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Posted April 9, 2014

Social video is one of the most powerful online advertising formats; nothing can quite match the combination of audio and visual stimuli.

Whether it’s emotive, comical or thought provoking, there have been many standout examples of videos that have created a ‘wow’ and have reached the heralded status of viral – like Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches, Fiat’s Rapping Mum or Evian’s Roller Babies.


The challenge for brands is that there is now an incredible amount of online video (and other social content) for consumers to digest, be it from other brands, from media owners, or consumers themselves, delivered via platforms such as Vine, Instagram or YouTube.

Whilst more video than ever is being produced and shared, video as a proportion of total social content shares has actually diminished; the rule of thumb now is that images and short text are likely to achieve greater social travel. This means that in video, great original content and a robust seeding strategy are vital – and that clip length is crucial in dealing with the trend towards short-form, most notably seen in Vine’s six-second vignettes.

Facebook has stepped into this complex arena with the launch of Facebook Premium Video Advertising, a 15-second HD format which has a degree of user control (clips launch without sound and close if they’re scrolled past; users must tap to play them in full and with sound).

The format has been in trials since December and is now in beta use amongst a small group of invited advertisers; pricing is as yet unknown.  As such, it’s tricky to assess the format and its impact objectively – but the following may be some pros and cons from the point of view of both users and advertisers.


  • The format could be considered interruptive as it’s autoplay on personal pages and therefore risks skipping, turning users off brands that overuse it, or don’t reward user attention with great content; or turning users off Facebook altogether
  • Well-created, highly-targeted, directly relevant clips that engage and entertain could reward users for time spent with the brand; however, this is entirely dependent on the creative and targeting – and how well-disposed the user is to the brand’s activities on other channels.


  • Facebook promises a pricing mechanism – ‘Targeted Gross Rating Points’ – that’s based on the way in which TV advertising is traded. Marketers who rely largely on TV spends may therefore find it easier to include Facebook on media schedules and to assess ROI in the same fashion
  • The ad format is mobile-optimised and will play anywhere, but will only download from wi-fi (in order not to compromise users’ data plans) meaning an opportunity to reach the (up to 50%) of Facebook users connecting via mobile. However, this does mean that those who don’t routinely connect to wi-fi on their mobile will be excluded
  • Facebook offers sophisticated targeting opportunities (age, gender, location, likes, tastes, interests, fans of complementary or competitive brands) and this may mean a new era in video targeting which has hitherto been based largely on search – the YouTube model
  • Similarly, if the new ads are subject to Facebook’s retargeting capabilities, this could deliver new levels of ROI against broadcast-style ads (retargeting often giving a return of 4-5x higher than base)
  • Users may nevertheless resist a format that’s perceived as interruptive – it may be TV-like, but Facebook is NOT television (incidentally in itself a medium that’s now subject to record levels of ad skipping thanks to Sky+ and Virgin Tivo)
  • Targeting and creativity are everything: it’s far less of a leap of faith to see users willingly lapping up video ads from entertainment distributors or brands that behave like media owners, such as Red Bull, than it is those from banks or utilities.

As with any paid content placement, marketers will need to experiment across multiple platforms to ensure that they are reaching their intended audience and reaching them on the basis of mutuality: my time for your originality!

Hugh Burrows

Head of Digital

A version of this article first appeared on Marketing Magazine’s website on 31 March


Succour for Britain’s digital underclass

Posted April 3, 2014


Sit back. Push yourself away from the computer and try to clear your mind. Summon up as much imagination as you can muster and try to picture….life without the internet!  

Hard isn’t it?

No Google searches, no Facebook, no Twitter, no eshopping, no elearning, no email (Hooray!);  No streaming videos, no news as it happens, no online trading, betting, gaming, dating….and no health and fitness sites, no advice lines or helplines.

With no internet, life as most of us know it in the communications world would pretty much grind to a halt.



Yet official Government  figures recently highlighted this week by an organisation called Digital Unite show that over 6.5million adults in the UK still haven’t tried it. That’s one in 10 of the UK population; nearly all of them (84%) are over the age of 55.

Okay, so should we be concerned that some old codgers aren’t able to find their favourite online bingo line or chat with their grandchildren in Norwich? Well yes actually.

