Drumroll please...this month the title of worst advert goes to The Great British Bake Off, which brings great sadness to the office.
Long gone are the days of clean cut Mary Berry and the infamous GBBO tent, having been replaced with quite frankly some scary talking pastries. It’s all just a bit creepy. With an eery song playing in the background and grumpy looking dough sighing along, it just doesn’t do it for us. Do we all stand together in dislike?
Although we understand the idea of the concept, all different types of baking uniting together and so on, it’s not patriotically British for which Bake Off is known. Whether you love it or hate it this is definitely an advert that will get you talking, even if its voicing your heartbreak that Mel and Sue are no more.
Just to add:
1. Why does the soufflé look like it has had one too many vinos and is spewing its guts up?
2. Are there two bread women getting a golden tan in the oven? What are they?
Or do we just hate it because Mel and Sue are no more?
Here’s the ad:
Twitter has finally decided to up the 140 character limit on their tweets, in an attempt to give users the ability to express themselves without restriction. However, for some, this change takes away the true essence of Twitter as a quick broadcasting platform.
For those wondering whether their timelines will overflow with long tweets, fear not! Twitter trialled the change in September and found that only a mere 5% of tweets sent exceeded 140 characters and just 2% went over 190 characters.
There have been many times where we've have had to entirely rewrite, reword or even delete a tweet because the 140 character limit created a barrier. This was especially difficult when including website links - which were needed in nearly every Tweet.
The new character limit is music to our ears - and the best thing since images were removed from the character limit, earlier last year.
It’s important that each tweet links back to a page on your website so that job applications are received and blogs are read. Directing more people to your site increases traffic and ultimately increases SEO. This is all now a lot easier, thanks to Twitter’s update.
When put into practice, it will now be a lot easier to promote the latest roles by sharing a job card, linking to the site and including a description of the role. The trial indicated that users with the ability to tweet up to 280 characters received significantly increased engagement; likes, retweets and mentions - signalling that more information will generate a better response.
To be frank, this is the news we have been waiting for. We can now share the latest roles, news and updates without the character restriction, whilst maintaining the brevity Twitter is known for.
All we need now is to be able to edit our tweets once posted!For the news, thoughts and opinions from Magdalen Marketing, please take a look at our insight page .
By Olivia Unsworth
Digital Marketing Assistant, Magdalen Marketing Agency (MMA)
LinkedIn is a great way to direct traffic to your website, expand the profile of your brand and reach key connections in your industries. But why LinkedIn? Because people are checking social channels on a regular basis, so it’s important to establish a strong presence and connect with them.
There’s often the temptation to buy followers, it’s quick and easy, but we strongly advise against this. All it achieves is an increased number of superficial followers; making your page appear popular but in reality engagements are low and you are not reaching anyone of any importance to your brand.
There are many effective steps that can be taken to ensure you’re doing your best to attract new users. Here are our top three tips to maximise your efforts:1. Update regularly
It is imperative that your workforce direct traffic towards the company’s page as well as their own profiles. Start by making sure all their email signatures and personal profiles include hyperlinks to the company page.
The next point is often the area most companies are falling down on: ensure that all members of staff actively engage with company posts. This increases the potential audience for updates massively. We cannot stress this enough. Everyone in your company from the CEO to your receptionists should be liking and commenting on updates. It takes two seconds and makes a big difference to the impressions that your company can make.
We hope that you bear these tips in mind and can implement them into drawing more attention to your company’s LinkedIn. For more tips from our team click here .
By Jantima Merola
Content Manager, Magdalen Marketing Agency (MMA)
This year, Sainsbury’s ditched a blockbuster approach and opted for a sing-along ad. This refreshing style included real people and even Sainsbury's employees!
The advert is set in black and white, with bursts of the Sainsbury’s orange appearing. Lyrics appear along the bottom of the screen, prompted in karaoke style by a brussel sprout, encouraging viewers to sign along to their original song . There are also cameos from Kermit the Frog and actor Ricky Tomlinson.
