Innovative PR: Vaughn may have Unfinished Business with iStock


Business fulfills each and every one of them

On March 2, media outlets across the net showcased satirical stock images featuring Vince Vaughn and the cast of his latest movie, Unfinished Business.

Aside from being absolutely hilarious, these images were particularly compelling because they were available to download for free through partnered website iStock, a division of Getty Images. So far, iStock has over 41,998 views and both iStock and Getty Images collectively have over 458 online news mentions.

With over 1,722 online news articles and counting currently circulating, it’s evident that Unfinished Business has amassed a plethora of earned media — every PR professional’s dream.

But Unfinished Business only has ~3,300 Twitter followers and ~13,100 Facebook likes after 4 days of positive campaign response and just one day before its theatrical release (March 6). So who has really benefited from this PR campaign — Unfinished Business or iStock?

A campaign is as successful as the amount of people it reaches. By now, it’s safe to say a large number of people in the business, public relations, advertising, marketing, communications, and design communities have heard of the film and have been trying to somehow incorporate the stock images into their editorial content.

This furthers the campaign’s earned media reach and staying power, keeping the film both relevant and exciting. The virality of the stock images will keep the film top-of-mind when consumers decide which movie to go see this weekend.

But there’s a catch.

Anyone wanting to use this stock imagery has to first download it from iStock. This is where iStock has the advantage over Unfinished Business: For every download, there must be an iStock account to download from. If someone doesn’t already have an account, they have to create one. Each new account is a lead for iStock , which could result in new business or a new contact for its marketing database.

These new leads can be nurtured to become powerful brand advocates for iStock, which will continue to benefit the stock photo company. This means that iStock can reach new audiences long after Unfinished Business has been released on DVD and iTunes.

But iStock is also an extremely valuable vessel for Unfinished Business’ messaging, considering the stock image company has a considerably higher social media following due to being a widely used, previously established product. This means that upon release, an established audience of more than 90,000 Twitter followers were exposed to Unfinished Business and its PR campaign.

This head start no doubt contributed to the campaign’s virality: The #UnfinishedBusiness hashtag has had over 4,500 twitter mentions.

There has been more talk about the stock images themselves than there has been about the movie: Unfinished Business stock image-related handles and hashtags have so far been mentioned more than the handles and hashtags about the movie itself, though this could change quickly following its release.

Most people will remember Vince Vaughn’s hilarious stock photos, but will they remember they were used to promote his movie? Will this stock photo frenzy convert to massive box office sales? We’ll see after this weekend!

Who will be the real PR winner of this campaign? Unfinished Business or iStock? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

(Data used for this article collected March 5, 2015)

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Top Twitter influencers of February’s Social Media Week: #SMW15

Representing Bangalore, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Jakarta, Lagos, Milan and New York, this year’s first Social Media Week took Twitter by storm from February 23 to 28, 2015. Social Media Week is a news platform and worldwide conference that discusses—and shares insights on—how social media and technology affect global business, society and culture.

Using MediaMiser’s analytics SaaS, we monitored #SMW15 throughout the conference to determine who, and what, had the most Twitter influence during the week-long event.

After analyzing over 28,000 tweets, we’ve sorted our findings into the following categories: Influence by number of tweets, influence by retweet ratio, and the top mentioned hashtags of the conference.

Top influencers by number of tweets:Top Users by Postings

Top influencers by retweet ratio (original tweets to retweets):

Most mentioned hashtags:Most Mentioned Hashtags

    • #SMWBangalore (15295)
    • #smwnyc (3023)
    • #DellAtSMWBangalore (2516)
    • #TrueWanderer (2089)
    • #rideready (2081)
    • #socialmedia (2013)
    • #SMWmilan (1787)
    • #SMWJakarta (1473)
    • #SMWLagos (842)
    • #IntelAtSMWBangalore (692)

    We’d like to hear about some of your favourite moments of February’s Social Media Week. Let us know in the comments below.

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Why governing bodies should use media monitoring and analysis

There has been some debate and backlash surrounding the use of media monitoring and analysis by government agencies. But why do government departments and agencies really use services like this?

Traditionally, the purpose of governmental media monitoring and analysis is to analyze who is saying what, where, and which key messages have the most influence on public opinion. This data alone can be an integral part of any government communications plan, but there are other ways these departments can leverage media monitoring services and the data that’s generated.

Issues management

Issues-based monitoring and analysis can help government bodies pinpoint which specific issues should be prioritized according to public opinion. Who is saying what? Where? What key message or issue is repeatedly covered in media or by social media users?

Global Finacial Business Meeting and PlanningThis type of monitoring and analysis can help strategize future communications regarding the issue by identifying who is talking about it and what they’re saying. This allows communication departments to tailor messaging that’s both compelling and informative to the public. Using archived media data, government bodies can also study similar issues in the past and draw insights for future communications plans.

