Tag Archives: Jamaica

Coca-Cola: Call me anything, just not ‘gay’

29 Jan


Coca-Cola or Coca-Cock up? It’s hard to tell when this global brand keeps making marketing mistakes.

After asking fans to share a personalised coke, Coca-Cola’s sub brand – Vitamin Water – fell foul of calling one unlucky US customer a ‘retard’. And now, according to BBC Trending, the South African coke microsite has banned people from calling their can of coke ‘Gay’.

‘Computer error’ I hear you ask? Well, technical glitches don’t tend to read:

Oops. Let’s pretend you didn’t just type that. Please try another name.

The brand has since apologised and resolved the issue by clarifying which names can be used on its social media led channel by listing them on the site. But, if Coca-Cola thinks it can move on swiftly it’s highly mistaken.

With the 2014 Winter Games around the corner – featuring Jamaica (probably the most exciting thing about the event) – rightly or wrongly this has definitely become a gay rights issue.

Although the Games wouldn’t happen without its sponsors, it’s down to all marketeers, regardless of what country they’re based in, to communicate with one another to ensure they have an integrated approach. Remember that word? In this industry it doesn’t just look pretty on paper, it means something.

Sure, some might agree that Sochi shouldn’t be punished for South Africa’s mistakes but the truth is a quick phone call could have ensured the brand isn’t tarnished in every time zone. With Russia attracting attention for the wrong reasons since it passed legislation banning propaganda of ‘non traditional sexual relations among minors’, it’s important that businesses know which side of the fence they’re sitting on. Otherwise you’ll have international media, bloggers and entire communities hating on you, including Gay activist John Aravosis.

It’s time for marketeers to take responsibility for their actions because, with this company in particular, ‘sorry’ is wearing thin. If you’re going to put consumers in charge, then you have to be prepared for the consequences.

If in doubt, leave it out! What do you think?


Jamaica’s bobsleigh team in the (cool) runnings to get to the Games

20 Jan


Jamaica‘s motto is ‘out of many, one people‘ and it’s never rang truer than this week. The lush Caribbean island has qualified for the two-man bobsleigh event at next month’s Sochi Winter Olympics.

That’s right – Cool Runnings is becoming a reality (again). But one thing almost stood in Winston Watts and Marvin Dixon’s way – money. The funding was so tight they had to dip into their own pockets and even watched the final qualifying round from home with bated breath to see it they’d made it through to the next round.

But, once again, Twitter has proved itself as the key driver for crowd-sourcing success. @JamaicaOlympics backed its athletes by drawing attention to a unique crowd-funding initiative on the micro-blogging site moments after the pair qualified. And, although each tweet didn’t generate mass re-tweets or favourites, they’re being seen by the right people.

Most of those people used internet currency sensation Dogecoin to generate the much-needed cash – and in doing so it’s boosted the value of the crypto currency. So I predict we’ll be hearing more about it, and it’s rivals, in the coming months.

The great news is that tonight it was revealed that, thanks to a blend of individual and corporate doners, the team raised $25,000.

This flurry of national PR has meant that Watts and Dixon have dominated news articles as well as the sports pages – including The Guardian, Metro and the New York Times to name a few. And hopefully it’ll encourage the world to find the remaining $15,000 to get Jamaica to the Games.

The team’s fundraising success is testament to @JamaicaOlympics upping its game, while the sporting world was asking questions about the island’s novelty team. It’s gone from tweeting once a day to every hour; re-tweeting key stakeholders; and increasing its level of call to actions. Accompanied by a thriving website, team blog and Facebook page – Jamaica’s got the full social media package.


A right royal balls-up!

24 Aug

How I’d love to be a fly on the wall inside Clarence House press office dealing with Prince Harry’s headache which the tabloids have had their fun with this week. (Personally, I’ve discovered that the ‘crown jewels’ plastered across a double page spread is enough to put me off my breakfast.)

It was all going so well for our ‘Prince next door’. Taking ownership of representing the Queen in Jamaica, Belize and the Bahamas, as part of the Commonwealth Jubilee celebrations; taking us through the A-Z of Olympic sports from opening to closing ceremony; and stripping and getting close to / protecting the modesty of Las Vegas girls. What on earth happened? Did his security get sloppy or did he drunkenly trust that his new friends were innocently taking some album snaps to remember him by?

The answers to this we’ll probably never know. We do know that 43% of PRs believe that the pictures have negatively impacted upon Prince Harry’s reputation (PRCA.) But, what I’m more interested in is if anyone is even surprised we’re reading about this.

Two recent positive public appearances don’t right his foolish wrongs of the past: cannabis, comic race rows and dressing up as a Nazi to name a few. The two-thirds of respondents who said that this debacle won’t harm the wider Royal Family’s reputation are right. This situation just reinforces the idea that the Prince is someone who can’t, or won’t, take his privileged position seriously. Ok – no one asks to be born a royal. Nobody asks to be put into any situation; it’s a card you’re dealt with and you simply have to embrace it.

There’s just two ways the public are viewing these photos now:

Those who find naked jokes funny – “That Prince Harry’s all right isn’t he?”


Those who don’t find naked jokes funny – “Can’t he grow up? That’s not how you attract a respectable lady like Kate Middleton.”

Surely this is what it’s all about? Since the wedding to end all Royal weddings last April, surely he’s under pressure to settle down and keep up appearances like his brother. But, instead of playing ball he’s doing something else with them!

There’s only two ways for his PR aides to play this gaff out: say nothing or say everything. An American chat show (insert Oprah, Ellen, David Letterman or other favourite host here) where he comes clean by playing on the audiences’ emotions could work. But, I’ve got a feeling they won’t take my advice.

The Sun bares all

In other new this week, News International is on the brink of another law suit after asking a 21-year-old intern Sophie Henderson to pose with Picture Editor Harry Miller to replicate those ‘naked’ pictures on its front yesterday.

The newspaper has had to issue a statement that the pair were happy to strip, highlighting that it’s just a bit of ‘harmless fun’.

Whatever you label it, the least the Sun can do now is offer poor old Sophie a permanent job!


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