It’s a feel good, jolly advert that can’t help put a smile on your face. That’s why we have crowned it as the best Christmas advert of 2017!
Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WU50dLLy7Cw
This year’s Waitrose advert is quintessentially British and champions community spirit. Also opting for a cast that reflects regular consumers, the advert features a group of people who become stranded in a countryside pub after heavy snowfall.
Stuck in the pub, the group come together to cook a Christmas meal by candlelight - with the help of a Waitrose cookbook. The food is prepared with the classic sound of Mykola Leontovych's Carol of the Bells building excitement as the narrative progresses.
The group are eventually rescued, just as food is served. But they’d rather stay for dinner, so the search party join the feast. It’s an adorable tale of community spirit, that brings a group of strangers together over good food - isn’t that what Christmas is about? Well done Waitrose.
Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJZbo5ohVGs
Kevin the carrot is back! And he’s cuter than ever.
This year, Kevin (an adorable animated carrot) makes his way through a full dinner table/obstacle course - to reach his love interest… you’ve guessed it, a female carrot!
A magical Christmas tune, paired with an adorable animation and a love story makes for a good advert. There’s even a funny one liner at the end. This advert comes as the second part of Kevin’s adventures, as last Christmas he snuck onto Santa’s sleigh.
It’s adorable, amusing and reminds us that Aldi sell good food. Well done!
Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJQG2lqm5ekBy Chelsea Battle
Merry Techmas is a confusing advert that displays a modern family who have lost the intimacy of Christmas.
From the moment it starts with the mother’s annoying voice and the irritatingly sassy looks on the kids faces, to the ridiculous laugh of the parents and the disturbing sudden TV sales pitch, everything about this is weird and cringey. Neither funny or Christmassy, to be honest we’d rather not see it.
Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuywnLaaFjI
Singing boxes, nothing special. The ad focuses on giving and whilst it does remind us how easy Amazon make it to order presents internationally, it’s a little lackluster for a Christmas ad. We were expecting a little more, sorry Amazon it’s a no from us.
Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9SCZwh8Tvg
This year’s John Lewis advert was highly anticipated, a little cute - but generally disappointing. It’s safe to say they have found it difficult to come back from their success with Monty the penguin in 2014.
The ad features an adorable child who struggles to sleep as he spends his evenings with ‘Moz the Monster’.
In fact, most of the story shows Moz and the child spending time together, so much so that you don’t realise it’s a Christmas advert until the end - when trees and tinsel start to creep in.
The soundtrack features Elbow’s cover the Beatles’ Golden Slumber and evokes a heartwarming emotion and when the boy receives a star projection night light, he eventually gets rid of Moz and is able to sleep through the night again.However, you do see a bond form between the child and Moz as he then searches for monster when the light is on - conveying a mixed message to viewers. We were left a little confused by the storyline.
Assuming you love grammar more than the average person, earlier this year you probably read the news about the “Grammar Vigilante” of Bristol: a superhero-esque unknown crusader who descends on to the high street under the cover of darkness, fighting bad grammar by correcting mispunctuated shop signs. He even has a superhero gadget invention.
Forget the Batmobile, this guy has got a big long paint-stick made from two sponges attached to a broom handle. It’s been dubbed “The Apostrophiser”, just in case you thought it was something rubbish like...two sponges attached to a broom stick. Despite this humble facade, you were probably quite excited when the story broke if, like me, you are an unashamed grammarphile.
“Hurrah! Finally someone has prioritised standing up to bad grammar over crime, education, and healthcare and is sorting out all the messed up ‘its’ and it’s’ signs! Thank Christ!” No? Just me then.
Also known as The Banksy of Punctuation due to the Bristolian locale, you may wonder what would possess this man to take on such a task, risking arrest and a criminal record. I can only think of one obvious answer: good grammar really is its own reward. Why else? OK, he’s maybe/probably/definitely/100% nuts. Actually, let’s reconsider the maybe/probably part. Insanity aside, he is undoubtedly my favourite superhero.
