Tag Archives: tactic

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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PR: a step in the right direction

27 Aug

It’s amazing how many ideas you can come up with for brands that you don’t work for and today was no exception. In fact I was most productive during my lunch break, dividing a mini comms plan for new footwear company She’s So Shoes.

I was asked to pull together a quick press release to promote the new online retailer, which specialises in petite feet (that’s a UK size 4 and under if you’re wondering), to sell-in to the consumer and local press. But my mind is trained to think big. Or, in other words, think fee. And in this case: shoes.

Here are my three top-line ideas for this SME to walk towards an award-winning campaign:

1. Make the story personal
Research shows that more than a quarter of females in the UK have small feet (me included) – so I’d make the story personal by commissioning research to find the top 10 regions with the smallest feet, with a sample size of 2,000 for credibility. I’d then transform this data into an infographic to bring the topic to life before selling-in to fashion, lifestyle magazines and bloggers and national papers. The content can also be regionalised to the towns referenced in the study for extra impact and packaged as part of a radio day.

To go the extra mile, costs permitting, this PR story could also grab people’s attention by sending shoe samples to journalists and other fashion influencers – ideally those with small feet so they make use of the product. A single celebrity tweet can generate hundreds of re-tweets from fans who’ll drive traffic back to the brand’s website.

2. A picture’s worth a 1,000 words
It’s similar to what Carnaby Street did recently, but I’ve never been a fan of reinventing the wheel. So I’d compile a feature, working with the British Footwear Association, to put together a ‘who’s who’ of small feet. A blend of people from the past and present, famous and the unknown to place in the women’s national lifestyle supplements. Accompany with a photocall to bring the feature to life.

3. Pop up catwalk
PRs will want to position this company against other leading brands and what better way to show that these shoes can trample the rest by hosting a pop up catwalk in the capital?

With promotional models and members of the public, who can pick a pair of shoes to model, they can strut their stuff in an area that’s bound to attract attention. Think Millennium Bridge for photo purposes.

I’d recommend that a prize draw runs alongside the event and everyone that registers receives e-updates to get exclusive access to discounts to sustain campaign momentum.

These are three quick ideas that can help a brand to make an impact and get its ‘story’ started. A full campaign will require solid tactics to develop She’s So Shoes’ community and keep customers engaged with questions, offers and fashion ideas – driven by social media.

What would you do differently? Are you in need of some Prime Time PR ideas to get your brainstorm started?

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