Tag Archives: Asda

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 Β£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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Birds Eye gets social media savvy with Mas#Tags

17 Feb

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You’ve probably heard of the ‘tweet what you eat’ concept, but now you can eat what you tweet thanks to Birds Eye.

That’s right, the food brand has moved away from its traditional potato waffles, hash browns and fish fingers in favour of Mas#Tags.

Inspired by social media, the potato shapes include emoticons and symbols such as: 😊, @ and #.

The news is causing quite a (Twitter) storm with articles posted on: The Independent, Huffington Post, Digital Spy and The Grocer, but I’m surprised that the brand hasn’t taken to the most obvious outlet to boast about its latest creation.

The company has confirmed Mas#Tags via direct tweets to excited customers, but hasn’t shown off profile pictures or worked to get it trending on Twitter… yet.

Birds Eye has proved that it has its finger on the pulse when it comes to connecting with a social media generation, but why is it only concerned about what’s on the plate?

Not only would it have been a great opportunity to launch a digital word game to celebrate the launch, (a carbohydrate-based Flappy Bird anyone?) but at the very least link in with top supermarkets – Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco – which will stock the product from March.

It could be a strategic move to ensure that the talkability factor around the product remains high, but I believe in striking while the iron is hot.

What do you think? Will you be cooking up some Mas#Tags?

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The Drum misses a beat

28 May

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I was interested to read that marketing magazine The Drum is challenging itself to develop an upcoming issue in front of a live audience.

At first I was impressed by the editorial team which laid down its own gauntlet to discuss content and interview key spokespeople (such as Dom Burch, head of social media for Walmart, and Selina Webb, communications director for Universal Music) to put together one of its fortnightly magazines. I was even quite excited at the feeling of sniffing out a story with the professionals, but all of those feelings disappeared when I found out that I was going to be charged more than Β£200 for the privilege.

I know it’s a commercial event for the brand to grow and improve its offering, but that doesn’t stop me questioning how The Drum can ‘sell’ this opportunity. Especially when the challenge is lukewarm; it’s hardly down to the wire – with more than two weeks from the ‘live’ session until the magazine is on the shelf.

I feel that The Drum has dressed up an exciting concept for the publishing world in sheep’s clothing. An event like this has the potential to hold something special for attendees that online and digital wouldn’t offer – the traditional interviews, feature angles and front covers.

More than this, it’s the perfect chance for young budding PR, marketing and advertising bods to learn some industry nuggets – but at this rate they’re priced out. I think working with future media executives would’ve made a much better story, but as it stands I’m cynical as to how much decided on the day will actually be published.

What do you think – is this a unique idea or a commercial flaw?

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