fan of the lovely Lorraine Kelly (as she is one of the original GMTV presenters) and I was chuffed when we got the chance to watch her whilst she was being filmed live. At the end of her show we got to meet Lorraine and posed for a cheeky photo to remember the occasion. The photo opportunities didn't end there and we got slightly camera-happy when we went into the Daybreak studio (which by the way is so much smaller than it appears on TV.)
We parked ourselves on the Daybreak sofas, stood in front of the weather screen to present the weather and posed on the very stage that all the bands and artists perform on when they come onto the show! 
However no studio tour would be complete without actually meeting the most important people of the show – the presenters themselves. My Daybreak dream reached its peak when we brushed shoulders with Christine Bleakley and Dan Lobb from Daybreak! We stood in the green room chatting to them and they were both really welcoming and genuinely nice people. Christine was even more stunning in person and she had a killer pair of Kurt Geiger heels on!

The morning couldn't have been any better and it ended with a champagne breakfast with all the indulgent food imaginable. I think I speak on behalf of all the grads when I say that it was one of the best mornings we have had, and who knows, maybe one day I will pursue my old dream and become the next big TV presenter!

Any tips Lorraine/Christine?

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Sunday, 27 March 2011

Typical Is Relative

Did you know that the World's most typical person is a 28 year old Chinese male and that there are 9,000,000 of them! This fascinating fact was posted in an infographic video produced by the National Geographic who investigated the typical statistics that characterize our human population.
The video triggored my thoughts about the most typical UK media agency as I have recently moved into the New Business team at MEC. Part of my role whilst rotating in this department is to look at our agency both internally and externally, including how MEC is publicised through PR, our social media presence and what people are saying about us, how our website is performing and what our company credentials say to potential clients.
When sending out prospective letters or pitching for new client business, credentials are used as an introduction to the agency so the client can distinguish between all the competitors. Credentials are pretty standard but because there is so much competition I am trying to re-invigorate MEC's credentials in the hope that we stand a better chance of impressing and remaining at the forefront of the client's mind. The pace of change and digital advancement in the media industry has forced agencies to change their business model to reflect full integration. Consequently this has enforced an industry standard where agencies have become typical. They increasingly integrate all communication and creative services, have all the best research resources, own all the tools in the box, and have the best people in the industry. I started to think about how typical MEC is and whether there is such thing as a USP anymore?

I think the key to creating standout is not to prescribe standard credentials as I'm sure most clients would prefer to look through company info in their own time. Instead we should facilitate the 'New Rules of Marketing' -  nudging clients to actively seek and engage in our conversation via our blogs, social media, to create and post our own video thought-pieces in order to enhance our profile. All these elements together will naturally communicate the agency's credentials without the need for stating them in a typical list and thus creating standout and demonstrating our USP.

Just a thought:
Typical is stating your USP. Atypical is encouraging your USP to be found and witnessed by the client.

This blog has moved to www.laurarobinsonblog.com

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The Best Way To Predict The Future Is To Invent It!

After spending the best part of 5 hours at the Microsoft London offices I am now officially a guru for all things digital in the world of Windows Live, Bing, MSN and Xbox Live. 
I think by now we are all conscious that our digital habits are changing and evolving at a faster rate than ever before:
  • 78% of the UK population now go online after work and in the evening
  • 28% of internet users own a smartphone, which is 43% of the UK population
  • By 2012 it is predicted that mobile devices will outsell PC's and laptops and there will be more internet used through mobile than on computers.
Ok. So enough facts. The question on everyone's mind is what the future will see!

Many people within the media industry have stated that 2011 is the year of the mobile but what can we expect from this platform? For Microsoft, mobile will be the 'Swiss Army Knife of media' which their range of Windows 7 phones are already resembling. The Windows mobile system embodies all of Microsoft's consumer platforms, offering complete content and technology integration.

In relation to media, if planners haven't already started they will soon be moving into real-time campaign planning as a direct response to consumers' real-time interaction with brand touch-points such as Twitter and Facebook.

Video on Demand (VOD) will continue to grow and Microsoft are trying to push MSN video into the broadcast-led market. Although YouTube dominates this space, this is partly fuelled by the increasing number of videos posted and watched via Facebook, ultimately highlighting YouTube's power of being where the conversation is.
In the last week Warner Brothers signed up to become the first film distributor to enable Facebook fans to rent and buy films via their brand page using virtual Facebook credits. Maybe the future will see us watching live TV, our favourite programmes, and live streamed events such as festivals through Facebook brand pages?

In relation to technology, Microsoft stated that every physical surface has the potential to become a digital interface and content platform through touch technology. In addition with Xbox Kinect technology, all content on TV can potentially be gesture controlled. Ultimately the digital will transcend the physical and the mobile will transcend the device.

The success of these ideas are reliant on a number of things. The technology we need to implement them already exists however we need to work out how we can use it and more importantly how open is it.

Inventing the future rather than predicting it will make the impossible inevitable! 

This blog has moved to www.laurarobinsonblog.com

Monday, 7 March 2011

The Face Of The Voice Over

Have you ever sat in front of your TV watching an advert and wondered who the voice over belonged to, imagining what he or she looked like in person, and that your voice could have done a better job?
This morning I met the voice over artist for one of our TV sponsorship campaigns and sat in the recording studio while she perfected her one simple line repeatedly until the client was satisfied.

The woman who had been hired to be the voice over sat in the room opposite us behind a glass window while we observed and listened in the editing suite. As she began to read her line she was given prompts and directions for altering the pitch and tone and pronunciation of her voice in order to sound a particular way. I must have listened to the same line being read about 30 times with different voice styles and emphasis on certain words. It's intriguing how one person can produce so many varieties to their voice, but the strangest thing was speaking to her in person as her actual voice sounded completely different to the voice over she produced and actually her voice sounded younger than she looked.

I think the best way to example this is when you speak to someone on the phone and then later meet them in person and they look nothing like how you imagined.

On the way back to the office I found myself thinking about different TV voice overs and one always catches my attention. It belongs to Peter Dickson the voice of E4, because it is so distinct and entertaining.

What's your favourite TV voice over?

This blog has moved to www.laurarobinsonblog.com

Friday, 4 March 2011

Access All Areas...

To most people this common phrase refers to being a VIP ticket holder and getting full admission to the secrets that hide backstage whether at a concert or film set. At MEC or at least for me anyway 'Acees all areas' refers to working in the MEC Access department aka 'Sponsorship'.

Sponsorship is an integrated partnership or event management however at MEC it is much more than this, it is also content creation, an area which I find inspirational and exciting. 'Content creation' umbrellas a number of areas from ad copy or product launches to branded materials or viral videos. This week I assisted a film director in creating my first piece of content for MEC.
Although situated behind the camera, my role was to act as an interviewer asking questions to, and prompting actions from the interviewee, to create some great and interesting footage which would then be edited to produce a mini documentary. The experience was both educational and enjoyable and I now think that if I fancy a change in career I will try my hand at presenting. After filming for 4 hours I was ready to hit the sack. I didn't realise that the same scene or question needed at least 4 re-takes each time, but I guess all will be revealed when the final piece is produced. Check back next week when I have uploaded the film to this blog.

Taking part in things like this sums up what Access is all about. Production. Creativity. Diversity.

This blog has moved to www.laurarobinsonblog.com