Tag Archives: chain

Taco Bell calls on fans for mystery competition

21 Mar

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Does anyone else think brand promotions have become a bit stale? I don’t need another pen, loyalty cards get lost and I delete discount emails without a second thought. But, I wouldn’t turn my back on a free phone. Thanks Taco Bell.

To celebrate the restaurant chain’s move into the breakfast market next week, Taco Bell has sent fans free phones (Samsung to be precise.It gets around doesn’t it?) that include instructions for consumers to take part in missions to win prizes. In fact, the missions are so secretive there’s little information on how it works.

What I do know is that social media is a key trigger for the campaign. Upon accepting the mission – by turning the device on – they’re asked to submit their Twitter and Instagram handles and post images for the chance to win anything from a branded air freshener and pajamas to gift cards and a trip to the Pacific. But I’d be no good at this competition. My phone is always on silent – but Taco Bell’s phones were sent to fans with a note stating that it could ring at any time – so it should be kept with them at all times, even while they sleep.

Fans should be made aware that it pays to think outside of the box. Points are awarded based on each photo’s creativity, originality, whether it links with the promotion theme and the Taco Bell brand.

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This is a brilliant campaign because it transforms fans into ambassadors, driving them to promote the breakfast offering in a fresh way, generating content while reaching millions of potential customers. It’s so good it should be its PR mission statement.

The phones went live yesterday so the fun has only just begun. We’re bound to see lots of photos stamped with the #breakfastphone hashtag over the next week when the breakfast offer launches next Thursday in the US.

What do you think? Is Taco Bell too
hungry to make its morning menu work?

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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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The Fat Duck owner waddles away from Little Chef

23 Jun

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The rise of celebrity chefs – such as Marco Pierre White, Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver – have dominated our cookbooks, TV shows and magazines for years. But now, one angel named Heston has fallen from grace as roadside restaurant chain Little Chef has given him the boot.

Brand ambassador Heston Blumenthal has been dropped by Little Chef after six years, after his outrageous dishes proved unpopular with diners. A kick in the teeth after he was recruited by the business to help turn around its flailing image. But it seems that ox cheeks and strawberry and orange flower-water yoghurt just doesn’t cut it with motorway drivers after all. Surprised? I didn’t think so.

Now, I’ve got to hand it to Little Chef’s PR manager Richard Hillgrove who’s created a story with this ‘no news’ update thanks to his quote that doesn’t pull any punches:

“His dishes aren’t popular…we’ve wiped him from the menu. Little Chef needs to get back down to earth and that’s what we are doing.”

Hillgrove has essentially blamed Heston for failing to do his job, implying that they’ve had to overrule his poor choices by going back to basics. It doesn’t come into question that Little Chef had bad judgement by agreeing to work with an individual that’s not aligned to its target audience in the first place!

Heston’s publicity team has been quick to respond to Little Chef by dumbing down the Michelin-starred chef’s advisory role, making it clear that after Channel 4’s documentary was aired in 2009 he had little to do with the menu rollout.

Although Little Chef won a place in the spotlight by bringing Heston on board in 2007, no one in their right mind would’ve expected the idea to work. The Fat Duck and Dinner’s success can’t be replicated in a branded greasy spoon because a) no one asked for it and b) it’s the wrong target audience. I assume market research was produce to back this up, so where is it?

Consumers weren’t avoiding Little Chef because its dishes weren’t up to scratch, I expect it was because the venues, facilities, customer service and range of dishes were tired and boring – not broken. Something that Heston wanted to address.

You know as well as I do that celebrity endorsements can work to great effect, if the objectives, strategy and tactics are all aligned.
But, because this activity was doomed from the start, Little Chef is back to serving Olympic breakfasts and its customers can relax knowing they’re getting the meal they’ve always wanted.

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