Archive for March, 2010

DirectGov – Government Services and Gay Porn all in one place

[tweetmeme source=”your_twitter_name” http://www.URL.com%5D

(This Blog first appeared on www.thedrum.co.uk where Gordon is a regular contributor, and again as an article in the Drum Magazine.


(Update from Gordon) – Within a few hours of this blog being posted DirectGov took the site down – see their full response in the comments section below.

(Update number 2 from Gordon) – 8 days after the story broke DirectGov complaints department have responded to the online contact form I filled in before posting this blog to say “Dear GMK –  We have seen the item. Our press office have issued the following statement:” the next bit was just the same statement as posted on this blog comments section previously. Clearly one part of DirectGov doesn’t know what another part is doing and this also proves that if you want something done don’t complain write a blog!

You must have seen those hideously expensive adverts on TV for www.direct.gov.uk with the big celebs like, well you know, her that used to advertise the sky digital box with Bruce Forsythe and well you know other celebs!

Well the website of the UK government has had a big budget, a big launch and a big campaign aimed at getting people to visit the site but they have also made a huge cock-up (oh maybe that’s an unfortunate choice of words).

The site even has a kids section http://kids.direct.gov.uk and to make it more kiddie friendly they have called it “Busters World” complete with an image of a friendly dog (presumably called Buster) who is wearing a sheriffs badge (nice bit of trust imagery).  The site describes itself “DirectgovKids helps you find out about the world around you. We have loads of fun games, exciting videos and cartoons and much more!” Have a look:

directgov kids

OK what is so wrong about that – well let me tell you it is very, very, very wrong!  In a spectacular piece of poor brand naming strategy which must have included no research whatsoever Busters World is also the name of a fetish gay porn site (I am not making this up honestly).

Imagine this, little Johnny learns about the site at school under the supervision of his teacher and comes home and tells mommy all about the fun new website Busters World and asks if he can go on it. Of course he can, now Johnny can’t remember the domain name and types Busters World into Google and the first site listed is probably not what he expected but there is a big balloon on the front page so it’s obviously for kids right?

busters warning page

When you click on the “I agree to these terms” button (which I only did for research purposes) you land at a very friendly welcome page where men with fashionable facial hair are having fun with balloons (and what child doesn’t like balloons?).

busters porn page

The Power of Twitter – I found out less than an hour ago via twitter, Falkirk based @More4Mums the online discount maternity clothing store http://www.more4mums.co.uk who tweeted.

“My 6yr old tells me she was on Busters World at school – Googled to have a look OMG !!! Real link here http://ow.ly/13TrB” And then later “How can someone be so stupid as to name the kids portal on directgov “Buster’s world”??? Internet safety anyone??  A few direct messages later and I have to say I share her indignation.

Ok lets pause for a few minutes … have you stopped laughing?  It took me a while but when the initial madness of this situation sinks in you will realise that the organisation ultimately responsible for child safety legislation in the UK has made a web, branding and child safety blunder of epic proportions.  Little Johnny will be damaged for life and may even end up becoming a politician!

The site NEEDS to be renamed now and given that the Drum community includes some of the leading branding experts from around the world lets be proactive and come up with some suggestions for a new name.  A packet of Smarties for each of the best three suggestions and we will pass it on to DirectGov.

So leave a comment and let me know what you think of this terrible situation (hint) and what your suggestion for the new name for the site.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp

Intelligise – Be Brilliant

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Social Media is Dead

(This Blog first appeared on www.thedrum.co.uk where Gordon is a regular contributor, and again as the lead article in the February edition in the Drum Magazine)

It’s time to kill off the term “social media”.  It’s boring – it’s last years “big idea”.  Whilst we are at it it’s time to kill off the self appointed social media gurus, Twitter kings, Linked-in gods and Facebook queens, (although admittedly not all Facebook queens are selling social media consultancy!)  As far as I am concerned the word Guru denotes a level of expertise that you just can’t claim to have in an emerging field.

Every few years there is a small improvement in communications technology and someone with an eye for the main chance coins a term and tags the word “revolution” on the end and we have a bona-fide craze on our hands.  This time round the consultants, without any trading history or track record, have come out of the woodwork chanting “social media, social media, you gotta have social media”. Normally serious business people started uploading silly pictures on their Twitter pages and Tweeting inane updates like “oops put 2 much milk in my #morningtea LOL #fail, Please Retweet” and “@duncanbannantyne please ask your followers to follow me”.  Then to cap it all you get a linked-in invitation from someone you met at a conference in Birmingham ten years ago asking you to be one of his valued contacts.

Don’t get me wrong I love Twitter, Linked-in and my blog they are ALL indispensible to my marketing efforts.  What we need to do is clear away the social media BS that’s blinding people to the obvious truth that social media tools are just a new way to manage conversations to engage clients – its not rocket science – its for everybody.

We have seen this sort unhelpful hysteria before: remember the dot.com boom?  I spent the late 90s and early noughties evangelising about online community and facilitating discussion groups and online B2B networking, we called it “online conversation” or “online community” (if only I had known about the revolution thing).  As Shirley Bassey once said “it’s all just a little piece of history repeating”.

People are busy predicting a video revolution, a geo-location revolution, a mobile commuting revolution but if there is one thing you can say for certain about communication technology it is that next week there will be something new – its evolution and not revolution!

Why does the nomenclature matter?  Well revolution is a scary word and add to that lots of consultants claiming Guru status and people think that the tools are complex and difficult to use when they are not.  Most social media training seems to delve no deeper than how to set up a Facebook page or a Twitter account (the stuff that you can learn by reading the PDF guides available from thousands of web sites) and this is counter productive.  The gurus are trying to build a social media silo with access granted to those capable of over excitable hyperbole but its not rocket science – its just a new set of conversation tools.

Most of the people who read Drum blogs work in Marketing, Design, PR and Digital Marketing agencies etc and if the cocktail of social media tools are to become universally useful to businesses then you are the people who can make it happen.  If this latest communication evolution is indeed to generate revolutionary results for business (sorry hyperbolic slip) we have to destroy the silos by doing the hard work of strategically blending the benefits of the new social media engagement tools with each of our specialist marketing offerings.  Only when we have done this can sociability become the default behaviour setting and client engagement can take its rightful place in the marketing tool box alongside PR, advertising, sales, design and brand management et al.

I have just set up a new company and I struggled for a long time with the decision as to whether to start a separate social media consultancy or to keep my social media advice as part of my business development practice, you won’t be surprised that I decided on the latter.  On this blog I want to start a conversation about practical social media marketing and networking, not a load of “hyperbolic guru speak” but plenty of down and dirty, sleeves rolled up ways to use the emerging online conversation toolset to generate return on engagement for ourselves and our clients.

Maybe one day we will be able to say “Social Media BS is dead – long live Social Media Conversation.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp

Intelligise – Be Brilliant