Artisan Marketing Communications offers clients PR and marketing communications advice, practical support and implementation.

Friday, August 25, 2006

I´m Tony Parrish

The Liverpool Daily Post is running a fountain of Internet stories.

Today we have the case of a surfer from Dallas who seeing a crime in progress on a webcam in Liverpool, through his prompt actions, foiled the crime. Whether he is being reimbursed for his trans Atlantic phone bill is not clear.

Wednesday - Liverpool City Council and others are taking action against the blog of Tony Parrish. Tony, whose real identity is not known, has made derogatory comments that have provoked a flurry of legal action. The police have said the blog is now offline although it did not break any laws.

The problem is that nobody knows who Tony is. I´m Tony Parish badges having been springing up over Liverpool, naturally inspired by Spartacus.

If no-one knows his identity, what´s the point of legal action?

Unless this is a ruse by hungry lawyers - create a blog, insult some wealthy people, and then sue them. It is marketing genius.

Accountants can be creatives as well

Many aspiring careerists are put off from accountancy because it offers no outlet for creativity.

This need not hamper them. Manchesters very own Isoft has shown the way.

It has been very creative with its accounts, so much so that it dominated the front page of the Guardian on Wednesday.

How many PR agencies could achieve that level of recognition?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Time Magazine lists top 100 sites

Time Magazine has listed the 50 coolest sites.

I can say that Pandora is a good choice with its chance to listen to music freely before purchasing although there is nothing to stop you just listening to the music.

But it looks very American in outlook. Do you agree with their choices? Have you got any suggestions? Please feel free to drop a comment.

There is also a section on 25 sites that we cannot live without. I think this is a better list withh Amazon, ebay (controversial), GMail, The Onion and Craigslist. If you want to know what they all cover (if you really do not know) and you haven't used them get going.

The highlight must be the Statler and Waldorf From the Balcony. The two Muppet stars
show their impressive archive including a 1977 movie review: the Woody Allen version of Close Encounters of the Third Kind is uncanny.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Snakes on a plane

Snakes on the plane might not be in the same class as Apocolypse Now or Trainspoting or Pulp Fiction.

But it has been getting the attention of a much antcipated blockbuster and with no marketing budget nor allowing the crtics to review it. How?

By using the Internet. Spoofs, mock trailers, debate and ideas for the script and action have been flooding cyberspace. So much so that news programmes such as the Channel Four News have been commiting lengthy pieces to this Internet viral marketing phenomenon.

The Guardian film critic even noted: "Bloggers have suggested extending the franchise, although it would be a brave movie executive who commissioned Badgers on a Hovercraft. Or Racoons on the Space Shuttle."

It seems that you do not need traditional media at all and the better film marketers aviod it all together to create a buzz.

When the novelty of this approach is replicated too many times will it still hold or will marketers for the studios work with the critics? Watch this blog.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The thought police are at work in Newcastle

Newcastle City Council have banned the words "pet" and "hinny" - a Geordie version of honey - being used by council staff because they are sexist terms apparently.

The council didn't point out if they are sexist if a man addresses a woman with the offending words or vice versa or if a women addresses a women. So a women calling another women "pet" would every right to complain to the council if one of their employees was involved.

But to follow their courageous lead I think with have to be more politically correct and with the football season upon us we should start trying to with our favourite pastime. I think the follwing will get us off to a good start:

So John Barnes is not a piss poor presenter, he is charismatically challenged in front of camera

Roy Keane is not agressive he simply hasn't attended his anger management classes

And Ben Thatcher a poor excuse for a full back is now still a poor excuse for a full back

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Axis of stupidity blog

Thanks to Craig McGinty of Connect Media for sending me the link to Neville Hobson's blog about the Ahmadinejad blog.

Apparently he has the spirit of all bloggers: any visitor from Israel that reads his site will get a trojan or virus for their trouble. All a little bit pathetic. But the situation with the Iranian government is more disconcerting than that.

Blogs can be used for evil

President Ahmadinejad of Iran has gone online with a blog. It is not a case of a head of state embracing new technology, showing his enlightenment and common touch. Iran has the most sophisticated Internet censorship to be found.

So why has he started a blog? Well how could any totalitarian dictatorship let a channel of communication run free?

There is another reason. Ahmadinejad is looking to get a wider audience and another way of communicating his position outside of traditional media.

It is a pity he doesn't let his countrymen do the same.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Cameron was wrong about hoodies

Just following on from the South Manchester Reporter article on the hoodie menace

I have been contacted by Drongomala and he assures me that the hoodie incident is true.

