Tag Archives: media

Time You Got A Watch

When Selfridges engaged us here at Rhubarb Fool to put together a luxury Arabic magazine for them, we knew that we didn’t just want to focus women’s fashion and accessories. We knew that truly brilliant content requires balance, and that we needed a fresh shoot concept to offset our stunning fashion and accessories photo shoots.

The answer? A stark, monochromatic men’s watches and accessories shoot to completely contrast with the poppy metallics, brooding florals, and glistening jewels that take centre stage elsewhere in the magazine. We were even more excited when we managed to snag a top still

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life photographer with a particular specialism for watches.

A still life photo shoot is an entirely different beast to one with a model. Upon entering the studio, instead of being met with an array of hair and make up products, there was a plethora of fascinating props. Spanners of different sizes were carefully painted in glossy black, and large razor blade wheels were polished to perfection to match with our high-end hyper-masculine aesthetic.

The early morning saw a rushed breakfast and a

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dash to Selfridges itself to pull some extra accessories to really accentuate the watches. As anyone who has ever had the pleasure of pulling pieces for a photo shoot will tell you, there’s nothing quite like wandering around a department store like Selfridges with the freedom to pick out whatever you like. The only constraint was the shoot brief. From the fantastic selection in-store, we were able to source some great pieces, from classic Rayban sunglasses to stylish Mulberry cufflinks and finely made ties from Saint Laurent and Lanvin.

Meanwhile, back at the studio shoot prep was well underway. Fishing line wire, delicate

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and near invisible, suspended spanners and watches alike on set, and our stylist and photographer worked to contort the finest men’s watches on the market into stunning shapes. The main aim was to show off their best assets whilst at the same time delivering a creative and unique shot. From an early peek at the results, it looked like the mission was accomplished.

But the day wasn’t over – there were still plenty of amazing watches to shoot, ranging from the latest Chanel J12, to classic models from Cartier, Jaeger-leCoultre, Panerai, Parmigiani, Roger Dubuis and more. Once again, the studio was awash with guards keeping a keen eye on their precious charges.

Ties came alive for the background of the second shot – like snakes twisting and looping in the air. The watches themselves shined next to the sharp-edged circles that gave literal meaning to the word ‘edgy’.

In the end, the day flew by. The vibe of the day was contented and confident – perfectly fertile for the kind of creativity required to turn out amazing shots.

A Day In The Life Of a Jewellery Shoot

On one of the first days of spring, there are few more picturesque places to be than the tranquil surroundings of Kew Gardens. The blooming evidence for the new season was everywhere, and the bright rays of tentative new sunshine were reflected in a gorgeous carpet of yellow daffodils.

There were plenty of people taking advantage of the fine weather and enjoying a relaxed walk around the gardens, tourists and Londoners alike – but we were there with an important job to do. Photo shoots, especially those on location, require a great deal of hard work.

Our task? To create images that speak of a tropical world; sultry, humid, and a little dark and brooding, to contrast with Selfridges’ pick of the Autumn/Winter collections’ amazing floral prints and the array of stunning high jewellery that can be found in the infamous Wonder Room.

The day dawned more like our shoot brief – that is, brooding and a more than a little foreboding (thankfully the fog gave way to sunshine as the day wore on). After meeting up with our location contact and our Winnebago driver in the wee hours of the morning, we parked up outside of the Palm House and got straight to business.

The first job was to unpack and put the location vehicle’s built-in rail and steamer to good use. The dresses were like pieces of high jewellery themselves; Mary Katrantzou’s Autumn Winter collection covered with artisanal embroidery and glittering embellishments, Giambattista Valli’s creations finely covered with lace, and Dries Van Noten’s crafts adorned with iridescent silver flowers. Stunning creations from Chanel, Erdem, and Peter Pilotto were also present and correct. The once innocuous rail was transformed.

The crew squeezed in breakfast in between the all-important shoot prep. Photographer Matilda Temperley and her brilliant assistants headed off to the glasshouse to scope out the best locations for shots, and our stellar hair and makeup team set about transforming our model into a tropical goddess.