The quintessence of the internet is its power to connect. In the past we did this through the telephone, through letters, or cards in corner shop windows or church hall walls. But with so much of the world now online, the development and upkeep of these traditional avenues of communication is withering. And that’s something we, as communications professionals, have to be concerned about.

The truth is, the rapid growth of the internet is now creating a real digital underclass, many of them with chronic medical problems and/or serious social issues. These older (although often just ill-informed or  ill-educated) people, are being increasingly shut out of exactly the sort of medical or social support networks the internet now provides in spades.  Services they most desperately need.

That means no NHS helplines, no online repeat prescriptions, no access to housing or social services support. As health and social care follows its expected digital J-curve over the next few years, these people will really struggle.

The good news is that this gap between the internet haves and have-nots, is being actively reduced. Organisations such as More Independent (Mi) in Liverpool or Digital Unite are working to help introduce these hidden individuals to all the support and quality of life improvements being online can bring.

In Liverpool for example, Mi has recruited over 150 volunteer Digital Champions who man hubs around the city where those who can’t or won’t use the internet, can be shown how to get online and to access the sorts of support (and entertainment) they are missing out on. As communications professionals this is something we need to know about.

And Liverpool isn’t the only city trying hard to connect with the perennially disconnected. Mi is a part of a £37million public private partnership called dallas (delivering assisted living lifestyles at scale), a project driven by the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy board, who’s aim is to bring digitally enabled self-care solutions to 1600 citizens throughout the UK by 2015.

Another government supported group, the ambitiously named ‘3 Million Lives’ initiative has even bigger plans, hoping to introduce that number of people with long term conditions to online health support over the next 5 years.

We all know the internet is an extraordinary thing, but its growth is creating an increasing asymmetry, particularly when it comes to health and social care. Next time your ebay bid freezes with five seconds to deadline, or you lose a page of text you spent the last three nights painfully constructing…. remember how lucky you really are!

Dr. Martin Godfrey

MD, 3 Monkeys Communications Health and Wellness

This blog was also posted online in collaboration with the PRCA, find it here.


April Fools’ Day PRanks – fun or foolish?

Posted March 31, 2014

While our Facebook walls get set to stream friends’ April Fools’ Day pranks (and the woes of their victims), the PR world begins to cross its fingers for coverage on some of its most creative and much-debated plans.

An idea has to be pretty clever to not only cut through the utter deluge of PR pranks being sold-in to news desks, but also to attract the right attention for the brand.  A prank with the wrong tone, reception or taste can undo a lot of hard work on brand perception and audience relevance.

Thinking about some of my favourite pranks, the Aussie in me beelines to some examples from back home and I can’t ignore our serial prankster Dick Smith.  His catapult into prankster prominence goes back to 1978 and his April Fools’ prank – now known as The Great Sydney Harbour Iceberg Hoax –  saw him  enter Sydney Harbour claiming to be towing an iceberg from Antarctica that promised to improve the flavour of any drink.  Ahem, it was just firefighting foam and shaving cream which unfortunately didn’t hold out on that rainy Sydney day.



More recently, Australian Geographic (owned by Dick Smith) last year ran a study on Drop Bears targeting tourists.  The story claimed that a fictional animal was targeting people without an Aussie accent and without the repellent sweat of us Vegemite eaters.  It was posted on their website and through social channels, where it became the most successful story in the history of the website and its Facebook page saw an overflow of comments full of classic Aussie ‘umour.

Drop Bears

Last year he also reinforced that Kraft Vegemite was now 100% American owned, unlike his Australian Ozemite, by filming a false press conference, which announced that Kraft was re-naming Vegemite to ‘Yankymite’ to put things straight.




Back on British turf, 2013 was good year with Virgin Atlantic professing to have created a glass-bottomed plane to launch its first UK domestic route. The stunt steamrolled across national and international media, as Virgin is accustomed to.

Virgin Glass bottomed Plane

The Guardian also got involved in April Fools’ Day, creating Guardian Goggles – web-connected “augmented reality” spectacles that will beam its journalism directly into the wearer’s visual field – and noting that Google Glass had blatantly been inspired by them.

And what for this year? Well, we’ve already seen news of American Beagle Outfitters, while as yet unconfirmed as an April Fools’ prank I’d expect it will be before the day is out. The tongue in cheek style is reminiscent of the brand’s Skinny Skinny Jeans campaign from last year.  Both campaigns, from the US, received widespread media coverage in the UK and internationally.


