Humorous or just a plain no-no?

We all remember the numerous memes popping up all over the place after the Mick Fanning J-bay Shark Encounter incident. Some were innocent and hilarious, others a little more crude walking on a fine line between funny and just a plain no-no. Some made you cringe others just a raised eyebrow and a little bit of confusion.

But does this KFC ad take it to a whole new level?

Attempting to promote their newest burger – the “Jacked up double crunch – next level awesome” burger. KFC South Africa has used Fanning’s incredibly scary and momentous occurrence earlier this year and perhaps made a mockery that’s gone a little bit too far? Or do you thinks it’s perfectly fine, humorous, playful, innocent?

I would love to hear how this ad makes you feel… I’ve watched it a number of times now and certainly can see the humour… but it also takes me back to the fear that washed through me and thousands of other fans that day.

And the most important question of the day…
Will you head out right now go buy this AWESOME burger.
Will you vow to never eat KFC again?!

Spam? SPAM? sPam? SpAm? spam? sPaM? sPAM? spAM?

According to the ‘trusty ‘ (well, debatable) Urban Dictionary the word SPAM is considered to mean the following:

Urban Dictionary: SPAMScreen Shot 2015-09-29 at 2.02.56 pmScreen Shot 2015-09-29 at 2.03.15 pmScreen Shot 2015-09-29 at 2.03.37 pmAnd this is only a select few of the meanings given. As you can see from the number of likes each of these additions have received, it is clear that a large majority of people have very similar opinions when it comes to  the infamous Spam.

It is however, well known that Urban Dictionary, despite its entertaining and often humorous take on definitions, is not the most ‘academic’ of sources.
So in order to back up the Spam explanations above… the following is an attempt at a slightly more supported Span understanding.

And no.. unfortunately I’m not talking about the hilarious Monty Python skit this time (think Spam canned meat and vikings) … Although it’s well worth the watch so if you’re felling like a laugh. Click Here. 

According to Justin Rao and David Reiley in the journal article The Economics of Spam, SPAM refers to those unsolicited commercial emails, or any other form of communication containing undesirable content.

Electronic Junk-mail – we just don’t want it.

An endless repetition of worthless text trying to sell you a product that may be will be, of absolutely no use to you, or just a plan old virus or hoax trying to reel you in – Don’t give in! This is because these messages are not customised to you, or sent to a group of people within a particular market, they are sent to EVERYONE. Well, maybe not everyone, but most. Using mailing lists from online websites and databases; spam steals these addresses and uses the power of the internet to send you endless annoying emails, eating up your network bandwidth.  There are companies out there that attempt to stop the devil (a.k.a Spam), fighting it with a variety of techniques, however, according to an article by Angie Beal, as the internet is a public domain, so there is really little that can be done to prevent it.

I’ve been trying to think of any spam I have received lately… but all that comes to mind is those emails back in the day, the days of MSN and MySpace, where you would receive an email along the lines of: “Read this and forward it to 10 friends or you will have bad karma forever” or “if you don’t forward this message you are never going to have a love in your life.” (Rediculous hey!) I must admit… in my naive pre-teen days probably did fall for these a few times. But is it Spam? It was most definitely unwanted…but can these annoying messages be classified as spam?

Let me know what you think!? Or even any recent spam that’s been sent you way?

Cheers Internet friends

The Flying Squirrel – TED Talks interview you must watch!

That moment you watch one YouTube video (for research purposes of course…)
AND THENN two hours later you’re trying to remember what that first video you initially watched was?

My last blog post which talked about viral marketing had me doing exactly this!

BUT I did happen to come across an absolutely awesome interview of 6 year old Quincy Symonds… a.k.a Flying Squirrell. Surfing and Skating since she was 4, this little shredder could definitely be considered a worthy contester as one of the best 6 year old surfers & skaters on the planet. This interview came about because of her talent that did indeed go viral! Go Flying Squirrel Go!
Which is why it only seemed fitting to share it with you guys… (other than the major cute factor and her incredible talent).

If you’re a surf/skate lover or talent yourself… or more of an oh I wish I was like that when I was a kid (like me), you definitely need to give this a watch.
One does not feature on TED Talks without reason.

Cheers, hope you enjoyed! Let me know if you know any other incredible people who’s talent went viral?!

Ever seen a Surfing Seal? Or better yet… a Surfing Pig?

If you said yes to either of the above questions… it’s probably because you were one of the nearly 2 Million viewers this Surfin’ Seal received on YouTube, or one of the nearly 4 Million views this Water Lovin’ Pig received when his video was posted on YouTube.

