Tag Archives: car

Fill up on Dallas’ PR stunt

27 Feb

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I wonder how many PR agencies have come up with the idea to launch a petrol station – offering cheap fuel – to promote a prime time TV programme? Answer – one.

To celebrate the launch of Dallas returning to the small screen this week, US TV network TNT launched Ewing Energies – in honour of ‘oil man’ character JR Ewing – for Manhattan consumers to fill up their cars for just $1.98 per gallon.

Up to $2 per gallon cheaper than anywhere else in the area, it’s no surprise that motorists were queuing two blocks away to take advantage of the one day deal.

TNT launched the stunt with a video, where JR tells fans that the offer makes good business sense. And, as one of the most powerful people in America, he can make it happen.

What I like about it, is that the video is ‘on message’ with the soap, adding drama and intrigue around the new series, but interesting and fun at the same time. It’s also effective because it has a short shelf-life. It propels a call to action, with consumers knowing that if they miss this, they miss out. 20140227-075340.jpg The video, hosted on the Dallas’ Facebook page which has over 1.4m fans, generated over 1,000 likes. And images of the man behind JR, Josh Henderson, pushed that figure to more than 13,000.

It’s an active Facebook page that acts in the form of JR’s diary, encouraging people to comment on what they’ve just viewed and forthcoming teasers. It’s also completely different to the way it runs Twitter, so it was right to make the most of the stunt on that social media channel.

All in all, I think it’s a fantastic idea, engaging with new and existing soap fans by bringing TV to life. Although it’s not yet known how many viewers the PR activity brought in, TNT has many more tricks up its sleeve. Next month, JR is also set to launch a range of Bourbon.

What do you think? Does this campaign make you want to reach for the remote?

It’s a formula that we could see open up in the UK. Just think:

The Queen Vic opening up in Shoreditch
BBC bosses have recently been complaining that E20 no longer represents trendy East London. So, why not connect with new viewers by launching a cheap bar? Content could be used in its online mini-series, that runs alongside the show, giving customers the chance to be on TV.

Doctors to offer free check ups
Members of the show could chat to people who are in line for a free health check up – blood pressure or cholesterol etc – to make them feel at ease. Linking in with a medical brand or pharmacy, discounts could be offered on certain products.

Meet Mr Selfridge
To coincide with Selfridge’s next milestone anniversary, the cast from the hit ITV show could attend an exclusive party at the flagship store, of which part of it would be re-designed in the style from the 1900s.

ITV could then launch a competition giving viewers the chance to win tickets to the champagne reception, maximising coverage opportunities and generating talkability.

BBC and ITV – talk to me.

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7 year old tells off Lego boss for making toys for boys

3 Feb

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I wouldn’t say I’m a feminist but I do have strong opinions. Even tonight my Mum told me to calm down and not get so fired up by other people’s choices.

It was only over the weekend that I was discussing with a PR friend that Kinder Surprise‘s move to package its chocolate in blue and pink is a bit ridiculous. When I was young it wasn’t about the type of toy you got, whether it was a car or a doll, it was the experience I had when I was enjoying the chocolate and the toy – I knew I was winning.

Which is why I don’t think girls should be backed into a corner to opt for stereotypical pink accessories. That’s right – I’m with Charlotte Benjamin.

Who’s Charlotte I hear you ask? She’s a seven-year old with a kick-ass attitude to gender ideals. She makes me wish my mum and dad were handing me pieces of paper and a biro to jot down my thoughts at that age because I’m sure I had them.

She’s written a letter to Lego to point out that on a recent shopping trip she noticed the following things:

1) Where are the girls?
There were fewer Lego girls to choose from compared to Lego boys.

2) The girls stayed at home
While the Lego boys were able to have adventures and play the hero, the Lego girls were at home, at the beach or just pampering themselves.

This letter has now gone viral and been covered by national newspapers such as Metro, Daily Mail and The Independent. And Lego’s social media manager has been working around the clock to engage with its 113,000 Twitter followers to explain that it does listen to its customers’ views and, with over 450 products available each year, it’s hoping there’s something for everyone.

But, for once, I actually have more respect for this iconic brand (for now). There’s a golden PR opportunity to respond to Charlotte’s letter and address the theme of gender roles. And, if I was the boss, I’d use its upcoming Ghostbusters Lego launch to do just this and run a witty, tongue in cheek across Twitter, Facebook and Vine.

It may be too late to turnaround a reactive campaign, to complement its Lego Movie in cinemas on Friday, which is why Ghostbusters is one of the next best hooks.

This way, it can find a way to publicly acknowledge the letter, apologise for the inconvenience and promise to do better – the perfect formula to transform this viral storm into a positive PR stunt.

What do you think?

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X-rated car advert gets tongues wagging

31 Jul

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It’s a brand’s worst nightmare – an advert appears in print complete with a big mistake. No, not an incorrect spelling or wrong call to action. Either of those could easily be resolved with the help of a PR agency. Car hire firm Enterprise has had to deal with something much worse: an advert in the Pembrokeshire Herald, published last week, suggested that the firm offers inappropriate sex acts for customers. See the advert here.

To add insult to injury, the advert went hand-in-hand with the company’s Twitter launch. Although, this might be its saving grace. When the incident was spotted yesterday, Enterprise only had 61 followers – all of which were told that the service is ‘not offered at any of its branches.’

Twenty-four hours later that number has only risen by 13 – and the brand has responded to everyone that commented offering its single crisis-management message.

Of course, it’s not like the age old saying ‘if a tree falls in a forest and no-one’s there does it make a sound?’ Customers – existing and potential – are likely to hear about this via social networks or friends (the Mirror has already published the story too) But, when it comes to Twitter, I think people are less likely to get involved if they don’t think they can directly link with the brand. After all, that’s one big reason we make comments online isn’t it? To humiliate, complain or praise companies that we’re engaging with. The fact that few people knew about Enterprise’s Twitter page at that time has curbed the majority of comments.

I think the brand handled the process well. Although, I’d have suggested that they tailored their responses to show personality and a sense of humour. After all, the advert is clearly a joke.

At the time of writing this, I asked the Pembrokeshire Herald what its thoughts were and whether the error was from their side. According to reports they maintain the artwork was tampered with after it’d been signed off – and other brands were affected.

Surely, Enterprise will want an apology from the team if it was the paper’s fault – not to mention free advertising space to overright the problem.

However it progresses, this faux pas has certainly worked in Enterprise’s favour – in terms of PR and talkability. After reading this article how many hire car companies can you really think of?

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