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Why We Need a Physical Activity Revolution

Public opinion is changing. The role of physical activity and sport in ensuring a healthy and balanced life is now, finally, being heavily pushed in the media, by Public Health England, and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

We like to think the tipping point was the All-Party Commission on Physical Activity. Established in the Autumn of 2013, the Commission heard from nearly 200 organisations and individuals across six evidence sessions and written submissions.

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Aldi and Lidl – The New Retail Landscape

It’s a demographic change that has implications across the retail sector. Research carried out last week confirms the established wisdom – Aldi and Lidl are breaking in to traditional markets, and they’re doing it with what can only be described as a whimper from retailers such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

Picked up in the Daily Telegraph and Daily Express, as well as being published in the Grocer, research carried out by Him! found that 31 percent of Aldi and Lidl shoppers are from the “AB” demographic (A being upper middle class and B being middle class).

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Friday TechMunch: Is Your Facebook News Feed About to Get Even More Cluttered?

Have you ever felt that, although one image says more than a thousand words, sometimes not even one steady image is enough to express what you want to? Fret not. Facebook has unveiled it will be hosting a new advertising format: ‘Cinemagraphs’ ….  Cinewhat?

These are still photographs in which a minor and repeated movement occurs – giving the illusion that the viewer is watching a video. Still confused? Cinemagraphs are basically the middle point between photography and films.

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FleishmanHillard Public Affairs Launches General Election Commentary

Bloomberg TV has launched a new hour-long UK Politics programme featuring key business and political commentators. Bloomberg’s second show, which went out live this morning, featured heavy weight political commentators including our very own Nick Williams, Head of Public Affairs. Nick discussed the local races that may shape the national election in the UK and why current polling doesn’t give a full picture. The link to the interview is here.

This complements an insights piece by Nick in PR Week on yesterday’s Budget, as well as our live Twitter analysis which looked at real-time social media analytics to measure how the Budget was received by key audiences.

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Osborne’s Sixth Budget Defines Both Him and David Cameron’s Premiership

Budgets come and Budgets go – but this one is significantly different. It is a moment of definition for Chancellor George Osborne, its architect. And his sixth Budget also defines the future of David Cameron’s premiership.

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FleishmanHillard Insight Special – Budget 2015

George Osborne budget

Coining It In

Yesterday, the Treasury unveiled a significant redesign of the one pound coin, in a PR coup that saw the Chancellor himself telephone the Midlands teenager who had drawn the design. Not only was this great heart-warming stuff (come on, be kind), but it also gave Osborne an opportunity to promote the coin as “the most secure” in the world, as part of his bid to combat fraud. So, good news for teenagers from Walsall and bad news for forgers, but how will voters – in this age of authenticity and cynicism – treat Osborne’s final pre-election Budget? There’s no use tackling minted fraud if the policies behind the pounds are perceived to be equally as dubious.

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Facebook Cinemagraphs: The Latest Addition to Your Ad Unit Arsenal

Contributed by Andrew Cooper

Facebook recently unveiled a new advertising format: ‘Cinemagraphs’. What are cinemagraphs, you ask?

They’re a clever manipulation of a video to give the effect of a still image with certain elements animating in a loop.

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Friday TechMunch: (Apple) Watch This Space

Contributed by Phil Corfan

If you have been anywhere near the internet this week, the chances are that you will have heard about the latest great leap forward in human civilisation / over-hyped trinket (delete according to personal preference) from Apple.

Yes, to much excitement, on Monday 9th March, Apple finally unveiled the full details of its first wearable device; the Apple Watch.

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Friday TechMunch: Omnicom Women

As part of Omnicom’s celebration of International Women’s Day, we attended the launch of OmniWomen UK yesterday, which aims to encourage and inspire female talent in our industry. The day was jam-packed with breakout workshops and plenary sessions featuring (mostly) women but also men who have been an inspiration in business across various industries. These included broadcaster Emma Freud, Paralympian Karen Darke, Jo Swinson MP, comedian Shazia Mirza, Dame Dianne Thompson and Dame Fiona Woolf.

