The Prince’s Trust gets swept away with video campaign

29 Sep

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Today marks the launch of a new campaign at Prince’s Trust HQ. We’re celebrating everything Enterprise, as we look to encourage young adults to set up their own business. Dull, boring and disengaging? Wrong.

Working with creative agency Nonsense, and funded by RBS , we’ve created three spoof infomercials bringing to life a series of terrible business ideas. You know, the ones that wouldn’t make it onto the brainstorm flip chart – despite the mantra ‘no idea is a bad idea‘. And, it works. Take a look for yourself.

A toothbrush, hairbrush, toilet brush and broom all in one, there’s more to this video than slapstick comedy. Behind the scenes, the PR, marketing and digital teams have been working closely (even crossing over at times) to ensure our ‘outside our comfort zone’ multi-media content is working as hard as possible to reach the right people: 18-30 year olds. Here’s how:

Digital
The Brush it All video celebrates the start of a three-week digital campaign – our biggest push ever – and to make this possible we’ve strengthened our existing business content to sit alongside the videos. From Enterprise programme enquiry forms to business plan templates, we’ve made the collateral easier to find and use thanks to our new landing page.

PR
Making the most of our campaign news hook, the PR team has also created case studies of young people who’ve previously completed The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme and gone on to business success. To be featured on the website and sold-in to national, regional and local press, these stories will bring to life what we we’re trying to achieve and tick the box for peer to peer marketing.

We’ll also be sharing the stories of the Enterprise ‘heroes’ on the other side of the coin – The Prince’s Trust business mentors who provide two year’s support to every young person who seeks to develop their business idea- to maximise coverage opportunities.

Celebrity
This isn’t a category that I usually highlight when reviewing campaigns – especially when there’s still a debate as to whether it’s stats or celebs that people respond to more. But, with a host of celebrity ambassadors supporting The Prince’s Trust, the team has leveraged business tips from self-made figures to inspire young people. Think Kelly Hoppen , Jamal Edwards, Levi Roots and Jamie Oliver. As well as being rolled out online, this content will also generate consumer coverage.

Social Media
We’ll also be engaging with the celebrities on our social media channels. But, it’s not just a case of us, or them, pushing the video out with a campaign hashtag (although, not to leave any stone un-turned we’ve got one of those as well: #MyBigIdea), we’re using YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram Pinterest and Google+ to share exclusive ‘behind the scenes’ content and connect with followers by feeding into business-related conversations.

So, with all of this, a dash of digital advertising, e-marketing, and internal comms, we’ve come up with a recipe for success. What do you think? Does Brush it All inspire you to start your own business?

Drop me a comment with your thoughts and continue to check YouTube for the other videos in the series over the coming weeks. They’re awesome.

Brush it All

The Prince’s Trust presents Brush it All

If the cast of Friends joined Prime Time

20 Sep

This is brand new information!

Ok, I fooled you. It isn’t really. But, shame on you if you’ve missed the media banging on about the upcoming 20th anniversary of the first episode of Friends. It’s literally been everywhere!

And, not wanting to miss out, I’m going to give Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Joey and Phoebe some airtime of my own. No, it’s not a “20 things you didn’t know about Friends” blog. (Thank goodness, that feature idea has had more re-runs than the show itself).

No, I’m doing something much more industry focused. This, Prime Timers, is the definitive list of where I’d place the characters in my PR and marketing company.

Novel? Yes. Necessary? No. So, bear with me.

Joey – Reception
Imagine how happy you’d be if you rang up Prime Time HQ and were greeted with a friendly ‘how you doing?’

Joey is very much a people person and I’d want to exploit that on the front desk. He also knows how to act (I’m confident about that). So, if a client was getting pushy about why they were being kept waiting in the lobby (because we were obviously putting the finishing touches to our pitch presentation), he’d be able to devise a ‘believable’ cover story.

Note to self: Joey must not be allowed to change the TV station in reception to Days of our Lives. It must remain on BBC News at all times.

