You know the year has almost come to an end when the review lists start. From what was most discussed on Facebook to YouTube’s most viral adverts, this week has seen the year in review lists come out in force. 

Let the reviews commence…

What we talked about on Facebook in 2014
The Scottish Referendum was this year’s most discussed topic on Facebook in the UK. Other key subjects included the Ice Bucket Challenge and the FIFA World Cup. 

The top ten UK topics 2014:
1. Scottish Referendum
2. Ice Bucket Challenge
3. World Cup
4. Premier League title race
5. Conflict in Gaza
6. Robin Williams
7. Louis van Gaal takes over at Manchester United
8. Ebola virus outbreak
9. Champions League Final
10. First World War Centenary

The UK's top YouTube clips of 2014
Whilst Facebook may have been where we discussed politics, YouTube was clearly the channel for us to be big kids. A sing-a-long version of Disney’s Frozen was the most watched video in 2014 according to Mashable. For those with musical talents, take it away…

YouTube reveals their top viewed ads
This week YouTube also revealed the most viewed ads globally on their platform in 2014. With the FIFA World Cup taking place this year, it comes as no surprise that football was rated highly in the top ten. 

Here are the top five ads in 2014:
1. Nike Football: Winner Stays. ft. Ronaldo, Neymar Jr., Rooney, Ibrahimović, Iniesta & more
2. Nike Football: The Last Game ft. Ronaldo, Neymar Jr., Rooney, Zlatan, Iniesta & more
3. Budweiser Super Bowl XLVIII Commercial -- "Puppy Love"
4. Always #LikeAGirl
5. Devil Baby Attack

Twitter reveals annual round-up
Twitter also revealed their most discussed topics of 2014. Mirroring YouTube, the World Cup was clearly on everyone’s mind. Of the top ten tweeted moments this year, six were focused on the World Cup

The social platform also looked at the most used hashtags across various genres:

In other news...

Instagram snaps up 300 million users worldwide, overtaking Twitter
This week the social platform hit a milestone by overtaking Twitter with 300 million users, compared to Twitter’s 270 million. The growth highlights the hunger amongst consumers to share images and videos and will no doubt increase opportunities for brands, especially when the channel widens its advertising options in 2015. 

Facebook launch new tools for publishers
Great news for publishers! Facebook has released a series of new tools that will allow greater targeting with content. Among them, this includes Interest Targeting, which will only target a subset of followers relevant to that content. For example, a publisher can use Interest Targeting to post a story about a sports game that will only be shown to people that like the teams playing.

YouTube details copyright restrictions based on audio usage
YouTube has published a breakdown of the copyright restrictions imposed on video creators by their use of specific tracks, enabling creators to preview any restrictions before publication. 


After six weeks of training, on Saturday 6th December, 15 of the nation’s most terrible cooks went head to head in the Kenwood Disaster Chef live final at the AVEQIA cookery school in London.

Armed with a Kenwood CHEF Sense, the contestants were tasked with the challenge of creating a two course meal of Porcini and Rosemary Creamed Tagliatelle and Chocolate Fondant.  These dishes were then put to the test by a panel of judges including television actress Hermione Norris, renowned YouTube Chef, Ben Ebbrell from SortedFood and Martin Johns, Kenwood Development Chef.  

From Tony – nominated by his wife for not draining the water from his pasta before adding the sauce – to Laura, who once sellotaped still runny boiled eggs back together before putting them back in the pan – all of the finalists impressed the judges with how far they have come since the start of the competition.

However, the winner, who was crowned Kenwood Disaster Chef 2014, was Jo Wells, from Cardiff, who impressed the judges the most, both with the quality and presentation of the two dishes created and the culinary journey she had undertaken over the past six weeks.

On top of her new found confidence, Jo also walks away with a £3,000 kitchen makeover from Symphony kitchens, a £500 cookery course and £500 worth of Kenwood products to keep up her new found culinary skills.

Great fun was had by all – a massive congratulations to Jo and all 15 contestants who have proven that with the right tools and attitude you really can make the inedible edible.


So Black Friday gave way to Cyber Monday last week, followed by Giving Tuesday – anymore for anymore? Luckily by mid-week the additional titles seemed to drop off the days of the week. That said, the combination of the two key pre-Christmas sales days, drove mass social media chatter.

