29 May

Outside Line scores a double in 2012 Social Brands 100 List

Tagged under Awards, Social Media, advertising | Posted by Alex

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It’s not every day an account we’re working on gets voted one of the top 100 social brands in the country. Actually, make that one of the top 20 social brands in the country. Oh, and make that two accounts we’re working on…

Yup, according to top social agency Headstream – who published their second annual roundup of the UK’s most socially effective brands this morning – both Lurpak and Cravendale have exploded into the top 20, beating off such giants as Ford, Marmite, Google and last year’s no.1, Dell.

What’s more, this represents two out of only five FMCG brands in the top 25 results, with no other dairy brands even breaking the top 100! Needless to say, we’re very proud.

The Social Brands 100 list was drawn from an initial crowdsourced pool of 300 nominated brands, with the final results calculated using a combined ‘data score’ from social media monitoring firm Brandwatch and a ‘panel score’ from a panel of top industry judges. This panel included Twitter’s UK head of sales Bruce Daisley, and judged each brand in a number of key areas such as their success in creating a credible community and their prioritizing of fans’ needs over the brand’s own.

A huge thank you goes out to all our staff working across these two accounts and everyone else who helps make Outside Line one of the top social agencies out there.

Next year we’re aiming even higher, with even more of our brands in the top spots. Make sure you come and join us…

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28 May


Tagged under Uncategorized | Posted by DanF

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Here’s a round-up of the things that impressed us, sparked our curiosity, and made us laugh last week.

The thing we most want.

The trusty mouse and keyboard combo have served us well for the past few decades, but it seems our dreams of Minority Report style gesturing are finally a reality.


An innovative use of a QR code (just when we all thought they were dead)

Guinness QR

The same technology, used in an interesting and innovative way. When empty, the glass looks like it’s etched with a fancy pattern. Once filled with the black stuff, it becomes a useable QR code which is fully integrated with social channels.


An immersive 360 degree experience, on YouTube.

Whilst you might not appreciate the music, it’s hard to deny the 360 degree, multiple camera-angled views available on some of 02 Academy’s live music videos aren’t impressive. It’s great to see the evolution of YouTube as a platform.


Yet another incredible Google Doodle.

Google continue to impress with their doodles, and this one’s up there with the best (including our Freddie Mercury doodle http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe0gIFxYhrk though we may be biased…) It celebrates the birthday of Robert Moog, inventor of the Moog Synthesizer. We possibly enjoyed this a bit too much in the office…


A song dedicated to the Facebook IPO. Yes, really.

Amongst the bombardment of IPO articles, news and rumours, it’s nice to take a step back and enjoy some absolutely ridiculous musical nonsense.

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10 May

From ‘Me’ to ‘We’: Outside Line present The Networked Economy

Tagged under Event, Outside Line Office, Social Media, advertising | Posted by Alex

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What does it mean to do business in a truly social economy? More importantly, what does it take to succeed?

These are two questions at the forefront of any modern marketer’s mind, although the answers are slightly harder to come by. Thankfully, this month we’re hosting our very own seminar on the subject so you can really get to grips with your place as part of ‘The Networked Economy’.

Taking place at The Hospital Club in Central London on the morning of Friday 25th May, our planning director Ronnie Crosbie will be taking guests on a whistle-stop tour through three of the most influential marketing texts of recent times – Alan Moore’s ‘No Straight Lines’, Joseph Pine & Kim Korn’s ‘Infinite Possibility’ and Alex Bogusky & John Windsor’s ‘Baked In’.

Using these texts as a foundation, Ronnie will look at how advances in social, mobile and digital technology have rewritten the landscape of the modern marketplace, returning us to an economy in which word-of-mouth, personal recommendation and social communication are once again the keys to brand success.

The talk runs from 8.30am – 10am. Attendance is entirely free, however places are limited.

To reserve your seat, send us an email with the details of how many places you would like and which company they are for.

We look forward to seeing you there.

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1 May

FoodBeats lunch at Outside Line

Tagged under Outside Line Office | Posted by DanF

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FoodBeats office

Yesterday, we launched ‘FoodBeats‘, an online music tool for Lurpak® in partnership with Last.fm. And what better way to celebrate than use the tool just how we intended – by creating some culinary delights and listening to some tunes!

