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Secret Cinema drove at 88mph… and stalled

24 Jul

Thousands of angry Back to the Future fans took to social media to express their frustration at the late cancellation of Secret Cinema‘s launch event this evening – and who can blame them?

It’s a serious PR fail which was always going to end badly. Yes, the organisers have said sorry and used social media to disseminate the message to attendees quickly. But, unlike Sainsbury’s, Coca-Cola and Costco (brands which made epic mistakes but used social media to their advantage to make amends), Secret Cinema just let the cat drop out of the bag.

Here’s how:

What’s your problem?
Secret Cinema apologised, but I think it should’ve given a little more information away as to why so many people’s nights were ruined.

*Technical difficulties?
*Health and safety issues?
*Missing DeLorean?

My point is if you’re not transparent about why you’re making these decisions, then people will just start speculating. And that speculation will be plastered across Twitter and Facebook. Oh, and in this case, the national news.

There’s no nice way to say this, but…
Secret Cinema’s news broke on social media and, after just a few moments, went viral. Although, I’m still questioning why 26 people opted to ‘like’ the Facebook post.

What I also don’t understand is why the organisers ran the risk of involving its 201,000 fans in an issue that only affected a small percentage?

Ok, I may be contradicting my point about transparency. But, in the first instance, if it affected me (and they’ve got a week to sort themselves out before I get down there) I would’ve appreciated a personalised e-newsletter or text message breaking the news, rather than running the risk of finding out through my friends.

Ok, if negative press is going to get out, a brand can do little to stop it. But, this could’ve ring-fenced the problem for a short while – if Secret Cinema had the resources to pop down contact details encouraging people to call them with questions (rather than posting on social media.)

Actions speak louder than words
One thing’s for sure, Secret Cinema cannot afford for this problem to continue looming this time tomorrow. With a second round of ticket holders already panicking that they might not even make it to Hill Valley, my recommendation would be for organisers to shift from apologies to olive branches and start making amends sooner rather than later.

I was always expecting big things, but I’m expecting professionalism from Secret Cinema more than ever now.

Watch this space.

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Phone boxes are a dead ringer for Lipton Ice Tea

19 Apr

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Have you noticed anything different about your local phone box recently? Of course not. No one gives phone boxes the time of day anymore. So, it’s surprising that Pepsi has used them as part of its latest marketing campaign.

Pepsi’s Lipton brand has taken over 5,000 ‘street kiosks’, close to convenience stores, to promote its Peach Iced Tea drink. And I must say, it looks good. But, I don’t think it’s enough to make me, or any other young person, buy a bottle.

That’s why Lipton’s partnered with KISS FM, to prompt interaction, by encouraging people to answer the phone inside a special ‘booth’ when it rings for a chance to win prizes. But, is this London-centric competition enough to give Lipton a good return on investment?

20140419-102015.jpgWhen growing up my friends and I would ring 118 500 to find out local phone numbers (exciting I know!) In more recent years the only time I’ve used one is after I was mugged and needed to ‘phone home’.

I’m not the only one turning my back on local phones. An average of just one call is made each day from the 58,500 phone boxes left in the UK. So, it’s no surprise BT is rapidly losing money from them.

Which leaves me to ask the question: id no one’s using them, is anyone noticing them and is it worth taking the risk?

The campaign’s saving grace is that Lipton’s supported it with a social media strategy, complementing KISS FM‘s, to widen its reach – with added value digital advertising on the side.

But, it doesn’t change the fact that its phone box stunt could be left on hold.

I don’t know. I could be wrong. Perhaps
more brands will leverage phone boxes’ appeal to create unique advertising opportunities. Time will tell.

What do you think – is it a peachy PR campaign or just immobile?

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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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