It wasn’t just major retailers who got involved in #BlackFriday. For those facing the tiring prospects of lugging those 48inch TV’s home, had no need to fear as Tennent’s Lager launched #BlackTFriday, a taxi fleet to treat tired shoppers to a free ride and premium lager

Two major hacks took place this week
Well actually it was one; the other was orchestrated by the company.  How better to promote Honda’s car deals than through a social takeover ‘by the power of grey skull’, well He-Man’s nemesis Skeletor!

What was first thought to be a hack was quickly revealed to be a fun and ingenious idea by the car brand to engage with its audience. We’d love to have been in the boardroom when that idea was sold in!

On a more worrying note, Sony Pictures had a major security breach last week, resulting in several leaks. This week, two films were leaked online, Brad Pitt’s Fury and the upcoming remake of Annie. A group called Guardians of the Peace claimed responsibility for the leaks

Future of storytelling
Ahead of Mashable’s Media Summit taking place today, the online channel invited users to submit their tips for the future of storytelling via the hashtag #MediaSummitContest. The website provides their top 20 whilst the full list can be viewed via Twitter.

56% of online display ads are not seen by consumers
In Google’s first ad-viewability study, the world No.1 search engine has stated that over half of display ads are not seen by consumers. The report, which centres on impressions taken from a wide range of global publishers, from small sites such as blogs to national newspapers, across Google’s Display Network (GDN), DoubleClick for Publishers and DoubleClick ad Exchange, currently focuses on display ads but will later be expanded to cater for video and more granular mobile metrics. 

Twitter upgrade for iOS and Android
The social media platform has updated its photo filters, allowing users to amend an image once added to a Tweet. The move highlights the competitiveness against Instagram, with many tools resembling the image based platforms. 

Microsoft and Yahoo respond to European 'right to be forgotten' requests
Privacy was hot on the news agenda this week as Microsoft and Yahoo joined Google by responding to the May ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union requiring search engines to delete “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant” data when requested to by a member of the public.

69% are worried about the privacy of their photos on social networking sites
According to research conducted by UK start-up KatchUp, over half of the public prefer to use email as main method of sharing photos with family online as they are worried about online safety. According to the report published on The Drum, current barriers for sharing with families online include the time it takes to filter the photos (49 per cent), a fear of data collection on existing social media (33 per cent) and a dislike of ads (17 per cent).

Lindt EXCELLENCE Chocolate & Wine Pairings Masterclass

This week Clarion organised an exclusive press review of the Lindt EXCELLENCE Chocolate & Wine Pairings Masterclass that will be held at Vinopolis throughout 2015. The preview went off without a hitch with 15 broadcast and consumer media and bloggers attending. Everyone was given the chance to learn the art of tasting and sample different varieties of Lindt EXCELLENCE chocolate and superior wines and ports, all handpicked by Lindt Master Chocolatier Stefan Bruderer and wine expert Tom Forrest.

The Lindt EXCELLENCE Chocolate & Wine Pairings Masterclass will take place at Vinopolis at 7pm on the last Thursday of every month throughout 2015.  

By Emma Pointing, Account Executive, Clarion Communications

Digital News Round-Up

Da-da-dum, da-da-dum… rejoice Star Wars fans, this week it was announced by J.J Abrams that a short trailer for the much anticipated new Star Wars film will be released. Of course, this sent social media into overdrive with the title trending on Twitter. The trailer will be premiered in selected cinemas in the USA and online over Thanks Giving weekend.

In other (perhaps less exciting) news…

Tumblr and Pinterest now fastest-growing social platforms
Whilst Facebook may still be the largest social media platform, in terms of subscriptions, others are hot on its heels including Tumblr and Pinterest. A report by Global Web Index this week highlighted by Tech Crunch shows the two social platforms are now the fastest-growing. Snapchat too is rapidly growing, becoming the fastest growing app.

Apple may replace Google as its default search engine
Last week we reported how Firefox was replace Google as its default search engine with Yahoo. It appears this week, Apple, whose contract is coming to an end with Google, is also looking to replace the search engine, with Yahoo and Microsoft are already vying for the tech giant's attention. 

