Archive for the ‘Campaigns’ Category

Honest Serving People


united nations logo ID symbol
The debate about Syria and the use of chemical weapons as conducted in the UK and beyond these last few days has been marked by lack of clarity and thoroughness in the thinking. In such circumstances it never hurts to fall back on Kipling’s Six Honest Serving Men to make sure you have the basics addressed:

I KEEP six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.

  • What happened in Syria last week? Were chemical weapons used?
  • Who used them?
  • What can be done about it?
  • Who should carry out the response? Where is it most in the national interest to get involved?
  • How will military action help?
  • What will happen as a result? And when will it end?

I’ve traded in my Why for an extra What because the Why is very complex in itself: Why should we respond to the use of Chemical Weapons? Why do we distinguish them from say cluster bombing? Why do the current lead voices reckon they have moral authority when they have used napalm, agent orange, white phosphorus, depleted uranium and the like themselves, even in recent times?

I have a strong conviction, for these and other reasons, that any action to be taken, diplomatic/political or military, needs to be multilateral, preferably through the UN. Whether the United Nations Security Council is up to the job will be tested again. With two major powers who seem to conduct their foreign affairs consistently with no moral dimension it’s a body which really needs to justify its existence. It would be good to find a way to get Russia and China to actually suggest solutions. Likewise it would be good to put a bit more of the onus on the Arab League to see if they can contribute something positive to the world.

In the meantime I’d strongly encourage UK citizens to make their views clearly known by writing to their Member of Parliament via MySociety’s brilliant Write to Them service, the easiest way to get an email off to your elected representative in a matter of moments.

Health Freaks

My next multiplatform project is coming over the horizon. Here’s how it was reported in Broadcast the other day. It is my second experiment in transforming pre-recorded TV shows into live viewing events to make the experience more engaging for viewers whilst encouraging them to watch the live broadcast stream (and therefore the ads which keep the wolf from my door).

Dr Pixie Mckenna

C4 orders health series and latest Kirstie show

6 August, 2013 | By 

Channel 4’s features division has continued its string of recent commissions by ordering a health series from Outline Productions and a Kirstie Allsopp show from Raise The Roof Productions.

The 6 x 30-minute Health Freaks will put traditional home remedies to the test to discover whether they have any medicinal value. In each episode a series of people who swear by a particular treatment or cure will present their favoured remedy to a panel of three GPs: Dr Pixie McKenna, Dr Ayan Panja and Dr Ellie Cannon. The trio will then debate the remedy and, if they decide it needs further investigation, will send it to a lab to be tested further.

The series, edited by Chris Walley and executive produced by Outline’s Helen Veale and Ross McCarthy, will test treatments such a breast milk being use to cure infections and an oat bath being a good way to tackle psoriasis.

Veale said: “This show is a way of allowing ordinary people to have their remedies scientifically analysed – something they may have been unable to do previously due to the time and cost constraints involved.  We’ve already had some really interesting results.”

The series, which was ordered by commissioning editor for features Nick Hornby and will air in the autumn, also has an innovative multiplatform element.

Viewers will be asked if they have first-hand experience of the remedy in question [and whether they reckon it will succeed in its medical trial] and a live insert into the pre-recorded programme will feed the results of viewers’ engagement during the show back into the programme.

Channel 4 multiplatform commissioning editor Adam Gee said: “The interactivity of Health Freaks is effectively transforming a pre-recorded show into a live television event. This gives viewers more of a stake in the outcome, while encouraging them to watch the broadcast rather than time-shifting. It’s an early experiment in a largely unexplored area which benefits viewers, advertisers and the broadcaster alike.”

hughs fish fightThe first such experiment was in the second series of Fish Fight earlier this year. We used Twitter to put pressure on the supermarkets by whacking them with 16,000 tweets over a 3-minute ad break as see here:

Article extract courtesy of Broadcast

Twitter storm at sea

This was an interesting experiment we tried recently on enlivening pre-recorded shows – in this case by calling out for a mass action over an ad break focused on three UK supermarkets which are unclear about the sourcing of some of their seafood (though no horse flesh involved …I think) and then presenting back the results straight after the break including an on-screen graphic featuring the number of tweets sent. In the words of the Twitter folk: “A great result around the show last night. We count circa 42K+ in the last 24 hours and a peak of 22K+ at the call to action – which is an equivalent hashtag spike to those Xfactor enjoys around its biggest moments! This kind of audience activation and live polling with Twitter is brilliant.”
The following extract is courtesy of Broadcast
hughs fish fight save our seas channel 4

Big Fish Fight hooks 20,000 tweets

5 March, 2013 | By 

Hugh’s Fish Fight saw a massive surge in Twitter activity – to over 2,200 messages per minute – after presenter Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall urged viewers to message the UK’s biggest supermarkets.