American Beagle Outfitters


From Dick’s harbour hoax in 1978 to beagles boasting chambray in 2014, one thing is clear – you have to do more than cover the dunny in cling film to get good coverage.  Print and mainstream media can also be disinclined to cover pranks, however having entertaining online content can create real engagement and brand affinity.

Let’s see what more our 2014 PRankters have in store…

Amy Parry

Associate Dirctor


Friday Fun… #FirstTweet

Posted March 21, 2014


Twitter turns eight today – yes, it really has gone that quickly.

From Jack Dorsey’s first tweet “just setting up my twttr” in 2006, Twitter has become more than just a social networking tool.  It’s certainly my first port of call for news in the morning and throughout the day, and it’s where I go to check the latest football scores and much, much more.  And I’m one of many millions around the world who do exactly the same.

The worlds of fashion, travel, sport, music, business and entertainment have been transformed forever over the last eight years – providing talent, media (and PR agencies) with the opportunity to engage directly with their audience.

And to celebrate its birthday, Twitter has created a fun tool to allow people to easily check their first ever tweet: https://discover.twitter.com/first-tweet

So we’ve asked around the Jungle to find out what our first tweets were:


Victor Murthy Twitter Sophie Howard Spence Twitter Phoebe Paul Mac Twitter Howard Bowden Twitter Janine Jacobs Twitter Gillers Gabi Twitter Dawn Twitter Felix Twitter Christine Jewell Twitter Adam Clat Twitter

And of course we can’t forget the first ever 3MC tweet:

3MC Twitter

Paul McCormick


3 Major Hires for 3 Monkeys

Posted March 18, 2014

Alex Perry, Howard Bowden, Steve Munachen

We’ve boosted our consumer offering with three significant hires for the Consumer and Brand team – including two award winning senior consultants and one of PR Week’s latest 30 Under 30.

We’re welcoming Howard Bowden back into the fold as Head of Consumer Content after 6 years away. As an ex-national newspaper journalist who has worked for several leading PR agencies since the 90s, he is going to be a driving force for our focus on producing great content for all our clients.

Steve Munachen has joined as Associate Director from Australian agency Pulse Communications, the consumer arm of Ogilvy PR, and Alex Perry joins us as Senior Account Director from John Doe.

Steve brings over ten years’ experience developing award-winning work for clients including Activision, Coca-Cola, KFC, Canon, Carlton and United Breweries, Vodafone and Xbox.  He will be working on a number of key accounts providing creative and strategic leadership.

Alex, one of PR Week’s recent 30 under 30 names to look out for, joins us from John Doe where he headed up the Vauxhall Motors account, as well the social media team working on sportswear giant Adidas. At 3 Monkeys Alex will play a key role with recent major 3 Monkeys wins including United Biscuits.

We’ve enjoyed a run of new client wins including United Biscuits, Onken, Honeywell and Barratt Homes, and we’re now looking to push our Consumer and Brand offering yet further for clients with these three strategic – and very exciting – appointments. Howard, Steve and Alex each bring a wealth of brand experience, content skills and PR know how, and we look forward to them working with our already very talented team to help us strive for more success in 2014.

Christine Jewell

Managing Director


Using ethical hacking to tell a security story

Posted March 14, 2014


We have been working with our client Trend Micro to assess Britain’s use of mobile devices and locations where data is at risk from cybercriminals. If you missed it, have a quick read of the top findings here.

The study, “Britain’s Culture of Carelessness with Mobile Devices”, was a collaboration between Trend Micro, First Base Technologies and the Centre for Creative and Social Technology (CAST) at Goldsmiths, University of London.

We developed an idea with the guys at BBC Click to conduct an “evil twin” simulation with ethical hackers Peter Wood and Mike McLaughlin from First Base Technologies. This became a ten minute feature aired on BBC Click and revealed some very interesting insights about the way in which cybercriminals are able to access our data through public Wi-Fi hotspots.  The story stimulated much discussion and debate, with Europol warning that free Wi-Fi hotspots pose a data risk and the BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones discussing the issues on BBC World Service.

Through the experiment our ethical hackers were able to access a whole raft of personal information, such as personal emails and browsing history, through a bogus Wi-Fi hotspot which simply replicated existing hotspots. It’s worth noting that all participants agreed to take part in the experiment and there was nothing intrinsically unsafe, insecure or unusual about the websites featured.