News UK sees digital subscribers for The Sun soar 120%
Whilst subscriptions to print press may be dwindling, online views are far from over, with News UK seeing its subscription to The Sun grow by 120%. Highlighted this week in The Drum, the news came as its chief marketing officer Chris Duncan branded Facebook's mobile publishing proposal "terrifying". 2015 will no doubt become a hotly contested year for ownership of news publishing amongst social platforms and news outlets alike.  

Today many will take to their laptops, mobiles or perhaps even venture to the high-street for the big pre-Christmas discount shop day. According to research from Nielsen, more men are expected to shop in store today while most consumers are expected to hold off and shop on Cyber Monday this year.

The research highlights the growth in popularity of shopping via our smartphones. Whilst laptops were expected to be the most popular device for online shopping (89 per cent), a third of consumers were expected to shop with their smartphone or tablet.

By James Mulrennan, Digital Account Director


From partnerships to app launches, this week’s hottest digital news stories can be found here.

Uber partners with Spotify
This week the taxi service has been in the news for several reason but one most notable was its partnership with Spotify. No longer will we need to ask drivers dreaded questions like ‘busy night?’, instead we will be able to select our own personalised music from the streaming service.

Facebook is cracking down on 'overly promotional' posts from brands
This week Facebook announced it was cracking down on so called promotional posts, in others words, posts that:
1.       Solely push people to buy a product or install an app.
2.       Push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context.
3.       Use the exact same content from ads.
At Clarion Communications we see this as good news. For too long have many agencies and brands alike been regurgitating content and ‘Like bating’ fans. It is time comms teams create truly engaging content that resonates with the audience.

Facebook Groups: Now there's an app for that
Facebook continue their offering in the app arena, this time with a dedicated Facebook Groups app. According to Zuckerberg some 700 million Facebook users are using groups on a monthly basis.

Ello to ‘topple’ Facebook's earning might
From Facebook, to new kid on the block Ello. The social network, that promised it would never put advertising on its platform, has found an alternative income method… selling t-shirts.

Samsung launches Android Milk Video app to undermine YouTube
A week after YouTube launched its own music offering, Samsung are now seeking to launch a competitor to YouTube with Android Milk Video. The app based service will be an ad-free service will provide users with the latest viral videos. Brands Condé Nast, Funny Or Die, Red Bull, Vevo, Buzzfeed and Vice are on board for the launch.

Firefox to switch default search from Google to Yahoo
A major win for yahoo this week as Firefox have announced the search engine will become its default search engine going forward. With several new purchases under its belt, could 2015 be the year for Yahoo?

Billboard's albums chart shakeup to include streaming music for rankings
Billboard will soon start using use Nielsen SoundScan's streaming data and download numbers of individual tracks to rank the top albums on its long-standing Billboard 200 chart. This is seen as a move to keep the album chart relevant.

Twitter now lets you search through every tweet ever tweeted
Ever wanted to search for that Tweet from a time long forgotten? Well now you can as Twitter has upgraded its search functionality to allow you to go back as far as you wish.

Twitter cofounder Biz Stone launches Super, an app that's 'just fun'
Talking of Twitter, its cofounder this week launched Super. Which according to Mashable is ‘one part secret, one part meme generator’. The app is all about sharing short ideas with friends and people nearby in creative, somewhat offbeat ways.

And finally

21 greatest selfies of 2014
Christmas is here and that means endless list of the top ten ‘this’ or the top worsts ‘that’. How better to start than with selfies, featuring Ellen Degeneres  famed Oscar one amongst others.

Boast your Roast!

Do you cook the best roast dinner? The Aunt Bessie’s team are busy working with OK! Magazine to find the nation’s best roast chicken dinner, which of course wouldn’t be a roast without Yorkshire puddings! The competition featured in this week’s issue of OK! magazine, asking OK! readers to post a photo of their favourite roast dinner via social media and nominate the chef; themselves or their friend or family member.

Did you know 1 in 5 British households served Yorkshire puddings with a roast chicken dinner last year?* Clarion has been working hard with Aunt Bessie’s to raise awareness and encourage roast lovers to include a Yorkshire pudding on their chicken dinner. The OK! partnership is part of a wider campaign which included a debate at the prestigious Oxford Union Debating Society, arguing the motion ‘This house believes Yorkshire puddings should be served with roast chicken’. Debaters battled out the puds rightful place on Brits dinner plates and if the tradition of serving Yorkshires with beef should be upheld. So which side are you on?