Both of these videos went what is now well known to be, VIRAL.

And no, I don’t mean viral in the sense of a fatal epidemic wiping out thousands back in the Middle ages. No thanks. I mean the 21st century meaning where a regular Joe, just like you or me, chucks up a video on the beloved platform, YouTube, and VOLIA! Within minutes, hours, days, that video has been seen by thousands.

No way, how can thousands of people just find a video out of the blue? Well my friends, according to Kaplan and Heanlein,  all it takes is three easy steps…

  1. The messengers: Market mavens, Social Hubs, and Salespeople.
    Your video isn’t just seen by millions magically… its takes three special types of people to get it soaring. Firstly, the Market Maven, this is the guy who see’s it first. Always in-the-know and constantly sharing his knowledge straight away among his social network. Next, all it takes is for one of the Market Mavens connections to be the Social Hub, this is that friend who knows EVERYONE. Come on, you all know one of them, if not, then you’re probably that person. The Social Hub of the crowd is what takes your video from 1 Facebook wall post to 1000 Facebook wall posts and shares. (This is the guy you thank when you become rich and famous from that epic fail you had trying to make your cat, who hates water, surf).
    Then, in some cases, these two connections alone isn’t enough, you need the Salesperson. The Salesperson jumps in between your Market Maven and Social Hub to jazz your video up. Make the message more exciting and inviting for your fellow cat lovers.
  2. The message: Memorable and interesting
    Basically this means your video needs to provoke emotion. Happy, sad, humour, anger, fear, whatever. If you can make your audience feel something, then they are definitely more likely to remember it and share it.
  3. The environment: Dunbar’s Number and ordinary good luck
    What’s Dunbar’s Number? I wondered this too… Turns out it is the theory that 150 is the maximum number of social connections a person can maintain in their daily life. Therefore when we say lets share it with ‘everyone’.. this really means about 150 people. [For a far more thorough explanation, read here). Dunbar’s Number makes up our social environment, as well as the fact that people will only share if they think the message is worth it. The video of your cat purring isn’t going to go viral if it is the same as every other purring cat video (as entertaining as it may be)… BUT, if your cat is hand-standing on a surfboard whilst purring… well hey… I think you’ve got something special!

    Then of course, plain old, see a shooting star, make a wish, good luck. Like with pretty much everything, it definitely helps! (This is not to say that viral marketing is unachievable without luck… maybe just a bit more hard work).

My point is, if you want to share something with the world, if you have a product, brand, pet, car, talent (the list goes on) that you think everyone would benefit from seeing. Well you can make this happen. As long as you are smart about what you’re putting out there, how you’re putting it out there, and who you’re pushing to see it first. It won’t always work… but maybe one day your luck will change. Fingers crossed…

I pose a question to you, fellow readers and Surfing animal lovers… what would you post a video of if you wanted it to go viral?

Please leave any comments, thoughts, questions below. I’d love to hear from you!

Web reporting… Heck lets call it Surf Reporting

Not the most attractive word is it.
Web reporting… Heck lets call it Surf Reporting.
Still not appealing.
No I didn’t think so either. But the more I think about it, well attempt to, curiosity and intrigue starts to get the better of me.

It’s all about how business measure their performance of meeting their customer needs in the online world. As Bob Napier infamously stated, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” So what does this mean? It means that in order to know exactly how your brand is performing online you need to have specific tools to measure all the little nitty gritty aspects that overall, drive continual improvements in the online experience for customers, and future potential customers. [check out this vid if you really want a detailed explanation of digital analytics].
Now thats the very, very, basic, kind of, theory… lets try and apply it to a particular brand and clear the waters a little.

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 12.32.53 pmQUIKSILVER©

Quiksilver is one of three of the most dominant surf brand going ’round. Alongside Ripcurl and Billabong, it rules the retail world for mountain and ocean lovers. But their online presence was slightly lacking, until now…

Firstly, there are three facets to web matrics and marketing research. Internet, mobile and cloud computing. Recently quiksilver has taken the cloud computing approach and teamed with Demandware, an enterprise cloud commerce platform, to expose their brand even further on a global scale. This came from the realisation that the brand was growing slowly globally in comparison to its competitors. The initial implementation started with 60 new sites across Europe.. this lead to a whopping 65% increase in revenue in 2013! Implementation has since spread to North America, Russia and Brazil, with the current plans for the cloud platform extending to the Asia Pacific region this year! Yew!

