Tag Archives: fire

Is London Duck Tours headed for a watery grave?

29 Sep

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It’s been a good week for ducks. Or rather, it had been before London Duck Tours’ bus-boat caught on fire in the Thames this afternoon, leaving passengers to jump overboard.

Now I’ve seen those bus-boats poodling around the capital and I can’t say I’d jump at the chance to take a ride. While the brand might call this experience ‘fun, quirky and different’, I think it’s more ‘rusty, risky and darn scary’.

I know what you’re thinking and you’re right, it doesn’t matter what I have to say. But the truth is, London Duck Tours hasn’t said anything. No updates have been posted on Twitter, Facebook or the website. So by doing nothing, the business has exposed itself as unprofessional, unreliable and untrustworthy. Three traits nobody wants to mix with.

After a similar company had its water licence revoked last month, following a sinking in Liverpool, I’m starting to think that all the PR in the world couldn’t keep this brand’s reputation afloat.

However, if I was to pushed to come up with a strategy, this is what I’d do:

1. It’s too late to apologise
But London Duck Tours has got to do it anyway. This situation cannot get any better unless the business admits fault and takes full responsibility for the accident. This apology, directed at the brave passengers, needs to be sent to all the journalists and bloggers who have covered the story – along with details of who they can speak to for more information. Trust me, they’ll expect it.

2. The show’s over
I’d recommend cancelling all tours for the next few weeks. Certainly before customers cancel on the duck. Rather than attract attention by continuing business, and people waiting in the wings to shout about your next mistake, I’d use this time to rebuild trust with the public.

3. Buy new equipment
This is the time that City Cruises and Thames Clippers will be showing off their attributes, such as safety, so come back to your customers with a clear message: new equipment. Ideally London Duck Tours should also work with a VIP and take them out for a spin to attract interest.

Arranging a photo-call up and down the river, so everyone can see the duck is back, would be good but, better still, the team could brand the boat with a hashtag to track what people have to say about the re-launch.

After that, you’re on your own! What would you suggest for this sitting duck?

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HMV calls for help as Twilight ends

12 Mar

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I can’t read about failed music retailer HMV without feeling sorry for the brand and picturing Poppy Rose Cleere – the woman who gave the world live updates as the big bods culled staff in a mass firing.

So, when I saw this well-received PR stunt my instant reaction was: ‘it’s great that they’re still making a go of things’. That’s right – pity praise.

This is the story of what HMV did:

To celebrate (or commiserate – whatever you’re into) the release of the final Twilight film on DVD, HMV has installed a telephone box in its Westfield store that has the film’s national helpline on speed dial to support troubled fans.

Featuring 30-second pre-recorded messages from the main cast, all people need to do is pick up the phone to be transferred to the comforting sound of the actors’ voices, including: Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner. The helpline, as a whole, has been so successful it received more than 2,000 calls on the first day.

HMV has done well to capitalise on Twilight’s multi-million dollar industry by adding to the experience of the final chapter, while giving people an extra reason to buy in-store.

I hope we see another fresh PR trick by HMV in the coming weeks – it sends out a strong message during troubled times.

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Ignite my fire for PR

2 Jan

It’s the 2nd January 2013. New year, new resolutions and new outlooks for life are officially in place.

Today I got comfortable in my desk chair for the first time in two weeks, opened my to-do list and taught myself how to touch type all over again. I’m in PR. I can do anything and be anything.

Well, so I thought. But, as a 25-year old mixed race female in food and drink B2B PR, it seems that no one is ‘backing’ me as I read this evening that Ignite PR – the voluntary networking group that seeks to lobby for diversity within the communications industry – is set to close after just four years.

Bieneosa Ebite, chairman and co-founder of Ignite, has blamed lack of time for the group folding, but makes clear that the network has achieved more than she imagined since launching – by releasing manifestos and building a database of more than 400 individuals. From gender and ethnic equality to fair work ethics and advice on recruiting, Ignite fired on all cylinders.

A group like this has to. Especially when PR Week and PRCA’s last census revealed last year that less than 5,000 professionals (from a pool of 61,000 working in our industry) are from black and minority ethnic heritages.

But, sadly these figures aren’t shocking; just off-puttingly accurate, which adds weight to the great shame of Ignite extinguishing.

In my view, I don’t think time would be a factor for the founding team if the membership and engagement levels were right; the website looks and feels stagnant. But, perhaps this news will jolt more people – myself included – to be more aware and become proactive in sustaining the momentum that Ignite began.

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