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Rachel – New business
Rachel isn’t getting this job based on the efforts she displayed as a waitress at Central Perk. Because, quite frankly, she wasn’t very good. But, when she worked for Bloomingdale’s and, later, Ralph Lauren, she showed that she had an eye for emerging trends and was able to work effectively and efficiently with models, suppliers and buyers. This is perfect for identifying new clients and securing briefs.

Note to self: Don’t allow her to recruit an attractive PA; it stunts her productivity.

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Ross – Research
Some might find this role boring but, with Ross’ scientific approach to problem-solving, he’d be great. Tasked with researching markets and ideas and pulling together competitor reports, he’d be able to justify all of our PR moves to clients with hard facts and figures.

Note to self: Don’t allow him to take breaks during office hours. It gets him into trouble and brings up bad memories for Rachel.

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Phoebe – Marketing
Imagine Phoebe heading up a brainstorm – she’d be brilliant. To create award-winning campaigns, every idea needs to be explored.

As they say, no idea is a bad idea in a brainstorm. And Phoebe would be able to bring the best out in her team by not limiting creativity – due to budgets, timings and resource – at the first hurdle. Even if clients don’t opt for those big ideas, it’s important they know we’re capable of producing them.

Note to self: Always ask her a secret question that only she’d know the answer to, to check her twin sister isn’t doing her job for her.

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Chandler – Social media
I know what you’re thinking. ‘Why isn’t Chandler in advertising?’ He did a great job in the show’. I’m telling you, he didn’t. Slogans and jingles are one thing, but clients expect substance and strategy behind their new product launches. I’d want to harness Chandler’s wit on social media – encouraging him to engage with consumers, start topical conversations and conduct focus groups – giving us, and our clients, the edge.

Note to self: Ensure he wears a name badge at all times, so people know exactly who he is in the office.

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Monica – PR
Monica gets what she wants, always. She’s fierce, competitive and knows how to play the game. From writing impactful features and interviewing powerful case studies to selling-in stories and securing coverage, she’d be a PR machine.

Note to self: Leave a note to the cleaners to ensure her desk is thoroughly cleaned each evening.

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So, there you have it. An all-star agency dream team.

Do you agree with my recruitment decisions, or would you make some internal shuffles?

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Swapsies: Share your details for more amazing content

9 Sep

At Prime Time HQ (i.e my studio flat), we’re working on an exciting monthly newsletter which will give you the best bits of the blog, plus a little extra.

So, if you like what you see, let’s do a straight swap. Submit your name and email address here and let us (i.e me) do the rest.

And, as always, if you’re interested in writing a guest post just get in touch. We (i.e me and the other subscribers) would love to hear from you.

What are you waiting for?

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How Decoded is on a mission to make everyone feel comfortable with coding

6 Sep

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I don’t tend to make a habit of being in Central London before 9am on a Saturday, but I chose to break my own rules as part of my quest on learning how to code.

International technology school Decoded has generated a bit of a buzz in recent months. From Brand Republic‘s Editor in Chief Danny Rogers giving it a thumbs up to founder Kathryn Parsons ‘selling it’ in Stylist, my colleague and I were eager to check it out. On a Saturday. Have I mentioned that already?

Wooed by the appeal of a continental breakfast, we made our way there. But, on the way, I made a mental note of what I wanted to get out of the day. After all, at more than £400 a pop (and that’s just the weekend rate), Decoded needs to deliver results.

So, how did it do?

1) I’ll be able to read code well enough to understand when, and where, there is a problem within the text
Going through the fundamental principles of HTML, CSS and Java Script, in theory I should be able to read and write in code. It helped that Decoded’s system underlined errors in red, but going forward this is a case of practice makes perfect. If I keep at it, and focus just as much on the coding – opposed to just the visuals – it won’t be long before I’m fluent.

2) I’ll be able to simplify the fundamentals in order to make recommendations or flag issues to clients
The demonstrators did a great job of breaking the complex content down for us. And, like the above, if I can truly understand the basics then I’ll be well-equipped to explain it to others. But, in the meantime, I can always rely on Decoded’s follow-up resources pack to ensure I become a savvy wordsmith.

