Life after the Olympics – what do you want to be famous for?

Looking at the front pages of national newspapers or watching TV bulletins over the past 10 days you could be forgiven for thinking there wasn’t anything else going on in the world but the Olympics. From the awe of the opening ceremony and the GB team winning gold medals to empty seats in stands and allegations of athletes taking performance-enhancing drugs, stories linked to the London 2012 Games are top of the news agenda. Editors have, of course, managed to squeeze in coverage (towards the back of the paper, naturally) on big international stories like the on-going crisis in Syria. And on the business pages, the ups and downs of large international organisations, like the Royal Bank of Scotland reporting a half-year loss of £1.5bn, are still making print. But with limited space for non-Olympics stories in the nationals, combined with some trade publications missing editions for the quiet summer period, PR agencies would be foolish to be embarking on large-scale proactive profile-raising activity right now. Online and social channels are of course always open for business, but there just aren’t the pages in print editions to make a real splash while the world is watching everything from athletics to table tennis. For comms professionals that aren’t helping Lord Coe and his team with the Olympics effort, this is no time for thumb-twiddling however. We are working with our clients to plan for what promises to be a busy autumn, helping them prioritise and prepare for the big initiatives over the coming months. In essence it comes down to the simple question of what does an organisation want to...

Want to see some really weird uses of technology?

Disaster of all disasters struck this month when my iPhone was stolen on a night out in central London. In the days that followed, I began to have iPhone withdrawal symptoms…how was I going to survive without my phone constantly beeping at me giving me live Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and email notifications? And most importantly, what was I going to do on the train in the morning without Temple Run?! In fact, it was here, whilst desperately looking round the carriage for something to keep me entertained, that I noticed the vast amounts of people glued to their iPhones, smartphones, iPads, tablets and laptops etc. Okay, I realise we are in the mobile age but I hadn’t quite grasped fully just how obsessed we had all become with technology. A quick bit of Googling led me to uncover a few scary statistics that highlight how addicted to technology society has really become. Firstly, a recent survey found that there will be more mobiles than humans in 2012. A similar survey – also from this year – found that Apple has made more iPhones than humans have made babies. So, I thought it was a good time to refresh myself on the latest developments in the mobile world. The most bizarre that I found is in the form of airline KLM’s Meet & Seat. Here, before a flight you have the option of viewing passenger’s Facebook or LinkedIn profile details and see where they’ll be sitting – in order for you to have a ‘more sociable flight’. Now, personally, this sounds like my idea of hell, but it seems to...

Financial Definitions for dummies

Having been introduced to the financial sector less than a year ago when I joined MRM I was amazed at the vast array of jargon being thrown my way. I’d studied languages at uni but this was a whole different ball game of terms and phrases.  After a confusing couple of days I was directed towards the Bible (that’s Investopedia – @Investopedia to those not in the know) and suddenly it all became clear. Here are my top ‘Financial Definitions’ for those weird and wacky phrases explained in layman’s terms. Admittedly they are probably second nature to most of you by now but take a step back and try to view expressions like ‘Dead Cat Bounce’ from a newbie’s point of view (FYI – my name is Cat…) Bloodletting – Thankfully, this has nothing to do with the original meaning – a medieval medical practice involving bleeding out a patient. Instead it refers to a period of severe investing losses. Bullish stance – When a bull attacks, he gouges upwards with his horns – he goes from low down to high up (and in doing so makes a killing!) So, in the same way, a bullish investor is one who thinks that a particular sector, or indeed the whole market is about to rise – go from low to high. Bearish stance – This is the opposite of bullish. When a bear attacks he attacks from high up (standing on his hind legs) and then drops down (on all fours). So, a bearish investor is one who thinks that a particular sector, or the whole market is about to...

