Tag Archives: foot

Royal Mail fails as brands attempt to cash in on World Cup buzz

12 Jun

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Call me naive (although I’d prefer it if you called me Donna*), but I didn’t even realise until this week that postal officers could refuse to deliver mail that they deemed offensive. But they can, and they did, when they were handed the latest issue of marketing magazine The Drum.

The front cover included the F-bomb, in large font, as part of a creative design tying in with the World Cup which kicks off today. (Go Belgium, thanks to my sweep stake pick). But, context aside, according to the Royal Mail, the subscription-only trade publication failed to comply with the company’s T&Cs of avoiding ‘offensive, obscene or threatening language’.

So, knowing what I know now, I’m not sure why I was surprised to read again today that there are reports of postal staff – possibly Royal Mail, possibly not – refusing to deliver a special edition of The Sun in the North West. A blow to the UK’s largest newspaper after it invested in creating a one-off paper celebrating ‘Englishness’ to celebrate the launch of that football tournament. There’s a pattern emerging here, don’t you think?

Reaching 22 million people across the UK and not a Page 3 model in sight, The Sun had already pre-empted a negative reaction from Liverpool, so decided against distributing there, as a result of the newspaper’s Hillsborough football disaster coverage. But, reports are circulating that elsewhere in the North of England – including Runcorn, St Helens, Skelmersdale and Ellesmere Port – that postal staff wouldn’t agree to deliver in these areas if asked.

At a time when the print journalism industry is struggling to stay alive, because consumers are choosing to eat their news and views in more convenient digital bites, I’m surprised that delivery companies like the Royal Mail are turning their back on print partners. Surely, these corporate contracts – whether they’re one-off projects on long-term – are their bread and butter. And, without them they’ll just go hungry! Particularly if their hunger pangs come down to language preference, like in The Drum’s case.

It’s for the end consumer to make the complaint and, if they’re offended, the issue (no pun intended) should be taken up with the company responsible: the publisher, not the carrier.

FIFA has enough PR problems to deal with around this global event, besides whether its ‘brand’ can even be delivered to the right people. It needs to focus on protecting its image against rumours that half-built stadiums will be half empty, as well as the news that the Brazilian army has been asked to drive lingering drug lords out of local favelas.

Let’s hope these latest Royal Mail fails don’t reflect too badly on the tournament.

*That bad joke proves I am my mother’s child, just in case anyone was wondering.

The Drum editor says 'F@£! It' to Royal Mail over F-bomb front cover

The Drum editor says ‘F@£! It’ to Royal Mail over F-bomb front cover

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Fila gives Banksy a run for his money

5 Jun

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I was late to the party when the world-renowned ‘graff-art-i’ father Banksy first hit the scene. But, when I did, I went through the same stages we all did. From ‘is that legal?’ and ‘who is he?’ to ‘what’s he trying to teach us’ and ‘I wish he’d give my house a makeover’, love him or hate him, he’s making statements and hard cash.

So, it’s no surprise that people trying to get in on the action. Remember the masterpiece that was removed from a shop wall in North London? The point is, we’re used to people trying to remove Banksy’s to sell them on. And we know that brands, like Lego, will shamelessly piggyback off his success by making mock-ups. (For those of you new to Prime Time, I love to hate Lego. It’s stepped to its game in recent months and I just can’t keep up). But, we’re not necessarily used to brands adding to an existing piece of his artwork – cue Fila.

To me, Fila is an old school brand. Quite literally, the last time I wore a pair of its kicks was at school. So, I’ve already conjured up an idea that this vigilante brand has nothing to lose by slicing pairs of its trainers in half and strategically placing them at the foot of Banksy’s across London (as if to worship his approach).

But the story doesn’t end there. Here comes the science. Advertising agency GREYGermany used Google Ad Words to lead consumers, searching for answers to what this sporting statement actually meant, to shoe retailer Deichmann.
Nice touch, but I would’ve much preferred a link through to an ‘undercover’ (i.e. subtly branded Fila site) that encourages people to upload their Instagram pictures of the stunt for the chance to win a free pair of trainers.

The key is to convert your audience from interested consumers into brand ambassadors – and get them to tell you the next stage of the story. Who will they influence next? What do they want to see from the brand? What content do they need to share with their friends?

I just don’t believe a shoe shop can offer this because have to work twice as hard to a) assure people they’re involved in Fila’s PR stunt and b) keep people interested in the brand, rather than pushing them to buy.

But, I won’t be too hard on the Fila. It’s a great quick-win for the brand and, judging by the agency’s YouTube video, it has set the path open for others to hijack street art to create a new movement. But, I won’t get too excited until I hear that Banksy’s requested some more shoes for his next piece.

What do you think – is Fila running in the right direction?

Fila gives Banksy a run for his money.

Fila gives Banksy a run for his money.

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