Using media monitoring and analysis, government bodies can analyze how different regions perceive and discuss various topics which can, in turn, help uncover issues that may have not been previously known to the department.

Reputation management

Government bodies can implement a media monitoring and analysis strategy to manage their reputation and how they’re perceived. Media monitoring and analysis can help identify which key influencers are talking about the department, what they’re saying, and the general reception of their message.

This information can identify which journalists and bloggers are positively aligned with government values and messaging, and who is most likely to advocate for them. Government bodies can also identify their largest critics, and allow them to address key points and opinions.

Using media monitoring for reputation management can also ensure that the media is maintaining the integrity of a message. Is the intended message getting through to the public? or is it being misinterpreted? Media monitoring allows communications plans to be altered during a campaign to ensure the messaging is as clear and concise as possible.

Lastly, media monitoring and analysis can be used to measure the impact and perception of a message and evaluate the effectiveness of communications plans and campaigns. Government bodies can use the collected information to improve publicly funded programs by analyzing both positive and negative reception to government messaging. This crucial feedback can provide the basis for important infrastructure and policy changes, such as building a new community centre, or making sure that existing public buildings are universally accessible.

Risk management

Using media monitoring and analysis for risk management also allows government departments to create strategies surrounding potential risks.

Uniquely, media monitoring and analysis can also help manage the risk associated with using specific vendors. By gathering and analyzing content and coverage surrounding suppliers, it’s possible to establish if the vendor is someone worth working with, or if their reputation could be a potential risk.

A media analyst can compile all of the data about a specific vendor and provide a snapshot of its history, important coverage, and whether or not they are seen favourably based on media data. This information is incredibly important to government bodies as it allows them to minimize the risk associated with finding and employing new contractors and vendors.

Analysis of media coverage can also help identify new and potentially devastating risks in combination with analysis of other data points. This information allows government bodies to scale potential risks based on how likely they are to become a problem: Is it an immediate threat? Could it be a threat in the near future?

Future planning

Lastly, government bodies can take all of the acquired information and aggregated data from implementing media monitoring and analysis and use it to create informed strategies and budgets for the next fiscal year.

The data provided by media monitoring can stand as a rationale for government decisions moving forward, and any new data can be used to implement more informed communications strategies. Both government agencies and citizens alike can benefit from the insights media monitoring and analysis provides.

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Why science coverage gets on some scientists’ nerves

Science!Attention science journalists and editors: You’re being called out by your sources.

Nearly 80 per cent of American scientists say the superficial nature of media coverage on scientific studies is a major problem for the scientific community’s communications efforts, according to the Pew Research Center’s latest study.

The scientific community’s biggest beef with media coverage is that “news reports don’t distinguish between well-founded and not well-founded scientific findings.”

Kind of makes you wonder about a study released today on the Black Death, which suggests that the devastating plague that first appeared in Europe in the 14th century was caused by gerbils instead of rats.

Although this study’s conclusion is still very much in doubt, you would never know that from the news headlines of the day:

You dirty rat! Turns out gerbils were responsible for the Black Death (The Guardian)

After 8 centuries, rats exonerated in spread of Black Death (Washington Post)

‘Gerbils replace rats’ as main cause of Black Death (BBC)

The BBC article goes on to say that “If the genetic material shows a large amount of variation, it would suggest the team’s theory is correct.” Which is certainly not what the headline infers (of course, it’s not just about science journalists — editors and headline writers all have a part to play here, as well).

Indeed, it’s these kind of simplifications of complex studies requiring further testing that seems to really irk scientists dealing with the media: A further 52 per cent of the community said that the “simplification” of scientific findings is another major problem in terms of communicating those findings to the public.

The Pew report went on to say that while scientists do get annoyed with sometimes superficial coverage, they still value the media tremendously: 43 per cent said it’s important for scientists to get coverage in the news media.

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#cdnpoli: Eve Adams, John Baird dominate in the new year


Big moves have made John Baird and Eve Adams the talk of #cdnlpoli so far during 2015

2015 was already earmarked to be a big one for Canadian politics. But I don’t think anyone expected so much to happen so early in the year, let alone in the first week and a half of February.

Between Eve Adams defecting from the Conservatives to the Liberals, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird resigning and the Supreme Courts’ assisted suicide ruling, the hashtag #cdnpoli has gotten plenty of traction so far this year.

The biggest day of news came on February 9, which you can see on the chart below.

That morning, Eve Adams dropped the bombshell that she was crossing the floor to the Liberals. Later the same day Prime Minister Stephen Harper shuffled his cabinet, moving former Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to Defence and former Defence Minister Rob Nicholson into the recently vacated Foreign Affairs spot.


