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Battleground Google: Labour vs. The Sun

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Today’s announcement that The Sun will be supporting the Tories in the next election has effectively marked the beginning of what will be a lengthy election press campaign. But, unlike ‘79 and ‘97, this battle will be won and lost not in the printed press, but on the web.

Google-bullet

The Sun has drawn first blood with the sensational headline “Labour’s lost it”. The online version of this article is juicy enough link-bait to already hit the first page of Google for the search term “labour”.

Search returns for "labour"

There it is, at the time of writing, in fifth position (not counting news results). Ouch.

As well as associated articles, dossiers and microsites also to be found on the sun website, they are also using PPC as part of their attack strategy.

The terms labour, labour party and labour conference all bring up one of the following ads linking to the topic dedicated Feeling Blue section of their site.

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And they seem to be pre-empting a response by buying up their own name.

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It’s not been all one way traffic, though. Labour were pretty quick to respond with their own ad that plays on a pretty emotive anti-sun topic: Hillsborough. I took this screenshot this morning:

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The gloves are off.

However, Labour don’t seem to be buying as many or as broad search terms. If they want to compete, they should be buying up all the search terms the Sun is and directly attacking the paper on its own turf. That could require some deep PPC pockets. In fact, as I check now the ad isn’t showing. Has the budget dried up already?

The US presidential election digital campaigns demonstrated the importance of rapid response to on and offline trending topics. In particular the paid search campaigns for both camps had to respond quickly and effectively to online buzz and breaking news. Eric Frenchman, the guy in charge of John McCain’s PPC has blogged about using search for political or news rapid response.

So now it’s the UK’s turn and although I hope the tactics might not get quite as… dubious as in the American election, I think Search and social media will be two areas where the battle will be viciously fought.

Interesting times lie ahead.

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Update: It seems Labour didn’t have anything directly to do with the Hillsborough ads, the Telegraph reports. The ads stopped showing around 2 the afternoon. Either there was a very small budget allocated or they were pulled. Over enthusiastic supporters or plausible deniability? Either way it’s a shame, I’d have liked to see a real scrap!

Your personality is CRAP! (Google told me)

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This has been doing the rounds on twitter and emails today so apologies if you have already seen it.

Comedy value aside, I think this guy has more to worry about than his business cards.

His name is Joel Bauer; he’s apparently a hugely successful motivational speaker and I’m not about to knock him for that. Although, am I the only one who is a little scared of anyone describing themselves as a ‘motivational speaker’?

Maybe that’s why on his equally hilarious and disturbing website Joel chooses to describe himself as an Infotainer.

For those who don’t quite believe what you have just read, once more with feeling: an INFOTAINER.

Srsly…

Although I subscribe to Seth Godin‘s Purple Cow theory that it pays to be remarkable, I’m pretty sure it’s meant to apply to a business as a whole – not just a business card.

In any case, I don’t care how remarkable your business card is, if you convey yourself as having the blended personalities of Patrick Bateman and David Brent – the two most abhorrent characters in the history of fictional businessmen – you’re not going to appeal to me.

By putting so much stock in the business card, that most anachronistic 80s hangover of business tools, Joel has neglected the fact that his website and all his available online video content are conspiring to portray him as a complete arse.

If people want to know about someone they have met, they aren’t going to revisit the ludicrous card they have wedge in their pocket, they’ll Google him. And the returns for Joel Bauer, especially the video returns, make him look ridiculous.

Maybe he can spend the next 25 years picking up the pieces and repairing his online personal brand.

Oh and a usability point: if a card doesn’t go with all the other cards, it goes in the bin.

[Just trying out something sneaky with these links: Tom Knowles Joel Bauer Joel Bauer Joel Bauer Joel Bauer]

Life ain’t all beer and #skittles

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I woke up yesterday morning to find twitter all a buzz about the new Skittles homepage.  I’m not usually one to add to the echo chamber but I thought I’d give my two pence worth.

For those of you who, unlike me, have a life instead of monitoring twitter trends, Skittles have revamped their site and the content has almost been completely replaced by relevant pages from third-party social media applications. Visitors to Skittles.com are now directed to the twitter search result for the term “skittles” and invited to navigate their way about Skittles’ social web presence by using the flash navigation menu that overlays the page. [update: the homepage is now set as the facebook page as predicted my moi ;-)]
Skittles-home

The ‘Home’ and ‘Chatter’ links both link to the twitter search results for the term Skittles, the products links for each flavour lead to the relevant information on the Skittles Wikipedia entry. There is a ‘Friends’ link that goes to the Skittles facebook page and the video and photo links respectively lead to the Skittles profile on YouTube and Flickr search results for the term… well can you guess?

There are only two actual web pages in use: the product overview page and the contact form.

My first impressions were that this is very brave and very cool. I did have some reservations, however.

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