A year at Fourth Day - VR, a Twit and a lettuce
By Xanthe Vaughan Williams
H aving offered to do a little round-up of 2022, it was a bit tricky knowing where to start.
Some quite big things seem to have happened, what with the death of a monarch, a war in Europe, three prime ministers and an impending recession. Rather than trying to cram any of this into a short blog, I’ve focused on a few of the things that have stood out for me this year at Fourth Day.
In the spring – and then again in the autumn, just to make sure – we celebrated Fourth Day’s 20th birthday. With parties in Manchester and London we were delighted to see colleagues, partners and clients from the past two decades. Our achievements were neatly summed up in a brief interview between myself and my co-founder Nikki.
In the spring – and then again in the autumn, just to make sure - we celebrated Fourth Day’s 20th birthday.
Art, tech and reality
When trying to think of the major tech events of the year, the first thing to spring to mind was this May’s launch of ABBA VOYAGE. No, I haven’t even been yet, but the show is a brilliant example of how tech can transform the interaction between artists and audiences. Most people I’ve talked to about it found the distinction between video and reality almost impossible to identify. One colleague even failed to applaud the live band because she thought they weren’t real.
Meanwhile an entirely different use of immersive VR was announced for people who can’t get out to a theatre or cinema. Our friends at production company Neon8 launched a “gentle” VR that doesn’t make you feel sick but gives you the impression of being in a theatre. Not just for the young and fit. Their new production with Dundee Rep will be available in the new year.
Fun and Games
Into the summer and we had the excitement of the Commonwealth Games taking place in Birmingham in August. We LOVE logistics and all things transport at Fourth Day, and the city’s transport plan played a large part in the event. As an additional bonus, one of our clients, Aussie tech company Bridj, did a great job of providing fleet management for the games families.
September saw our short-lived PM Liz Truss give a demonstration of how not to deal with local media. Fourth Day UK is based in London and Manchester, and we have a great respect for regional journalists, so listening to the recordings of her interviews was mesmerising and horrifying in equal measure. Just in case any of our US colleagues were unaware of the dangers, we recently wrote a few tips about working with local media for a US PR magazine, PR Daily.
At the end of October, we witnessed the extraordinary shenanigans over the sale of Twitter. With Elon Musk now officially Chief Twit, the joke may not have been quite so amusing for the employees who lost their jobs, nor for the journalists now banned from the platform, but the new direction for the media company is going to be fascinating for all of us who care about comms. My colleague Paul penned a few words about it during the first week of the new order.
I was going to try to avoid politics, but I can’t complete a review of 2022 without a reference to the greatest example of clear messaging that the year has offered. The comparison between Liz Truss’s premiership and the life of a 60p Tesco lettuce was a stroke of genius on the part of the Daily Star, and will ensure an eternal link between the two in the minds of much of the general public. PRs everywhere, look and learn
Xanthe is a co-founder and director of Fourth Day PR