December

Borkowski Weekly Media Trends: Labour Leadership | Cats | Caroline Flack

Merry Christmas!

No time for yearly wrap-ups just yet... it's been a busy week! Trump's been impeached, Piers Morgan and Stormzy have been beefing and Christmas is nearly upon us!

Labour Leadership

And so it begins. After the disaster that was the election of December 2019, Jeremy Corbyn has announced his resignation as Labour leader, prompting the beginning of what promises to be a tortuous leadership race. Despite his promises to instigate a ‘kindler, gentler politics’, Corbyn’s revolution has left a party still riddled with division and factionalism. In this week’s Trends, we take a look at the emerging favourites. 
 
Keir Starmer
Although not yet formally launched, Starmer hasn’t been subtle in his positioning for the top job so far. As a former Director of Public Prosecutions, he’s hoping his ability to incisively pull apart Conservative arguments will make him a favourite. But he might be hamstrung by perceptions that he is a little too wealthy and middle class.
 
Emily Thornberry
The first candidate to declare, Thornberry is a confident media performer who wisely kept a low profile during the election. But she may be plagued by a lot of the same problems as Starmer: she represents a North London constituency, has a background as a barrister and is tainted by service in the Shadow Cabinet. She also has a history of unfortunate comments about ‘patriotic’ voters, which may burden her campaign in Brexitland.
 
Clive Lewis
Lewis is the first true Corbyn ally to declare, running with a pitch firmly to the left of Starmer or Thornberry. He promises to go further than Corbyn in his efforts to hand control of the party to members. Although an unlikely contender, entering the race early may do him a favour, giving him valuable facial recognition to the Corbynistas that are likely to make the difference in this election.
 
Rebecca Long Bailey/Angela Rayner
Long Bailey is the runaway favourite, a John McDonnell acolyte who represents continuity Corbyn. Though not yet announced, she is almost certain to run, probably with her long-time friend and flatmate Angela Rayner alongside her as Deputy Leader. The consensus among many is that the next leader has to be a woman, given Labour’s historical lack of a female leader. If that logic endures, this coupling will be a formidable force.
 
The race is bound to be interesting, and it is enormously important. Just as Boris Johnson’s recent win will have enormous consequences for the future trajectory of the United Kingdom, so will the decision made by Labour members next year. It may well be a choice between life or death for the Labour Party.

The Cats Out of the Bag

Cats. Where to begin?! The brutal reviews or Jason Derulo’s airbrushed penis?
 
Several months ago we discussed the trailer which caused a monumental social media stir. It may have been a global talking point, but the absurd and baffling visuals created conversations the producers would’ve wanted to avoid.
 
Since the review embargo was lifted, critics have united against Tom Hooper’s big-budget adaptation, mostly horrified by the CGI overload.
 
Whilst Cats has been universally ridiculed, one man has unintentionally become the sacrificial lamb. In steps Jason Derulo (who plays Rum Tug Tugger) who declared the film “a brave piece of art”. A bold statement when his genitals were one of the key talking points ahead of the release.
 
Early signs suggest Cats is a total mess. Despite high budgets, blockbuster cast and the huge number of creatives behind the film, it’s not looking good for Hollywood’s adaptation of the Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical.
 
Cats failed to deliver on the hype. And when you have such big names associated with an absolute stinker, you’re going to fall even harder against the crushing weight of expectation.
 
The Flack is Gone

Caroline Flack stepped down as Love Island presenter following the alleged assault on her boyfriend Lewis Burton. Flack posted an Instagram story that she has quit Love Island so that she can 1. co-operate with the authorities and 2. not detract any attention from the upcoming series.
 
There are underlying tones of double-standards in ITV’s protocol with aftercare following a serious incident. Take Ant McPartlin who had the full support of ITV  following his drink-driving crash.

In Caroline’s case, her boyfriend has come back relatively positively for Flack and that he is ‘tired of the lies’ aimed at her.

Whatever happened, ITV axed Caroline within days of the arrest, leaving her with no real chance of survival. It seems as though in the eyes of ITV, I’m a Celebrity couldn’t sustain the viewers with only half of PJ & Duncan, whereas Love Island numbers are likely to keep climbing irrelevant of the host.
 
Flack has never found herself far from scandalous headlines and rumours, the hot topic namely surrounding her series of boyfriends many years her junior, and has dealt with the scrutiny fairly well. There is little difference in this instance; graciously leaving her role to deal with her situation (without the support of ITV), and congratulating new host Laura Whitmore.
 
So what’s next for Caroline? With some time away from the spotlight, there's every chance she'll be back on our screen, albeit a smaller stage.
 
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Borkowski Weekly Media Trends: Borkowski's Alternative General Election Moments

Borkowski Weekly Media Trends

Here at Borkowski, we have always believed in authentic and honest communications. As an authentic and honest agency, we can confirm that we are all incredibly hungover after our office Christmas Party, and of course GE2019. With sore heads and sore hearts here are some alternative election winners and losers:

Mark Francois

Having pulverised our TV screens with his commanding presence through 2019, during this election Mark Francois was strangely quiet, before returning in the last few days. He penned a deferential op-ed in the Telegraph on Wednesday, before popping up in an interview with Andrew Neil after the result was announced, comparing the fall of Labour’s so-called ‘Red Wall’ to that of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Neil was understandably baffled at this display of hubris. Nonetheless, the Francois we know and love is clearly back in business. Having ridden out the election in peace, he is now primed to make himself a media star all over again.