Hugh’s Big Fish Fight (C4) 9pm-10pm
Total tweets: 22,151
Peak tweets per minute: 2,289

fishfight_3

Fearnley-Whittingstall’s call to action over sustainable fishing saw over 10,000 viewers flock to Twitter over the course of the 60-minute show, according to data from SecondSync.

The show was watched by an audience of 1.1m (5.3%) according to overnight data supplied by Attentional – a conversion rate of around 1%.

The viewer engagement spiked at just after 9.30pm ahead of an ad break as Fearnley-Whittingstall encouraged viewers to tweet the supermarkets’ official accounts after they refused to be interviewed on the show.

The figures represented a massive uplift on the 312 tweets per minute the show averaged across the 60 minutes.

It also dwarfed the total tweet volume of 3,300 and 1,500 generated by the first two episodes in the series – when no call-to-action occurred.

C4’s multiplatform commissioning editor of factual Adam Gee said: “Fish Fight represents the sweet spot of multiplatform – the TV prompts understandable anger and the digital means now you can do something about it.”

The social media campaign was managed by digital agency Keo Digital and audience participation experts Telescope Inc.

Venceremos

From The Independent today…

France and Spain back down on fish discards after internet campaign

MARTIN HICKMAN    MONDAY 19 MARCH 2012
France and Spain today backed down over a plan to carry on throwing dead fish overboard after an internet campaign organised by a television chef.

Prior to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s social networking campaign, the two countries had been hoping to persuade fellow fisheries ministers to sign a declaration opposing a ban on discards, when trawlers exceeding their allowable catch throw back fish into the sea dead.

More than 130,000 Twitter and Facebook messages were sent to ministers urging them to oppose the draft declaration and France and Spain did not insist on a vote. Britain’s fisheries minister Richard Benyon went into the meeting saying he would oppose France and Spain. The EU fisheries commissioner Maria Damanaki now looks likely to phase out discards over four years, by reforming the Common Fisheries Policy in a way that ultimately kills fewer fish.

Last night Fearnley-Whittingstall told supporters: “I’m coming back on the Eurostar and it’s been a satisfying day. Discard disaster has been averted as the French, Spanish, Portguese and Belgian revolution just didn’t happen. Maria Damanaki led from the front and seems to be building consensus among the ministers. Everyone agreed that the amazing Twitter and Facebook activity over the weekend made a real difference.”

***

136,000 tweets were published between Saturday and when the EU Fisheries Ministers gathered in Brussels on Monday morning, addressed directly to each Minister in his/her own language.

To top off a moment of victory, this evening Hugh’s Fish Fight won the RTS Award for Best Popular Factual Programme, the citation [below] highlighting the importance of the multiplatform element. Hugh was delighted and is raring to move on with the follow-up series this year which will cover events like yesterday in Brussels.

“An interesting, watchable and accessible series of clever and effortless campaigning. The presenter is an amazing advocate, demonstrates admirable tenacity and gains unbelievable access. The series is also distinctive in terms of online innovation and activity.”

This is the second time this year a resolutely TV-centric awards has picked up on the multiplatform dimension of Fishfight, indicating the increasingly mainstream character of Multiplatform. Last month Fishfight won the Best Popular Factual Programme category of the Broadcast Awards, run by the industry’s tradepaper. The citation included:

“A passionate, uncompromising programme that made a potentially dull subject fascinating – and with superb use of multiplatform.”

Tipping the hat to Hugh’s previous campaign, Chicken Out, I conclude with a traditional little joke: Why did the Belgian chicken cross the road?

(Because there’s fuck all else to do in Brussels.) Not like the London chicken then.

