Tag Archives: house

London council sends bogus Christmas card to residents

18 Dec

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With a week before Christmas, everyone’s in full swing planning the perfect day. That’s right, it’s the season of giving. But maybe we’ve all missed the point. Maybe we’re not meant to be giving to one another, maybe we’re meant to be giving to the council!

That’s right. Hammersmith and Fulham Council has reminded local residents not to get behind on their rent by sending a ‘bah humbug’ Christmas card which reads: Don’t overindulge this Christmas. Pay your rent!

There’s only two ways you can interpret this card – you can agree or disagree. I’ll give you 10 points for guessing what I think of it. Here’s a clue: I take offence.

If 46 per cent of residents are in arrears then I don’t believe this tactic is going to make much difference. Rather than make the residents feel guilty, it’ll just have a negative impact on the council. It’s bad PR through and through and leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths. Essentially, if the council thought they were going to get their money before the big day, then they’ve made a big mistake.

More than causing uproar – many labelling the act ‘disgusting’ – it’s even prompted some to request updates via the Freedom of Information Act to find out how the cards were distributed. According to What Do They Know?, an 81-year old woman, who’s apparently never been late with the rent, was left ‘extremely distressed’ upon receiving it. And who can blame her? It’s hardly subtle.

The council may well think it’s appropriate to thank the BBC on Twitter for helping them to generate coverage with the scheme, but I think they’re underestimating just how much this could backfire.

I’m not saying that being late with the rent is acceptable – when your payment is due you’re obliged to pay up. But, when you compare it to dropping a threatening card through someone’s door seven days before Christmas, you’ve got to question who’s really in the wrong.

What do you think – have you had fake Christmas cards through the door?

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Barbie heads to Selfridges for a makeover

6 Aug

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Barbie might have turned 54 this year, but she’s still got the looks to turn heads, thanks to department store Selfridges which has invited four designers to give her a makeover to celebrate its new concession in London.

Fred Butler, Nasir Mazhar and Sister by Sibling have designed four dolls – each which will become collectors’ items when sold in store later this year.

It’s a nice approach because although Barbie’s been transformed before – by the likes of Louis Vuitton, Christian Louboutin and Chanel – every makeover has a different personality. Although this time the whole campaign doesn’t have the ‘wow’ factor.

To add value to the launch, I would’ve liked Selfridges collaborate with Mattel to do the following:

1. Window shopping
I’m sure Selfridges will be using its iconic shop windows to house a creative and colourful display to draw attention to the fact that Barbie’s in town. But the brand could go one step further and commission life-sized Barbie mannequins to sit in the designers’ fashion houses to promote the partnership.

2. Competition time
Barbie’s one of the few brands whose popularity is multi-generational. To capitalise on this, I would’ve launched a competition for the public to design their own outfit for Barbie – even securing the backing of the London College of Fashion to guarantee entries.

The winning outfits could then be sold in store for dolls and fashionistas.

3. Catwalk models
To drum up interest about the new department, Selfridges could also host an in-store VIP party for fashion bloggers, journalists and industry influencers. With models taking to a catwalk wearing the limited edition Barbie collection; experts hosting make-up demonstrations; designers sharing fashion tips; and a special guest from Mattel to share Barbie’s story, there’s lots of content there raise awareness.

Anyone who’s anyone had a Barbie when they were growing up. She’s a global brand and there’s so much scope to establish an integrated marketing, PR and social media campaign to benefit both parties.

With the department here to stay, it doesn’t need to happen at once either – drip feeding the activity would ensure talk-ability about the campaign throughout the year.

Right, that’s Barbie sorted. How can I help you Ken?

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I can’t keep up with Paddy Power’s pants

14 Mar

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It seems that bookmaker Paddy Power has run out of its ‘luck of the Irish’ after its latest PR stunt insulted Cheltenham Festival organisers.

What is this offending article? A 60-ft pair of pants. Yes, you heard me -pants.

Paddy commissioned a giant airship to float above the race track – to give punters some of the best seats in the house (albeit in the air.) But it’s not about their customers at all; it’s just a brand attack on a prestigious event.

Thankfully, it didn’t last long. Cheltenham organisers liaised with the Civil Aviation Authority and requested Paddy to take his pants down – despite the light aircraft being tethered to a private garden.

A spokesperson for Paddy Power maintained that the stunt didnt infringe on people’s enjoyment of the races and made clear that the pants would fly again.

I can’t fault Paddy for its winning formula for demanding media attention, but this latest move just reeks of desperation. I don’t believe a brand like this has to ‘do’ cheap – it’s much smarter than that.

So, pants on, belt up and do things properly next time. Agree?

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