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3) I’ll get to know what elements generate the best call to actions and how to input these into my projects
Because this is a starter course, we didn’t delve into techniques that manipulate websites to increase engagement, interaction or sales etc.

Instead, we spent the day working on an app that allowed customers to check-in from a single geographical location, in order to collect rewards. That in itself was definitely more than I bargained for – teaching me the ‘not so subtle’ differences between the front and back end of websites.

4) I’ll be able to code an aspect of the projects I work on without simply rewriting existing templates
Yes and no. Using the foundations of coding, technically I can create content from scratch. But, whether I could do this within my company’s house style is yet to be tested. We remained very much in the safe territory of Decoded’s web design editing system. And, after nine hours of intense learning, I was grateful for that.

Overall, I was highly impressed by the professionalism of the course. It was relaxed and informal, but very effective. It’s definitely empowered me to carry on pushing myself to learn new things. After all, I can’t have primary school pupils showing me up in a few years time now that coding is on the curriculum.

Having these skills now will help a budding brand storyteller like myself profit in the future.

And, I must admit, it felt darn good to be sat around a big table carving out a digital masterpiece on a MacBook Air.
Very New York.

Have you been ‘Decoded’? What did you make of it?

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Burberry’s perfume campaign hits all the right notes

2 Sep

Just weeks after Z-lister Tara Reid launched her Shark scent – inspired by the ‘made for TV’ movie Sharkando 2 – Burberry has put her in her place by releasing My Burberry.

A new fragrance inspired by the fashion brand’s iconic trench coat, the PR project brings together the perfect notes to create a seductive campaign experience – and not just because Cara Delevingne and Kate Moss are involved.

Getting personal
The concept of personalised products isn’t new by any means – Coca-Cola and Cadbury started that game a long time ago – but the approach continues to generate success because we’re suckers for bespoke merchandise. Over the last few years we’ve created a culture whereby we feel a) slightly miffed if our corner shop doesn’t stock our double-barrelled name (please don’t say it’s just me) and b) guilty or awkward for drinking out of ‘someone else’s’ bottle.

But, to make up for its copycat approach, Burberry is offering its customers a touch of class by carving their initials into selected bottles for free. Meaning, within an instant, chief executive and creative officer Christopher Bailey has transformed his product into a ‘must have’ keepsake – just 16 weeks before Christmas.

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Getting social
But, here’s the exciting part. For those who aren’t planning to purchase, Burberry is still giving people a chance to engage with the campaign. It’s encouraging consumers to submit their details via the website, so they can receive information on where in London a video featuring their monogrammed bottle will be shown. Users can also interact with Burberry via Google, 4OD, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.

Getting people in store
Burberry is also ensuring everyone who signs up receives directions to their closest Burberry store. So, it’s literally putting its brand on the map.

Essentially – its personal experience, coupled with subtle nudges, will not only help Burberry increase sales but, more importantly, create brand champions. And it’ll work because no two My Burberry experiences will be the same – creating unique content.

With perfumer Francis Kurkdjian already dubbing the perfume as the “…perfect accessory for a Burberry fan”, it’s great to know that the design empire puts as much effort into its campaign as it does for its products.

What do you think? Are personalised products here to stay?

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A child Picasso gives Waitrose a helping hand

26 Aug

20140430-231008.jpgThey say the ‘kids are all right’. But, the phrase should be the kids are always right. Earlier this year a little girl wrote a letter to Lego complaining that boys had all the fun because they got the chance to play the hero, whereas female figures had limited prospects sunbathing on the beach or relaxing at the beauty parlour. Lego listened and promptly launched a limited edition set of inspirational female scientists that have sold out in stores in the US.

Now, seven-year old Harry Deverill, from Dorset, has taken it upon himself to redesign Waitrose’s bottle of brown sauce. He couldn’t work out what the current picture was meant to be, so supplied the supermarket chain with three alternatives. And, as a result, it’s replaced its essential range’s brown sauce label with one of his images.

It was always going to be a success.

Up-market supermarket Waitrose, which previously slid to PR success, has not only shown that it listens to its customers’ suggestions (note suggestion, not complaint), but that it’s also open to change. And, in doing so, has proved that it understands good PR.