{Article reproduced courtesy of The Independent.}

Stop Pimping Our Kids

The Sex Education Show site ‘Sexperience’ had fresh blood pumping into its extremities again tonight with the launch of the new series subtitled Stop Pimping Our Kids. Two conspicuous #1s on Google this evening:

Searching for "sex" 19.iv.11

Searching for "sex education" 19.iv.11

Polling Day (Stand up and be counted)

Tank Man

China evidently blocked access to Twitter two days ago, two days before the sensitive 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

Other Internet services that seem to have become inaccessible include Hotmail, Flickr and search engine Bing.

In recent years, access to YouTube, Western media outlets and many other websites has also been blocked, often before or after ‘sensitive’ events. And now’s a good moment to remember those who blocked themselves.

A few days after the blog of artist and government critic Ai Weiwei was shut down, he simply opened a new one (which you can see here, in Chinese). Ai also uses Twitter.

******

Only 22% of eligible British voters have declared their intention to vote in the European and county council elections today. In 2004 the turnout in Britain for the European parliamentary elections was 38.9%.

******

Be irrepressible

Chat rooms monitored. Blogs deleted. Websites blocked. Search engines restricted. People imprisoned for simply posting and sharing information.

The Internet is a new frontier in the struggle for human rights. Governments – with the help of some of the biggest IT companies in the world – are cracking down on freedom of expression … learn more

Adoption Experience

Britain's Forgotten Children

Britain's Forgotten Children

Yesterday afternoon saw the launch of my latest project – Adoption Experience www.channel4.com/adopt – this is the thinking behind it:

“Adoption is an area of childcare and family life shrouded in misconception, myth and confusion. The best way to untangle the realities from the rumours and hearsay is to focus on real people’s real experiences.

Adoption Experience shares valuable first-hand experience of Adoption from every perspective – people who have been adopted, adopters, social workers, siblings, people left in the system, potential adopters, every viewpoint that helps give insight into the realities of Adoption.”

Now those of you familiar with the peripatetic, seemingly random wanderings of my oeuvre will notice distinct similarities between Adoption Experience and Sexperience. Here was the thinking behind Sexperience:

Sexperience enables people to share their first-hand experiences (as opposed to opinion or theory) of a broad range of sexual issues, problems and solutions in video and text form, thereby recognising the complexity and individuality of the subject through multiple perspectives and transcending the easy, often over-simplified answers of self-help manuals.”

When it came to the subject of Adoption, it struck me that the same grounded insight brought by a focus on direct experience to the realm of sex and relationships might really help to shed light through the fog of preconceptions obscuring my understanding of this other subject. For me what first sprung to mind was a nightmarish, intrusive process; social workers telling you you have too many books in your house or are too pale for your own good; a recent tale of an adoption imploding and tearing apart the family and marriage of my friend’s sister; compelling tales of retracing birth families; happy sorties filming childcare projects with Emerald Productions and ArkAngel Productions for Barnardo’s; various celebrity stories headed up by Mia Farrow (recently on hunger strike over Dafur – good on her), Angelina Jolie and Madonna; and a few lovely, sometimes quiet kids at my sons’ schools. So what I decided to do was to lift the infrastructure of Sexperience wholesale and reapply it to the subject of Adoption.

The production company/digital indie, Mint Digital, said it would probably work but they’ll be a 5% difference in the structures. I stuck to my guns that it could work as a pretty much 1-to-1 match and that’s what we went with. So, in effect, it’s my first attempt at an online format. (Another class implementation by Mint in the wake of Sexperience and Osama Loves. Video content by Betty TV. Reminds me, Sexperience has just been nominated for a Broadcast Digital Award [Best use of Interactive] and the Osama Loves documentary, Osama Bin Everywhere, is up for a Rockie Award at the Banff TV Awards in Canada.)

Now Sex is of universal relevance whereas Adoption is something of a niche concern, so I wasn’t sure what kind of take-up to expect. The signs so far are good and I feel like we’ve found our clear blue water. There’s little out there on the Web which captures first-hand experience of Adoption issues in a non-textual, engaging form. The first two hours, from a standing start, saw:

  • 29,448 pageviews
  • 5,578 visits
  • 5.3 pageviews/visit (promising since the user-created content which drives the creative concept was very limited, starting empty that very afternoon)
  • 170 experiences and questions were posted by viewers, many very illuminating and detailed

This came in unsolicited from a recent adopter today: “I think the site’s great – fantastic that it’s open to the public to post questions and responses about their experiences. This is what the adoptive and adopted audiences really need I think!”