By mid-morning, we were ready for the final touches – the most spectacular jewellery that money can buy. Each high joallerie brand sent their

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own guard to ensure the safety of their precious cargo. When fastening a gorgeous floral necklace from Van Cleef & Arpels, its guard warned us to be careful – it was worth over £500, 000. As if it wasn’t already abundantly clear, that moment epitomised the extreme high-end aesthetic of the shoot. And the fact that we were in a single room with the equivalent value of several properties!

Each brand got its chance to (literally) shine, with the exquisite pieces showed off in a myriad of original ways. A Cartier brooch found a new use as a stunning hairpiece, and our talented art stylist/art director (Thea Lewis-Yates) played up the glamour of rings by the contrast with earthy branches and overhanging palms. Chanel pearls and diamonds glimmered in the shadows.

The resulting pictures were breath-taking – the shadow-play from the palm leaves overhead and the sunlight just piercing through created the very atmosphere we’d imagined would

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compliment fine jewellery and Autumn/Winter florals perfectly. Our beautiful model and her glamorous gems took the place of Henri Rousseau’s brooding tiger (from the painting Tiger in a Tropical Storm) amidst the sultry palms.

As the afternoon flew on, we found ourselves tasked with everything from guiding bodyguards to scouting around for prop leaves, to fielding last minute deliveries and emails. By four, no one wanted to stop shooting – the atmosphere was too good to leave behind. It was time to turn on the charm with the events manager, and we managed to wangle an extra half an hour to capitalise on the flowing creativity and get those final shots.

With the camera down at 430, everyone felt satisfied. We all knew that the amazing team (including photographer Matilda Temperley and stylist/art director Thea Lewis-Yates) had done an amazing job and gotten some incredible images that will undoubtedly give the magazine the hallmark of high-end authenticity.

A few days on, our best suspicions were confirmed. Selfridges were as thrilled as we are. We can’t wait to share the final product with the world! Keep an eye on the Rhubarb Fool website, because you won’t want to miss these fantastic images when we put them up.

Social Media for small businesses

Swimming in content … or drowning?

We are bombarded with content.

The average social network user receives 285 pieces of content daily.

Facebook has 900 million users.

Every sixty seconds, 293,000 status updates are posted on

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Facebook.

175 million tweets are sent each day.

The number of fake Facebook accounts is roughly equivalent to the population of Egypt.

Youtube has more than1 billion unique users visit the site each month, with over 6 billion hours of video watched. That’s almost an hour for every person on Earth, and 50% more than in 2012.

Etc, etc.

It really wants to make you cry. Or at least design a funky infographic!

Instead we say, forget the facts, ditch the digits and focus on one thing. Your customer.

We help brands connect to this market get the right content to the right customers at exactly the right time.

What is the right content? Well it has to be three things:

  • Timely
  • Relevant
  • Engaging

And before we put pen to paper we discuss the brand. From here we think about developing a tone of voice. Sometimes that’s as easy as playing the “if the brand was a famous person who would it be?” game.

Sometimes it’s useful. Sometimes we realise we have spent the last hour deciding that the W Hotel was Chloë Sevigny.

But it’s a starting point and more often than not it will lead us to go out and gather as much customer insight as possible. There’s no rigid formula to doing this.

For example, we’ll hang out in hotel lobbies before launching a hotel magazine. But we’ll supplement this with using data to listen to what your customers are doing, reading, watching and buying – and then act.

So don’t just sit there. Go and sit in a hotel lobby. Or decide what superhero Hoover would be. Just don’t drown in the content.

Entrepreneurial journalism. Part III

Don’t be Afraid of a Funny.

You have to see your interaction as potentially impinging on your readers’ leisure time. So lighten up, be cheeky, use rhetorical questions and have a giggle. People warm to and try to remember a funny. So if you’re fortunate enough to have a good sense of humour, use it,

Have a Point of View.

Social media can encourage the bland and the insipid. Just look at Facebook. Many people would rather blend into the consensus than risk treading on someone’s toes. But what’s the point of any writing that demonstrates no point of view? After all, people made incredible sacrifices so that we could say it as we see it and express our opinion. Don’t be afraid of that right.

Break. It. Up.

Readers’ searches for content will generally be determined by how fast they can skim read. You’ll only succeed at slowing them down by getting your hooks into them. Ease the function of rapidly shifting eyeballs by breaking up your pieces with short passages, lists, images, bullet points and captions. Clever use of subheadings can break your story down and captivate your reader.

Tell stories.

