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Alternative advent calendars give consumers food for thought

1 Dec

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I’d like to introduce you to someone – December. That’s right, get the advent calendar out and enjoy your first square of fancy cheap chocolate.

This year, more brands are attempting to give consumers food for thought by not only engaging with them in a creative way on the 1st December, but also every day in the run up to Christmas. Genius.

Here are some of the best:

The Big Issue
Street magazine The Big Issue has launched an online advent calendar, whereby users can log onto the website to read an inspirational case study of a vendor each day. Not only does this help people to emotionally connect with the brand, but also the individuals behind The Big Issue – making this a powerful relationship-building exercise between new and existing customers.

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The Economist
To ensure you’re not winding down at work too soon, The Economist has collated a range of maps, charts and data from the site over the last year. To an outsider, this looks like a novel idea. To a digital marketer, it’s simply a quick win to boost web traffic before the end of the year.

But, don’t worry. Its designers have created a brand new interactive infographic for Christmas Day. It’ll be interesting to see how many tune in for that!

BBC Sport
In a similar fashion, the BBC is giving sports fans a 30-second video each day showcasing a ‘shot of the day‘. It kicks off with a Wimbledon recap of Australia’s Nick Kyrgios teaching Rafael Nadal a lesson in the fourth-round matchearlier this year.

A very nice way to leverage fun existing content, while giving people a reason to keep coming back.

Battersea Cats & Dogs Home
The famous animal rescue centre has partnered with The Metro this Christmas to help their pets find a new home. Revealing a ‘pet for life‘ behind every window, prospective owners can search to see if their future companion is waiting for them.

Time will tell how effective the PR and marketing stunt is. Gizmo, the six-year old Staffy, is still there and it’s almost 10.30pm! But, it’s a good way to raise awareness and personalise the process for people searching for a new pooch over the festive season.

What calendar stands out for you? Do contemporary case studies, charts, clips and cats rock your boat, or are you looking for something more traditional?

Brucie bonus: Masters of Malt
Not strictly on par with the other brands, but I cannot deny how much PR this drinks company has inadvertently enjoyed over the last week since TV legend Phillip Schofield expressed his Iove for the Drinks of the Dram whiskey advent calendar.

Schofe received a backlash from the Meaningful Chocolate Company, a Fairtrade company which has launched a calendar that sticks with the original Christmas story. It’s a good spot of PR for the business, but the share of voice in a Daily Mail mention for the brand at hand is through the roof.

That’s because criticism always leads to headlines, and that’s why I advise smart and subtle approaches to getting your brand’s message heard. Social media silence is best.

The real advent calendar

Burberry’s perfume campaign hits all the right notes

2 Sep

Just weeks after Z-lister Tara Reid launched her Shark scent – inspired by the ‘made for TV’ movie Sharkando 2 – Burberry has put her in her place by releasing My Burberry.

A new fragrance inspired by the fashion brand’s iconic trench coat, the PR project brings together the perfect notes to create a seductive campaign experience – and not just because Cara Delevingne and Kate Moss are involved.

Getting personal
The concept of personalised products isn’t new by any means – Coca-Cola and Cadbury started that game a long time ago – but the approach continues to generate success because we’re suckers for bespoke merchandise. Over the last few years we’ve created a culture whereby we feel a) slightly miffed if our corner shop doesn’t stock our double-barrelled name (please don’t say it’s just me) and b) guilty or awkward for drinking out of ‘someone else’s’ bottle.

But, to make up for its copycat approach, Burberry is offering its customers a touch of class by carving their initials into selected bottles for free. Meaning, within an instant, chief executive and creative officer Christopher Bailey has transformed his product into a ‘must have’ keepsake – just 16 weeks before Christmas.

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Getting social
But, here’s the exciting part. For those who aren’t planning to purchase, Burberry is still giving people a chance to engage with the campaign. It’s encouraging consumers to submit their details via the website, so they can receive information on where in London a video featuring their monogrammed bottle will be shown. Users can also interact with Burberry via Google, 4OD, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.

Getting people in store
Burberry is also ensuring everyone who signs up receives directions to their closest Burberry store. So, it’s literally putting its brand on the map.

Essentially – its personal experience, coupled with subtle nudges, will not only help Burberry increase sales but, more importantly, create brand champions. And it’ll work because no two My Burberry experiences will be the same – creating unique content.

With perfumer Francis Kurkdjian already dubbing the perfume as the “…perfect accessory for a Burberry fan”, it’s great to know that the design empire puts as much effort into its campaign as it does for its products.

What do you think? Are personalised products here to stay?

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