The site was created out of the Channel 4 Cross-platform dept. as part of the Channel’s Britain’s Forgotten Children season broadcasting all this week. It springs from the themes of the documentary series Find Me a Family, commissioned by my equally mad-haired colleague Dominique Walker. This is the striking trail created by Brett Foraker of 4Creative to communicate the thrust of the season.

Landshare

Landshare with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Landshare with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

In the wake of Sexperience and Embarrassing Teenage Bodies, I’m moving on to get some more light, space and fresh air…  next up for me is Landshare, a project to link up people who want to grow their own food (and can’t get an allotment) with people who have land where food could be grown.

The project is in its initial phase – gauging and registering the interest of growers, land-owners, land-spotters and all the people & groups who will be needed to make it work well and sustainably. 6,000 people registered in the week after launch. I’m doing the project with the River Cottage folk (Keo Films and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall) and, if you’re interested in any of the roles mentioned, you can register at the nascent Landshare site at www.landshare.net.

Here’s a vid of Hugh getting going, securing land from the Church of England. Old grannies with arthritis who can’t do their garden any more through to property developers with wasteland temporarily on their hands are equally in the frame for sharing land and the produce that comes from it.

And here is Hugh explaining the basic idea.

Update 11.xi.08 :

An interesting post about Landshare by the formidable John Thackera on Doors of Perception – you gotta love the graph at the bottom.

Alpha Mails

sexperience

Sexperience - The Sex Education Show on-line

Following up my recent in-depth analysis of the Daily Mail, I return to that august journal to gather together some of its readers’ comments on the article it published yesterday about The Sex Education Show on Channel 4 whose on-line presence is Sexperience.

Mail/male journo says: “Channel 4 has been accused of peddling obscenity… school pupils asked to discuss pornography… In the programme a group of boys were shown close-up images of penises and asked which they thought was the average size… A male model’s genitals were also shown in close up as a female doctor described in depth the anatomy of the penis… a group of schoolgirls looking at pictures of different size breasts… Shocked viewers said Channel 4 was guilty of broadcasting indecency into family homes… One viewer contacting a TV message board said Channel 4 was ‘reaching new lows’… Conservative MP David Davies added: [...] ‘do we really need to have these things graphically discussed by schoolchildren at 8pm in the evening when we are having our tea?’ “

Mail readers say:

My husband and I watched it with our 12 year old son, and it sparked a really honest and helpful discussion. The pictures of genitalia were not prurient or arousing and it was actually helpful for him to see how other normal people looked, without resorting to porn. The point that the program made with those pictures is that normal people don’t look like porn stars, so be happy with your body. A pretty good message for young men and women, I think!

Well done, Channel 4 – we’ll be watching next week!

- Annie, Lincoln, UK

Personally as a parent of teenagers I thought it was a very informative and “real” programme. I think it would be far more useful to show teenagers a show like this instead of the tepid sex education stuff they usually get at school. If they got real life education such as this then maybe they would have less STD`s and less unwanted pregnancies.

- Jeff, CHESTER

I thought it was extremely well done, it was not vulgar or seedy in any way at all, in fact at 48 with 4 children I learn something new, I could never understand why condoms were so tight and hard to put on until I watched that programme and found out there were different sizes available! Shouldn’t teenagers know that? Fantastic useful and educational, well done channel 4

- David Burns, COVENTRY

Channel 4 has a special remit – it is neither a channel designed for ‘everybody’. The real disgrace is no other broadcaster would make such a program because they are paranoid about offending viewers at that time – 8pm is the right time but no earlier.

They have done nothing wrong – clearly educational even when containing explicit detail.

Viewers were warned about the images multiple times – do they have no responsibility or do they just rubberneck for the sake of being offended?

- Ali, Liverpool

This show is educational. Society needs to be less scared of talking about sex. Unless you prefer teen pregnancy that is.

- Arwen, Edinburgh

We can do without this on TV. It is the sort of thing that was subject of some banter on the mess-decks of the RN, and even sailors would not have been so vulgar in another environment.

- LionelB, Dundee

There is always the “amazing off switch” for viewers to use, if they do not like what they are viewing or are embarassed by this programme.