You’ll always be able to engage readers with how-to pieces, predictions, top-tens and other similar staples. But think of yourself as being a storyteller too. There are certain key elements to storytelling such as time, place, characters, conflict and resolution which can help you to take your reader on a journey.

Arouse.

I don’t wish to be too bold. But maybe I should. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of sensory stimulation. Great writing leans heavily on cliffhangers. So build curiosity. Suggest. Surprise. Hit. Twist. Do the unexpected. Whatever you can do to make eyes dilate and hearts pound will make you mean more to your reader.

Teach.

Advertising is essentially preaching. We like to think of entrepreneurial journalism as being more about teaching. Your mission is to educate, and entertain. You’re going to have to talk about your brand, but you’ll never build an audience if that’s all you talk about. Share your knowledge with generosity and make the reader feel that they’ve engaged in something valuable.

Converse.

Entrepreneurial journalism can lead us to write conversationally. It helps when you ask your readers to ask questions, add comments and join the new media interaction party.

Demand Action.

As any comedian will tell you, it’s always best to leave your

funniest gag until the end of the show. But entrepreneurial journalism has no point of closure. After all it will be motion that you’re ultimately measuring. So never bid your reader farewell. Tell them what to do next. Share. Sign up. Register. Download. Try. Buy.

Grasp these points of entrepreneurial journalism? If you do you’ll succeed in engaging readers. Whatever happens, let us know and don’t be a stranger.

Entrepreneurial journalism: the written word and commerce. Part II.

Entrepreneurial journalism: the written word and commerce. Part I.

Entrepreneurial journalism. Part II.

Identify and focus on the ultimate objective.

If you can succeed in entertaining and educating your reader, then you’re half way there. But we never lose sight of the fact that strong entrepreneurial journalism should be aimed at eliciting a response from its reader, rather than entertaining or educating him or her.

The exact nature of that response can come in different shapes and sizes. But is has to be clearly identified and targeted from the outset. Unless we know precisely what optimum reader response we’re seeking, then we’re not practising entrepreneurial journalism.

Add Value and Establish Credibility.

Reading various other peoples’ work on commercial content, we’ve seen the word “value” come up again and again. But how do we add value to a product by writing about it?

Let’s approach this question by way of analogy. We like to think of a football commentator, who’s giving a commentary on a match you’re watching. A good commentator will offer a sense of excitement and provide an accurate description (players’ names etc) of the game.

A great commentator also does these things. But they’ll also tell you things that you didn’t previously know and point out details of the match that you hadn’t previously noticed. A great commentator will be on your level. They’ll give you the sense of being on your side by helping you to derive as much enjoyment from the game as possible. It’s easy to understand that some people have favourite football players. But it’s our experience that people also have favourite football commentators as well.

Connect and Empathise with your readers.

We all need a friend out there. In market places that sometimes seem rapacious and bewildering, it can be nice on occasions to be taken by the hand and helped to make a good decision. But it’s nicer if you feel that the person who is taking you by the hand has an unambiguous understanding of what you’re actually looking for in that market place. And to understand your readers you’re going to have to take the time to get to know them before you start communication with them.

Visit the venue before the Event.

It’s important to be mindful of where or how your reader is going to encounter your content. This can be tricky because the answer(s) may not be singular. You may be firing some shots in the dark. However, you’ll be a far more valuable resource if you’re able to integrate your content into a

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media-driven strategy.

Think about how the media best serves your reader. Try and identify a realistic time and place where the interaction will take place. Is it going to be one or two way traffic? Will the experience be superficial or more profound? Is it a first time meeting, a regular spot on the social calendar or a follow-up? As much as is possible try to focus on the where, when and why factors and you could increase the relevance and accessibility of your content.

Put Meaning into your Message.

Your content should be based on an idea. But that idea can’t be arbitrary. However basic this may sound, anyone can call themselves a content creator. Style without substance can still turn heads and, though it will always be found out sooner or later, in the short term it can even win contracts. But we want you to do things properly. We want you to thrive and still be reading our blogs in years to come.

So every element of the content you create should be a step towards an ultimate objective. Put another way the macro message you want to deliver will never be successfully constructed unless the micro messages are intricately, thoughtfully and meaningfully delivered in a manner that is more than anything joined up.

Contextualise your Message.

