Kim Kardashian is dead until $1m is raised for charity


A handful of celebrities have logged off social networking sites and won’t log on again until $1m is raised for a charity.

Singer Alicia Keys’ charity Keep A Child Alive provides AIDS treatment in Africa and India – and she masterminded the campaign with her new husband Kasseem Daoud Dean, to mark World AIDS Day on Wednesday.

So Lady Gaga’s 7m Twitter followers won’t hear a word out of her until the money is in the bank. Fans of Justin Timberlake, Elijah Wood, Usher and Kim Kardashian will also be kept in the dark for the duration.

However, while the celebrities will be thinking that through their silence they’ll be raising awareness for the charity, will anyone even notice they’ve gone? Is the use of social networks mature enough for anyone to be noticeable by their absence?

We think that where real awareness will be raised is from the spin-off PR in blogs, online editions of newspapers and traditional media.

The tragic passing of Avi Sivan, Director and tireless supporter of Ape Action Africa

All of us at Mendip Media are shocked and saddened to learn of the death of the Director of the charity Ape Action Africa, Avi Sivan, in Cameroon yesterday. Avi and two other people were killed when their helicopter crashed on its way to the capital Yaounde.

Avi was a tireless supporter of Ape Action Africa right from the very early days of CWAF fourteen years ago. His strength, leadership and incredible generosity helped us succeed in giving new hope to hundreds of abused and orphaned primates. Our hearts are with Avi’s wife Talila and her family, Rachel Hogan and all the members of our team who have lost a true friend.

Mendip Media’s support for the charity will continue.


Mendip Media – New Editing Suite


Now that we’re all settled into our new offices in Clifton, we’ve decided to expand into another room to houseour editing facilities.

Video producer Andy and editor Matt have a lot on between now and Christmas and we have big plans for the video production side of the business – watch this space.

For more information about video production in Bristol, visit our main website or send an email to

Display Ads: Facebook vs. Google and Video 2.0

Facebook’s display ads are trouncing Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, it’s been announced, with a quarter of all impressions in the US captured through the social networking site. The news comes just a few months after the Facebook signed-up its 500-millionth user.

The simplicity, targeting genius and low cost of Facebook’s display ad engine has generated almost 300bn ad impressions, and increased Facebook’s online ad market share from 9.2% in Q3 2009 to 13.9% a year later.

That easily snagged the top gong from Yahoo sites (11% market share, 140bn impressions), with Microsoft in third (5%, 64bn) and Google trailing with 2.7% of display ad share.

Although Google is clearly the most important search engine in the traditional sense, Yahoo and Microsoft do own a hefty number of sites that people still like to visit on a very frequent basis – webmail sites for example: Windows Live Hotmail has 360m users, Yahoo mail around 280m and Gmail pushing 200m. Where Microsoft have really scored here is making it difficult to set up Hotmail on desktop email clients and mobiles (Gmail and Yahoo are a breeze), so users are beholden to their interface and therefore their ads too.

Facebook’s success in the display ads market is partly due to Mark Zuckerberg’s strategic decision to hire former Google ad chief David Fischer. And studies suggest that advertising to an extremely targeted market (e.g. women in Bristol, aged 29-31 who are engaged and like Harry Potter) is three times cheaper on Facebook, although it’s significantly more expensive than it was two years ago.

All of this is pretty bad news for Google, who embarked on a new drive to sell display ads with a big relaunch 2 months ago.

One of the key components of Google’s campaign is video – they’re using it to sell ads and incorporating the option in them. This isn’t such a stretch, given that they own YouTube. And it could just be their saving grace.

Google’s research says that “rich media ads with video lift purchase intent 4 times better than standard Flash banner ads. They raise awareness 5 times better and increase brand favourability by 15 times more.”

Video is a powerful medium and it’s no longer confined to the TV, YouTube and Vimeo – it can go almost anywhere on the web. That’s great news for us as an agency specialising in web video and Web 2.0. We can version and reversion video content for any campaign and distribute it through any channel. 9 times out of 10, we don’t even have to re-shoot.

We call that Video 2.0

Last year, only 6% of ads featured rich media content. In the next few months and years, expect that to rise and rise.


A Year Ago This Month

Nicky & Andy Film on Lakeland Set

We were there in November 2009 when the floods washed across Cumbria. Fortunately we weren’t filming exteriors but on set at the Lakeland house, which during that scary wet weather event of 09 lived up to its name: literally a house in the middle of a lake.

We’ve just come back from Kendal after another good week filming with Lakeland. It was pretty wet and wild in the Lake District this time too!

A puddle is something that we in the softer southern climes think of as a little bit of water collected in a dip by the side of the road; in Cumbria it is translated as a deep well of water sitting in the middle of hilly roads that can wipe out cars and trucks. The poor victims of these puddles can be found bedraggled and waiting for the AA in the numerous pubs in out of the way places (one reason, I think, there are so many pubs in the Lake District).

However, the people of the Lakes take it all stoically in their stride. Rain is something they are cursed and blessed with because it really is the loveliest, greenest gift of a region.

Inside the Lakeland house, we soldiered on with cookery gadgets and recipes, whilst the wind blew and the storms lashed.

Hard but rewarding work with a great team, and a pint of Blue Bird at the end of the day!

How many Facebook friends and Twitter followers do you have?

We came across this study from US-based Forrester research today. It charts the average number of friends on Facebook and MySpace and the number of people the average person follows on Twitter. Of course, these figures have been compiled in the US and the UK is generally a few months behind.

However, it’s interesting to us that while younger, Generation Y Facebook users have more friends on Facebook and MySpace, Generation X Twitter users follow more people.

Of course, comparing these charts to similar ones from last year shows an increase across the board. (The research does not take into account platform popularity, so even though favour for Myspace is continuing to slip, those who do use it are making more connections).

Robin Dunbar is an evolutionary anthropologist who studied at, amongst other places, Bristol University. He formulated ‘Dunbar’s number’, which is described as ‘the cognitive limit to the number of individuals with whom any one person can maintain stable relationships’, or rather, the average maximum number of friends we can maintain at any one time.

Dunbar’s number is widely considered to be 150.

An article for the Observer in March 2010 suggested that even Facebook cannot increase this number. Is it coincidence that the average number of connections on Facebook is 135? And if so, what happens next?


If you found this article interesting, here’s the full interview with Robin Dunbar for the Observer:


Skoda Fabia vRS – made of meaner stuff advert

We love this new commercial for the Skoda Fabia vRS, which says the car is ‘made of meaner stuff’.

Launched with TV spots and a social media campaign this lunchtime, Skoda are looking to turn the ‘made of lovely stuff’ campaign on its head. The original ad featured a Skoda car being created by bakers and one of the characters from that ad even appears in this sequel.

The social media element will allow Facebook followers to vote on whether or not friends are ‘mean’ or ‘lovely’. Participation enters Facebook users into a draw to win a Fabia or a Fabia vRS.

This multi-million pound campaign is designed to reach a new audience – the younger car-buying demographic, who’d be more interested in a hot hatch than an estate.


…and here’s the original (with Julie Andrews singing), for comparison…