- John Rodwell, Rye

I didn’t watch the show, but i had already heard about it. Why is it so wrong for boys to look at a photo of a penis? Or girls to look at breasts? I don’t understand? Surely it educates children and dispels alot of myths.

- Michaela Cerda, Essex

It’s about time this country developed a grown up attitude to sexual matters.

Just what were those viewers who complained expecting from the programme?

For God sake GROW UP!

- David Maggs, Devizes

If I don’t need to see male genitalia on tv at all, let alone before 9pm, then I very much doubt kids do either!

How many children will have still been awake and watching tv (likely unsupervised in their rooms) at this time?

Ridiculous.

Grow up C4!

- Anonymouse, UK

The teenage boys shown in the photo, which I assume are a good example of modern youth, look look a bunch of thugs, I doubt that they learnt anything new by watching the TV.

- Robert the EX-Brit, Sumter, USA

Robert the EX-Brit… the teenage boys in the photo do not look like thugs at all. This witch hunt against teenagers needs to stop. As for the program, their parents consented to it, so it’s fine, in fact, we need a culture that is more open and understanding about sex.

- John, Sheffield

Robert the EX-Brit, I watched this progremme. The school boys on the show (pictured) came across as thoughtful, eloquent, intelligent young men. It is obvious from your remarks that you did not watch it (being in the US). Please do not tar all youngsters here in such a way. Remember, sometimes it is better to keep quiet than to speak and let everyone know you are an idiot!

- WA, Oxford

So it’s ok to show fight scenes on Coronation Street, domestic abuse on Emmerdale and advertisements for films where people routinely slaughter each other, but it’s not ok to educate and inform young people who are having sex ANYWAY about the dangers out there. What a load of hypocrites.

- Janice, London

one reason I never watch channel 4

- Christina Crosbie, LESMAHAGOW SCOTLAND

Oh for goodness sake, I wish people would wake up!

This is a modern society where our children and teenagers are exposed to the internet, they know the airbrushed, highlighted and soft pornographic side of sex which is zero education, this programme showed the honesty and reality of sexual organs and sex in all its gory detail, its what responisble parents should be doing anyway, not glossing over the birds and bees story to a 13 year old child who is then more than likely going to naively get into trouble.

I wish more parents would speak to their children so honestly, this isn’t the 1950′s anymore! And if you don’t like it, don’t watch it, there’s plenty of drivel on the other channels to switch your brain off to and brush the ‘shhhhh… sex’ chat under the carpet.

- Ellie, London


Guardian/female journo says: “This is not my kind of thing, as a rule – people talking openly about sex, how much they’re getting it, what kind they’re getting. I’d rather clean the oven. But this show claimed to present both teenage and adult perspectives on all matters sexual. And because I have both a 16-year-old son and a nine-year-old daughter, any advice on how to broach this stuff in a way that is less likely to scar my offspring for life is gratefully received.

As it turned out, I didn’t need to make notes, because teenage son decided to watch it with me. Which I guess was what Channel 4 intended when they gave it a pre-watershed 8pm slot, but was entirely unexpected and potentially horrifically embarrassing (no, for ME, not him). He wandered in at the start, asked what I was watching, and decided to “give it five minutes”. By the end he admitted it had been “interesting” and “useful”. And in the mumble-heavy vocabulary of a 16-year-old boy, I believe that counts as a glowing review.

So was it any good? Well, yes, I think it was”

Screen from the Sexperience website

Screen from the Sexperience website

Bodies

Embarrassing Bodies

Had a rather good day at work! 100,000 people used the videos commissioned for my latest project, Embarrassing Bodies, in the first two hours after broadcast of the kick-off show last night. That bodes well for a lot of self-checking and preventive health activity. One Self-Check Video was viewed 24,000 times in those two hours. And there were well over half a million pageviews in the first 12 hours. NHS eat your heart out… (or more productively and with less risk of MRSA, work with Channel 4 to get this kind of thing across effectively.)

Another C4 speciality is scheduling. Tonight’s a classic:
21:00 Embarrassing Bodies
22:00 Michael Barrymore – What Really Happened? (Honest, Officer, I’ve no idea how that embarrassing body got there…)

Embarrassing Bodies TV: Maverick TV
Web: Maverick TV and Made Media

Guardian article by Jemima Kiss

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