Let’s take a look at the lineup of who’s fallen foul of Punctuation Banksy, and the rules behind their crimes
1. Contractions: apostrophe + s
To remember this rule, think of death. My Year 5 English teacher taught me that an apostrophe is a tiny tombstone when words have been contracted. Sounds a bit morbid, especially for Year 5 English, but it’s a great way to remember that apostrophes replace either one or a few letters.Common examples:
It is → It’s
They are → They’re
Spandex was popular in the 1980s → ‘80s
No letters passing to the other side? Then make sure your apostrophe usage falls into one of the categories below...
2. Possessive apostrophes
Another common use for an apostrophe is for possession. When somebody or something belongs to somebody or something we use the apostrophe for the regular noun (people/places/things) rather than a possessive pronoun (my/your/our/their/his/her/its*).
Singular noun + ‘ (+s):
James’ clarinet (as it ends with ‘s’ already, you don’t have to write an extra one.)
Plural noun + ‘ (+s):
The children’s new pool
My sisters’ husbands (Again, as it ends with ‘s’ already, you don’t have to write an extra one.)
A possessive apostrophe can add an extra syllable to your word, e.g. the monosyllabic ‘James’ now becomes two syllables / James-es /. However, if it sounds awkward, you can omit the extra syllable. E.g. try saying / sisters-es /. Sounds ridiculous.
3. *Why no apostrophe for possessive its?
This is a confusing case for two reasons: we often see it’s, i.e. it is/it has; plus we know we use an apostrophe for possession.
Here is a simple clarification: ‘its’ is a possessive pronoun (like hers/his), and possessive pronouns don’t use apostrophes. Only possessive full nouns, as mentioned above.
Example possessive pronouns:
4. Other apostrophe uses
4.1 Quantity of time + noun
4.2. Other expressions of time + noun
4.3.Pluralising lower case letters (just to avoid confusion)
4.4. Quantity + worth + noun
Note: the + noun part in all the above examples are important. Without the noun, the apostrophe may not be required e.g. ‘two weeks’ pay’ vs ‘two weeks ago’.5. Common mistakes
I have ten cat’s.
Oh dear. Nope, there’s really no excuse for this.
Whose or who’s? Be careful of contractions that sound the same as other words.
6. Variations and consistency
You might see conflicting apostrophe usage especially for possessive nouns ending in ‘s’ or plural abbreviations. English is forever changing and there are a few correct variations, so the key is to be consistent. For example, possessive singular nouns ending in ‘s’ can have either just an apostrophe at the end (as above), or apostrophe +s. Whichever you choose, always use the same rule.
James’ house, or James’s house? MPs or MP’s? Both are OK! I personally prefer the former instances and stick to it.
To conclude, apostrophes can be a confusing bunch. Luckily for us, we have a brave hero in the midst delivering us punctuation salvation. I suppose there’s only one thing left to ponder: Is it a bird? Is it a plane? ...No, it’s a lunatic with a long wooden stick in front of the local shops. Yay!
By Sabina Bridge
Head of Operations Australia / Grammar Policeli. sabina.bridge
This week at MMA we’re joined by Tom Rainer, a King’s College London undergrad for a week full of marketing fun.
Tom (the third one in the office now!) attended school in South London until he was 16 before moving to Magdalen College School in Central Oxford for his sixth form years. As an aspiring polyglot, Tom studied German and French, as well as History and Maths at A Level before taking on his favoured German at undergraduate level.
He is currently in the final year of his degree at King’s College London. Whilst he has thoroughly enjoyed his time there, Tom is looking forward to making his way into the world of work.
Tom decided to intern in marketing because he enjoys creative content writing as well as having a keen interest in advertising. He saw marketing as a way to combine both these things and gain industry experience.