Interactions in the public sphere no longer occur in isolation. This is a fact that is even more evident in commercial spheres. So make sure you’ve got a good sense of who’s doing what in the space that you’re entering. Find out where the party’s at. Learn what’s tired and what’s fresh. Identify your market’s most influential individuals, organisations, publishers and companies.

Never be afraid to rigorously research your competition. Familiarise yourself with the tactics and tone that have traction in the market place. While you’re ultimately going to be served by making yourself unique, it will always help to know what’s worked and what hasn’t.

Make your content come alive.

The best way of doing this is by having a headline that makes an impact. Your headline is an invitation to like-minded people to join you and enjoy what you’re enjoying. So you can’t afford to be coy. Make people feel that they’ll be missing something unmissable if they don’t get on board with you. Make it clear this one can’t be missed.

Excite. Tease. Tantalise. Strike a chord. And be ever mindful of the fact that you only get one shot at a one liner. Make your opening salvo resonate. It needs to be exciting, resilient and most importantly something that you won’t be tired of seeing a year from now.

Listen. Create. Communicate. Three words that occupied us for days. They’re probably not words that are going to get anyone hot under the collar. But they’re words that accurately headline what we do.

Maintain Perspective.

You live, breathe and sleep your company. Good. It shouldn’t be any other way. But let’s be fair. Not everyone is going to share your passion. The easiest way to lose someone is to ply them with information about something that they have no interest in.

You won’t turn a single head by talking about your brand or product. Regardless of the message you’re trying to give, the central character of the piece has to be the reader. Make “you” your stand out word. Assume that your reader’s favourite subject is him or herself. After all everybody warms to someone who is interested in them.

Encourage a Realisation.

Let’s assume your headline worked. Your reader gets your message. But never is the old adage “many a slip twist cup and lip” truer. You could still lose that reader if you don’t consolidate the initial connection. So pose a question or make a statement that encourages the “yes, that’s me” realisation. Let your reader know you get them and you get their needs.

Feelings are your friend.

Your reader will process information firstly through emotion, and secondly through reason. So your writing should be connecting straight to your reader’s limbic system; the sub-cortex section of the brain, the centre of desire and motivation. Use words that suggest passion (and if you’re passionate about your subject that helps) and feelings.

Mates’ Rates.

Drifting? Lacking ideas? Words aren’t flowing? Not hitting the right tone? Each of these issues is probably linked to you over-thinking what you’re doing. So approach your content without fear and formality. Singularise the interaction by talking to just one person. Try imagining it’s a mate or someone you’re relaxed when talking to. And start typing the way you’d talk.

Enliven with Verbs.

Use adjectives sparingly and use verbs vigorously. Engagement is about doing. Support. Promote. Achieve. Do. Be. Do.

Express yourself.

In a world defined by increasing homogeneity people tend to remember the one offs. The writers that are remembered: Shakespeare, Joyce, Twain and Camus had voices that were as unique as their fingerprints. And you are unique. So find your voice. Let it define your writing. And never be afraid of being you.

Plain English is Big and Clever.

Want to alienate a reader? Go to the manual. There’s nothing worse than industry-specific, technical language. All it will do is cast your reader back to the hellish hours they spent assembling a flat-pack piece of furniture. No matter how much you love your industry’s jargon, leave it where it belongs.

But, perhaps conversely, avoid any process of dumbing down, in pursuit of perceived accessibility. Just be yourself and focus on little words that showcase big ideas.

Rhubarb Fool is a multi-platform content provider

Entrepreneurial journalism. Part I.

At Rhubarb Fool we never stop reminding ourselves that you won’t deliver style, if you can’t deliver substance.

In no small part, the substance of Rhubarb Fool’s work is determined by the content it generates. The greatest proportion of this contact comes in the form of the written word. And that’s what will will be the broadest focus of this piece. Good, accessible writing.

We’re also clear that the writing that we

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undertake as Rhubarb Fool is largely commercial. Its success or failure won’t be determined by the response of The Times Literary Review. However, at Rhubarb Fool we all love great writing and we all aspire to write well.

In our attempts to qualify the writing we produce, we’ve coined the phrase ‘entrepreneurial journalism’. It’s a phrase that you may have come across on our website. But please don’t get too alarmed. We’re not claiming to be great entrepreneurs and we’re certainly not claiming to be journalists. Rather, when we talk of entrepreneurial journalism, we’re talking about writing that helps our customers meet their commercial objectives.