An Ode to the Tech Geek… it’s the Friday Links blog

The Tech Geek is an undervalued and misunderstood sort in the offline world, often found perusing the shelves of PC World or drooling over Dungeons and Dragons. We all know the kind; every office relies on one while every classroom holds one in the making.  Take your pick from this gawky lot if you need a reminder. Yet with a click of a mouse or the tap of a screen, enter the virtual world and it is clear to all that the Tech Geek is King. To celebrate all things weird and whizzkid, we declare this week’s Friday Links blog an ‘Ode to the Nerds of the Net’. On your journey to the centre of the digital earth, why not travel in style with your very own Geek-mobile? The less ostentatious amongst us might prefer an old banger and an artistic pile of dirt – rolling up at Comic Con won’t have quite the same impact we know, but at least there will be spare change for a human washing machine to keep the dust at bay. Perhaps you’re so much of a Tech Geek that an addiction to Facebook makes a baby mop look like too much effort? If you’re not too busy stalking friends or ‘liking’ videos of your nephew spewing during choir practice (what a champ!) then maybe this incredibly stat-tastic Facebook infograph is more up your street. Now don’t get us wrong, here at MRM we have been absorbed all week by our new iPhones and we willingly admit to a bit of smartphone geekiness, but even we almost spilt our Apple water when we...

Fancy buying insect-infested food? Or perhaps an animated tramp? It has to be MRM’s Friday Links

This week, we’ve discovered the plethora of oddities to be found on the high street. Not only are there such ‘delights’ as this dancing skeleton, but next time you’re out shopping, it might be worth taking a second to check your receipt to see what you’re REALLY being charged for. Call us old-fashioned but $50.00 for ‘nothing’ seems a little steep, ahem. However, nothing amused us more than this heroic pensioner who decided to take on a gang/ posse/ gaggle/ troupe of burglars (what is the collective noun for burglars?) anyway, she won! Who would have thought the sweet little old lady could wield her handbag in such a ferocious manner?! However, if you’re less inclined to get involved in actual street crime then perhaps this iPhone app is for you. It’s just what we’ve all been waiting for, the chance to adopt a tramp and keep him on the straight and narrow so that he doesn’t turn to theft… Debrett’s eat your heart out, it’s all about your Twitter listing in Covent Garden so we were chuffed to see MRM’s 140-character ‘candy’ of choice @hwallop make the ‘Top 100’ Twitter list. Good on you,...

Primary (colour) disturbance for the Jedi Knights – the Friday Links blog

Now opinion is divided here at MRM on whether Google’s new office, what with its beach huts, vivid use of primary colours, telephone booths and giant dice, is ueber cool or, as Alex Ion posted, ‘[…] disturbing on the eye…’. The MRM office oldies are with Alex and the MRM nippers are most definitely evangelists. Decide for yourself and take a look here. But if you’re over 35, consider yourself warned, ahem. [Psst, K,  you’re not alone on the trip hazard concerns about that ‘E’ tip – we’d be right there with you in a crumpled heap.] To sooth your assaulted senses, take a look at this rather beautiful and calming urbagram animation of London buses. As Anil Bawa-Cavia says “the city’s extensive bus network is used to sketch an animated portrait of the living city, it’s wonderful.” We couldn’t agree more. Ever wondered what your job would be if you lived and worked in the Star Wars universe? What do you mean ‘no’?? Anyway, fancy finding out? Mostly Jedi Knights here at MRM Towers, though there was one Ewok Chief, ahem. No...

It’s only a flesh wound…it’s the Friday Links blog

Sometimes the trials and tribulations of life cause you to lose your head. But isn’t it usually best just to shake off whatever’s bothering you and carry on as normal? Well, for this week’s edition of Friday Fun, here’s how that nugget of advice can be taken a little too literally. Meet ‘Mike the Headless Chicken’, who was able to carry on living a normal chuck’s life for EIGHTEEN MONTHS after the farmer had lopped off his head in preparation for the cooking pot.If you’re the sort of person who believes everything they read on the Internet (like some of us here at MRM Towers), you’ll be amazed at how Mike was apparently able to roam around his pen pecking at grain quite the thing, despite feeling so fowl (groan). His major artery was seemingly untroubled by the trauma, clucky devil (louder groans). Okay, not impressed by Mike? Know a more amazing character? Well allow us to introduce you to someone who knows who you’re thinking of. A web genie, in fact, who can read your mind. Think of a character, any character. Dead or alive. Human or animal. Real or fictional. Cartoon or…(uhm, what’s the opposite to a cartoon?). Anyway, now you’re ready to meet Akinator, who will correctly guess who or what you’re thinking about (according to a scientific MRM survey of three tries). And finally, for those who view time as precious but have lots of time to check the time, here’s Helvetictoc, ‘a time-full tribute to a time-less typeface’. Anyway, it’s high time we were...