In his spare time, Tom loves to fuel his other passion: music. He plays in the jazz band at university so spends a lot of his time rehearsing and performing. He is MMA’s answer to Miles Davis.
It seems to be a contradiction: using passive language when we are otherwise proactive and direct in business. However, from time to time things inevitably head downhill, and that’s arguably when we most need to be, or at least appear, calm and professional. In these situations, “the passive voice” is crucial.
What is it? Here’s an example:
I recently got married and needless to say, all manner of things went wrong on the big day. To begin with, the florist sent the wrong flowers to the bridal party the morning of the wedding. Here are two ways I could have addressed the issue with the company:
- Good morning, I’m afraid you gave me the wrong flowers.
- Good morning, I’m afraid the wrong flowers were given to me.
What’s the difference?!
They may both seem relatively polite, but the passive allows us to express negativity in a more gentle tone by omitting the subject of the sentence (more on sentence subject to come). The active voice, on the other hand, is quite direct and even accusatory as there is no question over who did the wrong: you gave the wrong flowers.
Finger pointing and the active voice go hand in hand in quarrels over you-did-this-and-he-did-that; a juvenile tone best to steer clear of.
Forming the active voice
The active voice follows the most common grammatical structure in English sentences:
subject + verb + object
you + gave + flowers.
Simply put, the subject does the verb, which impacts an object.
Forming the passive voice
The passive voice differs as it omits the subject of the sentence, leaving just the verb and the object:
1. you + gave + flowers.
The sentence now has to be rearranged: The object is moved to the position of the subject, i.e. the front of the sentence, and the verb takes past participle form*:
2. flowers + given
Finally, the auxiliary verb “to be” is placed before the verb:
3. Flowers + were + given
Object + to be + past participle verb
Why does this sound more polite?
By placing the object at the front of the sentence, you are shifting the focus from who is doing the action, to the action itself. As mentioned above, this is fundamental to avoid sounding accusatory (even if it’s obvious who has screwed up!)
Sometimes, perhaps for clarity, you may still find it necessary to include the subject in the passive voice, and we can do this using “by + subject”. E.g.:
Flowers + are + sent + by + the company.
Object + to be + past participle verb + by + subject
The passive voice can be used in other tenses: you just have to modify the “to be” according to your tense, for example:
was for past simple: My account was overcharged.
will be/is going to be for future: Your invoice will be sent this week.
has/have been for present perfect: You have been given a week’s notice.
A few more examples
My luggage was lost by your airline.
Our expectations have not been met.
My lunch was stolen from the fridge.
So, next time you have to deal with bad news…take action and stay passive.
(*What on earth is a past participle?! It’s the verb form you use with “I have ” or “She/he/it has”:
It has been a really long week (past participle of “to be”);
I haven’t seen the latest episode (past participle of “to see”).
And as you can now tell, these past participle examples are using the active voice. Just in case ;)
For any assistance with your company’s copywriting, please email email@example.com .
At the higher levels of recruitment, social media marketing is something of a necessary evil - it’s very hard to track revenue generated from it (from either candidate or client) and part of the reason is that relatively little comes from it. This is because unlike for us, the world does not revolve around LinkedIn.
However, if you choose to adopt an overly relaxed attitude to social, it can really damage the very brand you are trying to build by having very old updates as your latest post, no posts at all, or frivolous content such as staff drinks nights.
So what do you do? This article explains the best overarching themes across all social channels, and goes into detail on the most important for your business. Our thoughts are informed by the 50+ recruitment businesses we’ve performed social media activities for, across our team of over 10 people here at MMA, some of whose careers in recruitment marketing date back almost 10 years.
2. Overarching strategy
In order to maximise each channel’s potential, you need to have a holistic plan which binds them all together - whether it be different themes in each, all the same or a mixture of both. Otherwise, you might end up with an unenviable situation where you have a busy Twitter feed but nothing on LinkedIn - and if someone clicks one link from your site, they’re probably going to click all of them. In this section we discuss some important things to bear in mind.
