Monday, 20 February 2012

Play the Durex Facebook Game To Win Tickets to Launch Party

By now Gazette readers and UK television viewers are fully aware of Durex's latest product campaign in which everyone is asked "How in-sync are you?" The campaign is geared to promoting the Performax Intense, a new condom designed to enhance the enjoyment of sex by helping partners remain better in-sync with one another. To mark its arrival, Durex are holding a launch party at one of Soho, London's exclusive venues and are offering you the chance to win tickets to the event.

Durex have always embraced crowdsourcing and social media as part of their marketing campaigns with great success, and with their latest venture are bringing game playing into the fore. Those who have seen the television ads will know that it features two turntables playing "Let's Get it On" by Marvin Gaye but at different speeds, when adjusted using a cross fader, it plays the song at the correct pace, in-sync. The public are then invited to visit the Durex UK Facebook page to play the Durex In Sync game in which a number of songs are played at varying speeds and the player has to achieve the same result. 

Those who visit the Facebook page and participate in the game will also be in with the chance to win tickets to the Performax Intense VIP Launch Party to be held at the exclusive London Soho club,The Box on 28th February 2012.  The party will be a glamorous and uninhibited celebration of the launching of Performax Intense, a night that "promises to be lusty, mysterious and one you will never forget." Guests will be treated to an assortment of signature Durex cocktails as well as a performance by The Box - Theatre of Varieties, and headlining the event a titanic sound clash between Radio 1 DJs Annie Mac and Scott Mills. 

So if you fancy an unforgettable night of decadence and debauchery at one of the most hard to get into venues in London, then click here to visit the Durex UK Facebook page. You have to "like" the page to participate, then simply play the game and then submit your scores into the competition.

Image Credit; HI Rorro

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Success for the Manchester Crowdfunding Workshop

The Crowfunding Workshop held in Manchester on February 2nd 2012 was organised by Anne Strachan to fully inform and arm delegates from a variety of sectors about the rise of crowdfunding in the UK as an alternative source of funding projects.  Primarily the focus of the workshop was to explore how crowdfunding could benefit the third sector. Of the twenty plus delegates only three (including me - ed), fully understood what crowdfunding entailed. The remaining delegates, only heard of it in passing but wanted to know more, and Anne's workshop took on the challenge of providing those answers to a sold out gathering.

Anne Strachan has worked for over 20 years as a trainer and fundraiser within the third sector. At a time when she has seen the effects of government austerity measures, Anne has become passionate about crowdfunding and the potential it has to offer, which she conveys through her own website CrowdfundUK . It's goal is to "promote crowdfunding to build community and raise funds for social enterprises, charities, creative organisations and community groups". The workshop, possibly the first of many, was designed as an extension of this goal. 

Through a series of slide show presentations, Q&A sessions, group exercises, and videos, Anne covered every aspect of crowdfunding starting with the overall principle to the intricacies of the all important pitch. There were the usual practical considerations such as choosing the right platform (as some tend to specialise) and preparation. In calculating the budget, it was stressed that all costs must be factored in such as the percentage taken by the platform as well as the cost of the rewards offered to investors. When preparing the pitch many fundamental aspects were considered in detail including;

  • how to sell the project and the people behind it - consider the use of videos
  • building a network of contacts
  • set up and using social media and attracting followers.
  • designing the right rewards.
  • length of the campaign (essential to be available while it is active)
  • post launch promotion and contact.

The workshop identified key influencing factors in a successful crowdfunding campaign following its launch; 

  • Regular contact with potential investors. Anne's message was clear; "You must be thankful to people who donate". Thanking investors as they pledge support, and providing regular updates could prove pivotal in attracting more donations making passionate supporters from investors who will encourage others to donate. 

  • Quality of the rewards. Even for a nominal sum of £10, the quality of the rewards can make all the difference in getting people to part with their money. The project owner's "eternal thanks" for example, is likely to discourage investors whereas a personalised acknowledgement, be it a handwritten card, or a person's name emboldened clearly in the finished project would be more enticing. Personalised merchandise, as well as some sort of involvement should also be considered.

Crowdfunding provides a means of raising funds at a time when the recession is hitting us all. It's increasing popularity is evident when you consider that "crowdfunding" attracted over 50,000 hits through search engines. Anne was adamant however that crowdfunding was more than just about the money, but as a means of allowing people to participate, have shared ownership and build something they care about. 

There was no doubt, Anne's workshop was a success, and much ground was covered. By the end of the day, there was much excitement abound and those with little or no knowledge of crowdfunding, already had ideas as to how they could use it for their organisation. The session was fun filled and informative, even for the Gazette, which gained a perspective not easily sought from the comfort of a laptop. 

For more information you can follow Anne on Twitter @crowdfunduk.

Image Credits; Comedy Nose

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Suffolk Council Win Best Use of Social Media Award

The use of social media by UK public sector services are not always perceived to be a successful partnership. However, Suffolk County Council's Trading Standards (SCCTS) challenged this notion by tackling consumer fraud using digital communication and social networking sites to tackle consumer fraud. Their efforts were recognised and the local authority received the award for Best Use of Social Media at the 2011 Public Sector Digital Awards.