* Kantar Worldpanel Roast figures: 52 w/e Dec 2013


Attending the Asian Trader Awards 2014 last night to support and cheer on agency clients who were all in contention for various supplier awards, Clarion were also absolutely delighted to pick up an award themselves.

In recognition of excelling in communication with independent retailers through editorial, advertising, PR, retailer education and guidance, Clarion Communications were awarded the Marketing and Communications Award, presented by Associate Publisher George McCracken.

Jonathan Smith, Senior Associate Director, collected the award on behalf of Clarion in front of a packed-out Park Plaza Westminster, with guests including Rt Hon George Osborne MP, Dr Virander Paul, Deputy High Commissioner, High Commission of India and Kalpesh R. Solanki, Managing Editor – Asian Trader.

It is the first time that an agency has been recognised by this award, an achievement that we are rightly extremely proud of. Thank you Asian Trader!

By Fraser McIntosh, Account Manager, Clarion Communications


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and what better way to start the celebrations then with some sumptuous Lindt chocolates?

Luckily the Clarion Lindt team were on hand and ventured on the road with the Lindt Reindeer Car. The annual tradition delivered Lindt Christmas products to media including the Daily Mail, London Evening Standard, Metro, S Magazine, PA, Style, Fabulous and Notebook.

The beautiful red glossy packages tied with Lindt ribbon contained a range of delicious Lindt chocolate including gold Lindt Bears, a 1KG Santa, and a chocolate Reindeer with fluffy antlers - the perfect festive headwear.

To create excitement amongst the media, the Clarion team created this fun Vine to show the Lindt Santas leaving the Clarion office to grab a lift in the Reindeer Car. A cute festive video to get everyone in the Christmas mood (and the mood for delicious chocolate) - we’re sure you’ll agree!


This week, social media chatter varied from the heartfelt discussions and images shared to commemorate Armistice Day to debates around reality TV stars. Brands too had their share of voice, from rock bands to fashion houses, not to mention new platform launches - it was another exciting week in digital.

The Who to launch virtual reality app for Facebook's Oculus Rift

My Generation meets digital generation as the famous rock band launch a virtual reality app. To celebrate their 50th anniversary, the legendary rock band created the app that allows fans to listen to the bands classic hits whilst driving on a Lambretta.

The app, which is due to be released in early 2015, is preceded by a smartphone and tablet app for Android and iOS, which launched this week. Check out the trailer here.

Foo Fighters & HBO engage fans with content marketing

From one rock band to another, Foo fighters launched their new album, “Sonic Highways”, this week with much fanfare. The album was created across 8 American cities and in turn, a documentary was filmed in each. HBO are showing this series and it has already proved popular amongst critics, including the Guardian who called it have partnered with HBO to

Google's new YouTube music service is here, but invite-only for now

It must be the week for music as YouTube launch their music service however many of us will still have to wait as the service is currently invitation online.

The subscription service, called YouTube Music Key, will offer six months free followed by a promotional price of $7.99 per month. The regular price on its broad release will be $9.99, the same as Spotify. UK prices are yet to be confirmed, click here for more information. 

Twitter is changing
YouTube aren’t the only social platform developing their offering. Whilst music may not be on the cards for Twitter they are looking to develop several new apps in the future and are seeking to update their platform. Expect to see new updates ‘Timeline Highlights’, ‘Instant Timeline’ and  ‘breaking News Alerts’ amongst others

Yahoo! to acquire BrightRoll for $640m

Yahoo! has started to spend big on their earnings from Alibaba’s stock float. Their biggest buy to date is BirghtRoll, the programmatic video platform. Announced by Yahoo! chief executive Marissa Mayer the purchase will unite the publisher’s desktop and mobile video ad inventory with BrightRoll’s programmatic video platform and publisher relationships


ASOS pushes AW14 collection with interactive YouTube music video

From music to fashion and back again, ASOS this week launched an impressive new interactive YouTube music video. The video is designed to promote their new AW14 collection by driving engagement amongst their audience.