Show me someone who tells you they know exactly how the Google algorithm works and I’ll show you a liar. However, Google does give clues and advice on a regular basis, and of course we know from our own experience what has worked well.
One thing we do know is that Google prefers a spread of traffic from numerous social channels than all from a set of eggs in one basket. So rather than having 1000 hits from LinkedIn, it’s better to get 200 hits each from five separate channels. And of course, the goal in this instance is to get 1000 hits from all five channels. This means that within reason, it’s best to utilise as many channels as possible - so make sure you have your bases covered.
And when we say Google likes it, we mean that Google will rank your site higher for it’s keyword terms. So a bit like pennies taking care of pounds, if you nail your candidate social strategy it can actually help bring in clients.
The first rule of recruitment social media marketing is don’t automate.
The second rule of recruitment social media marketing is don’t automate.
For clarification of rule two, see rule one.
Whether it’s Buffer, Bullhorn Reach or Hootsuite, automation sucks. It looks bad, it isn’t personalised to the channel and can rarely or barely carry images. You can’t @ mention clients, and no one will want to be associated with it by liking or sharing it.
If you don’t have time to do regular updates, just do one great update a week. It’s better than having a link to a tenuous article with the phrase “hey I read this and thought you’d be interested” and so on. Worse still, we’ve had some clients Buffer accounts link to their competitors thought leadership as it contains the same keywords.
At first, a good initial step is to get all content on all channels. Once this process is working well, most businesses tend to personalise each to their audience. For instance, company away day activities are great for Facebook and perhaps Instagram, but less so for LinkedIn. Similarly, articles on LinkedIn might need to be fresh and snappy, but for Google+ will carry far greater weight if there’s plenty of content.
A good way to work out a plan is categorise your content types, and create a hierarchy for each channel. This might mean that all jobs (with job cards) go to LinkedIn, but only one company update a month. On Facebook however, it might be the opposite, with all company updates and only one job per day. Journalists live on Twitter, so a great piece of thought leadership might actually require several updates to get in all the hashtags and @ mentions.
People don’t go to social media channels to go to recruitment businesses to go to the news. Instead they just go straight to the news. So stop reporting it. If something big happens that affects your clients and candidates, comment on it and if there’s a specific article that’s relevant to your blog, link to it at the end.
To this end, in an ideal world all social updates should link back to your site - whether it be a job, blog, news article, media coverage, company update etc. You want the traffic, and you want them to go elsewhere on your site once they’ve finished with what they came for (Google likes increased time on site and pages per visit).
Coming at it from the other direction, make sure your social links are in the header to maximise followers, and make sure they open in a new tab. When your site / job posting software sends automated emails, make sure the links are in there too. We’ve seen companies win industry awards because of a large social media following (in a LinkedIn group to be specific - but more on that in Part 2), so it’s worth it in the long run.
As long as your job cards look different for each sector / function, we’d recommend getting each of them up for the channels that jobs are going to - e.g. LinkedIn. Aside from that, you don’t need to post more than once a day, but it might look bad posting less than that (unless you’re a solo operator). Candidates and clients won’t be looking at your channel every few hours desperate for the next update, instead they’ll make a decision on whether to follow by looking at your content and frequency. So as long as there’s a few per week and a nice mix, they’ll follow.
And don’t even worry about clients! Think about the suppliers to your business - do you follow them on LinkedIn? Thought not.
We’ve mentioned it before - you need to have varied content on a regular basis. This isn’t as hard as it seems, as the best articles often elicit comments on your website (if you don’t have this functionality, you definitely need it as Google LOVES comments) and often a couple of hundred words in a blog can garner thousands of words in comments.
Some examples of content that you can create as part of your normal working week are as follows:
Once we agree no one is on social channels such as LinkedIn as much as us, it’s important to acknowledge that it’s unlikely everyone is going to see that update for that amazing article you wrote. So, in order to maximise clicks, you can repeat the update several times a week in the first month, less so in the second month, and once a week in the third month. Tweaking the update text and image each time helps.
