Archive for the 'News' Category

22
Sep
10

The City maketh the culture

If you’re very blunt cities are just a collection of buildings, roads and infrastructure where people happen to live and work; they’re essentially just a theatrical backdrop to the daily dramas of each individual’s life – but I like to think they’re more than that.

Cities aren’t just backdrops, they define cultures and movement, some much more so than others. For years certain cities have grabbed their denizens and shown them the lights, whether it be London, Berlin, Köln, New York, Paris or Florence the greatest artistic, political and cultural movements have sprung forth from the cities that spin their inhabitants like whirling dervishes into creative thought and action.

Take the naturalistic beauty of Florence; this is a city that has inspired generations of not just artists, but real masters. You think of Florence and you think of the whole Florentine School cabal which – amongst others – gave us Donatello, Botticelli, Masaccio and Michelangelo; and to this day artists flock to Florence to be inspired, to take in the winsome tuscan countryside, the exquisite architecture and the delicate palette of colours, smells and tastes that float through every Florentine street and piazza.

Or consider the roaring seething orgy that still is Berlin – through generations this city has inspired biting satire, political activism and an art scene that could only be described as brutally honest portrayals of the world around them. Politically this is the city that saw the rise of Communism and National Socialism in the 30s, during the cold war it saw political activism like nowhere else with a plethora of strong protest groups and even today real dissent and anti-government feeling ferments with activists still keeping Angela Merkel’s coalition quite firmly on its toes. Artistically, this political melting pot drives the art scene, from the vicious social commentary of George Grosz or Kathe Kollwitz to the glorious revelry in the debauchery of the cocaine fuelled metrosexual nightclubs as portrayed by Otto Dix; and more recently the free-wheeling poor but sexy Berlin as captured so marvellously in my opinion in the joyous canvases of Ann-Kristin Hamm.

London again twists its inhabitants, the driving ever-changing scene in London opens new doors every day; one person’s crap is another person’s treasure, from the decaying East End of the 1980   that inspired the mega-canvases of multi-cultural faces in Gilbert & Georges seminal work ‘Are you angry, or are you bored’ to the gawking polemic on Britain’s celebrity obsessed culture embodied so well in Damien Hirst’s ‘For the love of God’ (better known as the diamond encrusted skull). Over and over again London like Florence or Berlin has allowed a level of expression that no other city in its shadow could foster. It’s taken in the waifs and strays and given them a canvas to play with: and that – that – is why we love our cities.

Vivid London – it’s not just a name: it defines us, the city we’re based in hones our approach. Life should be Vivid, and London inspires us. It truly is a vivid city; the cultures, languages, art, theatre, cinema, architecture, the whole simmering mass is exciting to be in – and because of that creative thought thrives.

10
Sep
10

Has Mr Murdoch scored a spectacular own goal?

MacBook Pro displaying The Times website.I’m an avid Times reader, from the headlines to the Cricket, and I’m especially rabid if there’s a new restaurant revue, or an opinion leader from Giles Coren, A.A.Gill, Jeremy Clarkson or Alpha Mummy.

It’s been almost five years since I had a regular subscription to a newspaper delivered to my house and, if I’m honest, quite a lot of that had something to do with The Times moving to the horrific tabloid layout that’s plagued its paper version ever since. I’m now a digital reader – I rarely buy a newspaper in print form, unless I’m travelling or fancying an idyllic weekend curled up with tea, papers and good books; something my iPhone and my obsessive e-mail checking syndrome almost always curtails.

As a digital reader I enjoyed Times Online, it wasn’t quite as pretty as the Guardian, or quite as interactive as the FT, but when it was redesigned I started to get excited. The layout was clean, easy to navigate and retained a certain sense that you’re reading news rather than just seeing news between a hundred flashing adverts, social media side bars and endless inane comments; but then along came Paywall Day.

Some predicted it would be like all the lights going out (you won’t be able to survive without it), others (sneakily calling themselves the majority) thought otherwise, but a month and a bit in, the Paywall hasn’t destroyed The Times, at least not yet.

The most obvious change was that the amount of articles, carrying significant amounts of user generated comment, dropped dramatically; the blame americans/europeans/arabs/the left (delete as applicable) ramblers and loons have been silenced, replaced instead by people that understand the importance of an argument and capital letters. Threaded comment system has also made it possible to engage users directly, resulting in branch topics and a real ability to pull up those who haven’t thought their comments through or are, in your opinion, just plain wrong.

The quality of the articles has also increased – almost all feature pieces have video, photo galleries and associated stories surrounding them; something that the previous incarnation of the site used to struggle with, So it’s here that I’m seeing the real value of the subscription; The Times is now regularly rivalling the BBC on the integrated nature of its copy, and that can only be an improvement to the often trivialised articles that appear as fillers on other news sites.

So it’s all good? Well not quite. There’s no denying, it’s a quieter site than it used to be – there’s still a significant amount of similar content available free elsewhere, and it’s clear that The Times is going to have to work hard to get people into its site. What is interesting is that with the exception of the initial trial period when the website launched there’s now no sample, no tasters, no giveaways – nothing, nadda, zip. If you want the Times, great, if you’re not sure they give no reasons to reassure. It’s this lack of a reason to buy that I think is their main barrier to increased subscription sales; only time will tell if Murdoch’s real conviction that content should be paid for acts as a limiter or an enabler for The Times. What is for certain is that other than rumours that other News International publications might follow, The Times is currently standing alone on the shoreline, and only time will tell if the tide washes over them or they change it’s direction.

28
Apr
10

“That was a disaster”

Well, it was his words not mine…. Gordon Brown appears to have today been caught in what must surely be the political cock-up of his premiership. Forget the usual parliamentary skullduggery, no this comes down to a simple mistake, a microphone left on.


