All posts by Nick Lane

MWC Briefing Express places media and clients on perfect track to Barcelona

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A new venue, and clients requesting more briefings than ever before. It can only be Mobile World Congress 2013, and the chance for Liberty to unleash its latest mediovation (media innovation), the MWC Briefing Express.


Liberty’s latest mediovation, the MWC Briefing Express is full steam ahead for next year after a successful start in its first year.


The ingredients for our mediovation were simple. Take eight clients, 19 media, and select members of the Liberty team on a luxurious train journey from London to Barcelona via Paris, and a night’s stopover at Perpignan. Add some fine wine and gastronomic food along the way ‑ the whole way granted ‑ and you have the making for a memorable media trip that will become a mainstay around MWC for years to come.


The MWC Briefing Express combined the necessity of travelling to the world’s biggest mobile festival with not only the desire to maximise the number of media briefings for clients, but to serve news and thought leadership to the media before the noise of the Congress.


With the client-media briefings scheduled for the afternoon’s Paris-to-Perpignan leg of the journey, eager clients talked shop while the media scribbled furiously as the Eurostar made its way early Saturday morning on February 23rd from London to Paris.


Having successfully negotiated Paris, the TGV to Perpignan was a 5-hour journey with each client undertaking eight 30-minute interviews. In the relaxed surroundings of the TGV as it raced south through the stunning French countryside, it was perhaps the first time conversations on a French train on a Saturday afternoon ranged from mobile marketing effectiveness, mobile operator payments and deep packet inspection, to mobile consumer research, mobile apps and business assurance.


As the MWC Briefing Express Party relaxed over sumptuous French food and fragrant wine at the Perpignan hotel that evening, and networking into the early hours – not to mention the Full Monty in the swimming pool!!!! – it was s time to reflect on an incredibly successful days work.


In total, 71 briefings took place over a 10-hour period between London and Perpignan. Stories from those briefings started to emerge as early as Sunday afternoon. And to date, there have been over 40 stories, with countless others to be published over the coming months. What’s more, every client achieved their 15 minutes of fame with a recorded interview on TelecomTV.

Liberty’s MWC Briefing Express not only delivered an unprecedented number of briefings in such a short time in a unique and innovative manner, it also provided a platform for ongoing media coverage, and perhaps most important of all, lasting relationships between the media and clients were forged.


A massive thanks to everyone that helped make the Express happen, but also to the clients and media that embraced the concept wholeheartedly and made it a truly memorable expedition for all.


Planning for next year has already commenced. Watch this space for more mediovation.


So there you have it; one truly successful media trip, but don’t just take our word for it:


“It [the Express] was a great idea. I talked to loads of people at MWC about it. You should definitely repeat it.”

Paul Berney, MMA


“Let’s make it [the Express] a tradition!”

Alan Burkitt-Gray, Global Telecoms Business


“I found the access to companies that the Express provided, together with the chance to outline certain thoughts before the event itself and get to know companies better over a longer time frame was absolutely invaluable.”

Keith Dyer, The Mobile Network


“It [the Express] was an awesome trip, and I really appreciate being a part of it.”

Mike Shaw, Mobile Choice

Fun House voted Liberty’s favourite kids TV show – Pat Sharp invited to Liquid Lunch

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A survey across all Liberty staff has revealed that the agency’s favourite children’s TV show of all time is Fun House.

Will Pat Sharp come?


The wacky kids programme ran on C-ITV from the late 1980s to the late 1990s, hosted by Pat Sharp and twins Melanie and Martina Grant.

To pay homage to this heavyweight of kids TV programmes, Liberty takes great delight in inviting host Pat Sharp as Special Guest to its Liquid Lunch celebration in central London on Nov 21st.

Pat Sharp, nurturing his pet mullet, rose to fame in the mid-80s by not only presenting Fun House, but as Video Jockey (VJ) for Sky presenting the Coca-Cola Eurochart Top 50 and Nescafe UK Top 50. More recently, Sharp has appeared on Come Dine With Me and in 2011 was a contestant on the eleventh series of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! Presently, Pat (to his friends) is the Weekend Breakfast presenter on Smooth Radio.

