Tag Archives: Christmas

London council sends bogus Christmas card to residents

18 Dec

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With a week before Christmas, everyone’s in full swing planning the perfect day. That’s right, it’s the season of giving. But maybe we’ve all missed the point. Maybe we’re not meant to be giving to one another, maybe we’re meant to be giving to the council!

That’s right. Hammersmith and Fulham Council has reminded local residents not to get behind on their rent by sending a ‘bah humbug’ Christmas card which reads: Don’t overindulge this Christmas. Pay your rent!

There’s only two ways you can interpret this card – you can agree or disagree. I’ll give you 10 points for guessing what I think of it. Here’s a clue: I take offence.

If 46 per cent of residents are in arrears then I don’t believe this tactic is going to make much difference. Rather than make the residents feel guilty, it’ll just have a negative impact on the council. It’s bad PR through and through and leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths. Essentially, if the council thought they were going to get their money before the big day, then they’ve made a big mistake.

More than causing uproar – many labelling the act ‘disgusting’ – it’s even prompted some to request updates via the Freedom of Information Act to find out how the cards were distributed. According to What Do They Know?, an 81-year old woman, who’s apparently never been late with the rent, was left ‘extremely distressed’ upon receiving it. And who can blame her? It’s hardly subtle.

The council may well think it’s appropriate to thank the BBC on Twitter for helping them to generate coverage with the scheme, but I think they’re underestimating just how much this could backfire.

I’m not saying that being late with the rent is acceptable – when your payment is due you’re obliged to pay up. But, when you compare it to dropping a threatening card through someone’s door seven days before Christmas, you’ve got to question who’s really in the wrong.

What do you think – have you had fake Christmas cards through the door?

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Christmas campaign round-up 2013

13 Dec

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With Christmas just around the corner, PRs are working at top speed to make the papers with their ‘quick and dirty’ festive stunts.

And because Christmas is the season of giving, I’m doing the digging to present you with the industry’s top campaigns this month. I’m actually giving you two gifts because I’ve just noticed a perfect pun in that previous sentence, but who’s counting?

The survey one
Costa Coffee has banned Sir Cliff Richard’s festive favourite – Mistletoe and Wine – after research revealed that it was most likely to make its customers exit the store.

But Costa has gone above and beyond to make this headline stand out by donating £10,000 to charity Youth Music, to encourage young people to record their own versions of Christmas classics.

The clever one
Retailer GAME has made up for its reduced presence on the high street in recent years by prioritising PR – and it’s paid off.

Hiring nine-year old Joe Leslie this month, as a ‘non executive director’, is a genius way to help clueless parents know their Call of Duty from their Grand Theft Auto.

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The charitable one
St Mungo’s, a charity to help homeless people, has created limited edition Christmas wrapping paper, detailing the scientific viruses that they might face this winter.

For a charity that seeks to tackle homelessness, it’s successfully delivered a fresh message with an innovative angle.

The mad one
To complement O2’s Be More Dog campaign, the network provider is planning a party for the dogs from Battersea Dogs Home – and it’s getting its customers involved.

The more times you tweet using the campaign hashtag – #tweetattreat – the better the party will be. Now you wouldn’t want to let the dogs down would you?

The relatable one
Of all the retailers, I didn’t expect Harvey Nichols to launch a ‘canned laughter’ campaign (you don’t laugh at it, more smirk and think ‘I should get that for someone’ and then never do because it’s fluff).

The brand’s launched a range of gifts for women to give to their loved ones as a token to simply say ‘I spent the money on myself’. From a Christmas lunch in a tin (which has been done to death) to a sink plug, it’s been cited as ‘original and perfectly timed’ by Golden Goose PR. I say, they haven’t read this blog yet.

So, there you go – the top five Christmas campaigns of 2013 to date. If yours didn’t make the list just tweet me your favourites at @dmhwhite. I may even shuffle the leaderboard around!

Merry Christmas Prime Timers and a Happy New Year!

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