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Generation M(mmmm… burgers)

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This is a post I wrote at work for the Cre8ive Wisdom blog, drawing together some recent marketing news with my knowledge of hyper attention collected while studying in my final year of University.

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It is commonly agreed that the attention span of Generation M, or the Internet Generation, is generally pretty short. The Internet and digital technology is blamed for this – the move away from getting stuck into a good book to flicking between browser tabs, windows and mobile apps. This is known as ‘hyper attention’, which Hayles describes in relation to ‘deep attention’. A generation that has been brought up with digital technology and online media tends to prefer receiving information through multiple streams, becoming easily bored and distracted by long pieces of writing and less able to focus on single tasks.

Most new marketing, advertising and PR campaigns focus on short, sharp bursts in order to capture audiences’ attention enough to quickly blurt out all the information before attention is lost once again. When it comes to text, short, snappy copy is far more preferable than lengthy articles – no matter how well it’s written, people don’t want, or don’t have time, to read. This is particularly the case with the rise in popularity and use of mobile digital technology and smaller screens. As described on Mashable: “If web copy is skimming the cream off the top of the milk, mobile copy is skimming cream off of the cream”.

Mobile smartphones in particular have very small screens and it is important that marketing copy is optimised for this. 300 words on a computer screen or an A4 page may not look like much – but on a phone that can be a lot of tedious scrolling! People tend not to ‘get stuck in’ to reading, or watching, things on their mobile phones. A lot of the time that people spend using their mobile phone is while they are doing something else, where there are even more distractions. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I find it second nature to pick up my phone and have a browse while standing in a queue, waiting for a friend or walking to a shop, for example. At any minute it’ll be my turn to order, my friend will turn up or I’ll get to the shop and my phone will be locked and put away in a pocket or handbag. Mobile marketing copy needs to be shorter and sweeter to suit our distractive and hyper-attentioned lifestyles.
So keeping someone’s attention for 5 minutes, 15 minutes, half an hour is out of the question, right? Not when there’s a free burger involved, apparently.

Burger King has turned the tables with their new marketing strategy which, instead of trying to satisfy our hyper attention spans, encourages people to stare at a TV screen for ‘long’ periods of time. TV – where an advert lasts seconds and we’re used to watching soaps with their snappy, attention-keeping, interwoven scenes. Subscribers of the US satellite service DirecTV can flick over to channel 111, watching a spinning Whopper burger for 5 minutes to be told which button on their remote control to press in order to be sent a voucher for a free Whopper. A further 10 minutes and the patient person can get two burgers… A full half an hour wins the ‘lucky’ (and probably very bored/hungry) person deservedly (?) gets three free Whopper vouchers.

While I’m not sure I could sit and watch a burger for five minutes – let alone half an hour – without feeling tortured through hunger or just incredibly bored, the campaign is doing very well. And while long, tedious, adverts or articles requiring time and attention often don’t work, innovative does work and Burger King are #winning on this occasion!

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Looking back. And to the future…

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So it is soon the time to say goodbye to another year.

(Unfortunately?) New Year’s Eve for me is due to be pretty much the same as every other night, a number of reasons meaning it is going to be a quiet night in with my man (going out for New Year is overrated anyway, right?). But I’m fine with this… It’s really just another day, a different date.

While I’m being all ‘old before my time’, I thought it would be nice(?) to look back at the past year, and also ahead at what 2011 might hold for me…

Toward the beginning of 2010, I was forced to say goodbye to my Granny. I still don’t feel as though I have properly gotten over this. Will I ever? I’ve lost friends and some family members before, but I think this was the first to truly, truly hit me. It was an is a difficult experience and I will miss her always.. x

I am always very grateful to all my wonderful friends, family and boyfriend for helping me through all difficult times!

After finishing my second year of University, I joined the team at the strategic marketing agency Cre8ive Wisdom for a summer work experience. I really enjoyed my time there and learnt a lot!

Also during the summer, my man and I moved into our first ‘just us’ home together, before celebrating our fourth ‘anniversary’! – Growing up!

I am now well into my third and final year of University – the biggie! And it is tough! Very stressful, but hopefully(!) rewarding… and hopefully(!?) it will all be worth it in the end! I know I will miss it when it’s over!

I’ve  recently turned 21, which means I am apparently now officially an adult… although I feel as though I am in a kind of ‘limbo’ between childhood and adulthood!

My 21st celebrations were the best – thanks to my lovely family, friends and boyfriend (and maybe a little tequila…!)

So, if all goes to plan, 2011 might well be quite a big year… We should see me graduating and starting my career in the big wide world of ‘Full Time Work’ (eek!) I’m definitely becoming a ‘grown up’!

I look forward to visiting my family up in Scotland in January – although it will be odd being there without seeing Granny, or her and my Grandad’s house which is so full of personal memories. I also can’t wait to have a good holiday after the months of stress still to come between now and May!

I’m sure 2011 will hold plenty more of exciting (and maybe some not so) moments for me, and everyone!

Introducing Communications Whizzkid!

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So today was the first day of my six-week work experience placement at Cre8ive Wisdom. Honestly, I was a little bit nervous! But Neil, Wendy and Steph are all really friendly and made me feel very welcome : )

This morning I wrote a press release about me joining the team and attempted to gain more followers for the recruitment agency Bond Williams’ twitter account. I also started putting together some ideas for a new sleep story for clients Leggett and Platt. Along with various bits and bobs I’ll be assisting the team with, I’ve been given my own personal six-week project which I’ll be getting stuck into!

To become a true member of the team I needed to have a ‘CW’ name, so I’m now known as the  Communications Whizzkid… and I have my very own company email address!

At midday, I took a break with Steph and walked along the seafront in the sunshine to Boscombe Pier and back. It was lovely but I made a mistake wearing shoes I haven’t worn for a long while and now have huge blisters on both my little toes! : (

In the afternoon the Cre8ive Wisdom team took a stroll down to the seafront again to take some individual and team photos. As much as I dislike my photo taken, it was a bit of a giggle, and nice to be out in the gorgeous weather again!

After my first full-time day for a long time, I am completely knackered – but looking forward to the next six weeks! : )

Hello summer ‘break’

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What a week!

Sun, camping, drinking, live music, dancing… As well as long queues, disgustingly disgusting toilets and general dirtiness – All part of my amazing first festival experience, Beach Break Live!

As well as enjoying music I already knew well, I found some new loves both on the main stage (such as dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip) and smaller, lesser known bands (I loved Free Peace). I love the buzz I get from watching and listening to pretty much any live music, whether I’m in the center of the crowd singing and dancing or sitting on the grass in the sun watching with a cider!

Next year I would love to go bigger but Beach Break was a great experience – and not so overpriced being a predominantly student festival!

Anyway, it’s Father’s Day tomorrow, and seeing as I’ve managed to drain my bank accounts dry (and that’s the student overdraft, not even real money!), my dad’s taking me for dinner… I feel awful but I’ve always said I’ll treat my family loads when the years of being a skint student pays off & I finally have some decent income!

Monday I start a six-week work placement at Cre8ive Wisdom. I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into, being able to put in what I’ve learnt from my first two years of BA (Hons) Communication and Media into practise in the real world!

During this time I need to make a start in researching for next year’s dissertation (big eek!), for which I’m hoping I can gather some useful information/case studies from the placement.

As well as all this, my boyfriend and I are in the process of flat hunting ready to move out of the student shared house before the end of July. Finding time (and money!) for this is proving difficult and stressful, but it is exciting looking for our first own ‘home’ together!

Soo, it’s all busy busy busy but fun and exciting at the same time!   : )

Shall keep y’all posted throughout my placement, etc.