Tag Archives: customer service

What a day for a lovely campaign!

13 Feb

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V… Va… Val… Valentine… No. I can’t quite finish that sentence but we both know what this blog post is going to be about don’t we? That’s right. Friday, 14th February.

You know the score. That time of the year where companies don’t just sell those holidays, razors or games. It markets love too. Here’s a round up of some of the best:

Virgin whistles for attention
Virgin is invading customers’ inboxes via a disruptive e-marketing campaign that uses flirty language and wolf-whistles when opened.

One word – amazing. Great job Lida. It complements the fun and cool appeal the brand has built up through TV campaigns. Compared to competitors, which are forced to focus on pricing and customer service, Virgin can afford to sit back and say ‘where can we take you?’ because it’s a brand consumers want to connect with.

The email’s tongue-in-cheek approach cements this and will hopefully see plenty of people take up its offer of a Caribbean holiday this Valentine’s Day.

But, if not, it can be sure the open rate will be high. I’d do anything to be on the receiving end of a wolf whistle. Virtual or not!

Freeview’s three in one romantic ready meal
With a recent survey revealing that 25% of couples will be shunning a session of public Valentine’s Day PDA for a night in on the sofa, Freeview has created a three in one ready meal.

The Valendines meal, by MHP Communications, is a quick and dirty PR stunt which will generate coverage but, arguably, it won’t be memorable. But, with a client like Freeview – for those who cant afford cable (not knocking, just describing myself) – it doesn’t need to be.

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Wilkinson Sword has a smooth approach to the big day
Unlike Freeview, leading razor brand Wilkinson Sword has really thought about its campaign.

With the tag line, ‘This is not the day to irritate her’, from far away an image of a man on a billboard looks as if he’s sporting stubble. But, on second look, it’s rose stems. It then disappears and the brand wishes people a smooth day.

This is a great idea that can work across multiple channels: advertising, marketing and social media. It has real shareability and should definitely have a hash tag.

‘I’m Game’ underwear
I know the point isn’t for Game to sell its his and hers underwear, which is currently on sale in its Stratford store, but I’d be interested to know how much it makes on it after the weeked.

The company developed the idea after its research revealed that one in four gamers will slink away this Valentine’s Day for a quick fix on a console.

It’s tacky and unnecessary but with coverage already on Digital Spy and Metro, it’s adding value to the brand at low cost.

Which of these lovely campaigns stand out to you?

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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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Odeon Facebook rant breaks box office ratings

30 Aug

It was a good weekend for Odeon Cinemas until Friday evening when Mark Pledger posted a comment on the cinema’s Facebook page about the poor customer service ,which instantly generated more than 170,000 ‘likes’ and over 15,000 comments.

I’m sure we call all remember a time waving goodbye to a £20 note after handing it to a cinema sales assistant for a ticket to a film, a drink and one or two individual pick and mix. We can also probably remember shedding a tear when we received no change. Or, remember the time you were insulted by having to pay for a pair of 3D glasses when the special effects in question were simply an after-thought. (Was that ship coming out of the screen or did I just have something in my eye?) We all acknowledge that cinema customer service is poor, but why now is the argument gathering pace?

  1. Although Odeon says it responded to Mark directly by email after the comment was posted, it didn’t publicly acknowledge the thousands of additional comments until at least a day later. The business allowed the storm to brew in its own tea-cup. Bank Holiday weekend aside, social media is 24/7 and someone has to be, at the very least, monitoring its sites out of hours. See my blog: Finding Time to Tweet for more. When questioned, Odeon simply said: “We responded to him directly via email for the experience.”

     

  2. Although Odeon privately, then publicly, responded to the comment, it has not made the effort to publicly manage the expectations of the thousands of additional comments that followed. Neither has it issued a blog / statement that empathises with its customers. I have not added my 10p worth into the mix (yet), but feel strongly about the issue. How do I know Odeon will continue to make their experience better for me? Odeon told me that it  simply “responded to every post that warrented a customer service response.”

     

  3. Lastly, the business made the (fatal) mistake of not holding its hands up and admitting that its service occasionally slips below par by saying ‘we’re sorry’. I firmly believe that if it had taken this approach, it would not be in as much hot water as it is now. I tweeted Odeon commenting on how poorly they phrased their response, but they ignored this and simply told me: “he [Mark] was responded to privately to address the service by the cinema manager, as this was a local issue.”

No that the furore has reached The Guardian, The Wall blog and endless other forum sites (just type in ‘Odeon Facebook rant’ on Google and you’ll see what I mean), there’s little doubt that this has become a national issue now. How long now before Odeon focuses on its messaging to communicate some, clearly needed, changes that it’s making. What’s more, it’s an opportunity for the likes of Cineworld and Vue to produce some well-timed marketing that says ‘look at us’, we’re giving our customers an improved experience, always. Cineworld is already trying this with plans to boost its snack offer by partnering with Starbucks.

Whatever happens, with a run in with the ASA over a 15% off promotion,the marketing team at Odeon will have to paddle a lot harder in future to keep its head above water.

Have you had a poor cinema experience recently?

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