And finally

Social media is parents' greatest online fear, research says

Research conducted for the non-profit Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) found that only 26% of those surveyed felt the benefits of allowing their children to use sites such as Facebook outweighed the potential risks. More worryingly, some 43% of parents thought the negative aspects of their child having a social media account outweighed the benefits. The full report is available on The Guardian.

 By James Mulrennan, Digital Account Director, Clarion Communications


Yesterday, the Boiron team at Clarion were nappy-deep in baby bloggers as we hosted an exclusive preview event of research for National Teething Week (17-23 November), in an attempt to enlighten these very hands-on blogging parents.


Transforming a suite of rooms at a the luxury Pelham Hotel, South Kensington, we provided our influencers with insights, infographics and product demos of Camilia® Oral Solution. The event opened with a short presentation on the signs and symptoms of teething by Dr Philip Wander and ended with a calming baby massage master-class for our bloggers and their little ones.

The team and Dr Wander then lunched with the attendees, answering many more burning questions on teething before the bloggers departed, press packs in hand. The event was one of several activities planned as an awareness driver around National Teething Week.

 By Clarion Boiron Team, Clarion Communications


10 Things That Journalists Like In A Story

Clarion research topics to grab a journalist’s attention

What do ‘photos of animals’, ‘health breakthroughs’ and ‘research showing what we as a country fail at’ have in common? They’re all things that journalists like in a story. 

Take a look at our full list here.

10 Things That Journalists Like In A Story

Keeping Your Social Media Refreshed

Picture credit
When Facebook was created in 2004 to enable university students to keep in touch with friends and family, the main features included writing a status, writing on a friend’s wall and uploading pictures.  However, over the past 10 years, we’ve seen Facebook develop and morph from a digital contacts book to one of the most powerful social media networks available.  Over the social media decade, we have seen the birth of other social media platforms who contribute to the marketing process of around 92% of businesses. The competition between the platforms mirror the nature of social media itself, by having to constantly update its tools and reacting instantly to a competitor’s new feature. Here is a roundup of new features from some of the biggest platforms and how it could benefit your business.

Facebook’s Quality Control

Facebook has spent the last few years limiting users straying onto external websites through links posted on newsfeeds.  This has been achieved through the use of Facebook’s algorithm, which is a way of deciding what shows up on everyone’s newsfeed. Businesses should avoid including too many links in their posts, as the algorithm will identify that you are leading the users away from Facebook. This will ultimately impact on how many users will be able to view your post within their newsfeed. 

Recently, Facebook has started to combat ‘spammy links’ via subtle changes in their algorithm, to avoid any ‘like-baiting’ posts.  Like-baiting means when the company asks people to like/share or comment, in order for the post to be pushed to the top of newsfeeds. Facebook carried out a survey and found ‘like-baiting stories are, on average, 15% less relevant than other stories with a comparable number of likes, comments and shares’.  Businesses should take note of this, as this means posts will have to ensure the content is relevant and engaging without relying on task demands. 

Brands wishing to highlight their own website through links should look to Facebook Advertising where specific advertisements have been designed to highlight a brands website.

Twitter’s Ecommerce Debut  

There are over 241 million monthly active Twitter users and 184 million of these followers are using Twitter on their mobiles. Therefore, businesses have to grab the follower’s eye instantly as they are scrolling through their newsfeed on the go. 

Twitter have just started to experiment with their new ‘buy it now’ button, where users can buy a product at just a click of a button.  The button is only available to a small percentage of people in the US, but Twitter’s Tarun Jain blogged, ‘This is an early step in our building functionality into Twitter to make shopping from mobile devices convenient and easy, and hopefully even fun’.

This new feature has potential to grow sales for businesses however companies should analyse if this function is beneficial for them.  There’s around 50 million users in the UK, so companies should ask themselves if they could cope with a sudden demand for a product due to stock or delivery issues, as any problems that occur like this could potentially back fire and create more negative posts made against the company.

Social media platforms are ever-changing, so as a business it’s important to keep an eye on the key feature upgrades, and update your social media strategy to ensure your digital presence remains at the top of newsfeeds.  

