About-face book

u.jpgWhen Bite PR, as PRWeek put it back in October, “became the envy of trendy consumer tech agencies everywhere [by] scooping up the Facebook UK brief” I bet in all their excitement the team never suspected that one of the first things they’d be handling would be the fallout from the Facebook founder’s humiliating apology over a dodgy advertising system.  Though perhaps they’re not having to do very much at all…as we all know, when stuff like this happens with our big American clients, it’s generally time to stick to the prepared statements and say nothing else.  I’ve always found that enormously rewarding.

In fact, with all the current chat about Facebook having jumped the shark, I’m not sure that other agencies would be that envious right now.  My gutfeel is that Facebook’s crested the hill and is starting a chilly descent.  I reckon Zuckerberg knows it too, so he’s grabbed the cash from Microsoft and the rich Asian fella while he can…$300m isn’t a bad return for a few years’ work in anyone’s book.  Hopefully Bite has negotiated a long notice period.

I bet the guys at LinkedIn – the client that Bite (rather arrogantly in my eyes) thought wouldn’t mind being serviced by the same agency as Facebook but which (rather predictably) decided that it did – are chuckling away though.

One thing I chuckled away at this morning is Kara Swisher’s decoding of Zuckerberg’s apology on her excellent BoomTown blog.

17 thoughts on “About-face book

  1. Matt Ravden says:

    I’m normally the consensual type, as you know, but I have to disagree on a number of fronts this time (that’s allowed, right?!). First up, you’ve been too long out of agency life, mate! The greenback rules! What’s Facebook’s budget? What’s LinkedIn’s budget? Hmmm. Why does Bite exist? Because A Plus dropped Compaq for IBM. Arrogance indeed! And then Firefly dropped Apple to take Compaq (April 1995ish! Who do they think they are?! And Bite rose out of nowhere to snaffle Apple. And when six months later Bite took Oracle from Firefly after they’d had it for eight years, Russell Brady famously emailed Mark Mellor with the immortal words “And April spawned the monster.”

    Anyway, I think Facebook is just starting out. I’ve tried all the big social media sites. With MySpace I joined as a friend of an old musician schoolmate who’d made it big, and within seconds was being invited to spend the night with busty blondes in Atlanta. Friends Reunited is a total waste of time. LInkedIn …. I haven’t given it a fair crack to be fair. And Facebook? Well there’s lots of annoying things, such as friends who spend their whole time superpoking each other … but it has the killer ingredient.

    Scrabulous. I currently have seven games on the go. It is brilliant. I am on Facebook PURELY so I can play this game.

  2. Mark says:

    Oh no Matt, disagreement’s welcome. Especially when you’re talking out of your hat.

    I know all about money ruling and bigger new clients winning out over smaller old ones…but that isn’t what happened in this case. Bite didn’t drop LinkedIn for Facebook.

    In fact, if you read the PRWeek stories when it all kicked off you’ll see that David Hargreaves was quoted as saying “…that Facebook is ‘completely comfortable’ with the agency working on both these accounts. ‘They operate in a different space,’ he said.”

    No mention of his existing client’s thoughts…nice.

    Two weeks later, PRWeek again:

    “LinkedIn appointed Bite in September to raise its profile. But in October Bite picked up the sought-after Facebook account. That win has prompted LinkedIn to cut ties with the agency, citing a conflict of ­interests. Bite MD David Hargreaves said he was ‘surprised’ by the ­decision…”

    So, to get the facts straight, LinkedIn dumped Bite, not the other way around. And Hargreaves looked a bit silly. I would’ve had more respect if he’d sacked LinkedIn to take on Facebook, but he didn’t.

  3. Matt Ravden says:

    I wasn’t saying Bite resigned Linkedin rather than being dumped, but I think it’s fair to say they took a calculated risk, and the calculation wasn’t that difficult.

    If you leave your girlfriend to shack up with a new one, your ex can’t really dump you can she, because to all intents and purposes she’s been dumped? I suppose to be true to the analogy you’d be saying “it’s ok honey, we can have a threesome, can’t we?” After all, we all live in a bit of a fantasy world from time to time.

  4. James Warren says:

    Matt – you don’t need to be on Facebook to play Scrabulous. It’s been around for over 18 months here: http://www.scrabulous.com/

    Which is actually the interesting thing about Facebook – it’s become a kind of operating system.

  5. Mark says:

    There’s the nail on the head…Bite thought that it’d pull the foxy new chick with the bigger knockers and yet still manage to persuade the petite existing girlfriend that they’d all live together in perfect harmony. And then it was ‘surprised’ when existing girlfriend said, “actually, sunshine, you can bugger off”…but nobody else was.

  6. James Warren says:

    This is like being in the pub. There’s me getting all excited about the evolution of social networks while you two talk about tits.

  7. Matt Ravden says:

    Actually jimBob isn’t Facebook doing exactly what it says on the tin, and being a ‘social network’ – the idea of playing Scrabble from scrabulous.com all feels a bit too geeky and hardcore, and yet doing it through Facebook somehow feels like a byproduct rather than the means to an end, if you get my drift?

  8. James Warren says:

    Couldn’t agree more. Hence why Facebook is becoming more like an OS. Which was my intended point. I think.

    Of course in any social network you need the social element otherwise it’s all a bit ‘gash’ – no good if you’ve got noone to play with, eh? I was playing around with Orkut the other day, which is totally useless as a social network because noone I know is there. Memo to self: must play with more brazilians (and if that doesn’t do anything for your SEO Mark, nothing will).

    Finally, I am of the opinion that LinkedIn is the sleeping giant of this space and that next year it will go absolutely stratospheric.

  9. Mark says:

    This is why I love blogging. Here’s something the three of us could have covered face-to-face in the time it takes to sink three-quarters of a pint and it’s absorbed the best part of half a day. And we’ve managed to include “busty blondes”, “knockers”, “tits”, “gash”, “bugger”, “brazilian” and “sleeping giant”.

  10. James Warren says:

    Yes, but this isn’t *all* we’ve been doing for half a day. Is it?

  11. Mark says:

    Speak for yourself. Matt and I have.

  12. Matt Ravden says:

    Sad, though, too, cos I’d rather do it over a pint. Although, I’m not sure social networks would stay on the agenda for all that long.

  13. grantie says:

    ooh this is great. are you three all pissed? if not, you are doing a *very* good impression of a drunken conversation. is this the new world? all of us sitting alone in front of our computers with a can of stella having the exact same conversations we might have had once upon a time, together. oh the wonder.

    lots of interesting points though. many points to argue about – facebook as an OS (i agree with you jimbob), whether facebook or linkedin has a shelf life, er, scrabulous (what the feck is that??)

  14. Chris Wright says:

    Any money sloshing about for Outofyourfacebook?

    We could have drinks adverts emblazoned across celebrity tits, the Withnail and I drinking game and a museum of ye olde operating systems for Jimbob.

  15. James Warren says:

    Mine’s an OS. Actually, no – make it an OS2.


  16. Clive Armitage says:

    Hey Pinny, why didn’t you ask me about this when we met for a beer in London???? Could have given you the real story…

  17. Mark says:

    Funny…it didn’t even occur to me! Old news by then, I suppose.

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