Tag Archives: follower

Let’s be Frank about Austravel’s PR stunt…

3 May

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If you walked down to Liverpool Street station this week, you were in for a PR surprise. But, you had to look carefully. If you blinked, you’d miss it (probably).

Frank PR teamed up with Austravel, a tour operator, to promote its holiday destinations by creating a hole in the ground to show consumers what they’re missing.

Unfortunately, it just didn’t have the ‘wow’ factor.

Here’s three ways it could’ve made the stunt better:

1. Take us away
Problem: The hole in the ground showed ‘real time’ footage of Bondi Beach.
Solution: The stunt would’ve been stronger if Londoners who looked into the hole were linked up to see Australians ‘show us around’ the area. We can all dream about a beach but it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going. People engage people, so connect the dots and strengthen the stunt in both countries.

2. Tidy up Twitter
Problem: Austravel’s Twitter account wasn’t ready for the campaign. It had less than 150 followers on launch day, which hasn’t steadily increased during the stunt period.
Solution: Tease the stunt to ‘lock people in’ to the hashtag – #LondonDownUnder – and engage with stakeholders to help them promote the campaign, to encourage it to snowball to success. Social media marketing is vital but it’s brands that have to put the legwork in – not the other way round.

3. Speak up!
Problem: There was a ‘builder’ on site to manage the stunt but when I walked past on a couple of occasions nothing was said (obviously people should have lots to say when I walk past, but you get what I mean).
Solution: You can’t rely on a piece of paper with a brand’s Twitter handle to drive the campaign forward – have a conversation. This could’ve seen more people stop by to see what all the fuss was about.

So, there you have it. Austravel may have wanted a ‘soft launch’ and Frank PR may say that its client didn’t have a decent budget. I say that the brand now has an uphill struggle to contend with.

Where does it go from here? Is this campaign quickly going down under?

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Costco begs for forgiveness after being caught out on Twitter

25 Nov

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I’m normally an advocate for social media silence, but national retailer Costco was quick to repent for its sins with a statement – after the brand was caught out last week.

To put it into context, a Californian pastor noticed that a stack of Bibles were labelled as fiction in one of its stores. Now, you might not believe that this book contains the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but there’s no need for the brand to potentially offend the 246m Christians in the US.

So how did Costco respond after the pastor blasted the company on Twitter? With a watertight crisis management statement that followed the classic ‘get out of jail’ formula:

The formula
Shift blame + Take blame + Olive branch solution = Peace is restored

What Costco said
Costco’s distributor mislabelled a small percentage of the Bibles. However, we take responsibility and should have caught the mistake. We are correcting this with them for future distribution. In addition, we are immediately relabelling all mislabelled Bibles. We greatly apologise for this error.

By the time this was issued it was too little too late. Pastor Caleb Kaltenbach’s tweet had already shocked his congregation, who questioned if Costco was guilty of religious discrimination. And 1,466 followers, 253 retweets, 88 favourites and a flurry of national news stories later, it got so out of hand the pastor had to calm his flock down by claiming he wasn’t angry, just interested.

The one thing Costco didn’t do was use its social media channels to defend itself. Perhaps it was trying to bury bad news or take the approach that what its customers don’t know won’t hurt them (or the business). But failing to maximise its 1m reach on Facebook seems strange, especially when its Twitter pages are such a mess.

Well, at least Caleb has a pinch of inspiration for his next sermon and has successfully engaged with his audience. But the moral of this story is that if you’re truly sorry for your actions, God will forgive your mistakes.

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X-rated car advert gets tongues wagging

31 Jul

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It’s a brand’s worst nightmare – an advert appears in print complete with a big mistake. No, not an incorrect spelling or wrong call to action. Either of those could easily be resolved with the help of a PR agency. Car hire firm Enterprise has had to deal with something much worse: an advert in the Pembrokeshire Herald, published last week, suggested that the firm offers inappropriate sex acts for customers. See the advert here.

To add insult to injury, the advert went hand-in-hand with the company’s Twitter launch. Although, this might be its saving grace. When the incident was spotted yesterday, Enterprise only had 61 followers – all of which were told that the service is ‘not offered at any of its branches.’

Twenty-four hours later that number has only risen by 13 – and the brand has responded to everyone that commented offering its single crisis-management message.

Of course, it’s not like the age old saying ‘if a tree falls in a forest and no-one’s there does it make a sound?’ Customers – existing and potential – are likely to hear about this via social networks or friends (the Mirror has already published the story too) But, when it comes to Twitter, I think people are less likely to get involved if they don’t think they can directly link with the brand. After all, that’s one big reason we make comments online isn’t it? To humiliate, complain or praise companies that we’re engaging with. The fact that few people knew about Enterprise’s Twitter page at that time has curbed the majority of comments.

I think the brand handled the process well. Although, I’d have suggested that they tailored their responses to show personality and a sense of humour. After all, the advert is clearly a joke.

At the time of writing this, I asked the Pembrokeshire Herald what its thoughts were and whether the error was from their side. According to reports they maintain the artwork was tampered with after it’d been signed off – and other brands were affected.

Surely, Enterprise will want an apology from the team if it was the paper’s fault – not to mention free advertising space to overright the problem.

However it progresses, this faux pas has certainly worked in Enterprise’s favour – in terms of PR and talkability. After reading this article how many hire car companies can you really think of?

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