If we approach writing in its generic form, the conclusion that our boardroom conversations have led us to is that good writing is underpinned by the author’s personality (having something worth saying in an attractive, engaging and interesting fashion) and accuracy (grammatical and factual integrity).

At the same time, anyone who has written a lot will know that (even if you have bags of personality and are the sort of person who loses sleep over a mis-placed comma or a questionable fact), writing involves a process.

Entrepreneurial journalism is, by its very nature, more process driven than its brothers and sisters in the literary or journalistic world. Essentially, the process

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of entrepreneurial journalism demands not only preparation (that would be a prerequisite for any good piece of writing), it also involves planning. Our purpose is not only to deliver something that attracts and engages. It is also to deliver something that is functional. Something that does a great job for our customer.

So read on and let us set out the most important steps we’ve identified that could help you deliver good commercial writing. We hope that this piece guides you through the planning process to the point of execution and implementation.

Rhubarb Fool LGBT TRAVEL CONTENT

LGBT Tourism Breaks Through USD$200 Billion in Annual Spending

The world’s leading LGBT tourism trade association today released new research showing the annual spend on tourism

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by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people will exceed USD$200 billion for the first time in 2014.

Out Now Business Class www.OutNowBusinessClass.com presented the latest findings from the world’s largest LGBT market research study LGBT2020 today at a special Masterclass on LGBT tourism trends at World Travel Market in London, the leading event for the global tourism industry.

The new LGBT2020 data showed that the top 20 markets for LGBT tourism now account for annual travel spending of USD$202 billion.

The largest spending markets were the USA (USD$56.5 billion) and Brazil (USD$25.3 billion).

Out Now Business Class also announced new affiliate relationships with ETOA (European Tour Operators Association) and GALTA (Gay and Lesbian Tourism Australia).

ONBC and ETOA jointly released a new LGBT2020 Report on European Tourism showing the total value of spending on travel by LGBT Europeans will next year account for USD$66.1 billion of total tourism spending.

Also presenting during today’s LGBT Masterclass presented

by ONBC at WTM were Polo Sánchez-Valle Ortega from the Mexico Tourism Board, Jay Munro Michell of ETOA, Richard Gray of Fort Lauderdale CVB and Darren Cooper of Out Now Global.

The CEO of Out Now Global, Ian Johnson, also announced today that ONBC is now the largest global LGBT tourism trade organisation of its type.

“Out Now always works very hard to deliver the best from all our work, so for us the successful launch of the Out Now Business Class tourism trade association for the industry has been really important,” Johnson said. “ONBC is not only delivering unequalled levels of education, networking and research to members, we are pleased the industry has understood the many benefits we are hard-wiring into the ONBC system to help businesses do better in their LGBT marketing and that sees our membership now exceed 2,300 members worldwide. That makes Out Now Business Class by far the largest LGBT tourism networking association in the world.”

Johnson explained that those organisations training staff in the ONBC system as an included part of their membership become eligible to become certified on the new OutNow.travel www.OutNow.travel consumer website which is backed by many of the world’s leading LGBT media providers.

Johnson also said the results presented during the ONBC Masterclass at WTM today had much to keep the industry thinking on about how to best understand and meet the needs of the global LGBT travel market.

“It is great that the value of LGBT tourism spending now exceeds USD$202 billion but there are still many challenges the industry needs to address,” Johnson said. “Staff training is essential to help get staff up to speed with what has become an unstoppable LGBT consumer revolution for the travel industry. We are obviously pleased that all ONBC members now receive unlimited online staff training to help deliver better understanding and customer service to LGBT guests.”

Johnson also pointed out that the acronym LGBT may soon be replaced by the more inclusive LGBTI – recognising an increasing awareness of Intersex issues in society. “Intersex people are becoming more visible and their unique issues are slowly becoming better understood,” Johnson said. “In a number of markets in which Out Now works the acronym LGBT is now routinely being superseded by LGBTI and the global tourism industry definitely needs more education on what being Intersex means.”

http://www.wtmlondon.com/page.cfm/action=press/libID=1/libEntryID=2343/listID=1#sthash.4Uh7MEJw.dpuf