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The top five charity hashtag trends you love to hate

8 Oct

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I’m going to let you into a secret. I wasn’t brave enough to take part in #NoMakeUpSelfie, I was nominated for the #IceBucketChallenge twice and I didn’t dunk myself in cold water and although I’ve laughed at CLIC Sargent’s #JokeAppeal campaign, I’ve not donated.

So, there you have it. I’m a bad person.

But, while I’ve not successfully completed the call-to-actions, I do think their social media-driven campaigns are brilliant at raising awareness of very important causes. Transforming the way young people engage with the third sector, these hashtag trends are snowballing and I just can’t keep up.

As a result, I’ve become fed up of my Twitter, Facebook and Instagram timelines constantly getting clogged up with pictures and videos that I feel obliged to like. Because, let’s face it, once you’ve congratulated one person on throwing water on themselves, you really have to do it for everyone. So, people like me, who were once in awe of these great PR and marketing stunts, are now just ‘meh’.

But, if the BBC can be impartial then Prime Time can at least be kind enough to write about them. Which is why, after reading about new ways charities are piggybacking off hashtag explosions, I’m going to rank my top five social media charity phenomenons:

#WakeUpCall

Established by Unicef, in aid of its Syria Emergency Fund, the #WakeUpCall campaign involves celebrities posting photos of themselves… you guessed it… having just woken up.

Kick-started by the charity’s ambassador Jemima Khan, Strictly’s Claudia Winkleman and QI’s Stephen Fry have also got involved to encourage people to open their eyes to the unstable situation in the Middle East affecting young children. And, with more than 3,000 tweets containing the all-important hashtag in the last 12 hours, it’s likely that this initiative will raise a lot of money.

A gallery on the Telegraph online doesn’t hurt either.

Supermodel Naomi Campbell wakes up like this for Unicef#FaceUp

Developed by Plan UK, Face Up is an app that aims to raise awareness of female genital mutilation, sexual violence and child marriage. Once you’ve downloaded the app onto your smart phone you can upload an image which will be imprinted with the words ‘I’m putting girl rights where they can’t be ignored’ and share it in the app’s photo album.

Compared to Unicef’s efforts, this isn’t creating as much of a buzz online yet; tweets are currently in the hundreds – rather than the thousands. But, with PR coverage on The Huffington Post and The Daily Mail online, thanks to support from Game of Thrones stars Natalie Dormer and Lena Headey, it may not be far behind.

Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer promotes women's rights

#LastSelfie

WWF Denmark and Turkey embraced Snapchat earlier this year and made the most of its self-destruct feature to explain the rate that endangered animals are disappearing.

From tigers and gorillas to pandas and orangutans,  the charity used the hashtag #LastSelfie to encourage people to share the image in order to ‘save’ the species. Persuasive, clever and easy to do, this worked well because the aim was to raise awareness rather than source donations.

Once people had bought into to the severity of the situation, a new call-to-action followed. By focusing on one objective at the time, WWF created an incredibly strong campaign.WWF's #LastSelfie used Snapchat to raise awareness

#FirstWorldProblems

If you’ve never used this hashtag before then I’d love to live your life. #FirstWorldProblems is a generic hashtag used by people when venting online about insignificant annoyances.

For example, I recently almost slipped on a rogue squashed tomato in the supermarket and if I’d known the couscous was down a different aisle I could have avoided the whole hullabaloo.

So, when Water for Life borrowed the phrase – which was used over 106,000 times in the last month alone – and turned it on its head for its emotive campaign, it grabbed people’s attention.

The only issue is that when you Google search the term, the first mention of the charity is on the fourth page and it’s not its official website. This emphasises the importance of ensuring all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed when linking up your website to generate top SEO rankings.

Water for Life adopted the #FirstWorldProblems hashtag to make a point

#Batkid

I’m a little late to the party on this as it’s a couple of years old now. But, thanks to Miles Scott, a five-year old leukemia survivor, his Make a Wish Foundation dream to become a superhero for a day went viral.

The charity transformed part of San-Fran into Gotham to recreate Batman’s city and kept people up to date via its website and a behind the scenes video ,which was picked up by Twitter users across the world. The hashtags #Batkid and #SFBatkid were used in more than 110 countries reaching 777m people on a cold November day in 2012. Not even I can argue with these figures.

Make a Wish launched #BatKid

Reading through my top five, I can see that there was definitely something special about the slightly older social media stunts employed by charities.

Perhaps I believe they have more charm because I think the brands would’ve shocked themselves at their own success, because they were taking a risk and exploring unknown online territories. Either way, the hashtag trends have exploded so quickly that as long as people get behind them, they’ll continue taking over timelines and securing national headlines for the foreseeable future.

The charities were shocked at their own success, because they were taking a risk and exploring unknown online territories.

Don’t get me wrong, I think social media opens up the floor to make charity PR a level playing field, especially for rarer causes or organisations with tighter budgets. I just don’t believe that if a trend launches in one country for a specific cause, that a different charity across the pond can adopt it as its own. Surely, the cause and challenge should translate wherever it’s used across the world?