As we’re not fortunate enough to have an oven (microwaves really don’t count), we bought in a variety of ingredients, and challenged the office to make the perfect sandwich.

FoodBeats office 2FoodBeats office 3

What did we learn from the experience? Well, it’s pretty difficult to prevent a free-for-all when you’ve got 60+ people trying to make themselves a sandwich. But most of all, FoodBeats really is great for providing the soundtrack to your cooking (or sandwich making) experience. Thanks to Last.fm, some pretty awesome tunes came up on the playlist. No more butter-covered fingers all over the laptop keys as you search for a track!

Alex munch

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30 April

FoodBeats launch

Tagged under Internet, Launch, Technology, advertising | Posted by DanF

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We’re pleased to announce the launch of ‘FoodBeats‘, an online music tool for Lurpak® in partnership with Last.fm, generating and streaming recipe-based playlists for food lovers.

FoodBeats uses Last.fm’s unique scrobbling technology to provide users with music recommendations to fit with what they’re cooking up in the kitchen.

Dan Rutherford, our Creative Strategy Director, explains: “The inspiration for FoodBeats came about whilst discussing how contemporary foodies connect with their laptops in the kitchen environment to seek recipe inspiration, tips and advice, whilst listening to their favourite music. We were excited to act on this insight by developing a tool that links the food and music worlds in an innovative, useful way. Ultimately, FoodBeats provides new music and recipe inspiration in one place, further enhancing the modern kitchen environment.”

By partnering with Last.fm, Lurpak® will deliver food fans with specially selected songs to provide the perfect soundtrack to their cooking. So, for example, anyone cooking sausage and mash might be served up a playlist of 90’s Britpop.

We also partnered with recipe network, Foodily, to further enhance the campaign’s foodie credentials by suggesting recipes for complementary dishes and serving up connoisseur tips like adding a touch of chocolate to a chilli con carne.

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19 March

…We’re also at Social Media World Forum!

Tagged under Event, Internet, Social Media, advertising | Posted by Alex

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While we’re on the topic of conferences, it seems like a good time to mention that our director Lloyd is also due to appear at this year’s Social Media World Forum next week.

The event is one of the highlights of the digital marketing calendar, so we’re very pleased to be a part of it. Speaking on the topic of ‘Social TV’, and the opportunities offered to marketers by the rise in internet connectivity among today’s audience, Lloyd will be explaining how to bridge that increasingly important gap between the worlds of television and digital. Important stuff in these fast-moving times…

Representatives from LG, Orange, Zeebox and Samsung will also be appearing to give their input on the subject, making this an all-star cast of speakers that’s not to be missed. There might even be free cake.*

The event itself takes place on Tuesday 27th March at Kensington Olympia, and Lloyd will be speaking at 9:40am.

To book a ticket or find out more details, simply click here.

Come along. You never know, you might just learn something…

*Free cake not guaranteed.

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7 March

Outside Line at The Social Customer 2012

Tagged under Event, Social Media, advertising | Posted by Alex

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It’s generally accepted that social media changes the way organisations interact with their customers, but without the right expertise it’s not always obvious how to make the most of this.

How exactly should a company go about dealing with its customer base in an environment that is, by its very nature, public and intended for sharing? What is the best way to go about rewarding loyal fans, and what areas need to be addressed in the event of a crisis?

These are all tricky questions, and ones that are vital to get right if your organisation is to succeed in the social media universe. Thankfully, finding out the answers needn’t be a stab in the dark.

On 29th March, our director Lloyd Salmons will be speaking at The Social Customer 2012 – the UK’s leading conference on social customer engagement. Appearing alongside British Gas Social Media Manager Laura Price, Lloyd will be discussing the best ways for large companies to tackle the issues of customer service, digital marketing and social CRM in the modern digital era, and you’re all invited to come and join the party (and by party, we mean interesting and informative e-business conference).

The event is being hosted by renowned social media consultancy blog Our Social Times, and takes place from 9am – 5pm at Prospero House, London, SE1 1GA. Also speaking on the day will be representatives from BT, Citibank, M&S and CapGemini, among others, making this a great day of talks that’s sure to bring a new insight into the online workings of some of the UK’s largest companies.

