Tag Archives: hotel

More brands suffer at the hands of social media

11 Sep

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First there were hurricanes, and shootings. Then there was horsemeat and a Royal baby. What have these events got in common? They’ve all prompted (foolish) companies to jump on the bandwagon to promote their brands. But, more often than not, the PR and marketing team’s rushed efforts lead to a grovelling apology after a consumer backlash.

Let me explain.

Today, the world remembers the innocent victims from the tragic 9/11 event in New York. And, like clockwork, brands have used the 12-year anniversary for self gain. Unfortunately, it’s all too transparent and US site Fast Company has created a round-up of the worst social media stunts. Take a look – it’s really interesting.

Telecommunications company AT&T shamelessly featured the new Blackberry in its commemorative corporate tweet – which went down like a lead balloon despite the brand realising its rookie mistake and deleting from its Twitter and Facebook accounts.

That’s not all.

Marriott Hotels – which has a unique connection with 9/11 in the sense that one of its branches sat at the foot of the Twin Towers and collapsed with it on the day – tweeted an image of a plate of pastries and a sign reading that it was giving them away between 8.45am and 9.15am. People lost their lives. So, needless to say that pastries aren’t really a consolation prize to shout about.

First of all, social media managers / interns / robots that are running the game must sense check with the wider marketing teams and get key messages signed off. That way if the update blows – you’re all idiots.

Secondly, an event like this shouldn’t even be viewed as a commercial opportunity. Yes, if done in the right way, it can curry favour with consumers. But, brands shouldn’t make light of 9/11 in anyway. Ok, a #neverforget hash tag can put your tweet in the centre of the online community, but images? Risky. What picture can possibly connect with thousands of people directly associated with the event, and the millions more who were touched by it. As we’ve seen, brands can be on top of the world one minute and at the bottom the next. And clicking delete doesn’t mean a thing once it’s been seen.

Brands must keep it simple. Nappy company Huggies is a good example of this by remembering the victims and the brave people who risked their lives to save others. But, even then, you’re left thinking ‘why are you getting involved?’

So, lastly, unless your brand has a direct association with the event in question and you have something that will add value to ‘the’ online conversation, say nothing at all.

Silence is golden in situations like this. Agree?

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DVD release has people running for their mums

14 Jun

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Hotel chains are definitely upping their game when it comes to PR stunts and marketing campaigns.

It was only last week that I blogged about Ibis’ bunny room and now Holiday Inn has caught my eye.

Holiday Inn Camden partnered with Universal Pictures’new thriller Mama and transformed one of its rooms into terrifying horror experience –
to celebrate its DVD release.

Open for one week only – free to selected guests that booked in advance – the #SurviveMAMA experience promises to ‘shake the public’s nerve and resilience’, throwing guests into key moments and elements of the film.

I salute Fever PR and AtmosFEAR! for putting this together. Now I’m only guessing, but coming up with innovative campaigns to promote DVDs – where the twist or special effects from the film have already been seen – must be tricky with a capital ‘T’. Not only is this experience-led activity attention grabbing, but it also generates unique content.

Clever content is a PR’s best friend when engaging with journalists, giving them another reason and angle to write about the film. The stunt also looks like it was very well executed with authentic props, costumes and scare actors. The video resembles an after hours trip to London Dungeons and I’m pretty sure if I’d gone along I’d have had an accident. But, I’ve never been a fan of scaring myself for fun!

The campaign has generated lots of blog coverage in phase one – inviting consumers to apply for free tickets – but post-event write ups are more difficult to find. I’ve spotted an article on the Daily Express – which might be an exclusive. Besides chasing national coverage, if I was Fever I’d have partnered with the likes of Shortlist and Total Film for additional in-depth features.

But, social media is a different story. Twitter is buzzing with different mentions of the campaign, so with a tight digital evaluation process Fever will deliver an incredible reach for its client – while impressing Holiday Inn (a brand currently missing from its portfolio).

Wise move. Brilliant idea. Great campaign.

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