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App brings new meaning to phrase ‘you snooze, you lose’

3 Nov

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If you didn’t already know, it’s November. Or, as most men will try and convince you, ‘Movember‘. But, either way, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s dark, cold and miserable – three factors that make me want to hug the pillow in the mornings. And I’m not the only one.

Chelsea Apps Factory has developed an app called iCuckoo, which gives people the chance to donate money to one of five charities every time they snooze the alarm.

That’s right. Ranging from 10p to a golden nugget, from now on an extra few minutes in bed could cost you (benefitting charities such as Parkinson’s UK, Prostate Cancer UK and Starlight in the process.) But don’t worry, donations are capped at £30 a month, so if you’re not a morning person you won’t have to remortgage.

I think it’s a really good idea – and it’s already got the PR coverage to prove with the Daily Star, Guardian and Charity Digital News under its belt – but not one that I’ll necessarily adopt.

If you’ve read my previous blogs you’ll get the impression I’m not very forthcoming when it comes to giving, despite working for a charity. That’s not entirely true. I just believe that giving should be a conscious decision – evolving into a long-lasting relationship between an individual and a cause they feel connected with. And, if this practice needs to be ‘masked’ through an everyday activity, is it really a gift?

iCuckoo isn’t the only recent initiative to encourage people to give little, but often, without thinking. Penny for London, whereby commuters can ‘micro donate’ a penny through contactless payment methods when travelling, launched in a bid to support vulnerable young people in the city last week.

I agree that it in our increasingly busy lifestyles, efficient and effective activities that make things easy for us will stand the test of time. In fact, having time to do anything is a luxury these days (so the fact that you’ve read this far means a lot.) But, if a charity’s supporters aren’t engaged then they simply won’t understand it in order to:

1) Make a decision to donate larger sums or more regularly
2) Become brand ambassadors and share their support, either through word of mouth or social media
3) Share ideas to shape its future and make it stronger

I don’t know about you, but I believe all of the these principles are vital in order for organisations to stand out from the crowd.

Overall, it’s great that charities are waking up to new fundraising ideas. But, if they’re looking for a robust long-term strategy they need to sleep on it.

What do you think? Would you sleep in and give more?

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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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Macmillan strikes it lucky with tube tweet

30 Apr

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Relax. The tube strikes are over…for now. But, in the few days they caused chaos in the capital, they had a great publicist: front page of the Evening Standard, infographics and a hashtag! It’s a hat-trick that PRs like me can only dream of.

But, while you were complaining/celebrating/not caring (delete as appropriate) about how industrial action brought London to a standstill, some charities were planning a clever social media campaign.

Macmillan Cancer Support piggybacked off Twitter’s ‘tubestrikes’ hashtag to promote its services, accompanied with a simple graphic using the iconic London Underground key. Meanwhile, Save the Children put the disruptions into perspective by comparing the ‘madness’ in London to Syria.

Macmillan’s tweet may only have been retweeted 140 times, but it had wit, talkability and relevance on its side adding to its pulling power (despite it repeatedly tweeting the image to different media outlets in quick succession – a no no for me as mentioned in this blog.)

In the same fashion, Save the Children’s infographic scores highly on the shareability scale because it summarises an issue in an instant. So, it’s no surprise it’s caught the attention of BBC, The Independent and the Daily Mirror to name a few.

But, these tweets aren’t successful because they’ve been seen thousands of times in the last day. They’re successful because they’ve raised awareness of the charity at zero cost – a ‘quick win’ result that a PR, marketing or social media agency just can’t contend with.

With tube strikes set to land in London again next week, expect other organisations to jump on the bandwagon (remember all those #nomakeupselfie variations?) But one thing’s for sure – it won’t be as innovative the second time round.

What do you think of these mini campaigns?

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