“The Man” Online: China Shuts down Foursquare, BP’s SEM

The U.K.’s Telegraph paper is reporting that “according to some sources” access to Foursquare has been shut down in mainland China. The reasons behind the censorship haven’t been explained, but it’s pretty typical behavior from a government that has regularly closed access to online services when they permit users to behave in unapproved manners–Twitter and Facebook have been targets, and the recent spat over Google‘s censorship is now the stuff of media legend.


BP buying “oil spill” and other terms on Google
As consumers turn online for information regarding the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, BP is looking to do some damage control by buying search ads on relevant keywords, and by broadcasting its cleanup initiatives on a dedicated YouTube channel. BP is said to be putting between $600,000 and $1 million into its paid search ad effort and $50 million more on TV ads.

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Design: London’s New Bus

When it comes to mayors of London, I was and am a fan of Ken Livingstone, and think Boris Johnson is a loveable buffoon. That said, I am a fan of the Routemaster, and not fond of the “bendy bus”.  I was therefore relieved to hear that British transport chiefs have announced the design of the new double-decker bus which is inspired by the decommissioned Routemaster. With its rounded corners and hop-on hop-off-door, Routemasters became a British icon over the 50 years of service it gave after its launch in the 1950s.
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Gareth Kay gets a Real Job (Title)

Goodby Promotes Gareth Kay to Director of Brand Strategy
The inexorable rise of Gareth Kay. Always great to see one of the good guys getting to the top. And he’s rid himself of that perplexing title of “director of *digital* strategy” to boot. (Is digital strategy different? That’s a mindset rather than a different discipline, surely?)

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Social/ Advertising: Hovis “Buzz”

Hovis embarks on first ‘buzz marketing’ drive
Hovis is launching its first marketing advocacy programme, to promote its recently launched Hearty Oats product. The Premier Foods bread brand is mirroring initiatives undertaken by Procter & Gamble, which has also used word-of-mouth programmes to raise awareness of its products. The aim of the campaign is to recruit 8000 advocates to help support the launch of the product, as Hovis introduces a greater word-of-mouth element to its marketing activity. Hovis Hearty Oats is the UK’s first loaf baked with 50% wholegrain oats and 50% wheat flour. Premier Foods claims that it can help to maintain normal cholesterol; the company has received the backing of charity Heart UK. Meh. For me Hovis is still about the Hovis ‘Bike’ advert from 1973 (Britain’s favourite TV ad apparently)

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People: The Mozza Stays On

Publicis Groupe chief executive Maurice Lévy has put on hold plans to retire at the end of next year, after the resignation of David Kenny, managing partner of the holding company’s Vivaki unit and a possible successor for Lévy’s job. Lévy, in a statement said he would “stay on board as long as needed,” at the request of the Publicis’ supervisory board. M. Levy has always been a supporter of Connections and I applaud his move.
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