Tag Archives: life

#StayAlive: life-saving technology

24 Jun

When it comes to PR, charities are pushing themselves harder than ever to get noticed – and it’s paying off.

From WaterAid’s social media waterfall to Macmillan’s tube strike tweet, charities aren’t just sticking to their marketing strategy, they’re also going after ‘quick wins’, which is putting pressure on press teams to generate more column inches.

Having said this, I was surprised to see that Grassroots, a Brighton-based suicide prevention charity, is launching a new app next month called #StayAlive.

The app, not to be confused with the British Heart Foundation’s Bee Gees‘ inspired Staying Alive campaign, will offer support to people who feel suicidal.

Up to 4,400 people in England end their own lives each year, and 10 times this number attempt suicide, so why am I so shocked?

It’s one thing for a charity to empower you to save a life – whether that’s through a quick dose of CPR, donation or volunteering opportunity – but it’s another story to encourage people to keep living. It’s brave and the reality is that it’s a partial solution to a growing problem.

How will the app provide support?
1) Using location data to identify local services
2) Encouraging users to upload positive images to remind them of happier times
3) Advising on what those thoughts might mean and how to overcome them

My issue is that the apps on my very old iPhone are split into various categories: social, news, entertainment, lifestyle, shopping and utilities. So, I’m not entirely sure where #StayAlive would sit on my desktop. And, if I did need to refer to it, how often I’d revisit. And, if I was experiencing mental health issues, would I seek comfort in an app?

But, for a digital generation that’s logged on 24/7, there is some logic in the fact that our phones – a simple photo or a quick call – could mean the difference between life and death.

But, the one thing Grassroots lacks is maximising its social media presence. It took me a while to find the charity on Twitter – not ideal when the app name is actually a hashtag!

However, the charity’s already got the backing from regional newspaper The Argus and works closely with key stakeholders. But, I predict that it’ll get a lot of questions from the media on launch day about its innovation. So, it’s a prime opportunity to boost followers and starting conversations by setting the agenda.

After all, how often does a regional charity get to do that? This is definitely a campaign to keep an eye on.
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Alton Towers attracts younger crowd with CBeebies Land

16 Oct

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CBeebies, the dedicated TV channel for under fives which is home to shows such as In the Night Garden and Charlie and Lola, may be losing viewers but that’s not enough to discourage Alton Towers from launching CBeebies Land.

Merlin Entertainment is planning on rebranding part of the park to bring the struggling CBeebies brand to life – through rides and live experiences. It will also give children the opportunity to meet their favourite characters. Think of it a bit like Disney World but without the excitement.

Although it’s not been disclosed if the BBC will financially benefit from the project, it’s great for brand awareness – with its core target market already allowed free access to the park. But I’m yet to see how it will increase viewers. Surely young people’s emotional attachment to the characters stems from them already being fans of the programme. Not the other way round. And most kids don’t have influence over the remote control anyway.

After the BBC was urged to do more for young people, this just comes across as a money-making stunt that ticks boxes with bosses a the same time.

The news has generated a lot of national and regional coverage but I think this is as good as it gets. In my opinion there’s nothing more to say (unless someone gets hurt at CBeebies Land.) The attraction’s got a limited audience because few will pay Alton Towers’ prices for it. And if they do it won’t have a significant impact the channel’s growth.

It’s simply a ‘nice to have’ rather than a well thought out step to strategic success. What do you think?

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Clear your diaries for 1D Day!

3 Oct

October is here. As soon as we know it, it’ll be Halloween, Bonfire Night, 1D Day and Christmas.

Yes you read correctly. Global super-band One Direction announced yesterday that the 23rd November will be officially known as 1D Day, as Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik and Liam Payne look to ‘give back’ to their loyal fans. Forget the sentiment, it’s PR gold.

To celebrate 1D Day, the boys will give fans 7-hours of non stop ‘behind the scenes’ access to their lives in an streamed webinar, that I guess will be 99% focused on the band’s latest album, Midnight Memories, which is released two days later. And that’s no accident.

It’s a great move by Syco, which gives fans a chance to submit ideas and contribute to the day’s events – whilst making them feel part of an exclusive community (along with the world and his teenage daughter.)

One Direction’s YouTube announcement has already generated more than 999,000 views in 24 hours, so I predict that this online streaming session will break records and / or break the entire internet!

But, for the band, it’s just another stepping stone as they look to take over the world and cash in on marketing deals whilst their stock is high. And it’s working; the announcement has since been covered by the Mirror, the Metro, the BBC and Perez Hilton to name a few.

So be warned PRs. Avoid selling-in your stories on 1D Day. Journalists won’t appreciate taking their attention off the world’s biggest boy band baring all to just discuss a boring press release.

Will you be tuning in for 1D Day?

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