Tag Archives: music

Usher confesses his love for Cheerios in new campaign

13 Nov

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There’s no denying that breakfast is big business. We’ve just seen fashion designer Anya Hindmarch give Kellogg’s Tony the Tiger a grrreat makeover and Shoreditch is awaiting the launch of its first Cereal Killer CafΓ© next month.

So, it’s no surprise that celebrities are chewing their right arms off to be associated with the most important meal of the day – becoming part of everyone’s morning routine in the process. And, the king of R&B, Usher, is no exception.

He’s partnered with Cheerios and Walmart in the US to give away his latest track – Cluelesswith every box of Honey Nut Cheerios.

Just add milk
On the outside looking in, this brand partnership doesn’t seem to make any sense. 36-year old Usher, who has come a long way from his You Make Me Wanna days, doesn’t fit Cheerios’ target market – a cereal championed by a bee called Buzz.

But, once you’ve swallowed this fact and digested the promotional video that accompanies the PR and marketing stunt (don’t knock it before you’ve tried it – it’s already secured 820,000+ views), it becomes the entire reason why Usher has taken this on.

With super fans downloading One Direction and Justin Bieber tracks left, right and centre, how does an ‘experienced’ singer steal back sales and kudos? By ending up in the hands of millions of young digital eagles across the country, giving them a unique code to download a fresh track of course!

No added sugar
Essentially, it’s a win-win situation. Usher gets the downloads he needs ahead of an upcoming album launch and Cheerios gets to negotiate premium shelf space with Walmart, while producing some crunchy content for its communications channels.

But, how could this partnership develop in the long-term?

Free gift inside
Some ways that Cheerios could maximise its partnership with Usher include subtle branding in his next video; utilising his 9m+ followers by hosting a Twitter takeover and running a competition to meet the star himself; or creating a series of educational videos on the importance of breakfast with Usher’s children, linking in with Cheerios’ Family Breakfast Project.

So, it’s a good start, but there’s lots more Cheerios could be doing to transform this fleeting stunt into a considered campaign.

What do you think?

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Guardians of the Galaxy rewind time by breathing new life into cassettes

26 Oct

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Don’t be fooled. Actors don’t make good movies great. Nor do directors, producers or special effects teams. It’s all in the music. Don’t believe me? This interesting BBC4 documentary series proves it.

And, one film that’s made the most of its soundtrack is this year’s Marvel sensation: Guardians of the Galaxy.

Featuring 10cc’s I’m Not in Love, Blue Swede’s Hooked on a Feeling and Jackson 5’s I Want You Back, these songs enhance viewers’ overall experience just as much as the star-studded cast. So, it’s not surprising that Disney‘s keen to give a nod to the score by releasing it on cassette.

Yes, you heard me. Head into the attic and dust off your Walkman. Dumped yours years ago? (No one would blame you. After all, they’re 37 years old.) Instead you can look one up on eBay from as little as Β£10.

Disney’s PR and marketing stunt pays homage to the film’s storyline, where lead superhero Peter Quill (aka Star-Lord) enjoys listening to a classic mixtape created by his mother.

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Set to be released next month, this is the mega brand’s first compilation tape since 2003. To create a buzz, Disney’s announced that the cassette will be a limited edition, sold exclusively through independent music retailers and will be sold with a free digital download. So, in my (PRime Time) eyes, it’s done everything right… apart from one thing.

It’s risked compromising its success by waiting until after the mixtape’s vinyl, CD and digital releases. Despite the pre-launch announcement securing write-ups in Shortlist, The Guardian and Billboard, the scope for dominating publicity has been missed.

From planting a giant cassette near an iconic landmark and organising pop-up Walkman audio booths in public areas to trailing competition clues across social media sites to raise awareness and creating an app that gives smartphone and tablet users the look, feel and sound of a cassette, the ideas list is endless. But, I can’t help thinking at that this stage – post soundtrack launch and pre DVD release – it carries the whiff of ‘afterthought’ – a fragrance that no brand wants to smell like.

Anyway that’s just my opinion. What do you think? Do I need to rewind?

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#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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