The award category reviews how the public sector uses social media to improve public interaction with the government and increase transparency. It emphasises the importance of social media and digital communication in the public sector. The SCCTS tackle the activities of rogue traders by providing information for business and consumers alike, for which social media has proven to be a valuable tool for communication.

With so much information to process and distribute the council use the GovDelivery digital communication management system. GovDelivery enables better management of the flow of information through automated email alerts to subscribers, and posting updates to social network sites and blogs. The system also monitors the council's website for new content which it then automatically conveys by way of email alerts and status updates. 

We are thrilled that our efforts to protect Suffolk communities were recognised last night. Twitter, Facebook and the like offer a brilliant platform for people to tell us when they think an advert, salesperson or scheme might be untrustworthy, and helps us share this information with others. Sarah Nagra, Community Engagement Officer, SCCTS
The SCCTS campaign has attracted over 8000 Facebook and blog views, 900 followers on Twitter and over 5000 email subscribers. Rogue traders cost individuals and businesses thousands of pounds. The campaign has helped better inform and equip the public with the necessary tools to protect themselves thanks to the power of social media.

Image Credits; Whatleydude

Friday, 3 February 2012

Photojournalism Crowdfunding Platform to Launch Publishing Arm

Having launched just over a year ago,, a crowdfunding platform that helps fund projects geared towards journalism and photojournalism, is already looking to venture into another enterprise. In response to various photographers, having difficulty seeing their work published, has entered into the foray of photo book publishing.

In order to facilitate this expansion, the platform's founders  Karim Ben Khelifa and Tina Ahrens have appointed Walter Tjantelé as the firm's new Publishing Director. Tjantelé has been approached by many top photographers with high quality work, and despite editors expressing an interest in seeing them published, reported none would actually commit to the idea. Some have even expressed interest in self publishing and with costs to be raised via This gave Tjantelé the idea to bring crowdfunding to photo book publishing with a twist.

The concept will involve funders purchasing limited edition copies of the book, for around $100 to $150. The books will be signed, numbered and accompanied with a print. The books will form part of a compilation under the collection and will distinctively be marked as such, with authors having free reign over content. A further 1000 books will then be sold through the platform under the collection banner. 

Currently has around 10 to 12 projects in the pipeline and three are ready for launch and includes Peter Dench's renowned collection UK Uncensored. Dench is one of the UK's most prominent young photographers having worked on numerous assignments in over 50 countries around the world. His project is a funny yet honest portrayal of the UK in the 21st century, and was exhibited Visa pour L'Image festival of photojournalism and the Perscopio festival of photojournalism in 2011.
Working with as a fundraising platform seems sensible, it's quick, exciting, it gets people involved and if not enough of them want the book to exist, it won't. - Peter Dench
Dench has chosen this approach to self publishing as like so many other photographers encountered difficulty with convincing editors to back the project, coupled with the limited contacts and time consuming endeavours of publishing. The reputation of for successfully helping projects get funded together with the principles of its latest venture attracted Dench and is hoping to raise $12,000 in two months and is already half way there. For more information visit the project's funding page

Image Credits; Byflickr

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

DesignCrowd to Provide Exclusive Crowdsourced Designs to Australian Businesses

Australian based crowdsourced design platform, DesignCrowd have announced the launch of a new service provision exclusively for local businesses and designers. The new website will enable Australian businesses to exclusive court the skills of Australian designers. This is a unique initiative within the community of crowdsourcing service providers which generally offer their services globally. 

Based in Sydney, Australia, DesignCrowd was launched in 2008 and has since become one of the world'd leading providers of crowdsourced designs. Like it's contemporaries such as 99Designs, enables customers to post design projects onto the site. DesignCrowd's community of designers then submit their work and the customer chooses the preferred design. The platform's work spans 159 countries with a community of over 60,000 designers. The international success of DesignCrowd has put Australia on the crowdsourcing map.
Australians have been early adopters and heavy users of crowdsourcing but they also like to support local industry. Our new service will let Aussie businesses combine the benefit of crowdsourcing with the talent of the Australian design community. Clients in Sydney will be able to post a project on DesignCrowd and get 50-plus designs from designers in Melbourne to Mackay. If they want to they can also get designs from designers in places like Mumbai and Miami. - Alec Lynch, CEO DesignCrowd
The new service was launched in response to customer demands from customers for work to be sourced from their favourite local designers. Now Australian businesses will have the opportunity to engage the services of local talent, thus supporting their nation's design industry with purported annual value of over four billion dollars. The company hopes to increase its already 60,000 strong community with more local designers in order to offer more local businesses extensive choice through its new service. 

The last quarter has proved a challenging yet fruitful one for DesignCrowd, at a time when austerity measures and the recession continue to take their toll. In addition to securing three million dollars in capital investment, and acquiring the US owned BrandstackDesignCrowd have also announced the appointment of Anthony Glenning, pioneer of Google Drawings to the company board.

Image Credits; Chad Magiera