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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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Waitrose gets customers to ‘horse’ around

20 Jan

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Waitrose has been encouraging consumers to ‘horse around’ (been waiting for a good opportunity to write that) on its ‘Love Life‘ slide, which was installed at Westfield Stratford City shopping centre last weekend.

Named after the supermarket’s range of ‘good for you’ food, it offered people a fun alternative to walking down the escalators in East London.

At a time when the the UK’s obesity levels are bursting at the seams – currently one in four adults are classified as obese – it’s vital that well-known brands are seen to be doing their bit. Aside from the Government’s Public Health Responsibility Deal and latest Change4Life push, companies must help communicate that adopting a healthy lifestyle is vital to our survival.

OK. The mechanics of this PR stunt doesn’t jump out on paper but it’s a good alternative to get the message home (when accompanied by the fact that in January people are looking for a little ‘pick me up’.) Creative campaigns, to hammer home healthy eating, are key to stand out in the media and resonate with consumers. After all, no one enjoys being repeatedly told they need to move from their armchair and eat more carrots. You get my drift.

Up to 3,000 people were made aware of Waitrose’s healthy eating scheme and many more children will experience it now that plans have been made to relocate the slide to a playground in East London.

Seen other good examples of brands celebrating healthy eating recently?

Last year my client – Unilever Food Solutions – had a vibrant campaign idea to transform an ambulance into a unique ‘Ambu-lunch‘.

Why not leave a comment with others?

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