Paddy Power Ryder Cup Sky Tweets
Paddy Power Ryder Cup Sky Tweets Planes

Irish bookmaker Paddy Power posted the worlds first ‘sky tweets’ in a guerrilla campaign designed to share messages of support to #TeamEurope golfers who were competing in the 2012 Ryder Cup at the Medina Country Club in Illinois.

The bookmaker hired 5 stunt planes to fly at 10,000ft above the course to tweet up to 60 specially selected messages some in support of the European golfers, while others just taunting their American counterparts.

Some of the tweets, which were visible from more than 20 miles away, included ‘Spirit of Seve’, ‘Rory’s Gonna Getcha’ and ‘Mrs Dufner is Hot’ in reference to the wife of US player Jason Dufner.  Tiger Woods didn’t get away with tweets asking ‘Seen Tiger?’

The cheeky campaign was led by Paddy Power’s own twitter handle (@PaddyPower) and asked followers to use the not-official #GoEurope hashtag.

And who was behind this campaign?  Well, the London-based Taylor Herring PR agency of course [I stand corrected, in fact the concept was ‘invented, managed and delivered by CURB with support from PR agency Taylor Herring.  Thanks to Anthony for the correction! 🙂 ].  Hat tip’s all round for a campaign that used creativity and social media.

Have a look here at Rory McIlroy’s reaction to the tweets in the Sky:


UK mobile network O2 was today battling to restore services to it’s customers nationwide after a massive outage.  The issues began yesterday lunchtime with many users reporting that they were unable to make calls or use data services on their smartphones.  Subscribers to Tesco Mobile and GiffGaff services were also affected, which use the O2 network, were also affected, although O2 said that the issues were not geographical.

Consumers took to social networks like Facebook and Twitter to let friends, family and colleagues that their phones were not working.

An analysis of shares on Twitter using reveals insight into what people were sharing during the outage.

  • 11 July – at 12.25 people mentioned O2 182 times, with the most popular shared link being of the site’s  Accessories Page
  • 11 July – at 13.25 people mentioned O2 144 times, with the most popular shared link being of O2’s Support Page
  • 11 July – at 14.32 people mentioned O2 480 times, with the most popular shared link being a Tweet to share if ”RT this if you have a problem with your phones reception (O2/3)
  • 11 July – at 18.35 people mentioned O2 7,185 times, with the most popular link to share being the story O2 outage story on the BBC news site.
  • 11 July – at 21.35 people mentioned O2 19,962 times with the most popular link being to Sky News story ‘O2 Customers Suffer Lengthy Network Outage
Mentions of o2 during July 2012 network outage (©

Even at 03.25 there were over 300 tweets mentioning O2 with the top story being share being a link to the network’s service status page.

During the outage O2’s own status support page went down with so many people trying to find out what was going on.  Interestingly enough, technology sites such as Twitter use Blogger, while others host their support sites on Tumblr in order to keep in touch with customers if their own sites go down.  Why haven’t O2 considered this?

In all over 57,000 Tweets were sent mentioning O2 during the last 24 hours, many with negative sentiment.  Customers even took to using irony and sarcasm to discuss the mobile operator, with a popular Tweets like the one below:

Social media keeps us connected on the go and during a crisis, it is speed and reaction time that saves your reputation.  It’s communicating with influencers in these channels who, if convinced, can re-share your story to the audiences.  Below is a list of the most popular links, many from news sites, that were shared during the network outage.

Popular news links shared during O2 network outage (©

Your communications have to ready.  Prepared for real-time engagement and communications.  There is no excuse, unless you like to be slow and enjoy watching your brand suffer, which I am sure your board and shareholders don’t.

Telefonica owned UK mobile operator O2 was this morning caught in a storm when a user discovered that his phone number was being sent to websites he visited when roaming through O2’s network.

System Administrator Lewis Peckover discovered the data and privacy breach when building a site and wanting to know the information that was being sent and possibly collected while browsing on a mobile network.

After alerting O2 yesterday 24 January at 15.12 through Twitter it took the mobile operator nearly four hours to ask @lewispeckover for a screenshot.  This request followed a previous tweet where the company tried to reassure him by stating that ‘the mobile number in the HTML is linked to how the site determines that your browsing from a mobile device‘.