Since the announcement came late in the evening on February 2, you can see most of the related spike came the next day.

The news that Baird would step down was also the source of the most retweeted tweet for the period, from CBC Politics, which is below.

The next most retweeted tweet related to the Supreme Court partially striking down the assisted suicide law, also from CBC (below). The announcement came on February 6, which was also the day with the third highest tweet volume.

The next highest day was January 28, driven by Bell Let’s Talk Day and the hashtag #bellletstalk.

There was also plenty of chatter about Keystone XL, especially from Greenpeace’s Mike Hudema, who was again the top influencer by total retweets for #cdnpoli.


In fact, the top influencers for the period looks very similar to our previous lists, including users Bergg99 and Stephen Lautens.

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Twitter Reacts to the Demise of Sun News Network

Two months shy of its fourth birthday, the Sun News Network went dark on Friday the 13th of February.

Regardless of whether you saw the network as right-wing vitriol or clear-sighted truth — or if you saw it perhaps as most of us did, which was very rarely or not at all ━ its closure inspired the multitudes to take to Twitter and spout some truth of their own.

First there was the expected gloating (and “gloating” is the perfect word) from what can only be assumed to be the Left:

And, of course, the equally expected retort from the other side:

But beyond the jabs and counters which so often characterize issues on Twitter, there were a variety of explanations of why the network failed in tweeted links to long-form pieces from outlets such as Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, Maclean’s, The Walrus, and iPolitics, among several others.

These pieces likewise weren’t immune to gloating, especially The Tyee, which said Sun News “proved Canadians to be much smarter than it predicted”. John Doyle’s contribution in The Globe called Sun News “cheap, cheesy, terrible television.”

And like the trench battles between would-be pundits, the big names also came out on Twitter to respond to articles like the above.

Four days after the closure, Sun News personalities Ezra Levant and David Akin had their counter-points promoted on Twitter either by themselves or others:

But while both sides were busy duking it out with each other over the merits — or lack thereof — of Sun News, by far the greatest driver of the conversation was the loss of media jobs.

People of all stripes took to Twitter to lament the fact that, regardless of one’s politics, the failure of Sun News Network meant that 200 people would soon be unemployed.

Two takeaways from this: 1) Sun News Network is definitely dead, and; 2) Whatever your take, you can always be sure that Twitter users will have a decidedly strong opinion.

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The evolution of traditional media: A viewpoint

Newspapers get it from all angles these days.

Purists often decry the fluff—glossy lifestyles sections and inches devoted to celebrity hijinx and party photos. At the same time, social media pundits revel in dwindling circulation numbers as indisputable evidence of an industry disrupted.

NewsAnd while the positions of both newspaper traditionalists and micro-bloggers may seem antithetical in this fuss, they’re both bleating about the same phenomenon.

When someone reads the Saturday paper, he or she already knows the news. Did we open our papers in spring 2014 and almost spit out our coffee telling a loved one that Russia invaded Ukraine? Of course not.

But we—at least, some of us—did open them.

We opened them to read informed analysis of the situation in Donetsk. We opened them to better understand historical claims to the Crimea. We opened them for opinions and thoughts that moved beyond the “what” and the “who” and into the “how” and the “why.”

The era of traditional journalism is ending. In its place are two distinct and opposing approaches: one borne of the digital revolution, the other a response to the first.

In the first camp are sites like BuzzFeed and Gawker (whose tagline betrays its position so succinctly: Today’s gossip is tomorrow’s news), sites whose sole raisons d’être are attention-grabbing headlines, punchy “reports”, and spewing forth as much content as possible.

Some traditional media outlets, in turn, have responded to this by focusing on a position of strength: in-depth reporting and profound analysis, from media voices that have built trust with their readership over years.

Outfits like The Globe and Mail, New York Times and even Vice are proving that just as much as people want information now, they want information done properly. (Would anyone argue that Vice’s approach isn’t working?)

For evidence of just how much readers value independent analysis and a strong writing voice, one needs only look at Twitter followers for the Globe’s columnists versus their reporter colleagues. Although it’s obviously a very superficial analysis, it would seem that people like something the columnists are doing.

André Picard: 31.9K
Doug Saunders: 27.5K
Marcus Gee: 13K
Elizabeth Renzetti: 5,827
Michael Babad: 5,074
Leah McLaren: 3,332
Campbell Clark: 2,558
Barrie McKenna: 2,087
Konrad Yakabuski: 1,163

Omar El Akkad: 4,086
Jeff Gray: 3,227
Carrie Tait: 3,129
Nathan VanderKlippe: 2,993
Brent Jang: 2,461
Tavia Grant: 2,205
Janet McFarland: 2,204
Jeff Jones: 1,794
Sean Silcoff: 1,244
Richard Blackwell: 873

(All numbers taken on 2 Feb 2015.)