Say kids, what time is it? Why, it’s human o’clock of course, you nudey nitwit! The Friday Links blog

If you, like a few of us here at MRM Towers, are what is euphemistically termed ‘not a morning person’ or more accurately described as ‘guaranteed to be grumpy between waking and at least  10am’ then this might be your (family’s/ colleagues’) salvation. You put in whatever time you want to wake up at in the morning and it tells you the best time to go to sleep so that you’ll wake up during the right sleep cycle and feel less of a curmudgeon as a result. Now where did we leave that nude human clock? I need to set it to no-longer-a-nightmare-in-the morning o’clock…just twiddle the knob at the back here to the right time and…hey, hang about… Not for us falling into the trap of misinterpreting a harmless tweet now that we’ve had a good night’s sleep…what’s that you say? A photo shoot on Oxford Street has turned into a blood bath with a rampaging gunman? Shurely shome...

What were they thinking?! The Friday Links blog

Happy New Year Friday Links lovers, we trust you made it home for the festivities, wherever in the world home might be. In getting there were you perhaps on one of these planes on this timelapsed footage of all flights in a 24 hour period? A simultaneously amazing and horrifying first link of 2011– respectively the beautiful pollen-like nature of planes congregating en masse and the mind boggling environmental impact of such a humungous carbon footprint. Or as one MRMer put it ‘I hate flying so this scared the bejesus out of me’. Quite. See for yourself here. Assuming, snow permitting, you made it home to spend Christmas in the bosom of your family we hope Santa was good to you. If not, you might want to think twice about shlepping half way round the globe, or even around the corner, for a family Christmas next time. Alternatively, bookmark this site. If you’ve been similarly blighted then Ebay is clearly also an option, that is if humiliating your nearest and dearest for having poor taste isn’t your thing....

Santa, baby, leave a sable under the tree for me…and then leave my house immediately!

There is, unsurprisingly, a Christmas bent to the last Friday links blog of 2010, or indeed a bent Christmas if these inappropriate Santas are anything to go by. Either way, we bring it to you with a ho ho ho and a merry old jingle of a sleigh bell, as well as a few sore heads, coming, as it does, the day after the MRM Christmas do, ahem. So without further ado, we give you a tale of two Christmas trees – one paper, one bejeweled to the tune of $11m – the chance to create your own evil santa,  an interactive advent news calendar and something nothing to do with the festive season but just a rather beautiful visual mapping user connections on Facebook. A cracking hoard of Christmas goodies by anyone’s standards....

It’s toast all this marching malarkey, you know – the Friday Links blog

“Just the two links for us today?” We (pretend) we hear you wail. But believe us, dear Friday Links lovers, we ration you advisedly. You’ll want to watch these two examples of man’s triumph over, well, walking and toast, again and again.   Without further ado, and with a massive hat tip to The Telegraph’s @hwallop for bringing this marvel of formation marching to our attention in a tweet earlier in the week, we bring you Link Number 1. Hot on its heels, though obviously without clipping them, is Link Number 2. Toast as you’ve never seen it before. Beautiful....

Google with a sense of humour? A snowman take over? AND the all-singing all-dancing MRM elves? It must be the Friday Links Blog

Admittedly, this week might not have been the easiest for our loyal links lovers. What with the snow disrupting many a journey, the bitterly cold weather disabling our extremities and flu wreaking havoc throughout the country, you could be forgiven for thinking that December would be a bleak month indeed. FEAR NOT, this week we have a veritable feast of amusing links for your entertainment. So sit back, relax and enjoy. First up, let me introduce Google. “Google? How is a search engine amusing?” we hear you cry. Well, next time you’re searching, just give the drop-down options a quick read. Enlightening to say the least. It also turns out that Google doesn’t just translate, it can also beatbox. And, in case, like us, you’re a Google Maps aficionado, maybe take the time to double check your journey. Secondly, we know snow might not be your most favourite topic at the moment, but hopefully these images of snowmen and snow feet (yes, snow feet) can make you smile and perhaps inspire you too. And continuing our Christmas theme, you’ve got to check out Nucleus’ take on the traditional advent calendar. Fingers crossed the heating breaking stays at just one! And finally, prepare yourselves for quite possibly the best video ever. We give you the MRM elves. Happy...

