‘GIRLS’ talks to its viewers in their language

Love it or hate it, GIRLS is back and they’ve developed a great online presence ahead of the launch of their third season, which aired on Sunday night. I’m an unabashed GIRLS fan, so move on over if you don’t smile with fondness at these ladies (I’m a lady, you’re a lady, she’s a lady, we’re the ladies.)

 

girls7

 

Wednesday night

shoshray

The show hasn’t gone without criticism – indeed the above images show a group of well-off twenty-somethings staring at their navels – but if you happen to be a twenty-something ‘girl’, it reflects your messy existence better than anything else out there. It’s refreshing to laugh at your own ridiculous naivety and self involvement through this group of undeniably hilarious characters.

The show’s target audience is of a similar age and that market is online. All the time. “For us, this is an increasingly challenging demographic to reach with traditional means,” Sabrina Caluori, HBO’s vice-president of social media and marketing, told Mashable. In the lead-up to the release of season 3, HBO has made some great marketing choices, reaching viewers through a range of current platforms.

Because the show is so quotable, an early mark online was the ‘GIRLS’ Tumblr page (previously WhatShouldWeCallGirls), which posts a bunch of GIFs, memes and fan-art, allowing fans the satisfaction of in-jokes and reliving moments from the show. Their Facebook page has run a fun campaign giving character portraits through emojis (Shoshana’s signature mode of communication) accompanied by translations. Over on Twitter, it’s a family affair with cast and crew members live-tweeting during the show, and answering fans’ questions after the show, starting with episode three using #GirlsFYI. These strategies have been adapted for emerging platforms such as Instagram, Vine and even Snapchat, as well as the usual social suspects like  Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. The biggest move so far has been the release of the double-episode season premier on Youtube just 12 hours after its release on HBO.

While the show may not speak to everyone, GIRLS is doing a great job of using online platforms to reach its audience.

Five things I’m looking forward to in 2014

I don’t know about you, but lately my Facebook timeline has been full of New Year resolutions. That and engagements (ALL the engagements!) – but that’s a whole other story! People are looking forward to the fresh start that comes with a new year, whether it’s because last year was crappy, or just because 1 January brings with it a whole set of untapped possibilities.

Here are five things in particular I’m looking forward to in 2014:

1)      Working in a real, live office
We’ve been in our office on Long Street for a week now – and it’s been amazing. While working at home in the early days of Pomegranite was ideal (let me just remind you that we started in July, in the cold and the rain, when working in a dressing gown was more appealing than I would like to admit), being in an office with a bunch of other people, listening to the sounds of vibey Long Street drifting in through the windows, feels wonderful. It all finally feels real. And I suspect that we are going to grow more quickly into the business we would like to be because of this new step.

2)      Finding ourselves
Don’t be alarmed – we won’t be embarking on a trip to India armed with a backpack, fisherman pants and a copy of Shantaram. Rather, with each new project we complete and client we meet, we get a clearer idea of the kind of business we want to be, and of the way in which we would like the business to fit into our lives – both now and in the future. I think that 2014 is going to be a time when Pomegranite grows into what we want it to be. And that is very exciting, because we can decide, in a significant way, what we want our lives to look like in 10 years’ time. We can make that happen – and it all starts now.

3)      Exploring Cape Town on two (working) feet
In 2013 I spent a lot of time on crutches. And by a lot, I mean about eight months over the last three years. By a lot, I mean that, at one point my guns would have given Sylvester Stallone a run for his money. So – 2014 is my year of exploring this beautiful city on two working feet. This year I will be hiking, running, swimming and dancing all over Cape Town…. Just as soon as the biokineticist gives me the green light.

4)      Meeting awesome people

Pomegranite has brought so many awesome people into our lives. We have met jewellery designers, environmentalists, race car drivers, teachers, comedians, architects, property developers, actors, designers – the list is extensive. I can’t wait to see who 2014 will introduce us to.

5)      Whatever comes of tough decisions

I’m going to be honest with you – 2013 was full of some horrendously tough decisions. The kind that make you look long and hard at your life and make some big calls about what you want in life. There have been times when it all just felt a bit impossible. But I think, at some point, the universe has to give you something back. A cosmic noddy badge of sorts to say: “Well done, human, for being brave and for taking those leaps. Here is your reward.” Right? Well. Let’s put it to the test, shall we?

