Tag Archives: book

Costco begs for forgiveness after being caught out on Twitter

25 Nov

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I’m normally an advocate for social media silence, but national retailer Costco was quick to repent for its sins with a statement – after the brand was caught out last week.

To put it into context, a Californian pastor noticed that a stack of Bibles were labelled as fiction in one of its stores. Now, you might not believe that this book contains the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but there’s no need for the brand to potentially offend the 246m Christians in the US.

So how did Costco respond after the pastor blasted the company on Twitter? With a watertight crisis management statement that followed the classic ‘get out of jail’ formula:

The formula
Shift blame + Take blame + Olive branch solution = Peace is restored

What Costco said
Costco’s distributor mislabelled a small percentage of the Bibles. However, we take responsibility and should have caught the mistake. We are correcting this with them for future distribution. In addition, we are immediately relabelling all mislabelled Bibles. We greatly apologise for this error.

By the time this was issued it was too little too late. Pastor Caleb Kaltenbach’s tweet had already shocked his congregation, who questioned if Costco was guilty of religious discrimination. And 1,466 followers, 253 retweets, 88 favourites and a flurry of national news stories later, it got so out of hand the pastor had to calm his flock down by claiming he wasn’t angry, just interested.

The one thing Costco didn’t do was use its social media channels to defend itself. Perhaps it was trying to bury bad news or take the approach that what its customers don’t know won’t hurt them (or the business). But failing to maximise its 1m reach on Facebook seems strange, especially when its Twitter pages are such a mess.

Well, at least Caleb has a pinch of inspiration for his next sermon and has successfully engaged with his audience. But the moral of this story is that if you’re truly sorry for your actions, God will forgive your mistakes.

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Remember, remember the success of Movember

27 Oct

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In just a few days time, men (and some brave women) will spend the month growing and grooming their moustaches for Movember, a fundraising campaign to support Prostate Cancer UK.

Launching 10 years ago in Australia, the rise and rise of the Movember movement has taken the world by storm. In 2012, 21 countries took part raising more than £92m.

Here’s a look at how some of Movember’s partners are making the most of their involvement. Please note, I’m bypassing Gillette because a PR match made in heaven like this doesn’t need an extra plug.

HP Sauce
HP Sauce is continuing its sponsorship of Movember by giving its bottles a tache makeover, but going one step further to create a Mo Bros roadshow. Packed with competitions and games for university students across the country, this PR and marketing stunt is supported by Facebook.

Byron
Byron is giving away a free burger to every Mo Bro that raises more than £25 for charity. With hundreds of thousands of participants in the UK alone last year, this is a very brave gesture for the restaurant chain. But it’s also hoping to attract customers with a new limited edition Mo’shroom burger. Fifty pence will be donated to Movember for every one sold next month.

Mr Men
The creators of Mr Men have launched a new character – Mr Mo – to star in a new book. As the first new character in four years, it’s sure to be a collectors’ item and is a great PR story to continue raising Movember’s profile. But Hargreaves should be careful not to over expose his collection, following Mr Funny (Red Nose Day) and Mr Cheeky (Children With Leukaemia). If every charity has one it will lose credibility.

The Movember autumn collection
TOMS, Eleven Paris and Links of London have created a bespoke collection of t-shirts, shoes and accessories for Mo Bros. A proportion of the profits will be donated to charity to make a difference. So if you can’t grow a tache, you can wear one.

My only issue is that moustaches have been marketed by lots of retailers earlier this year, encouraging people to cheat the system. In any other situation you could argue that imitation is the best form of flattery, but not when charity’s involved.

But, the reason Movember’s been so successful is a) it has its own identity that doesn’t shout about ‘cancer’ and b) it focuses on the positive, adopting the ‘here’s what you can do for us’ approach, making Movember interesting, intriguing and fun. So many others have a ‘here’s what will happen if you don’t help us’ attitude.

It’s also refreshing that its partners put the initiative first. No piggybacking or promoting, these brands have come up with genuine ways of raising extra cash. Maybe that’s why journalists don’t mind writing about it. The likes of MSN, Daily Express, Daily Star and the Metro have already picked it up and will undoubtedly do so again during the month.

Are you prepared for Movember? Watch this space to see how much is raised.

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Birds Eye turns dinner time into a fairy tale

7 Sep

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I’m the sort of person that takes zero pride in my crockery, but that doesn’t mean I can’t see the value in Birds Eye’s latest PR campaign – which sees children’s stories written on plates.

The brand has teamed up with author Roger McGough to write seven new stories, which’ll be printed onto 250,000 plates with Birds Eye’s mascot Clarence the Polar Bear, to make family dinners more enjoyable.

Now I might not be the right age for this campaign, but it’s definitely fun, educational and credible which ticks the right boxes for parents. And it drives brand loyalty by encouraging people to collect the story book set.

Now plates are useful and go hand-in-hand with the product, but to stand tall as a campaign with legs I’d like to see Birds Eye think ‘books’. Linking with World Book Day or the National Literacy Trust, in an education tie-up, would make this more than a just a regular PR idea. With the School Food Plan seeking ways to ensure that healthy and wholesome school meals promote children’s health, happiness and performance, Birds Eye could also leverage the campaign in foodservice. Eat a nutritious, balanced meal to aid concentration for reading. Simple.

In addition to this, if Birds Eye continued to work with authors to inspire its story collection, it could form part of a corporate pledge to help children improve their reading ability across the country.

It’s not a criticism, just an idea that could grow. Stories are nice to have on plates, and on this occasion drive sales, but the brand should also be thinking how it can extend the chapter.

But, it’s always nice to know that one of my favourite agencies is still causing PR and marketing mischief in the industry.

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