Thursday, June 10, 2010

Social (fashion) workers


A quick update on the Myer spring catalogue shoot, which rolled on today in Melbourne. Frockwriter mentioned yesterday that there was some confusion over the social media aspect of the campaign, with representatives of at least one model booked for the campaign, Cassi van den Dungen, surprised at the extent of the coverage. This morning frockwriter received an email from Myer rep Tim Evans, from the DT Digital agency, which is handling the campaign. Evans revealed that this was the first time that Myer had covered a campaign shoot in real time. He also wanted to clear up any “misunderstanding” over yesterday's post and insisted that all permissions were indeed sought from all the agencies – and duly granted. According to the van den Dungen camp, this is "absolutely not" correct. Confusing, it is. Update 11/06/10 @ 1.30pm. Van den Dungen's Melbourne agency, Cameron's, which negotiated the deal, claims that it did know about the social media coverage and did not have a problem with it. Work Agency, van den Dungen's mother agency in Sydney, which manages her career, has a different position.

To clarify one aspect of yesterday’s post, however, there was in fact only one party Tweeting from the set: Melbourne blogger and journalist Kat George, who writes for a variety of publications and websites, including The Vine, which is published by Fairfax Digital.

According to Tim Evans, George was hired to Tweet live from the shoot under Myer's Mythreads Twitter feed.

George also Tweeted from the shoot on her own Twitter feed.

She explains this here, here and here – although it’s not 100percent clear from this information that it’s a paid gig (George also points to several posts on Myer's Mythreads Facebook page, which refer to her "guest blogging" and being "on location" for the Myer catalogue shoot).

Frockwriter spoke to several other agents this afternoon about their approach to the burgeoning social media arena.

Several parties spoke of a new cardinal rule for models: do not post any information or images from jobs on social networking sites.

One agent recounted the story of a model who could not resist sharing her upcoming magazine cover on Facebook. Advanced to the model as a courtesy by the magazine, the cover was however swiftly dumped in favour of another image with a different model, following the indiscretion.

When it comes to commercial clients and the use of images/footage shot on location on jobs, one senior modelling industry figure conceded that social media has opened up a whole new “grey area” for the industry.

“Everyone has a camera on set now” they noted.


Style On Track said...

I wonder if they will make some sets phone and camera free?

Anonymous said...

I think this whole situation shows Myers complete lack of understanding about Social media. it is there for brands/people to create a connection in real time. REAL. TIME.

Via their twitter page, I have now seen the Myer campaign front to back, in a kind of bootlegged version of what they were paying Simon Lekias big bucks to shoot. I have no desire to now see the campaign itself, and it has killed any anticipation anyone might have had.

Marketing is about creating an illusion, if your going to show me warts and all behind the scenes shots before the actual product comes out, the illusion is dead. You dont explain how a magic trick is done before you do it.

But in the race to keep up, confidentiality is the casualty and Access All Areas is the new domain. For the sake of scoring PR brownie points. And from the sounds of it models are missing out on new revenue streams.

Patty also brings up a very interesting point about Kat George. She has cultivated her own kind of mini blog fashion celebrity. She also wants to be considered a fashion journo/writer, but has become a corporate shill for Myer and maybe other clients. Where do you draw the line. And why was it not disclosed at the beginning of her gig to the general public that she was being paid to push Myer into her tweets?

I know journalistic integrity is a dying art, but I believe Patty has always played the game properly and kept the line. The rest of the digital journo pack should take note. If bloggers are going to just become a mouthpiece for whoever can give them a big fat cheque, the reason this medium was created is dead.

All around bad move Myer. Its a new world...catch up.

Under the Wing said...

I don't know why it would be necessary for Kat to make it so obvious it was a paid gig - I think to most it would be implied. And who really cares anyway?

What is strange is that Cassi's agent seems to think she is above what is now a pretty standard, and really effective, means of promotion for any company. If she can't handle it she shouldn't be doing the big campaigns.

Anyway Bambi looked better.

Piccolo said...

I should add to Anon - not everyone has the luxury of writing about whatever they like. A writer at a magazine or a fashion writer at a newspaper is likely to be told what they are going to write about as often as they come up with their own ideas for stories - sadly most of the time what they do write about is dictated by what advertisers feature in the pages. It's not all so black and white - hate to burst your bubble.

pigeon said...

I agree with Piccolo. There's no shame in a writer taking a paid gig. And kudos to Myer for actually moving into this territory. Behind the scenes coverage is an area of interesting a lot of consumers and the content they posted was interesting, relevant and fun. I'm really looking forward to seeing the campaign in it's entirety.
I'm also not sure Anonymous understands the definition of realtime (one word btw). Kat George's coverage was in fact, an excellent realtime execution of a behind the scenes campaign. I for enjoyed the coverage and think Myer should be applauded for their efforts.

Anonymous said...

Under The Wing -

If your comment is indicative of the attitude being taken by the new guard of fashion PR, we're in real trouble. Code of ethics - so whateves!

Piccolo & Pigeon -

You're not bursting my bubble nor is there any shame in a paid gig -

A fashion magazine jammed with advertisements has always been in murky territory, in terms of cash for comment. However when someone like Kat George links her twitter to her articles for The Vine to her blog posts to her behind the scenes Mythreads posts the validity of her journalistic intent has to be questioned.

For all published writers/bloggers the need for transparency and disclosure is very important. People should be able to reasonably identify bias in someone's writing, particularly a "reporter," when that person is being paid or compensated in a way which could influence their shared ideas.

This is why the FTC brought in legislation in the USA that Bloggers need to disclose when they have been gifted or paid for comment.

Under The Wing can plug as much product as they want to someone like Susie Style Bubble, but she should disclose what she has been gifted so her readers know there is a bias towards the product and given the choice she may not have bought it or even blogged about it. The same applies to Kat George with her hyper linked fashion journalism.

ps - real time can be one word, hyphenated or seperate.


Under the Wing said...

Anon - the 'who cares' comment is more in reference to it being fairly obvious from the get go Kat's Myer gig was paid. Perhaps we could have articulated it better. If you knew anything at all about us and the sort of brands we represent, i don't think you'd accuse us of taking a 'whatevers' attitude toward a code of ethics. How positively rude of you dear Anon!

Like you we are not exactly sure of where online media is taking traditional reporting as we know it. Blogs, facebook, twitter - can you really apply a journalistic code of ethics to them when they are basically just tools for self promotion? So it leaves us all in a strange position here - if Kat wants to report on what she is doing that day, it's completely valid within the context of that medium.

I think with Susie Bubble it's safe to assume she receives a lot of gifts, as do most other fashion reporters. I also think it's safe to assume she doesn't choose to blog pictures of herself wearing the ones she doesnt like. At any rate we are happy to tell you which pieces from our designers she received as gifts and which she purchased - so feel free to ask.

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