This issue went public this morning when people bombarded O2 for answers, forcing the company to issue it’s first statement at 08.49 by stating ‘we are investigating this at the moment and will update everyone as soon as possible.’

This breach in privacy creates a massive concern not just for consumers but businesses that use O2 for data roaming as sending users numbers might enable bots to harvest these for spam.

Twitter users have already been calling for O2 to be reported to both Ofcom and the Information Commissioner’s Office (IOC).

To check if you are affected switch to 3G and use the following script developed by Lewis Peckover to see if your own UK or International overseas cellular network sends your number.

This story is developing.

Wednesday, 25 January – 15.40: O2 has tweeted at 15.32 a statement saying, ‘We’re sorry about the concern re mobile numbers and web browsing, which is now fixed. Here’s what happened + Q&A.‘  They included a link to a Q&A in their blog:

Foursquare has announced the availability of Foursquare Pages for companies, brands and other organisations.  While still buggy since it was made public yesterday the concept will focus on having a one-stop Page that will allow users to share tips, reach new fans and gain new followers on this location-based social networking platform.

Geo-marketing is a concept that has been around for many years and focuses on using geolocation ‘in the process of planning and delivering marketing activities based and tailored on the location of the audience.’  Foursquare adds the concept of the community to the marketing to enable organisations to tap into and benefit from recommendations that our own social communities share – best table at this restaurant, great shop for vintage, great customer service at this shop, etc.  The problem though is that after over 2 years since Foursquare was unveiled it is still seen as a game and an experiment by many businesses.  It has not been adopted, yet!

The opportunities for businesses though are enormous.  After all, the theory goes that if you reward your customers then they should recommend the business to their own community.  Some brand specific Foursquare campaigns have yielded interesting results, but the use is still restricted to those that are connected, are social networking enthusiasts and have smartphones – not your average consumer.

From my experience, I see that local businesses in South East Asia have taken to geo-marketing with more individuality than in Western European cities.  In London the standard offer is a discount for the Mayor of a venue – bar, restaurant, shop.  That is it.  Rare to see the rewards for ‘checking-in’ that you see in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Jakarta, such as discounts and free gifts just for visiting and ‘checking in.’  Perhaps it is a cultural point.

Customer facing businesses will only gain the benefits from geo-marketing if they develop suitable rewards that encourage customers to develop their loyalty.  After all, the technology alone won’t improve the bottom-line, for this you have to look at the business from a consumers perspective.

Foursquare and other services are ideally placed to help small and medium sized businesses (SME’s) because it isn’t just about rewards, but about accessing the recommendations from members of our networks.

The International Olympic Committee has released it’s Social Media Guidelines for participants and other accredited persons at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The four-page document is the IOC’s attempt to recapture the ground it never had when Twitter became the must-have channel for those competing at the winter Vancouver 2010 games.

Remember the death of Georgian Luger Nodar Kumaritashvili and how the footage of the tragic accident ended up on YouTube, Twitter and other social networking sites.  Happening just before the opening ceremony and the online chatter accentuated the lack of control and understanding that the Olympic committee had over social media and which cast a shadow over the Vancouver Olympics.

In the guidelines the IOC ‘actively encourages and supports athletes and other accredited persons at the Olympic Games to … post, blog and tweet their experiences.’ it directs those competing to avoid using social networking sites ‘for commercial and/or advertising purposes.’  If athletes and other accredited persons do break these guidelines then they risk accreditation being withdrawn.  More worrying for athletes is the threat of possible expulsion from the games.

So how will these guidelines affect the work of public relations agencies working with athletes and their sponsors?  Will non-accredited sponsors see these guidelines as a red rag to a bull?  How strong will ambush marketing play during the 2012 Olympics?  Remember how Dutch beer company Bavaria got, as The Daily Telegraph describes, ‘36 women wearing skimpy orange dresses attend the Holland versus Denmark game‘ to promote Dutch Bavaria beer in breach of Fifa guidelines.  Organisers of the stunt were then arrested.

What are your thoughts? How important will social networking play for brands that are sitting outside the tent and that will never be able to be a participant in the Olympic experience?

IOC Social Media Blogging and Internet Guidelines-London