Poo(h) sticks anyone? The Friday Links blog

In the lucky dip of links sometimes when you rummage around you’re lucky enough to pull out a corker and sometimes you pull out something, well, literally rather crappy. So by way of a pre-emptive apology for the last link in our blog today, we first offer up these three crackers. A few weeks back all the talk centred around what your profile picture says about you, now it’s your actual twitter profile under the spotlight. Naturally, MRMers are all Mensch, ahem. Keeping with the infographics, this little gem was brought to our attention by @socialvation (group hat tip, sir, we are much obliged). It is really rather lovely and informative. So without further ado, feast your eyes on this history of social media. When we first saw this next link we, well, uttered a few words you’d never say in front of your mum. Is this not the craziest bike ever made? Sadly we can’t put it off any longer, it’s time for the last link. We sincerely hope that you’ll still think kindly of us after you’ve clicked through, but we’re not putting money on it. Ever wondered what happened to your, errr, deposits, after you’ve flushed? Well now there’s a website that conveniently allows you to track them… using a nice interactive map. We are toying with the idea of playing a variation of Poo(h) sticks with it this afternoon… any...

Friends, Romans, Countrymen lend me your ears (of wheat) – the Friday Links blog

Some weeks there are bumper crops to be had out there in Linksland and the harvest is truly bountiful come Friday. And then there are other weeks that are blighted (apologies for mixed crop metaphors, we’re still on wheat not potatoes, bear with us on this stretched-to-breaking-point analogy) and the paltry sum of our efforts is a few scrawny ears that produce more chaff than wheat. Sadly, dear Friday Links lovers, after we’d given the ears a good thrashing and sifted the dehusked remains it would appear that there was nought but two lonely kernels amongst the chaff this week. We fear a bit of crop rotation on the old search engine front might be in order to ensure better yields at the end of next week, but for now, we’d like to share our meagre supplies with you and hope that they provide just enough sustenance to see you into the weekend in good cheer. First of all, we present London in all its 360 degrees glory. (For those not up on their arable history, wheat was one of the first crops that could be easily cultivated on a large scale and you could stockpile it, meaning that had it not been lil’ old wheat most city living to be had in the likes of London would have been nigh on impossible back in the day, the day being the dawn of civilisation.) Now I fear we have exhausted our knowledge of cereals and done the analogy to death so no smooth segue into the next link just a bald statement of fact: someone has used cartoon bears to...

Where’s the tache-o-meter when you need it, eh? tsk tsk – The Friday Links blog

Facial hair, eh, it can be a bit of a polarising subject can’t it? You either love the sight of a well groomed muzzy nestling proudly atop a lip or you demand that your nan starts using the Jolen again (boom boom). For those in the first camp, and all the good tash touters this Movember – keep up the good work @Stephen_WJ – we kick off the Friday Links this week with a gem of an homage to the might of the moustache. If only this in-all-other-regards-rather-marvellous world-o-meter included a tache counter. Oh well, on the up side the omission doesn’t detract from the slack-jawed wonderment brought about by the speed at which the counter for number of emails sent today ratchets up. Or the frankly scarily small number representing how many days of oil there are left if consumption continues at its current rate. Gulp. Now we don’t want to send you off into the weekend all fearful for the future so we leave you with these two distinctly Friday-feeling links – the first will have you chuckling away at classic iPhone autocorrect fails and the second, well, best you take a look for yourself, but fair play to the fella we say, the chewing gum’s there for the...

The North-South IFA divide – the video wars Friday links blog

There could only ever have been three link contenders that made the final cut this week for the Friday Links blog. And they form the social media IFA personality of the year wars trilogy: I was robbed, Southern Flare and Northern grit. When the going home bell rings this evening everyone here at MRM Towers will be raising a (considerably cheaper than Howard Bullock’s) glass to a couple of IFA tweeters who make all of our lives just that little bit richer, more colourful and mirth-filled: take a bow @HowardBullock and @Richard_Bishop – your ingenius video slanging match has made our...

