Tag Archives: app

Guardians of the Galaxy rewind time by breathing new life into cassettes

26 Oct

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Don’t be fooled. Actors don’t make good movies great. Nor do directors, producers or special effects teams. It’s all in the music. Don’t believe me? This interesting BBC4 documentary series proves it.

And, one film that’s made the most of its soundtrack is this year’s Marvel sensation: Guardians of the Galaxy.

Featuring 10cc’s I’m Not in Love, Blue Swede’s Hooked on a Feeling and Jackson 5’s I Want You Back, these songs enhance viewers’ overall experience just as much as the star-studded cast. So, it’s not surprising that Disney‘s keen to give a nod to the score by releasing it on cassette.

Yes, you heard me. Head into the attic and dust off your Walkman. Dumped yours years ago? (No one would blame you. After all, they’re 37 years old.) Instead you can look one up on eBay from as little as £10.

Disney’s PR and marketing stunt pays homage to the film’s storyline, where lead superhero Peter Quill (aka Star-Lord) enjoys listening to a classic mixtape created by his mother.

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Set to be released next month, this is the mega brand’s first compilation tape since 2003. To create a buzz, Disney’s announced that the cassette will be a limited edition, sold exclusively through independent music retailers and will be sold with a free digital download. So, in my (PRime Time) eyes, it’s done everything right… apart from one thing.

It’s risked compromising its success by waiting until after the mixtape’s vinyl, CD and digital releases. Despite the pre-launch announcement securing write-ups in Shortlist, The Guardian and Billboard, the scope for dominating publicity has been missed.

From planting a giant cassette near an iconic landmark and organising pop-up Walkman audio booths in public areas to trailing competition clues across social media sites to raise awareness and creating an app that gives smartphone and tablet users the look, feel and sound of a cassette, the ideas list is endless. But, I can’t help thinking at that this stage – post soundtrack launch and pre DVD release – it carries the whiff of ‘afterthought’ – a fragrance that no brand wants to smell like.

Anyway that’s just my opinion. What do you think? Do I need to rewind?

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Halloween 2014 is sponsored by…

21 Oct

20140430-231008.jpgIn a dark room in a chilling office, set among a black backdrop of skyscrapers gracing the city’s skyline, shone a single glimmer of light. John stayed silent as he moved the cursor around his overworked computer screen.

The window had been left open to curb the stench of late-night pizza. The draft surrounded John and he systematically shivered. Pressing print, he moved slowly to collect his paperwork – marking the end of a 12-hour working day. As John turned his chair a glass smashed on the floor.

‘That’s strange,’ thought John. ‘I’ve not used a glass today.’

A rush of adrenaline shot through his veins, followed by a sense of calm. He even had time to momentarily wonder if they were his last thoughts. It felt like a lifetime, but in reality the person, or thing, who’d smashed the glass had acted quickly. As he hit the thick wooden floors, he turned ever so slightly to see who had attacked him. But, the remained silent.

With no time to feel scared he didn’t even try. Instead he opted to give his body in to the pain and then… nothing.

Got your attention? Don’t worry, John’s Halloween pitch made it to the client. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many brands making the most of this American holiday as I have this this year. And poor PRs like John are risking their lives by working overtime to deliver standout campaigns.

Maybe it’s because it falls on a weekend, and entertainment and lifestyle companies want to use this as an opportunity to boost sales and strengthen its position for Christmas.

Whatever the reason, it’s working. I’ve seen some cracking campaigns and here’s my top five:

Waterstones’ blogger mystery
No, it’s not locking in more tourists and keeping them there overnight to turn them into social media sensations. Waterstones is launching an online murder mystery with five bloggers who will communicate clues for fans, via their blogs and Twitter (where was my invite guys?), to work out ‘whodunit’. Those who crack the case will find themselves £50 richer (vouchers, darling).

Nice use of social and great blogger engagement, coupled with subtle branding, means that Waterstones is getting down from the shelf and making itself the go-to destination for books. Tick!

Walking Dead staggers to PR success
To celebrate the launch of the fifth series of the Walking Dead, Now TV made former MIC star Millie Mackintosh into a zombie to support its online campaign. In addition to this, it created a buzz on social media by sending personalised popcorn holders with ‘bloodstained’ snacks inside which was sent to celebrities and journalists.

To give customers a chance to join in the fun, it’s also using Twitter to give wary special edition Walking Dead Now TV equipment, zombie makeup and the exclusive popcorn holder. The competition hashtag is hardly memorable – #TWDNOWTV – but in two days it’s generated over 150 re-tweets and is steadily seeing its follower count rise.

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Spooky Speaker app shouts out
To promote its Halloween costume range, superpower supermarket Sainsbury’s has launched a voice app to inspire children to ‘transform’ into their scary characters using its voice distortion functions. The voices – such as Frankenstein, Witches, Vampires and Skeletons – match the costume designs available in store and online.

It’s a good attempt, reminding parents and children that Sainsbury’s is their one-stop shop for Halloween goodies, but can the interactive app outdo Asda’s inflatable wings which are being supported with TV advertising? Time will tell.

Chupa Chups’ chomping campaign
It’s great that brands are starting to scratch beneath the surface to see the value of Instagram – and Chupa Chups is no exception. It’s using this social network to create an online game, encouraging users to free a trapped lolly before it gets a licking. Age is certainly no barrier here. With contemporary references to current culture, the youth brand has made this Halloween-themed relevant to all groups.

Do you dare trust the National Trust?
Not strictly Halloween themed, but the National Trust has extended its successful ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4‘ campaign by creating a direct mail around number 40: night walks. This glow in the dark pack targets existing members and encourages people to essentially see more than they bargain for by trudging down a natural trail at night.

This stunt might come with a parental advisory warning (i.e. kids – please don’t walk alone), but not only has the National Trust found a novel way to reach out to an engaged audience raising brand awareness, but it’s hit gold with timing this during half term. Expect to see families up and town the country on night walks next weekend.

With just over a week to go we’re bound to see more stunts slip out of the woodwork. But, whether they’re bold enough to make the top five is yet to be seen.

What do you think? Are brands going for ghoul this Halloween?

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CLIC Sargent’s fundraising campaign is a joke

21 Jul

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I’ll keep my intro short and sweet. Non-profit PR is a lot like this summer – hot.

From Macmillan’s social media quick-win to Grassroots’ #StayAlive app, charities are proving that there’s lots of opportunities to raise awareness.

But, when I first read about CLIC Sargent’s campaign, I thought it was having a laugh… and I was right.

Let me explain:

Working with Havas, (a highly-creative media agency which turns brainstorm ideas into a brand reality. I did some work with them for my old client Unilever Food Solutions) CLIC has created a Joke Appeal micro-site encouraging people to submit their best jokes.

Here comes the science:

People then look around the site, find their favourite gag and ‘buy it’ – donating to the cancer charity.

It’s a ‘novel’ concept, not only because it means that everyone can contribute to the charity – financially or not – but it instantly gives CLIC the opportunity to not take itself too seriously. Using well-known comedians to get the ball rolling, the Joke Appeal can literally laugh in the face of cancer – different to Cancer Research‘s ‘aggressive’ approach.

It’s early days for the campaign, but it’s already generated over 240 jokes (Note that the charity is promoting how many jokes it’s received, not money – so it’s not necessarily measuring success against fundraising targets). What’s more, CLIC’s made the most of its existing social media channels to make some noise.

So, as funny as this appeal may seem, this campaign is very serious about engaging the public online.

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