[Image source]

Sarah Gurney

A ballerina and part-time vet: Ten things you didn’t know about Sarah

So a couple weeks ago when it was my turn to do the Friday blog post, I decided to ask Liz some… thought-provoking questions. When her turn came to ask me some questions, she took, what I imagine to be, some pleasure in saying: “Why don’t you just answer the same questions? You know, for symmetry’s sake…”

As you will see, they were not as easy as I originally thought, these questions. No wonder she was complaining!

1.    What did you want to be when you grew up?

A ballerina and a part-time vet.

2.    What’s your favourite thing about living and working in Cape Town?

This city is so beautiful – even the highways are beautiful. I’ve lived here for just over a year and, still sometimes, at odd moments, I’ll look up and see the light catch the top of the mountain or the sea a ridiculous shade of blue, and be blown away that I live (and work) in a place this lovely.

3.    If your life was a movie, which actress would play you?

Mmmm Emily Blunt. I’ve been told I look something like her, and I like her vibe (for want of a better word). I think it’s the British thing. I always like to watch interviews with actors and actresses – they don’t often come off well. But she usually does. She’s less vapid than… others.

4.    If your life was a book, what would the title be?

I would like to say The Pursuit of Happiness but that has Will Smith written all over it. Um… Right now it might be something like These are the Days That Must Happen to You (with permission from Walt Whitman). But… overall? To The Best of My Ability (which may or may not be my primary school motto. Look, it’s late. These questions are hard. No wonder you were complaining).

5.    If you could have a super power, what would it be and why?

I’d like to be able to fly, but I suspect it might actually terrify me. Not a fan of heights. So I think I’d like to be able to teleport, so I could instantly visit someone I miss, no matter where in the world they are.

6.    What song best describes your work ethic?

Gah this is so hard, I wish I hadn’t asked you this question… I have been trying to think of something with a fast tempo and a “go, go, go” element to it, but I think I’m going to go with “Lost in My Mind” by The Head and the Heart. I tend to focus and tune everything out except the task I’m busy with. I am usually the last to know what’s going on in an office environment.

7.    What’s the best piece of life advice anyone has ever given you?

My uncle once said to me: “You never know what bee is biting someone else’s bum.” This is so true, at work and in your personal life. People have their own stuff going on – their own stresses to worry about. More often than not, if they take things out on you, it’s not you – it’s them. Or something else that’s “biting” them. Don’t take it personally. Not an easy thing to learn, but a very valuable one.

8.    Having worked with me for six months now, what is one thing that you think people should know about me but don’t?

You have a (surprising but impressive) knack for figuring out html coding and will often say things like: “Right, stand back, I’m entering the matrix,” or “Yip, I just hacked the mainframe.”

9.    You walk into a bar right now and order a drink. What is it?

Savannah Dry. With lemon. Or… maybe a glass of merlot. It’s always a toss-up.

10.  What advice would you give someone thinking about starting their own business?

If at all possible, find a business partner and do it together. It’s much less scary with two. And having someone to bounce ideas off is so important. But find someone you can trust. Find someone who you will be able to have difficult conversations with – because, trust me, there will always be difficult conversations. But, at the end of the day, if you can get through those conversations, be on the same page, and enjoy working together, you are winning. Also – there is nothing quite like the freedom of being your own boss and building something that is your own.

Sarah on her first day of school

So this is me on my first ever day of school. Luckily I’m still just as adept at hiding the fact that I’m nervous.

A thousand words: The rise of the visual social network

We’ve said it before – images and video are becoming increasingly important elements when it comes to social media and your online presence. People would much rather watch a quick video clip than read a whole page of text. And if they are going to read a page of text, they’ll be much more likely to do so if it’s peppered with interesting and appealing visuals.

Just look at the top three fastest growing apps in 2013: Vine, Flickr and Instagram – it’s all about the images and video. The online audience is hungry for visually-rich material, and it is the brands that deliver this on social media platforms that are winning followers and recognition.

A recent example from South Africa is the Soweto Gospel Choir and Woolworths’ heartfelt and beautiful tribute to Nelson Mandela – a video that left me with tears and lasting goosebumps.

The infographic below, created by @ManwthePlanigan, unpacks this shift to the visual in the online space, and provides brands with a few ideas to navigate this ever-changing landscape.

visual infographic