Tag Archives: Sir Patrick Stewart

Why are London’s Talking Statues staying quiet online?

12 Aug

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I’ve met a few celebrities in my time, and therefore had the obligatory ‘be cool’ moment before quickly losing it. (Meeting Labrinth on stage at Proud Camden springs to mind, with my cousins having no choice but to make the universal sign for ‘crazy’ behind my back to make amends.) But, I’ve never had the pleasure of Sir Patrick Stewart, Hugh Bonneville or Prunella Scales giving me a call on the old dog and bone for a catch up.

You neither? Well, that’s going to change.

The Evening Standard has revealed that statues across London are going to be brought to life with voice recordings, as part of a year-long art project called: Talking Statues Speak Their Minds. From 19th August, people will have the chance to use their smartphones to unlock statues’ exclusive content before receiving a call from a well-known name who’ll share information about the figure’s life history.

It’s a great way to add yet another dimension to the city, giving Londoners an opportunity to explore old sights for the first time. And, the story has generated a commendable amount of PR thanks to Riot Communications.

But, with the launch just around the corner, its efforts will be wasted if it doesn’t bring its digital marketing up to scratch.

Here’s some lessons the Talking Statues might want to learn:

Woeful websites miss opportunities
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that websites are the first port of call for more information, but the Talking Statues aren’t capitalising on incoming traffic. Google the initiative and there’s simply holding pages providing a home for a press release.

I’m not asking for downloadable resources for people to map out their routes pre-launch (necessarily), but the least Talking Statues can do is put themselves in the shoes of their audience and think about what they’d want to see: articles, interviews and images.

Unsociable social media doesn’t win friends
On Twitter, Talking Statues boasts just 158 followers and on Facebook just a pitiful 72. Hardly a significant platform to shout about an innovative campaign this Tuesday. Followers and fans aside, updates are few and far between and the content is dull.

There’s a big opportunity here to tease content by taking pictures of stars in the studio doing voice overs; challenging fans to guess which statues are being improved; and even launching a competition giving someone the chance to voice their favourite London artefact.

But hey, if I can just think of these things off the top of my head I shouldn’t expect an agency to, should I?

Phone a friend
The campaign’s content is triggered by people swiping their smartphones across the statues, so it would’ve made sense to work with a supplier that can make this even easier. Whether that’s The Cloud, offering free WiFi for app downloads on the spot; network providers using advertising pop-ups to market their services; or phone companies showing off the latest gadgets, having the backing from one of the big boys could’ve potentially freed up Talking Statues to focus more on the marketing.

Of course, I could be jumping the gun and this will all fall into place on Tuesday. But, if it doesn’t, I’ll know who to call.

What do you think of the campaign?

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The Olympic Torch comes to Croydon

23 Jul

I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the Olympic Torch this afternoon on day 66 of its momentous journey as it came through London Road in Croydon. Almost one year after the riots, it was a fantastic sight to see so many people gathered to celebrate part of the legacy of the London 2012 Olympics.

I saw Beth McKillop, deputy director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, carry the Torch through the street as she was cheered up the high street. Sir Patrick Stewart (Captain Jean-Luc Picard from the Star Trek movies) continued the Croydon trail later in the afternoon and described the experience as better than any move premiere he has ever attended.

Before I saw the Torch in all its glory, I was clearly reminded of the controversial reason why the Games can be dubbed ‘one of the greatest shows on earth’ as it was preceded by sponsor buses: Coca-Cola, Samsung and Lloyds TSB. They created a fan-fare of excitement for people as promotional people ran down the road waving flags, shouting encouragement and blasting music from the buses.

But, one sponsor in particular must be questioning if this is all worth it. The Grocer revealed at the end of last week that £50m top tier sponsor Cola-Cola posted a drop in sales month-on-month for the last quarter against rival Pepsi (who took the lead of Euro 2012). Boss Hubert Patricot has quickly responded to say that, of course, the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics are long-term investments for the brand which will continue to leverage the ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity to better engage with their customers. Time will tell.

Here’s a brief look at the sponsor buses:

Track the Torch’s remaining journey here.

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