From the young to the old: the weekend money section review

Last weekend’s money sections were focused on pensions, savings and investments with each sector scoring 20 per cent apiece. Investments have historically accounted for around this level but savings and pensions have seen a jump in the column inches they received. We have donned our dearstalker headgear in honour of the one and only Mr Holmes to investigate the reason for this swing in popularity. The answer we have found is twofold – the launch of the Junior Isa and the state pension reform. The weekend papers went to town on the state pension reform (also mentioned in our mid week money blog last week). The Sunday Times, The Guardian, The Independent on Sunday, The Times,   The FT Weekend and The Sunday Telegraph all covered the pensions news with details of who the winner and losers will be. Hurray for women as they seemed to be doing alright out of the changes. Junior Isas also stole the show at the weekend with their launch next year being covered by many of the nationals. Simon Read (@Simonread)  in The Independent warned that tampering with children’s savings is leaving parents confused, while Holly Thomas at the Sunday Express covered the news positively. However, Thomas also warned savers away  from cleverly named savings accounts (diamond and reward saver are two such classics) as these accounts could still offer poor returns. A roundup of all the topics was as follows: Charity                  3% Credit cards        3% Fraud/scams      8% IFAs                       0% Insurance            3% Investment        20% Mortgages          10% Pensions              20% Regulation          2% Savings                 20% Tax                         8% Utilities                ...

Pumpkin shmumpkin, it’s all about the flowcharts for this Friday links blog

We had a number of link contenders this week but took it upon ourselves to spare you the sight of the world-record-beating collection of “harvested” belly button fluff; the Apprentice in Lego; Facebook fails or indeed some, frankly disturbing, takes on pumpkin lanterns. And instead we offer you this,  and urge you to make yourself a cup of tea (or coffee, or indeed a decaffeinated hot beverage of your choosing – we’re not prescriptive) get comfy and enjoy a Dickensian street urchin having the phenomenon of the internet explained to him in flowchart form. Hat tip to Doogie Horner, the author of “Everything Explained Through Flowcharts”. This latest offering is a veritable joy to behond. But better still, it doesn’t involve anyone’s bellybutton, before or after harvesting. And with that we wish you all the best for the weekend and, rather sheepishly, a happy Halloween… Hang it all, so what if it’s an imported tradition from across the Pond and now outdoes Bonfire night? We hope you get to fill your pockets with e-colours and sugar-enhanced foil-wrapped chocolates galore on Sunday when out trick or treating. Go forth and ring doorbells with our blessing! …what are you still doing here? Why haven’t you navigated away? Oh, alright then, if you insist on doing it to yourselves the other stuff can be found here: Belly button fluff ‘You’re fired!’ Lego-stylee Facebook fails Creepy pumpkin...

Propa killer Frid@y links blog – booom!

If we were teenagers we might consider kicking this here Friday links blog off something like dis okai? Since when d chuff woz it ok to b m8s wiv ur bedren on Facebook?!?! LOL Teenage speak – when did that happen? why so many random vowels and consonants as suffixes? and when did the average teenager’s attention span drop to a nanosecond? If you, like a number here at MRM Towers, are friends with teenage relatives on social networking sites then these intractable questions will surely have vexed your aged mind too. The answers continue to elude us but in our search for enlightenment we stumbled across this little corker. We’ve been rumbled – The ‘Damn it my mum is on Facebook filter’ sketch, courtesy of Saturday Night Live.  Here me now. Itsss like bare annoying when rents do that! OMG Oh My God Ohhh Myyy Goddd this random but banging live projection in Prague is safe. Booom! Check theez Google doodles, chung! We’re gonna stop nowww, gettin sorta laurence longtings. Yeah, okai c yaz. Luv ya. xxxxxxx Translation: Banging – cool Bare – very, a lot Bedren – family members Booom (note obligatory extra vowel) – sign of approval Chung-  pretty Gettin sorta laurence longtings – It’s starting to drag on a little bit Rents – parents Sick – cool,...

It’s all in the Friday Links game, y’all

So just what, you [in all likelihood never] ask yourself, does an MRMer do of an evening? Well, we can’t deny food figures heavily and that on occasion it involves creating an MRM-shaped indentation in the sofa, a bag of Haribo and an HBO box set. Oh yes. Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld, The Sopranos and The Wire all feature heavily in this little gang’s list of TV programmes to be watched back to back. So strong is the draw of HBO’s programming magic that we’ll even resort to playing a sociopolitical themed board game like this one just to get Way Down in the Hole one more time. Eat your heart out, Barksdale, the Stoop is ours! From the crack dens of Baltimore then to the frankly bonkers, ostentatious excesses of people who most definitely fall into the category of having more money than sense and therefore deserving of being parted from a substantial wedge through a pointless purchase – who’s for a slice of $130,000 platinum cake? No, what about a spoonful of the golden opulence sundae, a snip at $1000?    Sticking with the food theme, check out these, clearly ingenious though utterly pointless, foodstuff-based  landscapes. Why? No seriously, can someone tell us...