It is still good PR and the South Manchester Reporter took nearly 2000 hits because of the story. Drongomala might be underground but if they continue do the PR they are doing they will be big.

I hope to catch them minus hoodies at a festival shortly.

How to become a net star

A pensioner has become a big hit on YouTube. He has registered half a million viewings since he put a clip of himself grumbling and reminicising.

Good on him.

But I am still trying to work out how to make my blog attract that much traffic.

The hoodie idea I have discounted as Drongomala do it better than me and I am not old enough for the grumpy old man. I have always been grumpy so I am gettng there.

I will have to do something more novel than Man City winning something and that includes beating Middlesborough at home. A day that will live in infamy, especially as I got flu watching it.

Technology pages for the MEN

The Manchester Evening News had a great technology page in the business section. Sometimes it was a double page.

The technology page was never short of good stories and in fact it was a highlight of the business section for me.

It went over a year ago, but it would be great to have it back. It might have been part of the shake up effecting the economics of so many papers. I am not sure about the reasons. Yet, it would add real value to the Tuesday business section to have a strong technology page.

If you feel the same let Chris Barry the business editor know

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Jaws is in PR

I am amazed at the number of PR sharks preying on the business community.

Of course all professions have their disreputable elements. But if your service is essential people have to overcome their caution after being bitten. With PR this is not always the case.

I have encountered a number of potential clients that are ultra cautious after an encounter wit a PR shark. Budgets are tight after the shark has had a huge bite.

The remedy? Users of PR have to shop around. After all you do not get the first house you see. You do some research. I am sure this will reoccur, but as long as I pitch before the sharks most of the time I will have to be content.

Hoodies and the Internet

The South Manchester Reporter ran a feature in the current issue which points the way to get coverage.

I have to say I really like the paper. It is a local paper that is well read and liked. This is owing to the strength and appreciation of its editorial team and content.

Before I sound sycophantic I will get on with it:

A hoodie was captured on a mobile attacking a peace loving hippie at a impromptu gig. The amazing video is apparently making the rounds on the Internet: terrifying and voyeuristic. The fans of the band - Drongomala and the Zeitgeist Orchestra - were no walk overs and fought back. The hoodie ran off with a menacing threat.

We learned that the gig was illegal, but more happenings are in the pipeline. There were no complaints to the police - no suprise the crime was staged. But the viral marketing campaign needs a nudge, so the PR.

It sounds like a vehicle for publicity.

The Reporter is the best local paper of its kind that I know. I will attack these hippies to make a story if necessary. There are better stories in South Manchester and if someone makes one up I want to profit from it.

Tony doesn't get it

Tony Benn turned the tables on the interviewers last night on Channel 4. He questioned Paxman, Robinson, Snow and Humphreys about democracy and the media.

His point is that the media distorts the news. It selects the terminology and commentators. He had a point. But he doesn't realise how the media works. The criteria for newsworthiness is based on novelty, power and entertainment amongst other things. Local councillors being interviewed is important but as one of the interviewers said why talk to the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room, in other words power is so centralised the accountability is in Government and the civil service not with local councillors.

Tony still did not get it.

Robinson pointed out that democracy and the media was now open to all through the Internet. Perhaps this has replaced as Snow puts it the "PR firewall" that protests the politicians and gives only the information they want us to hear.

It was a little suprising to hear Benn being so naive when it came to the media. He has been using it and studying it for over 50 years. Maybe he should get a copy of the Day Today for a more realistic perspective.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Manchester blog meet Saturday

Urbis (3-5 pm conference room) will see a meeting of the North West blogging fraternity:

So far, we can expect to see: Mancubist, Connect Media North West, Spinneyhead, Yer Mam!, Sticker,Bench, Landed, Why did I go wrong?, Stephen Newton's Diary of Sorts, A Free Man in Preston, Girl on a Train,Crinklybee, Normblog, EnCompass Culture, Black Country Grammar, and Counago and Spaves.

Blogs and the news

People everywhere confuse what they read in newspapers with news.
A J Liebling

News reporting on the key issues and many lesser issues is intepretation. Indeed the Daily Mail is all interpretation, even the programme schedule, and that cannot always be credited with any level of reason or trust.

Blogs have offered something new. People can get different perspectives on the "news." Indeed, we can pick up voices as different as a Chinese student or the head of a multi-national. The insights that can lighten dark corners of our knowledge are truly magnificent.

Yet, in this technological revolution the ideals can be spoiled quickly. Blogs are just as prone to slander, misrepresentation and skewered views as any other means of communication.