To see the full program of talks or to book tickets, head over to the event’s official website.

We’ll see you down the front.

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1 March

Hell Hath No Fury Like A Twitter User Scorned…

Tagged under Uncategorized | Posted by Alex

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A few weeks ago we lifted the lid on some notable hashtag disasters that went down on Twitter over the past couple of months. As embarrassing as these were for the brands involved, by and large they were caused by internet naivety rather than genuine poor customer service, and as such the lasting damage was little more than a spot of wounded pride…. And the odd irreverent blog post.

Recently, however, there have been a spate of far more serious lapses in twit-judgement – ones that have generated real anger and resentment towards the brands in question and will take a lot longer to erase from internet memory. These episodes involve a brand being willfully obstinate and refusing to engage with the public over points of grievance, all ending in disastrous results…

The first instance involves the major gym operator LA Fitness, who recently found themselves at the centre of a public relations nightmare after The Guardian publicised the story of one of the gym’s former members who had fallen on hard times.

The member in question was a woman eight months pregnant, who had just moved to a house 12 miles away from the gym and whose husband had just been made redundant. The couple had been members of the gym for six years, but with the change in circumstances they simply couldn’t afford to maintain their payments. LA Fitness didn’t accept the excuse, and demanded a cancellation fee of £360 (even after much haranguing by the Guardian).

The result? The full force of the newspaper’s readership attacking LA Fitness publicly on Twitter, along with a campaign for existing members to cancel their membership as protest. Eventually the company relented, but not after untold amounts of damage to their public image and lost membership revenue. Not a good look for their social media team…

The second two instances are remarkably similar, which would suggest brands aren’t learning from each other’s mistakes. Within the space of a month, both H&M and Claire’s Accessories were accused of plagiarism over products sold in their stores. In both cases the companies feigned ignorance, with Claire’s going one step further and making the shocking decision to go on full media blackout. Needless to say, this did not help their situation.

The result? Again, a torrent of incredibly public abuse and complaints leveled at each brand for all to see on Twitter, not to mention coverage of the situation in untold national newspapers and media outlets. H&M eventually acknowledged their wrongdoing and agreed to a profit-sharing deal with the artist in question. The Claire’s Accessories debate is ongoing…

So what can brands learn from the online spills of these three companies? Above all, that in this modern age of digital conversation and increasingly transparent communication, good customer service must remain a priority. One disgruntled user can very quickly become an army of righteous indignation, and there is no telling how far things might spiral out of control if handled badly.

As a brand, your reputation is paramount; strip that away and your are simply trading air. With that in mind, keep your friends close, and your Twitter followers closer!

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28 February


Tagged under Internet, Social Media, advertising | Posted by DanF

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Our news highlights from the past few weeks.

Facebook Timelines

Lurpak timeline

Facebook introduced timelines for brands, bringing brand pages in line with individual user profiles following the recent design changes.  Timelines give brands a more visually impactful page with the addition of a ‘Page Cover’ banner, and provide some new features such as the ability to ‘pin’ a post to the top of the page. There’s also a new customer service feature that can be activated, allowing users to talk privately and directly with brands.

Timelines give brands the opportunity to tell the story of their history, filling in important milestones in their development and business. Visitors can scroll back through time to see these key events, be it the year they were founded or a previous advertising campaign.

Many brands are already using Timelines which become mandatory from 30th March. Our own clients, Lurpak and Glenrothes have made an early start, showcasing their current above the line campaigns and heritage.

Explore further at https://www.facebook.com/TheGlenrothes and https://www.facebook.com/LurpakButter

Absolute London

Absolut x Instagram

Alcohol brand Absolut recently launched a promotion using iPhone photography app Instagram. The competition gives participants the chance to win a limited edition bottle of Absolut designed by renowned artist Jamie Hewlett. Entrants take a photo of something that sums up London’s great features, adding an #absolutlondon hashtag.

The ever popular app is a great way for brands to tap into the creativity of their audiences, generating lots of branded assets in the process.