If you want to get really good, changing the update text totally is what we’re aiming for. For example, if you’ve written an article with five angles, you could talk about a different angle each day, with a totally different image, all linking to the same article. Which is how one article can last all week.
In Part 2, we go through each channel in details with our dos and don’ts. If you’d like to be sent Part 2 before it’s release next month, or you’d like anything else included, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01865 688 777.
To come next month...
3.1 LinkedIn - company page
3.2 LinkedIn - consultant profiles
3.3 LinkedIn - groups
Unless you’ve been living in North Korea, you’ll know that fake news is a type of yellow journalism whereby deliberate misinformation is broadcasted as news and spread in various formats e.g. traditional methods or online social media.
What does this mean for recruitment marketing?
Recent changes to Facebook’s permissions have meant that users are no longer able to modify content on link previews.
Until now, when you posted a link you could change the headline, body text and image that appeared in the news feed preview. This allowed readers to be fooled into thinking they were clicking on an article with entirely different content.
However, for us marketers, it was a way of making posts more attractive. With no ability to change the look and feel of posts, branding may go out the window.
Facebook is the world’s most popular social media platform. Despite LinkedIn ranking top for recruitment, Facebook has increasingly added professional information and is rumoured to be launching a rival to LinkedIn in the future - so it’s important to get ahead of the curve now.
Here’s what you can do to get the most out of your company's Facebook page:
Use the right images on your site
To keep up with these changes, we can advise that recruitment marketers ensure that the right images are always tagged to the right pages. Having the right image tagged in the metadata ensures that the correct image appears in the link preview.
This helps with branding and avoids confusion, so viewers won’t be met with the wrong information - just like the Oscars best picture blunder earlier this year.
Make the most of the meta
Metadata on the site needs to be posted to perfection. As Facebook has removed user’s ability to customise link preview information, such as titles, it’s important to get it right on the back end of your website.
It’s imperative that you have clear titles on pages such as job posts to ensure you get the most out of your update. A typical job post header should include job title, location and sector - along with your organisation’s name.
Metadata can easily be updated on any website editor. Whilst this is only a slight change to resolve a massive issue, it is most definitely a step in the right direction to combat Facebook’s fight against fake news.
If we, as recruitment marketers, get ahead of the game and educate ourselves on privacy changes now, it will help us in the future when other social platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn join Facebook’s privacy changes.
Additionally, it keeps your Facebook profile looking professional and attractive to candidates and clients.
Most importantly, it’s an addition to the European and Global drive to increase protection of consumers’ data. This is in line with the preparations for May 2018, when the new GDPR regulations come into place.
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below and let us know!
By Olivia Unsworth
Digital Marketing Assistant, Magdalen Marketing Agency (MMA)
sb. 01865 688 777
dd. 01865 340 737
Cleverly titled, My Face My Rules really shows that anyone and everyone can wear makeup in order to embrace who they are. Whether you're male or female, a little bit of makeup can improve your confidence. We’re not saying that we need to wear it (obviously) but it can really give you the confidence to feel fabulous.
This advert is great as it shows a diverse range of individuals from all walks of life. The ad is set in various different locations including an office toilet and council estate. Individuality is important in today’s society and appealing to a young, diverse audience is a must. It seems that Sleek have hit the nail on the head with this advert. The models used are of various ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation thus showing Sleek's openness to diversity in their product.
My Face My Rules features real people who aren't actors, as well as various Youtube bloggers in the video. Unlike other makeup adverts, it seems that Sleek have not airbrushed its models or altered their appearance, which makes us love it even more!
If you want to be inspired by some kickass makeup, then watch Sleek’s advert here:
By Rhiannon Davies
Head of Social Media, Magdalen Marketing Agency (MMA)
sb. 01865 688 777
dd. 01865 340 737