The purpose of this change, and really the change all business’/brands should be making in their online world, if they haven’t already… is to apply and aim to reach each of the following objectives, of which apply to the particular business of course, (as defined by Googles Digital Analytics Academy)…

for e-commerce sites = to sell products / services .1.
for lead generation sites = collect user information for sales prospectives .2.
for content publishers = encourage engagement and frequent participation .3.
for online information/support sites = help users find what they are looking for at the .4.
right time
for branding = to drive awareness and engagement and loyalty of the brand .5.

For instance, Quiksilvers primary objectives would be #1 – sell products, #3 – user engagement and visitation, 5# brand awareness and loyalty. These are then able to be focussed on, managed and further measured through the use of web analytics. Rather than mere site maintenance.

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 12.31.32 pm

The awareness of combinations of online business goals has been emphasised by Quicksilvers global digital senior vice-president, Nicolas Foule. As stated in a an interview with,  “a lot of people say if you have the right e-commerce platform you can do it, but that’s not true – you need the right OMS [order management system], enterprise resource planning tool, and to link that to the point of sale in the stores as well as your e-commerce platform. It’s an overall ecosystem, which is pretty complex.” ~ I think this is a great summary of why Quiksilvers marketing makeover has scored a perfect 10; because they are aware that it is not just one element that leads to surf trippin’ good ol’ times, but multiple elements/objectives combined together.

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 12.32.41 pm

Quiksilver are loving their new online exposure scheme, delivering a highly branded and integrated content and commerce experience, providing a unified look and feel globally that screams get on your board in OUR gnarly gear! The websites incorporates product information, reviews, rad imagery and videos you’ll be frothin’ over, blogs with epic snow and surf stories, how-to’s and tips… all of these aspects rolling together to really make it an enjoyable experience. Leading to product purchase which all you online shredders will be stoked on.

Quiksilver Website Design - Cuker
Quiksilver Website Design – Cuker

From making board shorts in the Torquay beach backyard in 1969 to its current rep as the largest and most prestigious apparel company in the action outdoor sports industry (so their website tells us) Quiksilver is the global board-riding lifestyle company!

Hope you learnt a little about how a brand can turn around their marketing campaigns and use marketing metrics to really improve their online performance, how to drop into that 50ft barrel that is the internet, and come out the other side, arms raised and cheering!  Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 12.35.55 pm

Do you know any other cloud hosting sites? Were they successful?


The hot topic in my #mkf3881 (that is digital marketing) class last week was about the good the bad and the ugly in the social media world. What’s causing controversy, making an impact, generating discussion? Naturally this got me thinking about the surf industry, no, not KimmyK this time, much to my 16-year-old sisters disappointment.
I realised that in all the articles, surf magazines, surf blogs I’ve read, nothing ever seems overly controversial (well not that I remember anyway). But surely the surf industry isn’t perfect… surely it’s not just 100% beach vibes, catching waves, dreamy people, travel, sun, the list goes on…

Intrigued as I was, I cUnknowname cross an article that highlighted exactly why surf related media is, simply put,
The surf industry is by no means, gnarly or stoked all the time (Urban dictionary gives great and somewhat comedic definitions of these terms). No, I’m not talking about the recent Mick Fanning shark attack phenomenon (read it – StabMag), albeit an extremely heavy and incredibly scary event. I wanted to look below the surface, what’s happening behind the scenes in the surfing world that humanizes the otherwise perfect beach scenes we all see and hear about.

The Sugar-coat – understandably not everyone is happy about it. In particular, surf journos. Those lucky buggers travelling the world, surfing and writing about those experiences, the ideal job. What could be better, right?

Wrong. The surfing industry is so extremely controlled by the sports sponsors, the big guns like… well I’d better not say, one day I might be working for them…Regardless, all published media has to first be approved and allowed by these silent controllers. So imagine, a high-profile, world-class surf icon does something wrong, God forbid… Well no one outside their own inner circle will know because nothing will ever be published in the bigger forums… because the surfers sponsors won’t allow it, for fear of it impacting their own reputation. A great article published in The Australian discusses this exact scenario. An article originally published in the iconic SurferMag, was then removed two days later after pressure from sponsors. But even two days is almost a victory for the controversial, but real topic –  racism. Because yes, unfortunately the surf industry is not exempt from this world-wide issue, despite what the big stakeholders in the industry would like us to think. And this is just one example.

what-to-do-with-old-surfing-magazinesNow I’m primarily referring to articles being posted in well-known surf magazines and online media outlets, therefore personal blogs, much like this one your reading, can’t be controlled in what is published. But for a surf journo whose dream is to make it to the top of the surf commentary food chain, to ultimately write in the ‘surf bible,’ to be that 1-in-a-million that gets the free trip to Bali…well they can say good bye to their artistic licence.

