Tag Archives: residents

London council sends bogus Christmas card to residents

18 Dec

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With a week before Christmas, everyone’s in full swing planning the perfect day. That’s right, it’s the season of giving. But maybe we’ve all missed the point. Maybe we’re not meant to be giving to one another, maybe we’re meant to be giving to the council!

That’s right. Hammersmith and Fulham Council has reminded local residents not to get behind on their rent by sending a ‘bah humbug’ Christmas card which reads: Don’t overindulge this Christmas. Pay your rent!

There’s only two ways you can interpret this card – you can agree or disagree. I’ll give you 10 points for guessing what I think of it. Here’s a clue: I take offence.

If 46 per cent of residents are in arrears then I don’t believe this tactic is going to make much difference. Rather than make the residents feel guilty, it’ll just have a negative impact on the council. It’s bad PR through and through and leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths. Essentially, if the council thought they were going to get their money before the big day, then they’ve made a big mistake.

More than causing uproar – many labelling the act ‘disgusting’ – it’s even prompted some to request updates via the Freedom of Information Act to find out how the cards were distributed. According to What Do They Know?, an 81-year old woman, who’s apparently never been late with the rent, was left ‘extremely distressed’ upon receiving it. And who can blame her? It’s hardly subtle.

The council may well think it’s appropriate to thank the BBC on Twitter for helping them to generate coverage with the scheme, but I think they’re underestimating just how much this could backfire.

I’m not saying that being late with the rent is acceptable – when your payment is due you’re obliged to pay up. But, when you compare it to dropping a threatening card through someone’s door seven days before Christmas, you’ve got to question who’s really in the wrong.

What do you think – have you had fake Christmas cards through the door?

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Will Mayfair make it back on the Monopoly board?

15 Apr

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They say that you’ve got to evolve to keep up with the times and Hasbro’s classic board game, Monopoly, is doing just that to stay current.

Earlier this year, the iron was kicked out of the game and replaced with a cat after Facebook fans voted it in with almost a third of the vote.

And back in 2011, the board game was updated with all new properties to reflect the most expensive areas in London. As a result, purple Mayfair was booted out and Kensington set up shop. After all, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were due to move into the neighbourhood.

But today Mayfair-based hotel Flemings decided to snub the royal residents by launching a campaign to get ‘Mayfair back in the game’.

The launch was marked by a symbolic boot outside the hotel as four Uncle Pennybags (aka Mr Monopoly) encouraged residents and game fanatics to sign a petition to get Mayfair back on the board.

This is a great PR stunt not only for the hotel, but also for the surrounding local businesses backing the campaign. On the one hand, it’s a shame that the news hook is almost two years out of date. But the fact that no one else has challenged Monopoly in all this time makes it right that Flemings should pass ‘go’ and collect some PR points for such a fun campaign.

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This PR stunt is a little abstract

29 Jan

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Do you ever wonder how often the art world crosses over into PR? Let me explain:

An artist from Milton Keynes, Tomas Georgeson, has hidden the majority of his life savings in his local gallery. Why? It’s an artistic statement to boost numbers and interest.

Through an advert placed in his local paper, local residents are being encouraged to visit their local hotspot to see if they can find it. Whoever does will be able to bank it. No terms and conditions just a potential ‘life- changing’ sum.

There’s no doubt about it – this is a great story. But is it genuine or do I smell a PR rat? One thing’s for sure, if Georgeson ever wanted to jump careers, PR could be for him. But, he’d have to learn a few lessons first to ensure his campaigns don’t fall flat in the long-run:

Think long-term
For someone who’s evidently passionate about bringing artistic culture back to Milton Keynes and reinstating the integrity of the gallery, who is Georgeson doing this for?

I’m not sure how many people are going to return after the ‘New Year egg hunt’ is over. Yes, the visitor numbers are likely to increase over the coming weeks, but what next? Arguably, advertising could have done the same.

Although Georgeson’s gone one better and created a buzz through a ‘PR stunt’, how is he going to fund the ongoing campaign and keep giving people reasons to come back?

You don’t get many surprises at my age
It would have been risky, but Georgeson could have kept his cool and played the game a little longer – and not gone to the press before the stunt had even launched. Call me cynical, but does a rare Robin Hood in the 21st century really make such a public announcement about their endeavours?

An element of mystery would have given the ‘campaign’ a better grounding and positioned Georgeson as more of a hero if he’d waited. Think Banksy.

I’ll give him this though – the timing is spot on. Every day, we’re being told how households are still feeling the pinch and money is a language everybody speaks.

Be realistic
Georgeson says: “It almost doesn’t really matter what happens, it’s the fact that it’s there.”

Serious? We live in a ‘give to get’ society. PRs especially. If you’re not hungry for the PR value or questioning the return of investment, you’re not going to excel. Georgeson should have thought more about his messaging – didn’t he want to bring the gallery to the centre of the community?

Keep your clients informed
According to the gallery’s press office, who have not been told of the cheque’s location, the team have carefully searched for it but cannot find any trace.

A careful ploy to encourage more visitors who believe they still have everything to play for I wonder?

This part of the story just makes us wonder how hard they were looking.

This will be a campaign to watch – especially when it comes to how much the artist and gallery benefit.

What are your thoughts?

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