Blue-sky thinking

31st March 2017

There are plans afoot to improve the reach and impact of the avalanche reports you see on the SAIS website.

Earlier this year sportscotland engaged the services of C.O. Jones & Associates, a leading media and advertising agency who have produced notable advertising and media campaigns for Coca Cola, Volkswagen Audi Group and notably Gillette. Their task was to develop a way of strengthening the avalanche message you see every day on the SAIS website.

C.O. Jones identified that the existing method of portraying avalanche hazard lacked ‘emotional engagement’. They felt this could be improved by employing graphical themes which had real and deeper meaning for our target audience. To this end, C.O. Jones contracted the services of Cambridge Analytics, a data-mining tech company who specialise in psychometric and psychographical data gathering.

(Above) The new graphic will appear on the ‘Avalanche Report’ page, as above.

Cambridge Analytics started by capturing a lot of critical data from Facebook. Those of you who requested to become SAIS Facebook ‘friends’ have had all the ‘likes’ on your accounts analysed, plus those of all your Facebook ‘friends’ since they were almost certain to have a similar outlook. 5000 pyschometric datapoints were examined for each of the cascade of 750,000 people in the dataset.

Cambridge Analytics estimate that from just 150 Facebook ‘likes’ they know you better than your spouse or partner. 300 likes and they know you better than you do. The algorithm used is similar but more sophisticated than the one YouTube uses to determine the uncannily accurate ‘Recommended for you’ videos you see listed in the sidebar of their web pages.

C.O. Jones’ task was to analyse these data outcomes and develop some accurately tailored graphical ‘messages’ garnered from social media and popular culture. Once achieved, the design of the SAIS report page could be adjusted so that the more engaging message would be displayed prominently. After 2 weeks of meetings and many, many cups of espresso, the C.O. Jones ‘creative team’ finally gave us something to look at.

The new designs will be rolled out on the SAIS website before the end of the season but a pilot version will appear on the Creag Meagaidh webpage on Monday. We’re hoping for some immediate feedback from you so it can be tweaked if necessary.

So what’s your opinion? (Please click on the images for better resolution.)

Frankly, we’re not convinced.

(All non-defamatory, expletive-free responses will be published in the ‘Comments’ section below.)


Comments on this post

  • Really
    31st March 2017 7:59 pm

    I actually can’t comment, not without swearing. I’m sorry. Maybe my emotional engagement is faulty.

    • meagaidhadmin
      31st March 2017 8:19 pm

      I feel your pain. Many barely suppressible oaths keep welling up in me, too.

  • Grant Duff
    31st March 2017 8:39 pm

    So taxpayers money paid for C.O. Jones & Associates to enjoy many coffees at likely 10 x per hr the living wage. Joke! It’s not that many years since the previous graphics were changed so why mess with it. Nonsense.

    • meagaidhadmin
      31st March 2017 8:53 pm

      Shocking waste of taxpayers’ money. I’ve sent a strongly-worded letter to my MSP.

  • Helen Rennie
    31st March 2017 9:19 pm

    Is this a day early for an April fool ?

    • meagaidhadmin
      31st March 2017 9:24 pm

      It’s utterly serious.

  • roger clare
    31st March 2017 9:37 pm

    YOU (THEY) CAN’T BE SERIOUS!! If this topic appeared in tomorrow’s blog I would understand (and have a little chuckle). But really, they can’t be serious, can they? The current format is great – if something aint broke . . . We ‘like’ it the way it is.

    • meagaidhadmin
      31st March 2017 9:41 pm

      Welcome to the future, Roger.

  • Mark Worsley
    31st March 2017 11:20 pm

    Its the best thing on the whole internet in its current form.
    Can we just leave it the way it is?
    Many thanks

    • meagaidhadmin
      31st March 2017 11:42 pm

      I’ve just checked. C.O. Jones & Associates have ‘form’ for changing things and making them worse. Google ‘New Coke’. A huge furore and consumer backlash was kicked up when they persuaded Coca-Cola to reformulate their market-leading soft drink as ‘New Coke’ back in 1985.

      Did it again a couple of years ago when marketing diesel cars in N.America for Volkswagen-Audi Group.

      These people are clearly charlatans. Have they no shame?

      I can barely contain my emotions.

  • Dave Moore
    1st April 2017 9:44 am

    These ad. people do not live in the real world. Just gone up and read the comments above after starting this, I hope you are not paying these people?
    Thank you for your efforts this season, despite the up and down conditions. Retreat morrains rule.
    Many regards Dave Moore

    • meagaidhadmin
      1st April 2017 2:56 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Dave.

      Re. the moraines. I remember our conversation well. Every day’s a school day!

  • John Dalton
    1st April 2017 1:07 pm

    I don’t know about improving the reach of the avalanche reports, but your blog could be right up there with “Thought for the day” and “The Shipping Forecast” in terms of national instututions. Perhaps we could get you a regular spot on Radio 4?

    • meagaidhadmin
      1st April 2017 3:13 pm

      A quick check on t’interweb reveals that ‘The Shipping Forecast’ was first broadcast by the BBC in 1925. So by dint of our similar venerable ages we too must also qualify as some sort of institution? When I ponder the word ‘institution’ what springs immediately to mind is the one Jack Nicholson tried in vain to escape from in ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’. Yes, I detect a certain congruency!

      Is Radio 4 the one with Ken Bruce on it?

  • Shelagh Goodwin
    1st April 2017 7:58 pm

    Sportscotland engage C.O. Jones, and C.O. Jones then engage Cambridge Analytics to mess up your fantastic site. I agree with Mark that your avalanche reports are the best thing on the internet. I look at them each evening whether or not I’ll be out hill walking. It’s a great site, and if it gets dumbed down in the interests of ’emotional engagement’, it will lose my interest.

    • meagaidhadmin
      1st April 2017 9:16 pm

      Have no fear, the backlash against this folly is well under way.

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