When Mr Brown awoke this morning I am willing to bet he had no idea that such a bad day lay before him, and frankly the day began well. When Gordon got to Rochdale, he engaged in a ‘friendly chat’ with some local voters, one of whom was 65 year old retiree Gillian Duffy, a lifelong Labour supporter. She grilled the PM, not unfairly it must be added, on issues such as taxes, pensions and immigration – issues that mattered to her. The debate seemed fair and balanced, with both sides putting forward valid arguments. That is until Gordon Brown departed the scene. Upon setting foot inside his Jaguar campaign car, he immediately labeled the exchange a “disaster”, before going on to launch an angry attack on both Gillian Duffy, labeling her a “bigot”; and his staff, for allowing her to speak to him.


What Gordon Brown evidently did not know is that the lapel microphone he was wearing (which incidently his own party had insisted upon) was still on, and broadcasting exactly what he was saying live and direct to Sky News. Matters weren’t exactly helped when about half an hour later he appeared on BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine Show to talk about the incident, only to not know he was also being filmed. Whilst Brown may have been trying to sound optimistic, the visual showed a defeated, tired and broken figure, clearly frustrated by the day’s events.

As I write this, Mr Brown has just emerged from within Gillian Duffy’s house, possibly after being on his knees begging for forgiveness: after all, this is an election campaign.

I am at least slightly impressed that both he and the Labour party in general have managed to turn this incident around from occurrence to personal visit and apology in under four hours.


That said, he really should have known better. The other candidates, and their parties, will no doubt be watching this with great interest for the obvious political benefit it will give them, but also no doubt be breathing a sigh of relief that they didn’t make the same mistake themselves.


PR Lesson No. 1, Mr Brown – the mic is always on. Yes, you thought you were in private, and yes, you’re entitled to your opinion – but the mic was attached (which your probably by now ex-press secretary should have told you). And when it’s attached, it’s always on – especially if you want to call one of your voters a ‘bigot’.

25
Mar
10

Politics and social media

The 2008 U.S. Election was regarded as being the first ‘multi platform election’ – with social media having a huge role in the historic result. But now, it seems, that social media is impacting on President Barack Obama’s leadership negatively, with many users becoming ‘desktop critics’ of the President.

You only have to take a look at social media to see that the healthcare reform bill, which was passed this week (before being withdrawn for amendment), is one topic that divides the American public. But while the majority let the bill pass with quiet satisfaction; the disenchanted are rallying the ‘Twitter troops’. The venom being directed towards Barack Obama and the Democrat party in the past few days, across all social media outlets, is nothing short of jaw dropping.

Take a look at sites like Facebook and see the swell of movement from anti-Obama users. The ‘NoBama’ Facebook application has a total of 84,765 regular users – a small minority of online Americans – but when their comments reach the point of wanting to try Democratic representatives for treason over the healthcare plan, you really have to take note.

“Awake and hoping I never need any medical care by our Socialist Health Care System…..”
Anonymous Twitter User

Social Media is no longer something to be brushed off as time wasting for geeks, especially when there are users calling for the assassination of President Obama; something that the Secret Service has now begun to investigate. If we are to learn anything from the past few hours, it is that the dissatisfied and the enraged will take control of social media, because they attract the most attention. President Obama was a huge hit with social media when he arrived; now the backlash is beginning to gather pace.

The bill has demonstrated a huge gulf in the bipartisan system of American politics; a gulf that is reflected in the social media world that now surrounds everybody. Including President Barack Obama.

“We proved that this government of the people and by the people still works for the people.”
President Obama on the passing of the healthcare bill.

The people are working too Mr President. Working on Facebook and on Twitter – be it for or against you. It’s a message that nobody should take lightly – take note of the people’s web presence. People’s opinions are no longer voiced in the street with a banner and a chant, they appear in your online news feed alongside party plans and drunken photos of the night before.


Andrew Beedle

01
Mar
10

German – The ‘Language of Ideas’

Guido Westerwelle, Germany’s Foreign Minister, is often lampooned for his distinct lack of finesse when speaking English. His political rivals often argue that his linguistic skills are not befitting those of a foreign minister. Amongst the social media public Westerwelle is infamous: A group that mistranslates German press articles in to his vernacular has almost 50,000 fans on Facebook.

It should come as no surprise then, that Mr Westerwelle recently launched the “German – the language of ideas” campaign. It highlights the strength of the German language with events running at Goethe Instituten around the world and counts some of Germany’s most prolific authors amongst its patrons.

We agree; German is a strong contender for the title of ‘the language of ideas’. Of themselves, Germans talk of their nation as being that of the Dichter und Denker (poets and thinkers) – It’s a fair point. Where would we be without Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Immanuel Kant, or Bertoldt von Brecht? Even if you’re not a fan of these, you won’t be able to deny the impact that German writers, philosophers and have had on European and world thought.

We’re commited to having an impact on the European media scene – that’s why our team is largely bilingual, and why we pride ourselves on integrated campaigns that are tailored to specific cultures.

To find out how we can make German the language of your ideas, contact us today!

15
Feb
10

Don’t fight social media; you can’t stop the flow

Don't fight social media - you can't stop the flow

Don't fight social media - you can't stop the flow - Social Media Facts

10
Feb
10

German Trade and Industry welcomes Vivid London

Things are picking up at Vivid Köln: A month after the informal opening of our new branch, we’ve got staff on the ground ready to go! We’re feeling very welcome in Vivid’s second home, not least because we’ve been officially welcomed by the Germany Trade and Invest!




Who we are

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