According to Charlie McMurdie, Former Head of the UK Cyber Crime Unit, consumers shouldn’t use public Wi-Fi for anything financial or sensitive and Wi-Fi providers should carry out regular checks. “Previously we’ve focused on standalone attacks and compromises of big databases, now a lot of mainstream criminals have identified there’s easy opportunities and vulnerabilities just walking down the street and exploiting Wi-Fi networks that exist in every coffee shop and premises that you go to.”

Mick Paddington, security expert from Trend Micro offered advice on how to browse public Wi-Fi securely: “You’ve got to be aware when you’re doing these transactions or working on the web you should really be limiting the sort of behaviour you’re doing online.

“A lot of passwords are in the public domain because these companies that own these hotspots don’t actually change those passwords. The sort of passwords you should be looking for, which are more secure, are dynamic one-use passwords. For example, when you’re in a hotel room it will ask you for name and room number and then issue you with a password. Rather than when you go into a well-known coffee shop and the Wi-Fi address and password is up on the wall.

“Most devices will automatically connect to Wi-Fi so you need to be aware of what your device is connected to. In terms of using the cellular network – it is inherently more secure – the connection from your device to the mast is encrypted. The trouble is Wi-Fi is much more convenient, tends to be a lot faster, and 4G isn’t everywhere yet so people will default to a Wi-Fi network.”

You can check out the episode on BBC Click here. This is another example of the content marketing approach that has been working to great effect with Trend Micro in the UK.

So, next time you access a public Wi-Fi hotspot, do be aware of what data you’re accessing and sharing over the network. You never know who may be snooping online!

Adam Clatworthy

If you liked this post, then you might also want to check out Felix’s post on what retail needs to take their digital experience to the next level.


The sweet shop of social media is opening up to pharma firms

Posted March 13, 2014

Dr. Martin Godfrey

From the article published in PR Week on 12th March 2014, written by Martin Godfrey. You can read the original article on PR Week’s website, here.

It’s the best of times; it’s the worst of times. What to do about social media? Like a child looking through a sweet shop window, pharma companies are both mesmerized and, at the same time, self-constrained from joining the throng of consumer businesses sampling the tasty delights of Facebook, Twitter and all those other socially frosted comms channels.

In a recent survey of healthcare marketers we found almost one third of responders said they had no plans to use social channels in 2014 and of those that did, more than half were pessimistic about their likely success. As an industry, there is a strong feeling that the opportunity to connect with patients via social and digital media is passing them by.

And it’s not just the companies, it’s their agencies too. For too long the formula of pushing comms through doctors and other health professionals has been a profitable cookie jar – and if the client doesn’t want to pull their hand away, then why should agencies risk losing that which feeds them?

Of course, there are good reasons why pharma and other healthcare companies are reluctant to sweeten their comms pills for public consumption. There are significant and necessary regulatory barriers, particularly relating to the reporting of adverse events. For many senior managers, the return on investment just does not justify the costs involved in all that extra monitoring.

But is that just a cop out? True, until recently there were few guidelines on social media use by pharma companies and, as a result, many marketers ignored the open door next to them. No one got fired for not having an active Facebook presence, right?

Yet for years this industry and the agencies that support it have clamoured for the ability, like their FMCG counterparts, to market direct to consumers (DTC). The US has been at it for years, so why not Europe? In the US, the use of owned, earned and paid-for social media by pharma is skyrocketing. Surely, since no one believes true DTC promotion will ever be legalised on this side of the pond, social media are what everyone has been praying for?

Two announcements made in the past month could help drive a change in behaviour. On 16 January, the US Food and Drug Administration announced its most detailed “interactive promotional media” guidance to date and, in the UK, the Proprietary Association of Great Britain did the same for over-the-counter medicines. These guidelines actually give a green light to companies to explore digital assets as a method for building product and disease awareness and distinguish themselves as leaders. Maybe sometime soon the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry could follow suit.

As PR professionals, let’s open the sweet shop door and reassure our clients that we know a healthy, patient-friendly way forward.

Dr. Martin Godfrey

Managing Director, 3 Monkeys Health + Wellness


Why 5G will be the digital step retail so desperately needs

Posted February 28, 2014


Prompted by econsultancy’s recent research into the digital retail space, I wanted to look deeper into this new opportunity, and what retailers need in order to realise the potential within digital retail.

