Yesterday Free Costa Coffee, Today Free Skechers Trainers – Why are Brands Adopting These Types of PR Campaigns?

Today Skechers teamed up with Translink in Belfast City Centre, to offer Translink customers the chance to ‘Step Up’ and get a free pair of Skechers. The initiative took place in Donegall Place, at 8am and worked on a first come first served basis. Those who had a valid travel ticket were offered the chance to queue up and do Steps Ups for 60 seconds, to get a free pair of trainers. In total there was 100 pairs of trainers (up to the value of £60) up for grabs and I was one of the lucky few to get a pair.

I personally heard about the campaign as a Paid Ad on Belfast Live, which in itself shows the power of Paid Facebook Advertising, for informing the general public especially young people. Had this been in a newspaper, would I have knew anything about it? Probably not. I’m by no means saying In Print Media is dead but this campaign shows the instant nature of Social Media, this was posted around 20 mins before the event started and I arrived around 8:30 and ended up being number 95/100 in the queue.

This comes just after yesterday, I was able to get a free coffee from a Costa Coffee machine, which I found out about on Twitter also. So why do brands give away free products? Well it’s all about creating a buzz isn’t it and making people aware of the brand.

People were stopping in the street to see what all the fuss was about, people were videoing the challenge and putting it on their social media. The people at the Skechers were telling us to use the Hashtag #SkechersXTranslink on our social media to post about it. Yesterday #CostaCoffee was trending on Twitter and people were made aware that they don’t have to be close to a Costa store to still be able to get their caffeine fix.

It’s a similar scenario to the ever important question of ‘Why do brands gift free product to influencers in return for posts’? Well here’s the answer: To create a buzz, to get people talking about the brand and make people want to buy into it. Here we have a very similar idea but instead relying on real life people and a mixture of word of mouth as well as social media. What did everyone do after they got their free trainers? They went back to their offices and told everyone how great it was and showed of their new kicks. Or they went on to social media and told everyone there how happy they were with their new trainers. Similarly with the Costa Coffee Campaign.

Also campaigns like this don’t actually cost the brand anything apart from complimentary product. Skechers only actually gave away 100 pairs of trainers but around 100 people were also given 30% off vouchers to go and purchase a pair in the store (which I saw many people do.) The fact is these people using the 30% off probably had no intention of leaving the house that morning and buying a pair of Skechers but they were so caught up in the buzz that they did. (But this is something I’m going to talk about in detail in another post)

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