Tag Archives: royal

More brands suffer at the hands of social media

11 Sep

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First there were hurricanes, and shootings. Then there was horsemeat and a Royal baby. What have these events got in common? They’ve all prompted (foolish) companies to jump on the bandwagon to promote their brands. But, more often than not, the PR and marketing team’s rushed efforts lead to a grovelling apology after a consumer backlash.

Let me explain.

Today, the world remembers the innocent victims from the tragic 9/11 event in New York. And, like clockwork, brands have used the 12-year anniversary for self gain. Unfortunately, it’s all too transparent and US site Fast Company has created a round-up of the worst social media stunts. Take a look – it’s really interesting.

Telecommunications company AT&T shamelessly featured the new Blackberry in its commemorative corporate tweet – which went down like a lead balloon despite the brand realising its rookie mistake and deleting from its Twitter and Facebook accounts.

That’s not all.

Marriott Hotels – which has a unique connection with 9/11 in the sense that one of its branches sat at the foot of the Twin Towers and collapsed with it on the day – tweeted an image of a plate of pastries and a sign reading that it was giving them away between 8.45am and 9.15am. People lost their lives. So, needless to say that pastries aren’t really a consolation prize to shout about.

First of all, social media managers / interns / robots that are running the game must sense check with the wider marketing teams and get key messages signed off. That way if the update blows – you’re all idiots.

Secondly, an event like this shouldn’t even be viewed as a commercial opportunity. Yes, if done in the right way, it can curry favour with consumers. But, brands shouldn’t make light of 9/11 in anyway. Ok, a #neverforget hash tag can put your tweet in the centre of the online community, but images? Risky. What picture can possibly connect with thousands of people directly associated with the event, and the millions more who were touched by it. As we’ve seen, brands can be on top of the world one minute and at the bottom the next. And clicking delete doesn’t mean a thing once it’s been seen.

Brands must keep it simple. Nappy company Huggies is a good example of this by remembering the victims and the brave people who risked their lives to save others. But, even then, you’re left thinking ‘why are you getting involved?’

So, lastly, unless your brand has a direct association with the event in question and you have something that will add value to ‘the’ online conversation, say nothing at all.

Silence is golden in situations like this. Agree?

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Jelly Babies advert bombs before royal baby arrives

11 Jul

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“When’s Kate due?” my friend in Sydney keeps asking me. It must be soon judging by the number of campaigns that are already launching in readiness for the new Prince or Princess of Cambridge’s arrival.

First there was Roberts Bakery, and the UK’s most expensive loaf of bread priced at £30 loaf of pop, and now Bassetts Jelly Babies have taken out an advert in today’s Metro newspaper.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? It’s a very weak ad and looks rushed, especially when there’s so many puns the team could’ve played on – baby-to-baby. It leaves me questioning if marketing even got their PR team involved to help develop an idea that gives the brand a better ROI than just an eighth of a page. I mean, it’s not even obvious what these babies are doing. Are they saluting or meant to be the Queen’s soldiers or neither?

You should know by now that I’m not shy to throw in my 2p worth. Here it is:

If I was in that brainstorm I would’ve suggested waiting until the baby was born (risky I know because it’ll be a saturated market but this idea is so worth it) and creating a one-off series of life size jelly babies, weighing exactly the same as the new arrival – perhaps throw in a few defining features too. Keep one and arrange a photo-call with Wills and Kate look-a-likes, before sending the rest to the Royal Family to enjoy. One could also be given away in a national competition.

Now that wasn’t so hard, was it?

What’s your big PR idea to celebrate the new royal baby?

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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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