Five years ago, the buzz topic on every digital marketer’s lips was augmented reality (AR). In practice though, its clumsy implementation and limited awareness never gave it the visibility and usage it still deserves. Whilst Blippar continues to lead the way, the logo and icon on a piece of print or a shop window mean little – if anything – to the everyday consumer. Sure, trade magazines give coverage to the ‘great campaigns’ using the technology, but if we as marketers and communications professionals are not hitting our target audiences and engaging with them, then essentially we’ve failed

AR and similar OOH digital activation routes are great concepts, but they are hindered dramatically by the infrastructure behind them. From having to download and update AR apps on a regular basis to ensure can access the latest creative which you may just so happen to stumble across, to the inordinate amount of time it sometimes takes to load rich mobile apps, our mobile networks remain the bottleneck to success.

The high street is struggling (as media coverage and statistics suggest); online retailers meanwhile offer greater choice, easier browsing and above all often a better price. But there are two aspects of online in which it can never compete with the high street: tangibility and instant gratification.

The problem is that these two factors are not sufficient on their own to bridge the ever growing-gap. But what if we could make that offline experience a digitally harmonious one? Store layout, outfit matching, live stock levels, personal checkouts and interactive environments are just of few of the opportunities awaiting us.

4G has been a varied deployment, confined to a few operators and available on select devices – but it has shown just what mobile connections can be capable of. As devices evolve and technologies accelerate, we will hopefully see a more consistent offering and capability, making the justification for such rich in-store experiences a no-brainer. Considering the offline shopping experience as merely offline is a blinkered view – consumers are already using smartphones to compare prices in-store and scan QR codes to watch DVD trailers (which incidentally load too slowly to be of any use)… all we need is to transform the experience into something more beneficial to the high street.

The obvious solution might be to put Wi-Fi into stores, but in reality, everyone will have to take time and effort to log on and networks may become sluggish, marring the user experience. The only means to achieve all this smoothly is through a faster (‘5G’) mobile network.

So will we see the renaissance of the high street? Only time and imagination will tell, but I’d like to think that the age old concept of window shopping may become more literal and widespread than it was ever presumed.

Felix Hemsley

Digital Account Director


Barratt Homes chooses 3 Monkeys

Posted February 24, 2014

Barratt Homes

We’re really chuffed to have been appointed to work with Barratt Developments PLC to create an integrated brand reappraisal campaign for its Barratt Homes brand. Working alongside brilliant agencies Publicis, Carat and Zone as well as Barratt’s in-house team, our task is to bring homebuyers up to date with what Barratt Homes has to offer in 2014 and beyond.

The Barratt brief is a PR dream. Perception seriously lags reality, so we’re excited to be working on a fully integrated reappraisal brief which needs to deliver not only rational reasons to believe in Barratt Homes’ great portfolio, but emotional reasons to engage.

Commenting on our appointment, Paul Howlett, Head of PR at Barratt Homes, said:

“Since the 1950′s hundreds of thousands of people in the UK have bought or lived in homes inspired by Barratt. Today, we’re the country’s largest and most recognised name in housebuilding – so we searched for a partner that understood our proposition, and could deliver exceptional creative thinking, rooted in strategy and insight to a wide variety of audiences.” 

Anna Speight

Director, Consumer & Brand



Paws for thought – Three launches new ad campaign with cute singing cat

Posted February 21, 2014


We might be called 3 Monkeys, but don’t be fooled – we love all animals, not just primates.

Following on from the success of last year’s #DancePonyDance campaign, we’re thrilled to share Three’s latest advertising campaign. The fun ad turns a shared moment between a young girl and her adorably cute pet kitten into an epic and emotion-filled journey that sees the duo belt out a powerful rendition of Starship’s eighties power anthem, ‘We Built This City’ whilst tearing up the cul-de-sac on a pink tricycle.

The #SingItKitty campaign continues to encourage the UK to share silly stuff, from funny memes or selfies, to cute animal pictures. This week, we worked with Three to release research showing people across the UK share 3.8 million online photos and videos of funny and cute cats every day.

We really are a cat crazy nation!

Plus, Three has designed a web-based app that encourages people to join the fun and inspire the act of sharing even more widely, but replacing the girl’s face with their own and allowing people to be the singing star! It’s the purrrfect way to end the week.

Go on, you know you want to…




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