Tag Archives: Guardian

App brings new meaning to phrase ‘you snooze, you lose’

3 Nov

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If you didn’t already know, it’s November. Or, as most men will try and convince you, ‘Movember‘. But, either way, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s dark, cold and miserable – three factors that make me want to hug the pillow in the mornings. And I’m not the only one.

Chelsea Apps Factory has developed an app called iCuckoo, which gives people the chance to donate money to one of five charities every time they snooze the alarm.

That’s right. Ranging from 10p to a golden nugget, from now on an extra few minutes in bed could cost you (benefitting charities such as Parkinson’s UK, Prostate Cancer UK and Starlight in the process.) But don’t worry, donations are capped at £30 a month, so if you’re not a morning person you won’t have to remortgage.

I think it’s a really good idea – and it’s already got the PR coverage to prove with the Daily Star, Guardian and Charity Digital News under its belt – but not one that I’ll necessarily adopt.

If you’ve read my previous blogs you’ll get the impression I’m not very forthcoming when it comes to giving, despite working for a charity. That’s not entirely true. I just believe that giving should be a conscious decision – evolving into a long-lasting relationship between an individual and a cause they feel connected with. And, if this practice needs to be ‘masked’ through an everyday activity, is it really a gift?

iCuckoo isn’t the only recent initiative to encourage people to give little, but often, without thinking. Penny for London, whereby commuters can ‘micro donate’ a penny through contactless payment methods when travelling, launched in a bid to support vulnerable young people in the city last week.

I agree that it in our increasingly busy lifestyles, efficient and effective activities that make things easy for us will stand the test of time. In fact, having time to do anything is a luxury these days (so the fact that you’ve read this far means a lot.) But, if a charity’s supporters aren’t engaged then they simply won’t understand it in order to:

1) Make a decision to donate larger sums or more regularly
2) Become brand ambassadors and share their support, either through word of mouth or social media
3) Share ideas to shape its future and make it stronger

I don’t know about you, but I believe all of the these principles are vital in order for organisations to stand out from the crowd.

Overall, it’s great that charities are waking up to new fundraising ideas. But, if they’re looking for a robust long-term strategy they need to sleep on it.

What do you think? Would you sleep in and give more?

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Guardians of the Galaxy rewind time by breathing new life into cassettes

26 Oct

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Don’t be fooled. Actors don’t make good movies great. Nor do directors, producers or special effects teams. It’s all in the music. Don’t believe me? This interesting BBC4 documentary series proves it.

And, one film that’s made the most of its soundtrack is this year’s Marvel sensation: Guardians of the Galaxy.

Featuring 10cc’s I’m Not in Love, Blue Swede’s Hooked on a Feeling and Jackson 5’s I Want You Back, these songs enhance viewers’ overall experience just as much as the star-studded cast. So, it’s not surprising that Disney‘s keen to give a nod to the score by releasing it on cassette.

Yes, you heard me. Head into the attic and dust off your Walkman. Dumped yours years ago? (No one would blame you. After all, they’re 37 years old.) Instead you can look one up on eBay from as little as £10.

Disney’s PR and marketing stunt pays homage to the film’s storyline, where lead superhero Peter Quill (aka Star-Lord) enjoys listening to a classic mixtape created by his mother.

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Set to be released next month, this is the mega brand’s first compilation tape since 2003. To create a buzz, Disney’s announced that the cassette will be a limited edition, sold exclusively through independent music retailers and will be sold with a free digital download. So, in my (PRime Time) eyes, it’s done everything right… apart from one thing.

It’s risked compromising its success by waiting until after the mixtape’s vinyl, CD and digital releases. Despite the pre-launch announcement securing write-ups in Shortlist, The Guardian and Billboard, the scope for dominating publicity has been missed.

From planting a giant cassette near an iconic landmark and organising pop-up Walkman audio booths in public areas to trailing competition clues across social media sites to raise awareness and creating an app that gives smartphone and tablet users the look, feel and sound of a cassette, the ideas list is endless. But, I can’t help thinking at that this stage – post soundtrack launch and pre DVD release – it carries the whiff of ‘afterthought’ – a fragrance that no brand wants to smell like.

Anyway that’s just my opinion. What do you think? Do I need to rewind?

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Odeon Facebook rant breaks box office ratings

30 Aug

It was a good weekend for Odeon Cinemas until Friday evening when Mark Pledger posted a comment on the cinema’s Facebook page about the poor customer service ,which instantly generated more than 170,000 ‘likes’ and over 15,000 comments.

I’m sure we call all remember a time waving goodbye to a £20 note after handing it to a cinema sales assistant for a ticket to a film, a drink and one or two individual pick and mix. We can also probably remember shedding a tear when we received no change. Or, remember the time you were insulted by having to pay for a pair of 3D glasses when the special effects in question were simply an after-thought. (Was that ship coming out of the screen or did I just have something in my eye?) We all acknowledge that cinema customer service is poor, but why now is the argument gathering pace?

  1. Although Odeon says it responded to Mark directly by email after the comment was posted, it didn’t publicly acknowledge the thousands of additional comments until at least a day later. The business allowed the storm to brew in its own tea-cup. Bank Holiday weekend aside, social media is 24/7 and someone has to be, at the very least, monitoring its sites out of hours. See my blog: Finding Time to Tweet for more. When questioned, Odeon simply said: “We responded to him directly via email for the experience.”

     

  2. Although Odeon privately, then publicly, responded to the comment, it has not made the effort to publicly manage the expectations of the thousands of additional comments that followed. Neither has it issued a blog / statement that empathises with its customers. I have not added my 10p worth into the mix (yet), but feel strongly about the issue. How do I know Odeon will continue to make their experience better for me? Odeon told me that it  simply “responded to every post that warrented a customer service response.”

     

  3. Lastly, the business made the (fatal) mistake of not holding its hands up and admitting that its service occasionally slips below par by saying ‘we’re sorry’. I firmly believe that if it had taken this approach, it would not be in as much hot water as it is now. I tweeted Odeon commenting on how poorly they phrased their response, but they ignored this and simply told me: “he [Mark] was responded to privately to address the service by the cinema manager, as this was a local issue.”

No that the furore has reached The Guardian, The Wall blog and endless other forum sites (just type in ‘Odeon Facebook rant’ on Google and you’ll see what I mean), there’s little doubt that this has become a national issue now. How long now before Odeon focuses on its messaging to communicate some, clearly needed, changes that it’s making. What’s more, it’s an opportunity for the likes of Cineworld and Vue to produce some well-timed marketing that says ‘look at us’, we’re giving our customers an improved experience, always. Cineworld is already trying this with plans to boost its snack offer by partnering with Starbucks.

Whatever happens, with a run in with the ASA over a 15% off promotion,the marketing team at Odeon will have to paddle a lot harder in future to keep its head above water.

Have you had a poor cinema experience recently?

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