I’m sorry Harry but, in the foodservice industry, updating packaging that has existed from the beginning of time is not high on its list of priorities. After all, it’s got shelf space, profit margins and new products – such as Curiosity Cola, Birds Eye Mas#Tags and Warburtons – to contend with. But, in spite of all this, it knows that putting a call into its printing factory is worth generating content for its own publications (Waitrose Kitchen and Waitrose Weekend) and national consumer titles such as the Daily Mail, Daily Express and the Metro.

Although, this wouldn’t be Prime Time if I couldn’t find a way to critique the perfect PR stunt.

Taking a proper look at the previous label’s artwork I can conclude that it’s bad – really bad. Why Waitrose has been precious about it for so long is beyond me. So, why not extend the opportunity and launch a competition for other children to submit their designs for its essentials range? I appreciate that redesigning the entire collection might be a bit much, but it could start with the condiments and table sauces and work it’s way through the shop slowly.

This will generate even more content for the brand to roll out across its:

a) Social media channels
Competition entry galleries where fans are encouraged to vote for their favourite image.

b) Marketing magazines
Features on the children behind the winning designs.

c) TV shows
PR through cookery demonstration discussions.

A competition would also lend itself to a local PR campaign in hotspot areas, with the results transitioning into advertising slogans.

It’s come this farand I salute Waitrose for its willing gesture. But, it doesn’t have to be a one-hit wonder. Keep the momentum going by involving more customers and sit back and enjoy the results.

What do you think?

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Why are London’s Talking Statues staying quiet online?

12 Aug

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I’ve met a few celebrities in my time, and therefore had the obligatory ‘be cool’ moment before quickly losing it. (Meeting Labrinth on stage at Proud Camden springs to mind, with my cousins having no choice but to make the universal sign for ‘crazy’ behind my back to make amends.) But, I’ve never had the pleasure of Sir Patrick Stewart, Hugh Bonneville or Prunella Scales giving me a call on the old dog and bone for a catch up.

You neither? Well, that’s going to change.

The Evening Standard has revealed that statues across London are going to be brought to life with voice recordings, as part of a year-long art project called: Talking Statues Speak Their Minds. From 19th August, people will have the chance to use their smartphones to unlock statues’ exclusive content before receiving a call from a well-known name who’ll share information about the figure’s life history.

It’s a great way to add yet another dimension to the city, giving Londoners an opportunity to explore old sights for the first time. And, the story has generated a commendable amount of PR thanks to Riot Communications.

But, with the launch just around the corner, its efforts will be wasted if it doesn’t bring its digital marketing up to scratch.

Here’s some lessons the Talking Statues might want to learn:

Woeful websites miss opportunities
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that websites are the first port of call for more information, but the Talking Statues aren’t capitalising on incoming traffic. Google the initiative and there’s simply holding pages providing a home for a press release.

I’m not asking for downloadable resources for people to map out their routes pre-launch (necessarily), but the least Talking Statues can do is put themselves in the shoes of their audience and think about what they’d want to see: articles, interviews and images.

Unsociable social media doesn’t win friends
On Twitter, Talking Statues boasts just 158 followers and on Facebook just a pitiful 72. Hardly a significant platform to shout about an innovative campaign this Tuesday. Followers and fans aside, updates are few and far between and the content is dull.

There’s a big opportunity here to tease content by taking pictures of stars in the studio doing voice overs; challenging fans to guess which statues are being improved; and even launching a competition giving someone the chance to voice their favourite London artefact.

But hey, if I can just think of these things off the top of my head I shouldn’t expect an agency to, should I?

Phone a friend
The campaign’s content is triggered by people swiping their smartphones across the statues, so it would’ve made sense to work with a supplier that can make this even easier. Whether that’s The Cloud, offering free WiFi for app downloads on the spot; network providers using advertising pop-ups to market their services; or phone companies showing off the latest gadgets, having the backing from one of the big boys could’ve potentially freed up Talking Statues to focus more on the marketing.