The day emphasised that we are not simply talking about a women’s issue, rather the need for inclusivity in our businesses. Omnicom’s executive vice president Janet Riccio underlined this focus: “Companies that have diverse, inclusive management teams and boards financially outperform those who don’t. The best investment we can make is in our own human capital.” It was a massively inspirational day and there will surely be more to come in regards to OmniWomen UK initiatives.


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Friday TechMunch: Wave Goodbye To 2015’s Mobile World Congress

From exoskeletons, virtual reality headsets and news of Google’s wireless service, to phone-charging furniture, here are the technology teams key takeaways from the world’s largest mobile show.

Mobile World Congress grows in stature every year, and it’s never been bigger than 2015. Over 90,000 attendees poured into Barcelona last Sunday and roughly 1,900 exhibitors, all vying to make their mark. So who stole the show? Was it Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote or Google’s long-rumoured wireless service?

Following several product and service launches, it seems like security, IoT, wearables, and virtual reality headsets have once again taken centre stage in Barcelona.

Leading the charge…

We’ve all experienced the annoyance of the dead mobile battery… that dreaded red mark hovering away in your mobile battery icon. Well, cross your fingers because that may all be a thing of the past!

At this year’s Mobile World Congress, StoreDot showcased its latest battery charging technology that may find its way to a smartphone by the end of the year. The company first showcased their battery and charging system in 2014 but this year they are back with the latest, refined iteration that’s able to recharge a mobile battery in a blink of an eye (check this video out to see it in action).

Using nanotechnology, StoreDot has created special batteries that are able to soak up the charge quicker, significantly reducing the time wasted waiting around for your mobile to reach a decent battery percentage.

So what’s next for this great technology?  Mobile phones may be the immediate concern but StoreDot has also revealed plans to develop this product for electric cars with the aim to charge a Tesla in a mere five minutes. No one can say that’s not impressive.

Time to think security

Unsurprisingly, we saw device security continuing to gain momentum at MWC. Responding to growing consumer worries regarding personal privacy and mobile security, a few companies demonstrated their latest solutions…

Finesh company, Jolla, launched version 2.0 of its Sailfish OS and partnered with SSH Communications Security to create Sailfish Secure – an offering that uses SSH’s communication encryption and key management features. Jolla has also been crowd-funding its own brand tablet, which is expected to arrive in the market in the second quarter of this year.

But Jolla is not the only mobile startup eyeing security.

A year on from revealing its first Blackphone, startup Silent Circle revealed a second-generation secure-phone successor along with a tablet for today’s mobile workforce.  The Blackphone 2 has been built to offer enterprises privacy its “Silent Suite” which automatically encrypts video and voice calls over a peer-to-peer VoIP service, offers encrypted messaging, and an automatically encrypted address book. One major advantage for such encrypted conscious folks is that Silent allows subscribers to make encrypted calls to others who haven’t bought the same encrypted device. Pretty clever, right?

If you don’t fancy the hassle of changing phones, fear not as Open Whisper Systems has also released version 2 of its Signal secure calling app for iPhone. This free application offers end-to-end encrypted and contains no advertisements as the development is supported by community donations and grants.

The VR market heats up

Last but by no means least, one of the most exciting products to launch at MWC this year was the HTC Vive – a virtual reality (VR) headset developed in partnership with game developer, Valve. Not only did no one see it coming, the specs suggest it’s actually more powerful than its Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus rivals.

This new VR “game changer” has so shook up the industry that it’s even made people question whether Oculus has started to lose its way. After all, HTC has confirmed a 2015 launch date while Oculus has yet to announce a consumer release, despite its original Kickstarter campaign getting its funding way back in 2012.

Will the Vive be the device that finally takes VR mainstream? Only time will tell.

Whatever happens, this newcomer is good news for consumers. More competition inevitably means more innovation, more choice and better pricing. And there’s no doubt this sudden new challenger to the VR throne will be keeping Oculus and Sony on their toes.

Written by Christina Farrugia, Emma Carey and Francesca Palmiero, Technology Team


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