Hugh Grant

The best Christmas Prime Minister we ever had decided to go a bit of door-knocking himself for real. Unfortunately, he was a spectre of doom – as everyone he stood next to lost their jobs, just in time for Christmas.
 
Boris and The Fridge

A Thick of It election special: Johnston fleeing from a GMB producer and hiding in a giant fridge. Johnson’s aide could even be seen mouthing “oh for f*ck’s sake” in response to Piers’s heckles, who later exclaimed, “he’s gone into the fridge”. A flustered Boris had to cool down I suppose…

Alan Cairns

Elections are often compared to horse races. And Mr. Cairns had barely heard the starting bell before he suddenly found himself in a tent, with a grim-faced Dominic Cummings and a double-barrelled shotgun.

The Great British Voter

Some zingers came out of our brilliant electorate. This (arguably the soundbite of the election) came from a woman in the vintage years of her life. Or this man who saw an opportunity and took it. Over and over again. Or this video, in which a wheelbarrow becomes a prop of violent statecraft. Or even this one which befell Hugh Abbot MP.

The BBC

When the BBC is accused of bias by both left and right, that’s usually a sign that it's doing the job properly. Not so this time. The Beeb was dogged by accusations of partisanship throughout this campaign. It all reached a fever pitch when the Electoral Commission suggested that Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg may have broken electoral law. The Corporation’s future has never looked more uncertain.

Nicola Sturgeon's Ungracious Behaviour

However you feel about Jo Swinson, it wasn’t the most gracious move by Sturgeon to shake her fists on camera in celebration when the news broke. But, is anyone ever commended for their grace during a GE?

Jess Philips

Suddenly a gulf of leadership has opened in the Labour Party and the membership are scrabbling around to find a charismatic, working-class woman who can advocate for remain but not lose their leave voting base. Could Phillips be the woman for the job?
 
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Borkowski Weekly Media Trends: Noname vs. Her Fans | Politicians Comms Problem | Turner Prize Gaff

Borkowski Weekly Media Trends

With 2019 winding down, two of the biggest streaming platforms have done their bit to summarise the year because – let’s face it – we all love lists. YouTube’s annual Rewind video was criticised as a top 10 video on steroids, whereas Spotify Wrapped had users comparing their 2019 listening habits and sharing their results on social media. A bit of mindless fun while we edge closer to total election chaos. On that note here are the trends!

Noname quits rap over white audience

One of the biggest music controversies of the year hit this past week.
 
In a series of Tweets, rapper/singer/songwriter Noname revealed she may not be interested making music anymore, and she’s certainly not interested in performing for mostly white audiences because she doesn’t want to ‘dance on a stage for white people’.
 
We aren’t going to unpackage what Noname is saying as this is very specific to her experiences and identity - a topic fit for a sociology thesis.
 
Despite this, Noname has a huge amount of influence and is highly respected across the hip-hop community. She’s split her fans and critics but she’s raising some crucial arguments that need to be addressed.
 
Whilst artists can’t choose their audience or how their audience chooses to interpret the music, they can influence it and Noname’s comments have the weight to do just that.
 
Coldplay attempted to address a similarly important topic – the environment – by pausing touring until concerts are 'environmentally beneficial'. On the surface, a huge statement but an ineffective and forgettable stunt. Coldplay had a chance to attack corporations causing the vast majority of carbon emissions, but instead decided to go for the safe, good-intentioned option… very on brand.
 
Ultimately, Noname’s controversial stance will be heard and won’t be forgotten. Support for Noname will be crucial but may fall short due to the highly divisive nature of her words. Unlike Chris Martin’s tepid reaction to global warming, Noname’s message won’t fall on deaf ears.

Why are our politicians so dreadful at communicating!?

Anyone following the UK and US elections might notice a distinct gulf in communications expertise. Donald Trump has a social media campaign which is only matched in its sophistication by his seven opposing Democrats.
 
Watch this video or this one. They are both from no-hope campaigns, going after some of the most firmly entrenched politicians on the planet.
 
Why don’t UK politicians have this calibre of comms? Why do we get tired, bland set-pieces like this from our leaders? Why is this the most exciting set-piece a podgy man fumbling around with a car tyre 16 seconds (it’s supposed to take 2.5 seconds)?
 
The answer is money. Strict spending limits mean that politics remains an amateur game of jumpers for goalposts in London, wherein Washington it’s all gone all Premiership. As in ‘a dodgy foreign entity has bought your club and now season ticket prices have tripled’ Premiership.
 
It’s the money, not the talent that we lack. Just look at either of these two brilliant political advertisers. Each made by unregulated, social media political groups. One has even made it into the big leagues.
 
So next time you are watching a broadcast so boring or tone-deaf that you want to pull out your own eyes and vote for them instead – just remember, it’s the weight of limitless money we lack – not the presence of talent.
 
Turner Prize Awards blunder

The prestigious Turner Prize announced a surprising decision this week: the award for 2019 would be given to all four nominated artists. The four artists chose to send a ‘collective statement’ to the judging panel, commenting that there was ‘already so much that divides and isolates people and communities’. The group of four will now share the £40,000 prize money.
 
The question is: does anyone actually care? In a move that smacked of weak virtue signalling, UK art’s most prestigious award sacrificed artist recognition in favour of a cheap publicity stunt that is unlikely to resonate outside of the hubristic art bubble. More importantly though, in its willingness to be led by nominees, the judging panel has done significant damage to the Turner Prize brand.
 
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2019 Trends by Month

2020 Trends by Month

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