Guest Post: January’s good, bad and ugly on social media

Guest Post: January’s good, bad and ugly on social media

By Dean Harvey, Digital Development Director at Designate.

We’re well into the New Year now and a fresh release of TV advertising from the travel industry is all over our screens, enticing us to think about sunnier days ahead and forget the gloomy weather outside.

The dynamics between established media and social media are largely unknown as it is relatively new and not yet mature (when compared to traditional media such as press, TV or radio).

Double screening* techniques are being explored by brands – such as using Twitter hashtags as part of their TV advertising.

The theory being that while watching TV you also are multi-tasking and using your smartphone or tablet. In doing so you can start or continue a conversation directly with your audience – while being prompted by your TV adverts.

A quick look at those social media ‘conversations’ can be insightful about the impact of and reaction to a campaign.

Starting with the Ugly, it’s too tempting not to include the latest opus from Thomson in this section.

It is called ‘Simon The Ogre’ after all, who by his nature is ugly. The campaign is the brainchild of Gavin McGrath, creative director at the Thomson’s agency BMB and directed by Fredrik Bond.

Described as more of a mini movie than a TV advert it depicts an ogre, representing a de-humanised Dad of a family, who gradually becomes more human again as a result of being on a Thomson holiday.

Simon is ugly, but so too is some feedback online where it seems to have divided and polarised opinion.

Here’s just some of the conversation if you are following the Thomson hashtag #MeAgain.


And at the other end of the spectrum there is lots of positive sentiment too, making this release seem as if it’s achieved a ‘Marmite’ effect where people “love it or hate it”.


So for this edition of Good, Bad and Ugly it also gets my vote for being ‘Good’ too. There’s no such thing as bad publicity, right?

Also, experimenting with new dynamics but sitting in the ‘Bad’ pile is British Airways.

Using double screening, their new TV ad is featured on their YouTube channel with additional functionality – at the right time in the advert the user is invited to click into the video taking them instantly through to the right part of the website, such as the ‘holiday finder’ or the inspired ‘picture your holiday’.

Nice. Using Jake Bugg as a soundtrack can’t have been cheap – but that seems to have been the only thing that has inspired its viewers.


There’s a missed opportunity here to use a Twitter hashtag on the TV advert to guide viewers towards the additional functionality of their website.

To redeem themselves, however, BA chose instead to use an outdoor advertising campaign that directed people to Twitter.

The #lookup campaign is a storming success, using interactive poster sites with children pointing every time one of their planes flies overhead.

Take a look for yourselves and join the million-plus people that have done so.

This is a great example of exploiting the dynamics between old and new media, coming together to work hard for the brand. Very clever, very good.

*Double Screening – The art of watching TV while simultaneously surfing on a laptop, smartphone or tablet.

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