Liberty is delighted to announce that Pat Sharp could be the Guest of Honour at its Liquid Lunch next week.

And to complete your journey down memory lane, here is a list of Fun House obstacles, courtesy of Wikipedia.



  • Wild slide – A very steep and fast tube slide
  • Sneaky slip ‘n’ slide – Another tube slide opposite the wild slide but less steep and fast.
  • Skelter Belter – A helter-skelter like slide which leads to the bottom ball pool of the Fun House
  • The flying fox – A zip line which went from one end of the fun house to the other
  • The ball run – A long ball pit at the back of the fun house
  • Firemans pole – A long pole similar to a firemans pole to slide down from the top of the fun house to the bottom.
  • Crawl tube – A big plastic tube to crawl through. (Renamed the Tumbling Tube)
  • Balloon Tunnel – A tunnel filled with balloons
  • Monster Maze – An area at the front of the fun house filled with monsters
  • The bob sleigh – A bob sleigh which goes down a large slide from the top of the fun house which leads to the sneaky slip ‘n’ slide.
  • The danger net – A net bridge which leads too the wild slide.
  • Hole in the wall – A wall with holes in, the tag hides behind one of the holes
  • Angular triangular – A box with two triangle-shaped spinning shelves inside
  • The turning twister – A box, oppose to Angular Triangular, with spinning circles
  • Magic curtain – A foam rubber curtain which you could walk through
  • Target the trash cans – 3 rubbish bins filled with rubbish, the tag is hidden inside one of them.
  • Beat the bully – A giant head of a bully with giant teeth, you have to punch his teeth to get the tag.
  • The tall tower – Very large tower with a ladder to climb up
  • Snakes in a box – A box filled with springy snakes.
  • The A frame – A climbing frame in the shape of a capital A
  • The sunken well – 4 long narrow tubes with ropes inside, the tag is attached to one of them
  • The climbing net – A net to climb up (Renamed the Net Ladder in earlier versions)
  • The big leap – A big firemans pole
  • The giant steps – A giant staircase
  • Gong crazy! – A large box with a polystyrene gong at the front, smash it open to get the tag.
  • The big drop – A zip-line seat built to carry the player from the top of the Fun House to the bottom ball pool

Show-Show-Show, Mobile World Congress comes but once a year

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Is there really any difference between Christmas and the Mobile World Congress?


All aboard the Liberty MWC Briefing Express


Both happen once a year, come round quicker than you think, involve an immense amount of preparation for a short period of time, intense daytime activity, the consumption of copious amounts of alcohol, and of course spending precious time with loved ones. OK, the analogy falls on weakened ground at this last point (well for the majority, for the minority, you know who you are), but the comparison has been made.


