Tag Archives: office

Halloween 2014 is sponsored by…

21 Oct

20140430-231008.jpgIn a dark room in a chilling office, set among a black backdrop of skyscrapers gracing the city’s skyline, shone a single glimmer of light. John stayed silent as he moved the cursor around his overworked computer screen.

The window had been left open to curb the stench of late-night pizza. The draft surrounded John and he systematically shivered. Pressing print, he moved slowly to collect his paperwork – marking the end of a 12-hour working day. As John turned his chair a glass smashed on the floor.

‘That’s strange,’ thought John. ‘I’ve not used a glass today.’

A rush of adrenaline shot through his veins, followed by a sense of calm. He even had time to momentarily wonder if they were his last thoughts. It felt like a lifetime, but in reality the person, or thing, who’d smashed the glass had acted quickly. As he hit the thick wooden floors, he turned ever so slightly to see who had attacked him. But, the remained silent.

With no time to feel scared he didn’t even try. Instead he opted to give his body in to the pain and then… nothing.

Got your attention? Don’t worry, John’s Halloween pitch made it to the client. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many brands making the most of this American holiday as I have this this year. And poor PRs like John are risking their lives by working overtime to deliver standout campaigns.

Maybe it’s because it falls on a weekend, and entertainment and lifestyle companies want to use this as an opportunity to boost sales and strengthen its position for Christmas.

Whatever the reason, it’s working. I’ve seen some cracking campaigns and here’s my top five:

Waterstones’ blogger mystery
No, it’s not locking in more tourists and keeping them there overnight to turn them into social media sensations. Waterstones is launching an online murder mystery with five bloggers who will communicate clues for fans, via their blogs and Twitter (where was my invite guys?), to work out ‘whodunit’. Those who crack the case will find themselves Β£50 richer (vouchers, darling).

Nice use of social and great blogger engagement, coupled with subtle branding, means that Waterstones is getting down from the shelf and making itself the go-to destination for books. Tick!

Walking Dead staggers to PR success
To celebrate the launch of the fifth series of the Walking Dead, Now TV made former MIC star Millie Mackintosh into a zombie to support its online campaign. In addition to this, it created a buzz on social media by sending personalised popcorn holders with ‘bloodstained’ snacks inside which was sent to celebrities and journalists.

To give customers a chance to join in the fun, it’s also using Twitter to give wary special edition Walking Dead Now TV equipment, zombie makeup and the exclusive popcorn holder. The competition hashtag is hardly memorable – #TWDNOWTV – but in two days it’s generated over 150 re-tweets and is steadily seeing its follower count rise.

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Spooky Speaker app shouts out
To promote its Halloween costume range, superpower supermarket Sainsbury’s has launched a voice app to inspire children to ‘transform’ into their scary characters using its voice distortion functions. The voices – such as Frankenstein, Witches, Vampires and Skeletons – match the costume designs available in store and online.

It’s a good attempt, reminding parents and children that Sainsbury’s is their one-stop shop for Halloween goodies, but can the interactive app outdo Asda’s inflatable wings which are being supported with TV advertising? Time will tell.

Chupa Chups’ chomping campaign
It’s great that brands are starting to scratch beneath the surface to see the value of Instagram – and Chupa Chups is no exception. It’s using this social network to create an online game, encouraging users to free a trapped lolly before it gets a licking. Age is certainly no barrier here. With contemporary references to current culture, the youth brand has made this Halloween-themed relevant to all groups.

Do you dare trust the National Trust?
Not strictly Halloween themed, but the National Trust has extended its successful ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4‘ campaign by creating a direct mail around number 40: night walks. This glow in the dark pack targets existing members and encourages people to essentially see more than they bargain for by trudging down a natural trail at night.

This stunt might come with a parental advisory warning (i.e. kids – please don’t walk alone), but not only has the National Trust found a novel way to reach out to an engaged audience raising brand awareness, but it’s hit gold with timing this during half term. Expect to see families up and town the country on night walks next weekend.

With just over a week to go we’re bound to see more stunts slip out of the woodwork. But, whether they’re bold enough to make the top five is yet to be seen.

What do you think? Are brands going for ghoul this Halloween?

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Would you Google women’s rights? You will now

22 Oct

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The last few posts I’ve written have covered fun and quirky PR campaigns. From One Direction launching its own day to Aflac letting a live mascot ride the New York subway, these brands have generated talkability. But this stunt, by Ogilvy & Mather for UN Women in Dubai, tackles an important global issue in an effective and sensitive way.

Taking over one of the world’s most popular search engines, Ogilvy ensured that every time someone used Google last month that they were given suggestions relating to attitudes to women – such as ‘women need to be…controlled‘ and ‘women need to be…put in their place‘.

The agency produced a compelling story to attract interest in the campaign but they didn’t have to think for too long. The suggested search terms are all real examples of what people have used Google for. It’s surprising, shocking and disappointing. In a world where I thought my challenge was being mixed race, it’s been highlighted that I’m getting ahead of myself. It’s being a woman that I have to worry about first.

I can only imagine that when the brief came in to the advertising agency that there were a few overwhelmed executives in the office. This is no mean feat on any budget. Forget the opportunities to see, website traffic and return on investment, UN Women wants to generate behavioural change. But by rooting the campaign within one of the world’s most popular websites (pipped to the post by Yahoo in the US this week) and using striking photography, Ogilvy has successfully made people stop and think.

It’a taken a little while for the news to spead – the Huffington Post has only picked it today – but the campaign is continuing the conversation on Twitter.

It’ll be interesting to see if this replicated by the UN across the world on International Women’s Day (8 March 2014). They’d be missing a trick if the opportunity wasn’t seized to make the world listen to its sound argument.

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It’s been a bad week for tweets

8 Apr

Remember that silly tweet you posted? It was so unlike you. That ‘blame it on the heat of the moment’ tweet? It’s going to get you in trouble. Why? Because it’s been a bad week for tweets and it’s only going to get worse:

First, Paris Brown, a 17-year old Youth Police Commissioner for Kent, is getting slammed for tweets she posted three years ago (and deleted this week) that celebrate drink, drugs and rock and roll – all illegal at her age. But, like many before her, she’s standing her ground and refusing to leave her Β£15,000 role which sees her bridge the gap between young people and the police.

Paris’ former Twitter profile – @vilulabelle – played home to a range of ill-fitting updates for someone of her position, which causes me to wonder if she’s on the right career path. That’s if the police is still home to institutional ‘isms’? But that’s another matter.

The moral of this story is, Twitter doesn’t define your past, but if your digital footprint isn’t clean, it might impact your future.

I’ve said it before – we need to place more emphasis on online security and etiquette. If we can hire people to tidy away our social media profiles and passwords when we pass away, why aren’t we teaching young people to clear up their act now?

We could start with the hundreds of people who are celebrating the poor death of the UK’s first female Prime Minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher. So, much so, Lord Alan Sugar has come out of his office to dub them ‘scum’.

After passing away yesterday morning from a stroke, it prompted lots of people to ‘have their say’ including one Oddbins Crouch End employee.

Someone did enough damage in 140-characters to get themselves suspended for encouraging consumers to celebrate the news with money off champagne. Not out of the ordinary for a wine shop, but enough to cause offence.

Now deleted, Oddbins’ management apologised for its poor taste and timing, and has speedily announced its got a disciplinary meeting date in the diary, with the person in question, to have words.

The moral of this story is to pull scheduled tweets during big breaking news stories and get approval on all updates plugging the gap.

So, be careful what you say. A little birdie might just show you for what you really are

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