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News stories that caught our eye in October

Posted by Alex Warren on 31st October 2013

Apple announces… more things!

Following the (somewhat) successful launch of the iPhone 5S and 5C, Apple was back for more this month with the release of the iPad Air and second iPad Mini. The new devices have generally received positive reviews, with the iPad Air being described as both lighter and faster than its predecessor. As for the Mini, the big fear is simply whether Apple will have enough in stock to feed the growing pre-Christmas demand. Despite this success, the Apple event still felt a little bit lacking. It skipped the fanfare of previous launches and continued with Apple’s recent trend of picking upgrades over innovation. Pity.

British Gas – Fuelling the social media flames

October was a mixed month for social media success. First British Gas launched its #AskBG campaign, inviting customers to tell them exactly what they thought of its recent price hikes …gulp. Obviously the whole event quickly escalated into one massive PR disaster; you can read some of the best customer tweets here. This month also saw Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary perform a similar display of social media masochism. Surprisingly though, despite a hurricane of criticism, O’Leary came out pretty much unscathed. In fact, many seemed to mistake his disdainful remarks and casual misogyny with genuine wit and charm.

Do no evil: Return of the banner ad

Believe it or not, way back in 1998, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin stringently rejected the concept of an “advertising funded search engine”. Now look at them, rolling around in their $289 billion worth of click-through revenues! But does it make them happy? Well yes, probably. That may have been the first of Google’s broken promises, but it wasn’t the last. A few years ago the company stated they would never advertise Google products on TV – look what happened there. Now, this October, Google has finally broken one of its oldest promises, never to use full banner ads in search results. Yes now we can all look forward to hearing from our favourite brands in the form of large full-colour ads at the very top of our Google results. Lucky us.

Image credit: Yutaka Tsutano 

Alex Warren

Alex Warren is an expert in AI and marketing technologies. He has published two books, Spin Machines, and Technoutopia and is regularly quoted in PR, marketing and technology media. In his role as a Senior Account Director at Wildfire he helps tech brands build creative strategies that deliver results and cut through the marketing BS.