The fact remains that the Mobile World Congress is only 114 days away. Seems like a long time? Well, it feels like only yesterday since the London Olympics finished. That was 80 days ago.
Business preparations for MWC 2013 started as MWC 2012 closed its doors. But it’s always a different tale when it comes to media planning. MWC media briefings should never be an afterthought, but as a PR agency, you would expect us to say that. Planning for media briefings, regardless of whether you will have news at the event or not (get those research projects kicked-off now), should already underway, primarily because there are greater considerations to be accounted for at MWC 2013. Not least because MWC has moved home, from the old Fira to a new Fira that is 50% bigger.
From a media perspective, that could potentially spell “briefing mayhem”. As an ex-journalist that has been attending the event since 1998, I can tell you exactly what that means: Missed briefings; and plenty of them. The layout has changed, companies are no longer where they once were, and the distance between one briefing and the next is unknown. Journalists will have no bearings of the venue, and therefore location for briefings.
For PRs, it will mean a lot of “I’m sure they’re on their way”, or “I’ll just give them a call to see where they are”, to disgruntled and increasingly frustrated clients. Sounds harsh, but it will happen, just as it did when the-then 3GSM event moved from Cannes to its previous home in Barcelona.
No doubt all good PR agencies will have introduced a series of measures to ensure missed media briefings are minimised and that the media enter MWC 2013 with a good degree of familiarity already. A great PR agency will develop an innovative concept that provides a compelling solution to clients and the media, and guarantees a seamless transition to the new Fira.
Based on the previous sentence, you will now not be surprised to hear that we have created exactly that. We call it the Liberty MWC Briefing Express, and it involves a luxury train journey from London-to-Paris-to-Barcelona, with an overnight stop at Perpignan for some fine French refreshment. It combines the necessity of travel with the opportunity to conduct media briefings and develop media relations over a 24-hour period.
From the media’s perspective, it replaces the burden of organising travel and accommodation (we have done that) and provides them with copy and numerous stories before they have even reached Barcelona. For clients, besides ensuring they have conducted multiple briefings prior to the event and started to develop strong relations with their core media, it also means they have more time for client or new business meetings during the Congress when upwards of 70,000 people will traversing the show floor.
One person that won’t be traversing the show floor is Father Christmas, whom will no doubt be chilling in the North Pole after another busy Christmas period. But if there are other comparisons to be drawn from Christmas and MWC, it would not be between Father Christmas and GSMA CEO John Hoffman. That said, I know exactly what I’d do with my iPhone 4 if Hoffman came down my chimney on Christmas Eve. I know there is not an app for that!
Bookings for the Liberty MWC Briefing Express are now being taken. For full information, please call +44 (0) 207 751 4444.

Is it time trade bodies looked at Facebook’s mobile advertising model?

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Facebook has announced advertising revenues of $1.1 billion for the third quarter. It’s the first time the social network’s quarterly ad revenues have topped $1 billion, but more importantly, the company can now start to say that it is generating meaningful revenues from mobile.


Advertising model could raise industry eyebrows


On the back of this news, Facebook’s share price leapt 23%, and investors, initially concerned at the lack of appeal of its sponsored stories mobile advertising model, are starting to see some return from the mobile channel.


In terms of numbers, the third quarter saw Facebook generate mobile ad revenues of $152 million, approximately 14% of total ad revenues. While this is merely a toe-in-the-water for the social behemoth, the majority of mobile ad networks around the world would leap through tiny flaming hoops to achieve even a quarter of these quarterly sales figures.


Let’s not simply dismiss this figure. If mobile represented 14% of total global advertising spend right now, it would be worth somewhere in the region of $65 billion per year. So perhaps Facebook should be given significantly more credit than it has received to date.


Let’s put these numbers into context. Globally, Facebook generated average revenue per user (ARPU) of $1.29 ‑ though in North America, ARPU stands at an impressive $3.40. On mobile only, which Facebook says it now has 604 million users, ARPU is $0.25. So while Facebook might be patting itself on the back for generating $152 million in mobile ad spend, a harsh reality check reveals that mobile users are, at least for the time being, worth one-fifth of online users.


And there is good reason for this disparity between total ARPU and mobile-only ARPU. Sponsored stories as a concept are fundamentally flawed. It relies on a user having at one stage liked a company, and this has morphed into an opt-in permitting Facebook to deliver ads onto a fuser’s (Facebook user) news feed from said same liked company. Historically, liking a company was a fairly worthless and meaningless act. Now, fusers will think twice before committing that extra click on their mouse when confronted with a company on Facebook.


But before brands view Facebook as an amazing channel for them to connect with customers, consider this: research carried out by mobileSQUARED highlighted that only 10% of fusers wanted brands to communicate with them on their mobile Facebook page. If mobile advertising is going to become truly effective on Facebook, brands must identify those 10% first.


The only conceivable way in which mobile advertising can work on mobile is if Facebook encourages its 604 million mobile users to opt-in again. This is certainly an area that a trade body like the MMA should investigate. After all, fusers originally signed up to Facebook to connect to friends and family on a social basis, but the emerging commercial side of Facebook will mean fusers are increasingly being coerced in to connecting with companies.