Tag Archives: stories

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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April Fools: a dish best served with PR

1 Apr

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Pinch, punch first of the month and no returns white rabbit. Gotcha!

Now that’s over with it’s time to remember another special day in the PR calendar: April Fools.

So, let’s get straight to it. Here’s a nod to some top brave brands that have mixed the right ingredients (a pinch of believability, an ounce of doubt and a sprinkle of brashness all blended and baked for 20min on ‘creativity’) to make some clever, and suspect, PR-driven April Fools’ Day stories.

1. Virgin’s glass-bottomed jet
Branson announced today that his empire – Virgin – has developed the technology to introduce the world’s first glass-bottomed plane (pictured above.) One word. Genius.

2. SPAM launches Easter egg
This year the obvious news hook for April Fools is Easter, but this campaign just reeks of chopped up ham. Apparently SPAM has extended its range with an Easter egg including mini ham treats covered in chocolate – an unusual and delightful pairing (pictured below.) Available in supermarkets today, that’s the giveaway.

3. Mumsnet launches vajazzling course
Online parenting community Mumsnet has launched a vajazzling course for members including a keynote talk from former TOWIE star Amy Childs. Why? Because, as any new mum knows, appearance is the first luxury to be sacrificed when caring for a baby. In my mind the Mumsnet members are vicious roller derby players with babes in arms. They’re definitely not to be messed with. Vajazzle, really?

4. Twitter tax
Twitter has announced that it’ll begin charging tweeters for using vowels – although foreign language options will remain unaffected. For $5 a month, users can update to its premium service where all letters are available. A good try because it does make you look twice.

5. Cats crackdown on yobs in Croydon
There’s times when I have to represent Croydon and this is it. A faux feline story reports that cats are being trained and given top technology to patrol antisocial areas before reporting back to the authorities and the cats’ HQ: the Mobile Evening Observation Wing (or Meow for short.)

Spotted any more? Drop me a line and I’ll add it to the hall of fame.

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Is Dulux’s campaign a bit dry?

7 Feb

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It’s safe to say that PRs are a tough bunch that can promote anything: people, places, things. Essentially, we’ll try and get coverage for any noun – and that now includes colours.

Dulux’s campaign, featuring Girls Aloud star Nicola Roberts promoting Indigo Night, its shade of year, launched a couple of weeks ago and has so far secured some great coverage, including: The Sun, Daily Mail and Grazia Daily.

You can argue that the campaign’s got credibility: a group of colour and trend experts got together and predicted that this rich indigo colour would take the year by storm and appear on every wall in the country (sort of).

But, in spite of securing plenty of coverage across national and consumer press, it’s always productive to highlight areas of improvement. After all, there’s always next year!

Rather than a series of ‘boring’ analysts that no journalist felt was worth naming, Dulux should have considered a consumer poll. Yes – the papers are saturated with research stories but that can only mean one thing. Journalists enjoy writing about them and we still enjoying reading them.

This data – focused on consumers’ decorating habits, how they choose colours and their preference of hues for different rooms etc – would’ve not only provided Dulux with a series of news hooks to drip feed throughout the year, but also invited the need for experts to comment on the findings (roll out interior designers and fashionistas etc).

The campaign could’ve also avoided being a ‘one-hit’ wonder by showcasing four colours to take consumers through the year – backed by four celebrities. Sensual Indigo Night to take us through winter, Duck Egg Blue for spring… You see where I’m going through this. Why stop at one spike of coverage?

Lastly, a PR stunt involving Nicola (chosen for her elegance, strength and quiet confidence) could’ve tied into the campaign giving Dulux a ‘big reveal’ story by launching at high-profile events, such as the Ideal Home Show or Grand Designs Live later in the year.

Now, I’ve had my 2p worth. I just need to wait for Dulux’s call because obviously they’ll want to work with me next time.

Have I missed anything? What are your ideas?

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