Tag Archives: formula

Fill up on Dallas’ PR stunt

27 Feb

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I wonder how many PR agencies have come up with the idea to launch a petrol station – offering cheap fuel – to promote a prime time TV programme? Answer – one.

To celebrate the launch of Dallas returning to the small screen this week, US TV network TNT launched Ewing Energies – in honour of ‘oil man’ character JR Ewing – for Manhattan consumers to fill up their cars for just $1.98 per gallon.

Up to $2 per gallon cheaper than anywhere else in the area, it’s no surprise that motorists were queuing two blocks away to take advantage of the one day deal.

TNT launched the stunt with a video, where JR tells fans that the offer makes good business sense. And, as one of the most powerful people in America, he can make it happen.

What I like about it, is that the video is ‘on message’ with the soap, adding drama and intrigue around the new series, but interesting and fun at the same time. It’s also effective because it has a short shelf-life. It propels a call to action, with consumers knowing that if they miss this, they miss out. 20140227-075340.jpg The video, hosted on the Dallas’ Facebook page which has over 1.4m fans, generated over 1,000 likes. And images of the man behind JR, Josh Henderson, pushed that figure to more than 13,000.

It’s an active Facebook page that acts in the form of JR’s diary, encouraging people to comment on what they’ve just viewed and forthcoming teasers. It’s also completely different to the way it runs Twitter, so it was right to make the most of the stunt on that social media channel.

All in all, I think it’s a fantastic idea, engaging with new and existing soap fans by bringing TV to life. Although it’s not yet known how many viewers the PR activity brought in, TNT has many more tricks up its sleeve. Next month, JR is also set to launch a range of Bourbon.

What do you think? Does this campaign make you want to reach for the remote?

It’s a formula that we could see open up in the UK. Just think:

The Queen Vic opening up in Shoreditch
BBC bosses have recently been complaining that E20 no longer represents trendy East London. So, why not connect with new viewers by launching a cheap bar? Content could be used in its online mini-series, that runs alongside the show, giving customers the chance to be on TV.

Doctors to offer free check ups
Members of the show could chat to people who are in line for a free health check up – blood pressure or cholesterol etc – to make them feel at ease. Linking in with a medical brand or pharmacy, discounts could be offered on certain products.

Meet Mr Selfridge
To coincide with Selfridge’s next milestone anniversary, the cast from the hit ITV show could attend an exclusive party at the flagship store, of which part of it would be re-designed in the style from the 1900s.

ITV could then launch a competition giving viewers the chance to win tickets to the champagne reception, maximising coverage opportunities and generating talkability.

BBC and ITV – talk to me.

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7 year old tells off Lego boss for making toys for boys

3 Feb

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I wouldn’t say I’m a feminist but I do have strong opinions. Even tonight my Mum told me to calm down and not get so fired up by other people’s choices.

It was only over the weekend that I was discussing with a PR friend that Kinder Surprise‘s move to package its chocolate in blue and pink is a bit ridiculous. When I was young it wasn’t about the type of toy you got, whether it was a car or a doll, it was the experience I had when I was enjoying the chocolate and the toy – I knew I was winning.

Which is why I don’t think girls should be backed into a corner to opt for stereotypical pink accessories. That’s right – I’m with Charlotte Benjamin.

Who’s Charlotte I hear you ask? She’s a seven-year old with a kick-ass attitude to gender ideals. She makes me wish my mum and dad were handing me pieces of paper and a biro to jot down my thoughts at that age because I’m sure I had them.

She’s written a letter to Lego to point out that on a recent shopping trip she noticed the following things:

1) Where are the girls?
There were fewer Lego girls to choose from compared to Lego boys.

2) The girls stayed at home
While the Lego boys were able to have adventures and play the hero, the Lego girls were at home, at the beach or just pampering themselves.

This letter has now gone viral and been covered by national newspapers such as Metro, Daily Mail and The Independent. And Lego’s social media manager has been working around the clock to engage with its 113,000 Twitter followers to explain that it does listen to its customers’ views and, with over 450 products available each year, it’s hoping there’s something for everyone.

But, for once, I actually have more respect for this iconic brand (for now). There’s a golden PR opportunity to respond to Charlotte’s letter and address the theme of gender roles. And, if I was the boss, I’d use its upcoming Ghostbusters Lego launch to do just this and run a witty, tongue in cheek across Twitter, Facebook and Vine.

It may be too late to turnaround a reactive campaign, to complement its Lego Movie in cinemas on Friday, which is why Ghostbusters is one of the next best hooks.

This way, it can find a way to publicly acknowledge the letter, apologise for the inconvenience and promise to do better – the perfect formula to transform this viral storm into a positive PR stunt.

What do you think?

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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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