Tag Archives: control

Would you Google women’s rights? You will now

22 Oct

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The last few posts I’ve written have covered fun and quirky PR campaigns. From One Direction launching its own day to Aflac letting a live mascot ride the New York subway, these brands have generated talkability. But this stunt, by Ogilvy & Mather for UN Women in Dubai, tackles an important global issue in an effective and sensitive way.

Taking over one of the world’s most popular search engines, Ogilvy ensured that every time someone used Google last month that they were given suggestions relating to attitudes to women – such as ‘women need to be…controlled‘ and ‘women need to be…put in their place‘.

The agency produced a compelling story to attract interest in the campaign but they didn’t have to think for too long. The suggested search terms are all real examples of what people have used Google for. It’s surprising, shocking and disappointing. In a world where I thought my challenge was being mixed race, it’s been highlighted that I’m getting ahead of myself. It’s being a woman that I have to worry about first.

I can only imagine that when the brief came in to the advertising agency that there were a few overwhelmed executives in the office. This is no mean feat on any budget. Forget the opportunities to see, website traffic and return on investment, UN Women wants to generate behavioural change. But by rooting the campaign within one of the world’s most popular websites (pipped to the post by Yahoo in the US this week) and using striking photography, Ogilvy has successfully made people stop and think.

It’a taken a little while for the news to spead – the Huffington Post has only picked it today – but the campaign is continuing the conversation on Twitter.

It’ll be interesting to see if this replicated by the UN across the world on International Women’s Day (8 March 2014). They’d be missing a trick if the opportunity wasn’t seized to make the world listen to its sound argument.

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Are you ready at the drop of a hat?

4 Feb

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For a Monday morning, I was more prepared than a boy scout. How? I wore my emergency client dress for a potential awards lunch – Sustainable Restaurant Association Awards at the OXO 2 restaurant.

I thought I was going to be filling in for my most senior client, the managing director, but I should have known she’s made of stronger stuff. However, within your events party, you can always expect up to 10% of guests to drop out. So, when you’re thrown into a situation at the last minute that you’re not prepared for, here’s how to make the most of it and shine:

1. Ice, ice baby
Have an icebreaker under your belt and bring it out to everyone you meet.

As I’d only met my client’s leadership team a handful of times (and they won’t remember me even though I email them good news most days i.e. coverage), I used:

“Looks like my boss has finally let me out of the office!”

Corny I know. But I can laugh about it and so can they. It opens up about what I actually do and puts the attention on me for as long as I want it – until I turn the tables back on them.

2. Be honest
I was fortunate enough to be meeting my CEO at the event. I found her amongst the crowds and asked her to introduce me to some key influencers. I could have saved face and attempted to network on my own, but this method was quicker and she really appreciated my honesty and the challenges I was up against.

If this isn’t convincing enough – she set me up to shake celebrity chef Raymond Blanc’s hand. Enough said.

3. Check in
If you’ve been involved in the logistics of the event at any stage, check with your client and the organisers that everything is on track. It’ll show you’re in control and see tasks from beginning to end. It takes just one question and once you’ve been given the green light you can operate for the rest of the day on cruise control.

It goes without saying to make an effort with everyone – especially those on your table. Think of the five golden rules of journalism: who, what, why, when and how? Find out the answers from those closest to you and take the conversation from there.

4. Mission statement
As I was ‘invading’ a sustainability event for food and drink operators, I was understandably the odd one out. If you think your PR aura is sticking out like a sore thumb too, be prepared to summarise what you and your company does in one to two sentences. It succinctly helps the guests understand your role. Who knows – it might lead to a new business opportunity?

5. Find your niche
I was introduced to most people I met as my company’s social media guru. This gave me the flexibility to get my phone out without feeling rude and also handed me a free pass to doodle on my phone when conversations had come to a natural end.

6. Be aware
You can lose all sense of time at events. Don’t be caught out and over do it on the champagne at 11.30am! You do need to have some wits about you in front of your peers and clients.

What are your top tips on surviving
industry events win your clients?

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