Of course, I could be jumping the gun and this will all fall into place on Tuesday. But, if it doesn’t, I’ll know who to call.

What do you think of the campaign?

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The Academy tweets the perfect tribute to Robin Williams

12 Aug The Academy tweets the perfect tribute to Robin Williams

When I woke up this morning I had a #WhileYouWereSleeping hashtag moment after reading that Oscar-winning actor Robin Williams has died at the age of 63.

As the world’s media look for people who ‘knew him well’ for sofa interviews, finalise their obituaries and monitor celebrity tributes, there’s just one thing I’m interested in today: The Academy.

Eight hours ago it tweeted the words ‘Genie, you’re free‘ to 768,000 followers (and counting), in reference to Williams’ role as the Genie in Disney’s Aladdin - and it’s already been re-tweeted more than 196,000 times and favourited by over 130,000.

Throughout Williams’ 35-year career, he was nominated for four Oscars but was always the bridesmaid and never the bride until he teamed up with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck for Good Will Hunting in 1997 – five years after Aladdin. So, why did it tweet the Genie?

Jumanji, Patch Adams and Hook aside, this was Williams’ iconic role, albeit animated, because he didn’t even have to act. The Genie is Williams – the role was designed for him, not the other way around. And the fact that the film sold well over 25m copies worldwide upon its release is testament to this.

So, now that’s settled, why else was the tweet so successful (apart from being picked up by online superpower Buzzfeed)?

1) Thought leadership

The Oscars are at the top of the food chain when it comes to the movies. The honours are respected, so if The Academy is tweeting to a large audience, everyone takes notice.

2) A picture says a lot of words

The Academy used a striking and emotive image of the Genie with Aladdin. It didn’t feel the need to crop, zoom in or filter. It opted for simplicity and it’s paid off.

3) Straight to the point The simplicity of the image was also reflected in the wording, which captured the essence of Williams without the need for hashtags, weblinks or self-promotion – maintaining The Academy’s classy reputation. So, not only is this the perfect tribute, but also the perfect PR balance.

What do you think of the tribute tweet?

The Academy tweets the perfect tribute to Robin Williams

The Academy tweets the perfect tribute to Robin Williams

You’re going to need a bigger budget! Tara’s tacky PR stunt

4 Aug

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Not all PR stunts are equal.

A recent PR stunt to rave about is the 888,000 ceramic poppies that have been ‘planted’ at the iconic Tower of London to commemorate the servicemen and women who died during the First World War. As part of a stunning art installation called Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, by Paul Cummins, it’s succeeding in its mission to echo the importance of the 100th anniversary of the war.

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On the flip side, an example of bad PR is US actress Tara Reid launching her own perfume, The Shark, to celebrate the release of Sharknado 2 (Yes, we’re biting on sequel territory here).

This innovation, which comes from the woman who thought her career was going to be over when she started filming the first movie, actually makes me feel seasick.

According to Tara’s website, Shark’s sensual ‘light and refreshing’ scent is ‘perfect for day-to-day wear’ and ‘incorporates a plethora of lavender coloured flowers’ – which means this overpriced idea (almost $25 a bottle) blurs the line between tacky and tragic.

However, if I was getting paid to market this monstrosity I’d do more than bounce off the fact that the latest Syfy film has attracted 183% higher ratings than the first. I’d get creative:

Secure a predator partnership
I’d put a spin onto the perfume and market it as a scent that attracts sharks. By organising a photo-call at a leading aquarium, and asking a shark trainer to spray the fragrance on them before heading into the tank for feeding time, I’d generate some striking imagery to sell-into the media – National Geographic style.

Secret scent
Alternatively, I’d strip the perfume bottle of any labels and send it to a selection of high-end beauty writers to review – with a note including a web address. Journalists would then be encouraged to log onto the website and share their feedback – the good, the bad and the ugly. All the positive ones could then be leveraged across the film’s marketing materials (using the star rating often found on movie posters) to promote it further.

Failing that, I’d just ask Tara to jump into a shark tank, kiss a great white or dress up as a shark because, let’s face it, she’ll do anything.

What do you think – can any ‘fin’ make this stunt better?

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