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Secret Cinema drove at 88mph… and stalled

24 Jul

Thousands of angry Back to the Future fans took to social media to express their frustration at the late cancellation of Secret Cinema‘s launch event this evening – and who can blame them?

It’s a serious PR fail which was always going to end badly. Yes, the organisers have said sorry and used social media to disseminate the message to attendees quickly. But, unlike Sainsbury’s, Coca-Cola and Costco (brands which made epic mistakes but used social media to their advantage to make amends), Secret Cinema just let the cat drop out of the bag.

Here’s how:

What’s your problem?
Secret Cinema apologised, but I think it should’ve given a little more information away as to why so many people’s nights were ruined.

*Technical difficulties?
*Health and safety issues?
*Missing DeLorean?

My point is if you’re not transparent about why you’re making these decisions, then people will just start speculating. And that speculation will be plastered across Twitter and Facebook. Oh, and in this case, the national news.

There’s no nice way to say this, but…
Secret Cinema’s news broke on social media and, after just a few moments, went viral. Although, I’m still questioning why 26 people opted to ‘like’ the Facebook post.

What I also don’t understand is why the organisers ran the risk of involving its 201,000 fans in an issue that only affected a small percentage?

Ok, I may be contradicting my point about transparency. But, in the first instance, if it affected me (and they’ve got a week to sort themselves out before I get down there) I would’ve appreciated a personalised e-newsletter or text message breaking the news, rather than running the risk of finding out through my friends.

Ok, if negative press is going to get out, a brand can do little to stop it. But, this could’ve ring-fenced the problem for a short while – if Secret Cinema had the resources to pop down contact details encouraging people to call them with questions (rather than posting on social media.)

Actions speak louder than words
One thing’s for sure, Secret Cinema cannot afford for this problem to continue looming this time tomorrow. With a second round of ticket holders already panicking that they might not even make it to Hill Valley, my recommendation would be for organisers to shift from apologies to olive branches and start making amends sooner rather than later.

I was always expecting big things, but I’m expecting professionalism from Secret Cinema more than ever now.

Watch this space.

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Magnum (P.I) fans hunt for Holland dress

29 Mar

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I can’t remember the last time I had a Magnum. Lent aside, it’s a premium product for premium people. I’m more of a Cornetto girl.

But, to celebrate Magnum’s 25th birthday, Unilever – the company behind the Ambu-lunch PR stunt – has teamed up with fashion designer Henry Holland to create a limited edition ice-cream themed party dress.

Holland came up with a 60s-inspired patterned shift dress. But, don’t worry if you think it looks like a glamourous safari outfit. I thought the same at first glance. It’s meant to resemble the ‘iconic crack of Magnum chocolate, revealing the rich ice-cream beneath’ – not a giraffe.

The best thing about this £5,000 fashion collection is that Magnum’s made one of them entirely out of chocolate, handcrafted by three experts, truly making it good enough to eat.

As part of the promotion, Holland is giving away 25 dresses to Magnum (P.I) fans who crack the code by successfully following a set of clues across its social media sites.

It’s a great effective ‘quick win’ promo mechanic for the brand:

1. Celeb-studded launch event
Kimberley Garner, Vanessa White and Gizzi Erskine were just some of the famous faces at Magnum’s party, held at Home House.

Celebs guarantee coverage which is why the event secured ‘Daily Mail Showbiz‘ style coverage (crem de la crem).

2. Exclusive Giveaway
Who doesn’t love a freebie? Magnum’s decision to encourage fans to ‘crack’ the code to win one of the dresses is a no brainer and will see people flocking to follow, like and pin its profiles at the same time.

3. Advertising
It’s underpinned the campaign with TV ads, which is perfect timing as the sun pops its head out of the clouds for the first time in months. So, even if you don’t know about Holland’s design then you should know Magnum has something to celebrate.

The only thing I’d ‘bolt on’ to the campaign is bloggers.

Magnum could’ve recruited fashion bloggers, or even a top magazine, to collaborate with Holland during the creative process to secure additional coverage.

Alternatively, it could’ve asked them to design a dress that’ll represent Magnum in 25 years time and time capsule that bad boy. Then you’ve got a PR story and a 50th birthday present.

Happy birthday Magnum… and you’re welcome.

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Cineworld indulges in childish insults

26 Apr

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Cinema brands get my goat. Why? Because they clearly don’t understand social media, but continue to put people in charge that either say too little or far too much – to the point where they insult their customers.

A few months ago I blogged about Odeon, which failed to respond to a Facebook status complaining about ticket prices. Hours became days and days became an entire weekend where nothing was done, allowing the post to gain momentum through more than 170,000 ‘likes’.

Now it’s Cineworld’s turn to commit social media suicide, although this time the brazen brand has no remorse. The tweets that you’re about to see are still on the company’s Twitter page.

Let’s start this story with a quiz. If a customer complained about costs to you on a social network would you:

A) Apologise that they feel that way and use a pre-approved policy statement to explain why costs have risen before directing them to special offers that you’re currently running etc

B) Ignore the statement, after all you’ve got so many other tweets to respond to

C) Antagonise your customer and explode into a flurry of insults and childish backchat

I’m sure you can guess by now that Cineworld took option ‘C’. The backchat included:

Well you ‘say’ we’re definitely going bust in 1-5 years. If you’re psychic can you tell me the lottery numbers.

For someone that doesn’t like talking to us, you’re certainly persistent. Excuse me I have homework to do :]

And my personal favourite:

Fine OK we’re just evil millionaires who are trying to destroy cinema, you’ve blown it wide open. Enjoy Odeon :]

Shocked? I’m guessing (and hoping) that this approach has lost Cineworld more than one customer since its 42,000 followers witnessed the feud with customer Alan Bishop.

But, what’s more frustrating about this story is that The Drum questioned whether brands should be engaging with Twitter trolls.

Let’s be clear – Alan is not a Twitter troll. He had an opinion which the company failed to recognise. Instead it was belittled and mocked in the public domain which won’t do Cineworld any favours. Perhaps the big bosses need to remind the social media managers that they’re being paid to have some manners.

Am I overreacting? Or should brands be sticking up for themselves like Cineworld? Let me know!

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