Jonathan Akwue

A Partner at Engine and author of Urban Mashup. Blogging about digital technology, social media, communications, culture, and anything else that comes to mind.

Is the Harvey Nichols campaign Modern Art?

Apparently there’s a sale on at Harvey Nichols and some people are excited about it. So excited, they can’t contain themselves.

Chances are, you’ve already seen the new ads for Harvey Nicks and have probably heard about the outrage they’ve caused in some quarters. I imagine you also have a view as to whether the ads are a witty play on words for the Hipster generation, or a crass joke that was designed to offend.

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Santam and Nando’s Play a Game of Chicken

How is a brand supposed to respond when another brand spoofs their ad? South African insurance company, Santam decided to fight fire with fire.

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Advertising Re-imagined

Remember the good old days of advertising? The days when television reigned supreme, print was a copywriter’s paradise and outdoor posters were art?

By contrast, agencies today have to work with fragmented audiences, digital banner ads and Facebook. Where’s the scope for doing something magical that grabs the attention of the nation?

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Pavlov’s Dogs and Lickable Lifts

Last week was the grand finale of Engine London’s ‘Lift Off’ challenge. As I’ve written before, the idea was pretty simple: Each agency was given the opportunity to take over a lift in the Engine building for two weeks. This was to be used to deliver a unique ‘elevator pitch’ that would explain what they do to staff from other agencies and visitors.

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In Search of Social media DJs

Following on from the recent SXSW it seems all eyes in social media are fixed on the box – Zeebox to be precise. To quote the words of Mugatu from the movie Zoolander:  Social TV is “so hot right now”.

But beyond all the hoopla, another media channel has been quietly perfecting the art of engagement for decades without getting the credit it deserves. I’m talking about radio.

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How to go viral – Make a F**king great video

Want to make content that will go viral? Here’s a crazy idea: Make a F**king great video.

That’s what a start up razor blade company Dollar Shave Club achieved this week, producing an ad that has been viewed over 2.3 million 2.8million times since last Monday.

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Are we all Urban now?

‘Urban’ is a word that has risen in popularity over the last few years. As the author of The Urban Mashup blog I guess I should be pleased about this, but when I recently noticed that CBS Outdoor had adopted the new end line: ‘Outdoor by Name, Urban by Nature’ I was left wondering if we are all urban now.

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The Elevator Pitch

One of the best things about working in the advertising and communications industry is that there’s rarely a dull moment. Many of us get to luxuriate in swanky offices, mix with creative people, and can justifiably spend time on YouTube conducting research. What’s not to like?

However, there is one aspect of daily drudgery that all but the smallest agencies cannot avoid – lifts.

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The Super Bowl Ads – TV Sacks Social

Let me begin with a disclaimer. I’m not American and I know very little about football – American or otherwise. What I do know is that if this year’s Super Bowl was a contest between TV and Social Media. TV won hands down.

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Hats off to Twitter

Appropriately enough, I came across Twitter’s spoof recruitment video via a Tweet.

If you haven’t seen it, watch it now because it’s brilliant: At Twitter, The Future is You!

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