Tag Archives: The Guardian

Jamaica’s bobsleigh team in the (cool) runnings to get to the Games

20 Jan

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Jamaica‘s motto is ‘out of many, one people‘ and it’s never rang truer than this week. The lush Caribbean island has qualified for the two-man bobsleigh event at next month’s Sochi Winter Olympics.

That’s right – Cool Runnings is becoming a reality (again). But one thing almost stood in Winston Watts and Marvin Dixon’s way – money. The funding was so tight they had to dip into their own pockets and even watched the final qualifying round from home with bated breath to see it they’d made it through to the next round.

But, once again, Twitter has proved itself as the key driver for crowd-sourcing success. @JamaicaOlympics backed its athletes by drawing attention to a unique crowd-funding initiative on the micro-blogging site moments after the pair qualified. And, although each tweet didn’t generate mass re-tweets or favourites, they’re being seen by the right people.

Most of those people used internet currency sensation Dogecoin to generate the much-needed cash – and in doing so it’s boosted the value of the crypto currency. So I predict we’ll be hearing more about it, and it’s rivals, in the coming months.

The great news is that tonight it was revealed that, thanks to a blend of individual and corporate doners, the team raised $25,000.

This flurry of national PR has meant that Watts and Dixon have dominated news articles as well as the sports pages – including The Guardian, Metro and the New York Times to name a few. And hopefully it’ll encourage the world to find the remaining $15,000 to get Jamaica to the Games.

The team’s fundraising success is testament to @JamaicaOlympics upping its game, while the sporting world was asking questions about the island’s novelty team. It’s gone from tweeting once a day to every hour; re-tweeting key stakeholders; and increasing its level of call to actions. Accompanied by a thriving website, team blog and Facebook page – Jamaica’s got the full social media package.

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Adverts don’t make nations fat, people do

20 Nov

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There was an interesting article from the Independent on Sunday yesterday on celebrities advertising junk foods.

Health campaigners plan to make a fresh attack on food and drink companies in an attempt to ban them from using celebrities to advertise their products. The finger isn’t just being wagged at celebrity ambassador veterans David Beckham and Gary Lineker, London 2012 Olympians are also under scrutiny for backing salty Subway rolls.

Journalist Paul Gallagher reports that the food and drink industry should be condemned for acting irresponsibly for fooling customers into thinking they can look like celebrities by eating the product they’re endorsing. RIDICULOUS. As clever as PR and marketing is, people are born with an innate detector that helps them to recognise ‘spin’ when they hear or read it. Who would fall into this ludicrous trap? Wait. I really don’t want to know.

Whilst I wholeheartedly agree that food and drink companies must act responsibly, they can’t think for people. Campaigners are hardly giving the Government’s Responsibility Deal for Public Health a chance. This voluntary scheme, which has new pledges thrown at it almost weekly, has attracted hundreds of businesses who want to make it easier for their customers to eat healthier, including Unilever Food Solutions.

If celebrities can grow food and drink sales by association, I say ‘well done’. I don’t call it demon marketing. Adverts don’t create fat nations, people do. And recession, according to rival paper The Guardian today.

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