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Super Bowl ads: Hitting pay dirt with controversy?

There’s been a lot of talk this week about the winners of the Super Bowl advertising game, but does the ad really need to be a “winner” to receive a big payoff?

We’ve seen a blitz of research around the ways in which social media shapes the TV advertising industry. Insights show that consumers love using social media— especially while watching TV.

The Super Bowl is the epitome of this, with millions of viewers using Facebook and Twitter to comment on the game and, maybe even more importantly, the ads. Sixty-five million people took to social media during the Super Bowl and ads had more than 1.5 million game day mentions on Twitter alone.

Reflecting on GoDaddy’s decision to pull its Super Bowl spot in response to public outcry, it may seem as though social has a one-way effect on the advertising industry: It allows the general public to determine what ads we’ll see and which ones get canned.

But as we’re seeing in the wake of Super Bowl XLIX, social media also substantially increases the impact of any advertisement: The virtual conversations that ensue are carried on long after airtime, thereby providing a long-term benefit and low cost-per-impression that television advertising alone simply can’t match.

In this way, social media is an amplifier that improves the reach of broadcast campaigns (along with media stories, as well—but that’s for another post). Unlike broadcast, social media allows brands to monitor and impact the conversation around an ad.

Take, for example, Nationwide’s gloomy dead children spot—which seemed to depress more people than a goal-line interception.

According to Amobee Brand Intelligence, the ad received over 230,000 social mentions during the game (and the vast majority of these interactions were negative). Maybe it’s not exactly the type of impact Nationwide intended, but at least they can measure consumer reaction and make adjustments if necessary.

And what about GoDaddy and its pulled lost puppy ad? This ad got benched before the game even started, but thanks to the company’s pre-release strategy has still been viewed more than 600,000 times on YouTube.

In an age where consumers play the role of receivers, critics, editors, and proliferators of advertising messages, controversial ads are a calculated move intended to cut through clutter and generate increased attention for a campaign—whether the added exposure is worth the negative backlash is still yet to be determined.

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Top Twitter Influencers of #FFWD2015

With a series of esteemed guest speakers, informative presentations, and an Ad Ball to remember, this year’s Advertising and Marketing Week took Toronto by storm from January 26 to 30, 2015.

Using MediaMiser’s analytics SaaS, we monitored #FFWD2015 throughout the conference to determine who, and what, had the most Twitter influence during the event.

We’ve sorted the findings into the following categories: Influence by number of tweets, influence by retweet ratio, and the top mentioned hashtags of the conference.

Top influencers by number of tweets:

Top influencers by retweet ratio (original tweets to retweets):

Most mentioned hashtags:

  • #cloudmagic (213)
  • #AgencyDiver (161)
  • #Toronto (144)
  • #FFWDnextgen (121)
  • #FFWD15 (79)
  • #AgeofYou (67)
  • #powerofatweet (60)
  • #NextGen (57)
  • #TCM2015 (52)
  • #Canada (48)

We’d like to hear about some of your favourite moments of Advertising and Marketing Week 2015! Let us know in the comments below.

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Social Media Update: Facebook still top dog, thanks to your grandma

Social media

Facebook is still the No. 1 social network in the United States, according to the Pew Research Center — and you have your grandparents to thank for it.

Pew’s Social Media Update 2014, released earlier this month, shows that for the first time ever more than half of all U.S. online seniors (65 and over) now use Facebook.

Pew says this represents “31% of all seniors,” which, if accurate, means a lot of seniors out there are light years ahead of anyone that age in my own family.

Things aren’t all rosy for Facebook, though. We all know teens hate being anywhere near their families, which could explain why FB has seen a recent drop in usage amongst this demographic.

Indeed, the Pew study shows that while Facebook is still the Grand Poobah of social, its uptake from new users has slowed to a crawl (other than the senior demographic).

“Every other social media platform measured saw significant growth in every demographic group,” the report said.

The hottest site for teens and young adults? If you know anyone with a pulse from this age group, then you already know: Instagram, Instagram, and more Instagram.ig-logo

Posting random pictures of your friends doing random things is super fun, after all, which is probably why 53 per cent of those aged 18-29 now use Instagram, with half of those users logging on daily.

Overall, Twitter had the lowest percentage of online adults who identifed themselves as users in the study, at 23 per cent — behind Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram.

Check-in sites (or former check-in sites) like FourSquare were not included in the top five, because really, does anyone even care anymore?

And continuing a trend that’s been evident since the site’s inception, women dominate Pinterest’s user base: 42 per cent of online women use the site, compared to just 13 per cent of men.

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