Tag Archives: tour

Let’s be Frank about Austravel’s PR stunt…

3 May

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If you walked down to Liverpool Street station this week, you were in for a PR surprise. But, you had to look carefully. If you blinked, you’d miss it (probably).

Frank PR teamed up with Austravel, a tour operator, to promote its holiday destinations by creating a hole in the ground to show consumers what they’re missing.

Unfortunately, it just didn’t have the ‘wow’ factor.

Here’s three ways it could’ve made the stunt better:

1. Take us away
Problem: The hole in the ground showed ‘real time’ footage of Bondi Beach.
Solution: The stunt would’ve been stronger if Londoners who looked into the hole were linked up to see Australians ‘show us around’ the area. We can all dream about a beach but it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going. People engage people, so connect the dots and strengthen the stunt in both countries.

2. Tidy up Twitter
Problem: Austravel’s Twitter account wasn’t ready for the campaign. It had less than 150 followers on launch day, which hasn’t steadily increased during the stunt period.
Solution: Tease the stunt to ‘lock people in’ to the hashtag – #LondonDownUnder – and engage with stakeholders to help them promote the campaign, to encourage it to snowball to success. Social media marketing is vital but it’s brands that have to put the legwork in – not the other way round.

3. Speak up!
Problem: There was a ‘builder’ on site to manage the stunt but when I walked past on a couple of occasions nothing was said (obviously people should have lots to say when I walk past, but you get what I mean).
Solution: You can’t rely on a piece of paper with a brand’s Twitter handle to drive the campaign forward – have a conversation. This could’ve seen more people stop by to see what all the fuss was about.

So, there you have it. Austravel may have wanted a ‘soft launch’ and Frank PR may say that its client didn’t have a decent budget. I say that the brand now has an uphill struggle to contend with.

Where does it go from here? Is this campaign quickly going down under?

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Is London Duck Tours headed for a watery grave?

29 Sep

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It’s been a good week for ducks. Or rather, it had been before London Duck Tours’ bus-boat caught on fire in the Thames this afternoon, leaving passengers to jump overboard.

Now I’ve seen those bus-boats poodling around the capital and I can’t say I’d jump at the chance to take a ride. While the brand might call this experience ‘fun, quirky and different’, I think it’s more ‘rusty, risky and darn scary’.

I know what you’re thinking and you’re right, it doesn’t matter what I have to say. But the truth is, London Duck Tours hasn’t said anything. No updates have been posted on Twitter, Facebook or the website. So by doing nothing, the business has exposed itself as unprofessional, unreliable and untrustworthy. Three traits nobody wants to mix with.

After a similar company had its water licence revoked last month, following a sinking in Liverpool, I’m starting to think that all the PR in the world couldn’t keep this brand’s reputation afloat.

However, if I was to pushed to come up with a strategy, this is what I’d do:

1. It’s too late to apologise
But London Duck Tours has got to do it anyway. This situation cannot get any better unless the business admits fault and takes full responsibility for the accident. This apology, directed at the brave passengers, needs to be sent to all the journalists and bloggers who have covered the story – along with details of who they can speak to for more information. Trust me, they’ll expect it.

2. The show’s over
I’d recommend cancelling all tours for the next few weeks. Certainly before customers cancel on the duck. Rather than attract attention by continuing business, and people waiting in the wings to shout about your next mistake, I’d use this time to rebuild trust with the public.

3. Buy new equipment
This is the time that City Cruises and Thames Clippers will be showing off their attributes, such as safety, so come back to your customers with a clear message: new equipment. Ideally London Duck Tours should also work with a VIP and take them out for a spin to attract interest.

Arranging a photo-call up and down the river, so everyone can see the duck is back, would be good but, better still, the team could brand the boat with a hashtag to track what people have to say about the re-launch.

After that, you’re on your own! What would you suggest for this sitting duck?

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Jay Z’s former friend places job advert

25 Jul

I’m inspired to write this blog because the person behind this story is helping me tick off a bucket list dream later in the year. He’s the keeper of the holy grail and he’s bringing it to the O2 in October: Jay-Z … or rather Jay Z as he now prefers.

Did you spot the difference? One of the most common punctuation marks – the hyphen – is out of a job after 19 years of service for Shawn Carter. So on Monday it posted an advert on classifieds site Craigslist to find some work. Take a look here.

The self confessed ‘hardworking straight black line’ was sacked last week following a two-year complicated war as Jay Z tried to shake off the pesky punctuation mark.

There’s not much I can say. The advert is already being touted as the best ever on Craigslist. It’s timely, clever, witty and potentially provides a brand or product with an opportunity to respond.

The PR and marketing stunt has picked up a lot of coverage on The Metro, The Drum and Hypebot.com. But who will own up as the brains behind the idea and what brand will move in to pick up the baton?

Rightmove gained a lot of coverage and kudos by moving into the BBC’s Apprentice territory and offering up a meeting with contestant Neil Clough last week to chat about his ‘failed’ business plan.

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