Tag Archives: TOWIE

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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When is a prize not a prize?

26 Aug

What encourages you to enter a competition?

For me, it’s a simple entry process and a prize that’s worth winning. I don’t make a living out of entering competitions, I just have the attitude ‘you’ve got to be in it to win it.’

So, when I picked up new! magazine a couple of weeks ago and saw that former TOWIE star and columnist Amy Childs was giving away some of her perfume to readers with the best answers to: ‘what’s your favourite summer scent?’ – it was a no-brainer.

I casually emailed Amy to tell her that the smell of cut grass always reminds me of summer. Corny I know. But, a week later the news editor emailed to tell me I’d been chosen as one of the winners.

When my package finally arrived from the publication I opened it up to find a sample size vial of Amy’s new Jigsaw scent. I had mis-read the email response where the editor had cleverly told me: ‘thank you for entering Amy’s perfume sample competition’. Note – only after I’d entered was I made aware just a sample was at stake.

What’s frustrating is that the magazine thought they could give away a prize that was the equivalent to a complimentary sample from a department store perfume counter. Most consumer magazines won’t contemplate a competition or giveaway with a prize worth less than £500. So, what changed?

Is Amy’s PR to blame for pulling a stunt like this? Perhaps they failed
to supply enough prizes – but that would be unheard of. I can’t think of a case when PRs don’t have access to endless supplies of whatever they’re promoting. The more they supply to journalists and bloggers, the more chance they have of getting coverage that will inspire consumers to buy.

Failing to partner with the magazine to deliver a worthwhile prize can do more harm than good. The focus turns to the brand and the reputation is damaged no matter what the product is like.

I’ll calm down soon. But, for now I’m taking it to the blog. Have you had an experience like this?

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