Hashtag highjacking, particularly by the big boys, is not big or clever, and it’s certainly a box you don’t want me to open. Utilising the #TubeStrikes is one thing; stealing an entire campaign is another. Know who I’m talking about yet?

What do you think? Did your favourite hashtag trend make the list?

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The Prince’s Trust gets swept away with video campaign

29 Sep

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Today marks the launch of a new campaign at Prince’s Trust HQ. We’re celebrating everything Enterprise, as we look to encourage young adults to set up their own business. Dull, boring and disengaging? Wrong.

Working with creative agency Nonsense, and funded by RBS , we’ve created three spoof infomercials bringing to life a series of terrible business ideas. You know, the ones that wouldn’t make it onto the brainstorm flip chart – despite the mantra ‘no idea is a bad idea‘. And, it works. Take a look for yourself.

A toothbrush, hairbrush, toilet brush and broom all in one, there’s more to this video than slapstick comedy. Behind the scenes, the PR, marketing and digital teams have been working closely (even crossing over at times) to ensure our ‘outside our comfort zone’ multi-media content is working as hard as possible to reach the right people: 18-30 year olds. Here’s how:

Digital
The Brush it All video celebrates the start of a three-week digital campaign – our biggest push ever – and to make this possible we’ve strengthened our existing business content to sit alongside the videos. From Enterprise programme enquiry forms to business plan templates, we’ve made the collateral easier to find and use thanks to our new landing page.

PR
Making the most of our campaign news hook, the PR team has also created case studies of young people who’ve previously completed The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme and gone on to business success. To be featured on the website and sold-in to national, regional and local press, these stories will bring to life what we we’re trying to achieve and tick the box for peer to peer marketing.

We’ll also be sharing the stories of the Enterprise ‘heroes’ on the other side of the coin – The Prince’s Trust business mentors who provide two year’s support to every young person who seeks to develop their business idea- to maximise coverage opportunities.

Celebrity
This isn’t a category that I usually highlight when reviewing campaigns – especially when there’s still a debate as to whether it’s stats or celebs that people respond to more. But, with a host of celebrity ambassadors supporting The Prince’s Trust, the team has leveraged business tips from self-made figures to inspire young people. Think Kelly Hoppen , Jamal Edwards, Levi Roots and Jamie Oliver. As well as being rolled out online, this content will also generate consumer coverage.

Social Media
We’ll also be engaging with the celebrities on our social media channels. But, it’s not just a case of us, or them, pushing the video out with a campaign hashtag (although, not to leave any stone un-turned we’ve got one of those as well: #MyBigIdea), we’re using YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram Pinterest and Google+ to share exclusive ‘behind the scenes’ content and connect with followers by feeding into business-related conversations.

So, with all of this, a dash of digital advertising, e-marketing, and internal comms, we’ve come up with a recipe for success. What do you think? Does Brush it All inspire you to start your own business?

Drop me a comment with your thoughts and continue to check YouTube for the other videos in the series over the coming weeks. They’re awesome.

Brush it All

The Prince’s Trust presents Brush it All

Burberry’s perfume campaign hits all the right notes

2 Sep

Just weeks after Z-lister Tara Reid launched her Shark scent – inspired by the ‘made for TV’ movie Sharkando 2 – Burberry has put her in her place by releasing My Burberry.

A new fragrance inspired by the fashion brand’s iconic trench coat, the PR project brings together the perfect notes to create a seductive campaign experience – and not just because Cara Delevingne and Kate Moss are involved.

Getting personal
The concept of personalised products isn’t new by any means – Coca-Cola and Cadbury started that game a long time ago – but the approach continues to generate success because we’re suckers for bespoke merchandise. Over the last few years we’ve created a culture whereby we feel a) slightly miffed if our corner shop doesn’t stock our double-barrelled name (please don’t say it’s just me) and b) guilty or awkward for drinking out of ‘someone else’s’ bottle.

But, to make up for its copycat approach, Burberry is offering its customers a touch of class by carving their initials into selected bottles for free. Meaning, within an instant, chief executive and creative officer Christopher Bailey has transformed his product into a ‘must have’ keepsake – just 16 weeks before Christmas.

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Getting social
But, here’s the exciting part. For those who aren’t planning to purchase, Burberry is still giving people a chance to engage with the campaign. It’s encouraging consumers to submit their details via the website, so they can receive information on where in London a video featuring their monogrammed bottle will be shown. Users can also interact with Burberry via Google, 4OD, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.

Getting people in store
Burberry is also ensuring everyone who signs up receives directions to their closest Burberry store. So, it’s literally putting its brand on the map.

Essentially – its personal experience, coupled with subtle nudges, will not only help Burberry increase sales but, more importantly, create brand champions. And it’ll work because no two My Burberry experiences will be the same – creating unique content.

With perfumer Francis Kurkdjian already dubbing the perfume as the “…perfect accessory for a Burberry fan”, it’s great to know that the design empire puts as much effort into its campaign as it does for its products.

What do you think? Are personalised products here to stay?

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