There is one issue that the BBC has been commentating on recently that gives bloggers a reprieve. Reuters has been sold doctored news images, where the skills of the photo journalist has been more to do with Photoshop than with photographic ability. This was picked up by a number of bloggers and has led to Reuters dismissing the photographer.

What it does prove though is that bloggers can become the guardians of making the news as transparent and trustworthy as it can possibly be. What level we can really set for ourselves is another matter.

I will leave you with another quote which will hopefully be less true as blogs and the media continue to open up to contributers.

I read no newspaper now but Ritchie's, and in that chiefly the advertisements, for they contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.
Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Artisan to work with Push On

Artisan will be working with search marketing specialists Push On from August.

Push On offers a range of services to gain substantial traffic to a client's website:

On site digital marketing:
* SEO: Search Engine Optimisation
* Usability Analysis

Off-Site Digital Marketing:
* SEM: Search Engine Marketing
* PPC: Pay per Click / paid Placement via
o Overture (Yahoo Search Marketing)
o Google
* Viral Marketing
* E-Mail / Newsletter Marketing

The power and innovation of the Internet is still at an early stage. With so few companies making the most of their online potential the market for those that want to explore the options available stand to gain substantially as competitors languish with their static sites.

Push On has already picked up some interesting work, which Artisan will promote through PR.

L'enclume and the New Technology Institute are two new acounts that should be featuring in the press shortly.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Networking4Business dates

Networking4Business has announced its programme for Autumn.

After the Summer break it will restart things on Sept 7th at Tiger Tiger.

The full programme is available at

Networking4Business will be launching the Liverpool group shortly for those who cannot get enough of their inimitable style of networking.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Musing on the Blog – a new tool in the marketing armoury

For those that are well acquainted with blogs the following article will be too GCSE, but there are many that still do not realise its potential. With this in mind Creative Times published the following piece. It is written from Simon Wharton of Virtuaffinity's perspective and features Craig McGinty, City fan and connoisseur of media communication through technology.

I have neglected my blog for a while, but this should restart things. Here is the article:

Blogs are growing at a phenomenal rate, 80,000 new blogs go online worldwide every day according to a worldwide survey by web monitors Technorati. Yet many in the creative industries and indeed marketing do not appreciate their power. Simon Wharton of Internet specialists Virtuaffinity gives an insight into the advantages of the humble blog.

Technology has changed how we market a business markedly in the last 10 years. Where would a comprehensive marketing campaign be without understanding e-mails or websites?

Blogs, like so many innovations in communications, are neither a peripheral activity nor a throw away, but could be integral to your business success.

So what is a blog?

It is a weblog - a diary, a journal. A chronological series of notes about whatever you choose to write or I should say blog about.

So this begs the question, how can this be of any use?

Blogs are democratic in nature and change opinion by inviting comment and exchange of views. They are all about connecting; not being feed information by marketers and the media. That makes it a very powerful tool, especially if used well.

So how can this translate to a business? If you are something of an expert you can regularly tap out a few words every week. There’s a good chance that someone out there is looking for your insight and business intelligence.

Maybe if you provide valuable information they will start looking at your blog regularly. They might tell people about it – a great way of doing viral marketing. And with time they will view you as someone they can trust professionally. And if they do you have potential customers. You are in effect an online networker.

So lets assume that your blog gets read and receives some feedback as well. That’s great news for you but there is better to come. At its most basic, getting ranked in search engine listings is a case of matching the searchers text query with the text on your site. Or, if the words that someone writes in a search engine query match with words on your site, you are in with a good chance of them finding you.

In the process of writing a blog, you are going to intuitively develop text content that is very specific and very niche. This content may well be the answer to an obscure question a potential customer is stumped by. If they then find your blog, see how you do what you do, then the chances are they’re going to give you a chance at their business –all for a little effort?

But does it really work? One local example of how it does is that of Craig McGinty. The South Manchester based journalist runs a number of blogs. Chief amongst these is This French Life. Craig regular insightful updates are drawing 30,000 hits a month, enough to attract advertising and to make it viable as a marketplace. What is more it is a wonderful advert for his journalistic services. I will not put his web address as his regular entries and copy make it easy to find.

I have only touched the surface of a trend that all businesses, creative or otherwise, should be recognising or need to recognise if they want to compete for the attention of their market. Information is being shared online. And the word is “shared.” Information is being exchanged and sought after. Blogs are just one aspect of the way we are beginning to interact – one that effective businesses cannot afford to ignore.