Illustration by Matt Allen. View more of Matt Allen's work at
Illustration by Matt Allen. View more of Matt Allen’s work at

Zach Weisberg, a surf journo who lives and breathes the sport experienced this first hand. With over 25 years experience in the industry he knows the price that comes with surf journalism. Honesty is integral for editors and writers to be able to consider their work valuable, to respect their work and to earn respect from others in this industry, to report on the real deal! However, as he describes in this article, honesty, is not a high priority in the surf biz. Largely because, at times, honesty fails to perpetuate the industries dreamscape.
In Weisbergs words, “honesty has the potential to threaten a well-fortified narrative characterized by carefree attitudes, and the industry’s stewards are willing to preserve that ideal by any means necessary… surf brands either ask publications not to report on an issue by voicing polite, but loaded disapproval or they threaten to withdraw their advertising budget.”
Now if this isn’t ultimately controlling the surf industries power to capture and report what’s really happening in the surfing scene, then I don’t know what is. Instead the retailers of surfing clothing, apparel and hard goods are only putting out there what will make them look better as a brand, by means of changing… or moreover avoiding, the hard truth.

I have always loved, and will continue to always love, all the fantastic articles I read about surfing… However, from now on I will also be thinking in the back of my mind; how much of this story has been left out? Have the cold hard facts been side-stepped?

I’m sure the surf industry isn’t the only place this is happening! Everyone has the potential to express an honest voice. But can we really believe everything we hear or read?

Let me know your thoughts!

Surfing and the Internet.. Say what?!

You’re probably wondering how these two loves of mine are even remotely related aren’t you? Well, believe it or not surfing the wild and wonderful internet and surfing that big mountain of water coming towards you do have a number of similarities…

And here’s the first one – competitiveness – Both the digital world and the ocean are competitive places! (And I don’t just mean in the big game of professional surfing). I’m not the strongest surfer that’s for sure, but I love getting out in the water for a paddle… But getting out there with all the locals when you’re just an ‘every now and again’ surfer is intimidating. Social media can be intimidating too. When I’m in the water looking around at the clearly experienced locals sitting on their boards having a good ol’ chin-wag,  I notice their utter respect for each other, for the water, their love for surfing. I watch the way they paddle, the perfect timing when they jump up on their board, each carve and charge after the next. Their steezy finesse (that is – style and ease – a groovy man once told me) is what I use in attempt to develop my own style steeze. The same can be said for online activity and creating a social media presence. There are experts out there and plenty of them! Look at their use of #hashtags, the repetition of themes or messages over different media platforms, the times they’re posting, how often, what it is making them successful. So much can be learnt from the regular, popular, avid surfers, both in the water and out.

Here’s another similarity… consistency. What I mean is, surfing is a hobby that realistically you need to be doing all the time to really improve, to learn the way of the water. Otherwise you’ll end up like me.. an extremely average and well, embarrassing surfer (truth be told). Social media is the same! If you really want people to notice you, read your thoughts, opinions, see your pictures, then consistency is key. Posting once every few weeks isn’t going to help build up your following… ideally you want to be posting at least once a day (of course it varies depending on what platforms you’re using but we’ll look at this more another time). Keeping active is essential in order to develop a relationship with other online shredders.  For a detailed explanation regarding online consistency have a looksie here!

A final (although there’s plenty more) correlation between surfing waves and surfing the internet is the sense of community and heightened experience once you’re part of the crew. Like Kaplan and Haenlein explain (check it out here), it is essential to keep your own online presence interesting, to be humble, not always professional, and to be honest. You want your potential crew to relate to you easily, enjoy reading or watching all you are sharing. These are fundamental both in social media marketing and in the ocean. Whether you’re sharing content or sharing the water, earning your mates trust and respect is ultimately going to make your experience that much better! Responding to comments online, giving credit where it is due, or throwing a shaka at your fellow surfers will help build that sense of community that both the internet and the ocean have on offer.

Julian Wilson - Photo: Peter Taras Julian Wilson – Photo: Peter Taras

On a finishing note, one of my favourite pro surfers, Julian Wilson (also just a generally sexy man) expresses his tips when using social media. This interview covers some fantastic truths when it comes to social media marketing and is actually just a great read! I’d advise you all to check it out! Surf Lessons in Social Media. Let me know what you think!

Can you think of any other similarities between surfing, and well, surfing?
Or do you have a favourite hobby, sport or interest that on the surface has nothing to do with Social, but when you think a little more, there’s a bunch of similarities? Please do tell!!

And if there is anything you did or didn’t like about this post chuck a comment just below, Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!🙂