Tag Archives: key message

Christmas campaign round-up 2013

13 Dec

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With Christmas just around the corner, PRs are working at top speed to make the papers with their ‘quick and dirty’ festive stunts.

And because Christmas is the season of giving, I’m doing the digging to present you with the industry’s top campaigns this month. I’m actually giving you two gifts because I’ve just noticed a perfect pun in that previous sentence, but who’s counting?

The survey one
Costa Coffee has banned Sir Cliff Richard’s festive favourite – Mistletoe and Wine – after research revealed that it was most likely to make its customers exit the store.

But Costa has gone above and beyond to make this headline stand out by donating £10,000 to charity Youth Music, to encourage young people to record their own versions of Christmas classics.

The clever one
Retailer GAME has made up for its reduced presence on the high street in recent years by prioritising PR – and it’s paid off.

Hiring nine-year old Joe Leslie this month, as a ‘non executive director’, is a genius way to help clueless parents know their Call of Duty from their Grand Theft Auto.

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The charitable one
St Mungo’s, a charity to help homeless people, has created limited edition Christmas wrapping paper, detailing the scientific viruses that they might face this winter.

For a charity that seeks to tackle homelessness, it’s successfully delivered a fresh message with an innovative angle.

The mad one
To complement O2’s Be More Dog campaign, the network provider is planning a party for the dogs from Battersea Dogs Home – and it’s getting its customers involved.

The more times you tweet using the campaign hashtag – #tweetattreat – the better the party will be. Now you wouldn’t want to let the dogs down would you?

The relatable one
Of all the retailers, I didn’t expect Harvey Nichols to launch a ‘canned laughter’ campaign (you don’t laugh at it, more smirk and think ‘I should get that for someone’ and then never do because it’s fluff).

The brand’s launched a range of gifts for women to give to their loved ones as a token to simply say ‘I spent the money on myself’. From a Christmas lunch in a tin (which has been done to death) to a sink plug, it’s been cited as ‘original and perfectly timed’ by Golden Goose PR. I say, they haven’t read this blog yet.

So, there you go – the top five Christmas campaigns of 2013 to date. If yours didn’t make the list just tweet me your favourites at @dmhwhite. I may even shuffle the leaderboard around!

Merry Christmas Prime Timers and a Happy New Year!

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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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Earned media gone bad

9 Jan

After reading an interesting blog this week by Deborah Bates from Red Rocket Media on The Wall about earned media I was grateful for the clear definition as to what it is. I was even more grateful that it fits in tightly to my job description. Earned media is just a new buzz word for PR – third party endorsements. For a moment I thought my client knew more about the industry than I did!

But, what this explanation of earned media doesn’t do is identify that it can go wrong (and often does) for brands – through negative comments.

No one has time to read the full list of online brand blunders to date, but I’ve had to blog about the stupidity of Odeon, American Apparel and Helen Flanagan just in the last few months. So how are we meant to prevent earned media gone bad?

1) Respond to all enquiries
This will help stop challenges before they get off the ground. Even if you can’t help, try and signpost the user to the right direction. You can’t fault someone for being polite can you?

2) Don’t delay
If you take too long to respond to an enquiry and it blows up into a social media storm, people will be pull you up on the time it takes you to respond. Too long and you’re perceived as not caring / understanding that there’s a problem.

At the beginning of campaigns, why not troubleshoot some potential issues with mock responses and solutions and file away just in case you need them?

3) See it from their POV
A customer has just had a negative experience. Have some empathy – we’ve all been there. Acknowledge the issue by giving them a shoulder to cry on, offer a solution and ask others to come forward that might be feeling the same. Brands often sort out issues one-on-one but they could earn brownie points by helping a few others at the same time.

4) Be consistent
A colleague at William Murray raised a brilliant point today: a key message posted online today might not be relevant or in line with your strategy tomorrow. Make sure you don’t stray too far from your company’s core values to demonstrate consistency to fans and followers. Any curve balls will be thrown back, hard.

5) Be honest
If you’re being measured against earned media be honest with your client. Great – you’ve secured 10 examples of positive comments. But, if you don’t flag the 100 neutral-negative ones, then the client will be saying something to you and it won’t be pretty.

It doesn’t mean a bad job has been done – it just reiterates that nobody has a grip on cyber space. Put the figures in perspective.

What are your views on earned media? How is it working for you and your clients?

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