By Elizabeth Doherty, Senior Account Executive, Clarion Communications

The Implications of Social Media Growth On Brand PR

We all know how far & fast social media has grown in the past few years – but what does this mean for the way in which brands PR themselves? I think there are four key implications:

  1. Storytelling. PR people have always been storytellers - whether creating stunts, staging photos, concocting spoofs, or simply spinning yarns about their clients’ brands. Social media requires our storytelling skills too, today more than ever. Consumers are getting fed up with being sold to or talked at or interrupted online by brands & their representatives pumping out commercial messaging. They want to be engaged and entertained. They want to be told stories. The PR storytelling skills that have always worked for traditional media work brilliantly for social media. 
  2. Cut-through. The ‘Youniverse’ macro-trend (where consumers feel an emotional desire to be seen as unique) has led to a massive outpouring of self-expression on social media platforms. With a huge and growing volume of social media conversations it is vital to identify what really counts among all the noise and how to cut through as a brand – who are the key digital influencers, which are the key brand mentions, and what are the best ways to engage.           
  3. Imagery. Psychologist Albert Mehrabian demonstrated that 93% of communication is nonverbal. The success of Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, twitpics,  infographics and viral videos shows how much this primal appetite for pictures and images applies to social media. I think PRs do sometimes use a thousand words when a picture would do, but we are getting better and are now increasingly using imagery to tell brand stories.
  4. Transparency. There’s nowhere to hide in the social media world. Brands must be truthful and honest in their proactive and reactive communication with consumers or they are likely to be exposed and ridiculed.

By Gary Freemantle, CEO, Clarion Communications

Building Sales in a New Age of Independent and Convenience Retailing

The Clarion Advisory Board is a unique collection of independent experts and thought leaders in fields relevant to our clients' work.

Here, Nick Shanagher, Managing Director of Newtrade Publishing and member of the Clarion Advisory Board, gives his thoughts on how to influence independent convenience retailers, a disparate audience that is becoming increasingly important for FMCG manufacturers. Combined they are as significant in size as a major multiple, but a tailored approach is needed to reach them as individuals.

Independent convenience stores have a 13% share of the UK grocery market, says the Institute of Grocery Distribution. Sales will rise from £22.2 billion today to £29.4 billion in 2019 at a much faster rate than the grocery market as a whole. The growth story is driven by changes in how UK shoppers behave and also by the better store standards achieved by most independent retailers.

The challenge for FMCG marketers is how to effectively be a part of this growth story.

There is so much variability in the way that these shopkeepers operate. They are promiscuous buyers prone to chasing the best price available and from a wide range of suppliers. Even the many distributors, wholesalers, buying clubs and symbol groups between the manufacturer and the retailer have limited control over what is presented to the shopper.

Reaching the independent retailer

Many marketing disciplines developed in the multiples are exported to the independent channels. However the results are difficult to measure. Promotions through symbol groups and field sales activity are popular. However, FMCG marketers must consider that most independent shops operate with a large assortment of products but small volumes of each. The implications of this fact makes using retailer marketing services, such as trade press advertising and PR, attractive.

Analysis of chocolate bar sales helps to make the point. For example, take Twirl with a £15 million retail sales value according to Retail Newsagent’s What to Stock analysis of data from 2,200 stores as compiled by EDFM. Twirl 43g is available in 95% of these shops and is the top seller. Even so, this means the average shop sells 9.3 bars a week. While FMCG companies want to think in terms of selling pallet loads of confectionery, the average shop needs to buy just 10 outers from their wholesaler a year to meet demand.

What this means is that in order to optimise sales in the independent channel, manufacturers need to focus on eliminating out-of-stocks and in ensuring their brand is present at the point-of sale.

A tailored approach

Working with the independent channel requires an understanding of the factors that drive shopkeepers to make decisions. You need to give independents information in a way that is relevant to how they operate. While pushing promotions through the independent channel is important, the key marketing strategies should be focussed on building distribution, ensuring the retailer keeps your brand on sale (puts your product on his shopping list) and displays your brand effectively in store.

Advertising, effective PR and promoting best practice through peer reviewed case studies are great ways of building brand awareness. Our research shows that retailers trust messages more when validated by Newtrade and are more likely to respond to them.

Empowering independent retailers by giving them quality advice and information is essential to take advantage of the massive opportunity in the independent channel.

by Nick Shanagher, Managing Director of Newtrade Publishing and member of the Clarion Advisory Board