Tag Archives: sponsorship

Volvic goes back to its roots with Tough Mudder deal

23 Apr

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I have a confession to make. Seven months ago I completed the incredible Tough Mudder challenge, and sometimes I wear my victory t-shirt to the gym to subtly show other people on the treadmill how brilliant I am. By the way, it feels good.

If you don’t know what Tough Mudder is, I’ll pop it into a nutshell for you: it’s 12-miles of electrifying pain across muddy terrain that requires top teamwork to overcome physical and mental challenges for a great cause – Help for Heroes.

Last year, I entered a team of chefs on behalf of my client, Meadowland, and ended up escorting them (slowly, slowly catch a monkey) down the track. I hadn’t trained, I was tired and almost gave up after nine miles. But my team, and every other competitor, kept me motivated. And that’s the beauty of Tough Mudder. It’s a challenging movement with camaraderie at the heart of every step – which is a marketing dream for the right brand.

So, I’m impressed that Volvic has recognised the event’s reach by signing a three-year sponsorship deal.

More than having the foresight to partner with this international event, it’s also creating a digital campaign to bring it to life. From Facebook ‘fan’ galleries to YouTube content, it seeks to unite runners online as well as on the circuit.

Executed in the right way, Volvic has a great opportunity to generate a good return on its £550,000 deal, by:

* Raising brand awareness through Tough Mudder’s existing comms
* Generating effective content that can be leveraged across traditional and social media
* Getting its products into the hands of thousands of runners across a series of regional events year-on-year.

Let’s just hope, for everyone’s sake, there’s still a pint of Strongbow waiting for them at the end. It’d be a shame for this brand to step away just as it’s built up momentum. Water just won’t cut it when you’ve been electrocuted, frozen and thrown yourself off walls.

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Our survey says… more please!

7 Jan

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Welcome Prime Timers – to the first blog of the new year.

If you’re struggling with the thought of the five-day working week, then this blog probably won’t help. I’m going to get underneath the skin of a recent survey and debate the PR-Journalist-Consumer relationship. That’s right folks, we’re exploring a three-way relationship.

The Energy Saving Trust has commissioned a survey which reveals that more than half of consumers prefer to see advertising claims backed by facts and figures. A further 41% are more likely to believe ideas supported by a third party expert organisation.

‘This is interesting’ I hear you say. But you’ll be even more surprised when I say just 1% said celebrity endorsement would increase their product loyalty.

So, judging by this report, big brands such as Nike, Pepsi and L’Oreal should scrap Ashley Cole, Beyonce and Kirsten Dunst and re-invest their budget elsewhere, because apparently it doesn’t work!

PR
From a PR point of view, what avenue you go down to get coverage depends on who your target audience is. Top titles such as the Metro and the Daily Mail are packed with survey stories, but you can’t have a conversation with a lifestyle journalist without a celebrity partner as back up.

That’s because celebrities don’t just push product, they market an experience. Are the research respondents actually telling me that when they’re looking for trainers they’re turned on by Which? statistics rather than the thought of looking like a model?

Which sectors should prioritise stats?
1. Financial
2. Technology
3. Healthcare

Consumers
I’m not expecting consumers to believe everything celebrities say. We’re in the middle of a sponsorship era. Do well in youe field, you get offers. Lie, cheat or fail to perform and those offers are taken off the table. So, media savvy readers will know that celebs will agree with almost anything as long as it pays well. These endorsements are PR through and through.

In some cases, celebrities can’t even uphold an exclusive sponsorship deal. In the Evening Standard tonight I saw that in an interview with the Radio Times, actor Ben Miller has admitted to fancying Typhoo Tea opposed to PG tips. He’s rocked the boat and put his personal opinion above his cash cow.

Which sectors shouldn’t prioritise stats?
1. Fashion and beauty
2. Arts and culture
3. Media

Journalists
But, when it comes to securing coverage, it takes far longer to explain your headline stat and sample size, compared to uttering the words ‘Gwyneth Paltrow‘. And, more often than not, she adds more weight.

I’ve actually had a journalist put the phone down on me, not because he wasn’t interested in my pitch but because he simply didn’t believe the figures.

There’s a time and a place for numbers and percentages. When they’re unusual, fool-proof and complement the product or service, they sit well with all everyone involved. But, if in doubt, find someone who will communicate your messages without the hassle.

What do you prefer?

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lastminute.com is behind the times with copycat campaign

9 Nov

Competitions are PR gold because they drive engagement with your target market. I’ve launched a few of them in my micro career – from the Best British Roast Dinner to the Best Dressed Pub – and it’s safe to say there’s no campaign that won’t allow you to bring out consumers’ competitive streak.

But the one that the PR industry remembers – which broke all the rules, offered a top prize, won awards and international coverage – was Queensland’s 2009 ‘Best Job in the World‘. So, when I saw the lastminute.com was looking for a ‘spontaneity champion‘, to indulge in luxury mini breaks across the world and share their experiences with the brand, I was a little disappointed.

There’s no shame in being inspired by other campaigns, but if it doesn’t take it to another level then have you really done your job? (#JustSaying)

lastminute.com’s competition has already been talked about by almost every UK national newspaper, but to add some extra sparkle, I’d promote it in the following ways:

Pack a suitcase
Package the competition up as part of a wider feature with top tips for frequent travellers; travel blogger profiles; and ‘how to…’ articles on spending 24hours in the most popular cities. The content can be run as part of an advertorial within a magazine like Time Out or pitched into a range of websites.

Pin it to win it
lastminute.com is on the right track when it comes to social media, by encouraging the eventual champion to share their experiences, but it could take it one step further by utilising Pinterest.

This story is great, but there’s nothing worse than reading about a competition you didn’t win, so why not continue the celebrations by giving people a chance to win a trip to the destination on a picture they ‘re-pin’?

Talk to the experts
If you’re sending someone on a ‘trip of a lifetime’ every weekend for a year, they’re going to become experts in destination hotspots, hidden culture and emerging trends. So leverage their expertise by hosting a press event at the end the year for a campaign round-up. lastminute.com could go it alone, if they have the budget, or partner with a well-known travel conference and secure a speaking opportunity as part of a sponsorship package.

By inviting journalists and bloggers to hear the stories, and also do a ‘big reveal’ for next year’s campaign, they can keep the brand in the news.

So, there it is. Three ideas to better organise the campaign around the spontaneity champion. Are you up to the challenge?

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