Find out more at http://www.ukstreetart.co.uk/absolut-london-instagram-competition/

Harrods Pinterest

Prepare for Pinterest

The buzz tool everyone in the digital sector’s talking about at the moment is Pinterest, a platform that allows users to compile a virtual scrapbook of pictures, ranging from products they like to things that inspire them, and everything in between. Many brands are already jumping on board, seeing it as a great way to give a visual representation of their positioning.

During London Fashion Week, Harrods created a Burberry board, inviting their audience to like or ‘pin’ clothing items that they most wanted to see the store sell. The most popular item then hit the shelves.

Take a look at http://pinterest.com/source/harrods.com/

London Fashion Week

London Fashion Week

On the topic of London Fashion Week, it was great to see some brilliant examples of brands using technology to various degrees. From rechargeable handbags for smart phones to live Twitter streams and video broadcasts, the week’s events set the mark for the digital teams of its international equivalents.

Take a look at http://www.dontpaniconline.com/magazine/technology/lfw-goes-tech-in-2012


Cereal Tweeting

Breakfast giants Kellogg’s recently showed how extensive and reactionary their buzz monitoring is. Rock star Tim Burgess tweeted to say that he’d come up with a name for a new cereal and joked that he was available if Kellogg’s were interested. Shortly after, the brand created a one-off limited edition box of cereal based on Burgess’ idea which he went on to tweet a photo of, gaining lots of coverage across the marketing and music press.

Read more at http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/kellogg-creates-totes-amazeballs-cereal-response-single-tweet-138447

Digital female

Female Behaviour Online

Last week, our very own Lloyd and Ronnie took to the pages of the Guardian online to talk about differences in the behaviours of men and women online and how the sexes respond differently to certain types of communications.

Have a read over at http://www.guardian.co.uk/media-network/media-network-blog/2012/mar/02/female-species-more-digital-male

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19 February

It’s all gone Twits-up!

Tagged under Internet, Social Media, advertising | Posted by Alex

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Twitter is great. It allows us (among other things) to keep up to date with the latest news, watch events unfold in real time and pass comment on them for the whole world to see. For brands it’s an invaluable resource, providing them with the means to easily converse with fans, generate buzz around their products and potentially reach whole new markets simply by word of mouth.

So far, so good. Until, of course, it all goes horribly, horribly wrong…

Recently there have been a few high profile examples of Twitter backfiring on brands – moments where the angry teeth of the internet are bared in all their grizzly glory, leaving social media teams wishing the earth would swallow them whole. But as these brands found out, when something goes wrong on Twitter there’s no getting away from it, it’s there for everyone to see.

The majority of Twitter-related brand jams are the result of a poorly conceived hashtag. In the mind of the brand it’s easy to see why starting a personalized hashtag might seem like a good idea; if it begins trending then that’s some of the best publicity the internet has to offer – all for next to no money. However, when looking through those rose-tinted spectacles it’s easy to overlook one very key factor: as a brand, you don’t get to dictate how the Twittersphere uses your hashtag.

Take the recent debacle surrounding Qantas Airways, for example. The Australian airline recently fell foul of its own #QantasLuxury hashtag in spectacular form, after it was hijacked by irate Twitter users looking to vent anger about its poor customer service and spate of grounded planes. The same later happened to McDonald’s, whose #McDStories tag was overrun with unsavoury anecdotes from unhappy customers and brand-baiting animal rights activists alike. Finally, in the wake of their spectacular collapse of service at the end of last year, Blackberry recently found itself on the receiving end of a torrent of abuse after it invited users to #bebold, and share their thoughts via Twitter.

The main problem in all three of these cases is that the brands allowed themselves to forget one of the golden rules of the internet: any skeletons in your closet can (and often will) come back to haunt you. In each instance it resulted in a profoundly embarrassing (and above all public) episode, and one that had to be openly acknowledged as a failure of marketing strategy.

Of course, that’s not to say brand hashtags always fail. Click here to see a rundown of some of the more successful ones nominated for an award at the SHORTY social media awards this year.

With this in mind, our advice to anyone considering the hashtag route of viral marketing would be to think long and hard before providing the internet with its own, unmoderated soapbox to voice opinion on your brand.

In the right circumstances it can work wonders, but get it wrong and you might just find yourself pushed off it…

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