Can Christmas Ad Giants Team Up In the Name of Corporate Social Responsibility?

If you were watching prime time TV on Friday night (6 December) you might have noticed something a little bit different about the Ad Break during Gogglebox. This was thanks to a collaboration from Save the Children and MediaCom North.

The ad break started with a message from Save The Children ambassadors Myleene Klass and Dom Joly who are seen sitting in their finest Christmas Jumpers. This was then followed by special editions of some our favourite Christmas ads – the famous John Lewis Ad even got a Christmas Jumper Style Makeover with Edgar (The Dragon) appearing in his very own little Christmas jumper. Others involved included Duracell, M&S, Waitrose, Moonpig and Smyths Toys.

The ad break marked a refreshing move away from traditional commercialised Christmas ad’s towards an appeal for a good cause. It is expected that 5 million people will take part in the annual Christmas Jumper Day on this Friday – 13th December. Raising more than £4 million for Save the Children.

I personally think it’s great to see big retailers getting behind a charity campaign at this time of the year. I also think it’s great to see many competitors teaming up to all get behind the one campaign.

Often Christmas adverts get stuck in a rut of just trying to get us to buy their latest product or service, however cute and sentimental the message might be the retailer is ultimately still trying to make a pretty penny off the back of Christmas culture.

This ad campaign reminded me of the Iceland Ran Tang banned Tv advert from last year which shed light upon the palm oil crisis and how it was used to make many of the nations favourite products., a collaboration with Green peace, the ad really made me respect Iceland for supporting a cause rather than just sharing their products.

I really liked the Christmas Jumper Day Campaign this year and it makes me more likely to buy from a retailer when I know they support important causes. I feel we should be seeing more of these type of campaigns in the future.

The 9 Best Inclusive PR and Marketing Campaigns of 2019

Anyone who knows me and follows this blog will now probably no that one of the main things I talk about is – Inclusivity. It’s something I talk about a lot because it’s something I really care about and it’s something my research centres around. I’ve seen a few people starting to round up their favourite and most effective PR and Marketing Campaigns from 2019, so I thought I’d have a go myself at rounding up my Top 10 Inclusive PR and Marketing Campaigns of the year. In no particular order:Savage x Fenty – Fashion Show

Savage x Fenty Fashion Show

This was an easy one for me I automatically knew this would feature in my top, for me Savage X Fenty has been the stand out brand in 2019 for promoting inclusivity and diversity in the fashion industry. It came in at completely the correct time to juxtapose the mistakes made by Victoria Secret and gave fed up consumers a taste of what true inclusivity looks like. I really recommend everyone watches the show themselves. But to sum up the fashion show celebrated all body types, races, genders and disabilities. Some of my personal favourite moments included Laverne Cox’s (transgender icon) appearance and the model with the gold prosthetic leg absolutely working the runway. I have an entire blog post on the show you can check out for more.

Renault Clio – Thirty Years in The Making

If you haven’t seen this ad watch it. This is a pretty recent find but something I fell in love with the moment I saw it. A few friends and family members mentioned this ad to me and said I should check it out (I bore them talking about inclusivity constantly). The Renault Ad features a love story between a female same sex couple and the ups and downs of them hiding their relationship and ultimately ending up together in the end. The advert is so beautifully made and really does justice to females of the LGBTQ+ community.

Mattel – Brail Uno

This is something I’ve mentioned before too, so I’ll keep it short, but Mattel have been another stand out brand for me in 2019 – they have focused so much on previous criticisms of their products and worked to bring their brand up to speed with modern forward thinking consumers and that is something that should be commended. Their addition of a Brail version of their popular game Uno is a huge win for the brand and should definitely be celebrated on the list.

RAF – No Room For Cliches

This is another ad that I absolutely love, it breaks down every stereotype that has ever existed of women and shows them in the most amazing light. It also features people of colour as well which is a major plus for me too. This ad ticks several inclusivity boxes and is definitely something other brands should be looking to for inspiration

Benefit – Kate Grant Brand Ambassador

In 2019 Benefit Cosmetics, announced Northern Irish model Kate Grant as their new brand ambassador. Kate Grant is the first model with down syndrome to be used the brand and marks a huge step for representation of disabilities in the beauty industry. The photos of Kate Grant were shared all over the brand’s social media and were praised for the choice.

Simply Be – We Need New Icons

This is a campaign that I personally saw a lot on social media and that involved influencers and real people. Plus size fashion brand Simply Be teamed up with some curvy and body positive fashion influencers for this campaign which celebrated all shapes and sizes and overall body confidence. I personally loved the message of this campaign and thought it was great that the brand got influencers involved to spread the message.

Post Office – Journey to Pride

This campaign again tore on my heartstrings a little bit, the Post Office released a series of four videos on Youtube titled ‘Journey to Pride’ which charted a different one of their employees journey to accepting their sexuality. The videos have a really nostalgic feel and are beautiful to watch.

Bumble – Find Them on Bumble Bizz – London

This campaign which featured around London was the second version of Bumble’s ‘Find Them on Bumble’ Campaign which first started in New York. This Campaign celebrated the diversity of London, featuring all real people that you could find on Bumble Bizz.

Gillette – The Best Men Can Be

I absolutely loved this campaign from Gillette this year which came as a response to the Me Too Movement and challenged the ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ mentality. The advert empowers men to bring each other up rather than down and to challenge sexist/violent/hateful behaviour and not laugh it off.

Black Friday – Simply Discount Deals or a Clever Marketing Ploy?

Today I’m talking all things – Black Friday, you’ve probably heard of the event that’s being named ‘the shopping event of the year’. The American Tradition, of a discounted shopping day after Thanksgiving, gained popularity in the UK from 2013 onwards, with Asda taking part in 2013. Black Friday is a day of huge discounts by retailers – allowing savvy customers to get their Christmas shopping done with huge savings. Whilst Black Friday is only one day, many retailers have chosen to partake in ‘Black Week’ giving customers a full week to grab discounted merchandise and don’t fret if you miss out on that there’s always ‘Cyber Monday’ a discount day dedicated to online retailers, 3 days after Black Friday. Sounds like a lot? Right. Well today I’m taking a look at why retailers choose to provide these slashed price deals to their customers. As well as customers perceptions on Black Friday, is it too much? Are customers over whelmed by the amount of deals? Or do customers love these giant discounts?

I wanted to know people’s perceptions on Black Friday so I asked my Instagram followers a few questions on the mega discount day (200 people responded). Here’s the results: 71% of people said they did shop Black Friday deals proving the discount day is still a hit for consumer. But what about where people are shopping these deals, a massive 87% of people said they prefer to shop Online rather than an In-store. This fits with PWC’s recent report on Black Friday in the UK which stated; “In-store crowds and queues from the early years of Black Friday have disappeared from the UK, with transactions now predominantly online (77%).”

The most telling question for me was that 65% of people admitted they would buy things they wouldn’t usually be buying due to the fact they are cheaper on Black Friday. This is predominately the reason I think discount days like Black Friday are a huge marketing ploy. Having attended a student discount night earlier in the year it made me think about this. I witnessed two students buying matching designer suitcases because they were on offer. Would they have bought them if they weren’t discounted? My thinking is no, as a student myself I wouldn’t normally make such lavish purchases, however when discount and reductions are on – it seems to justify excessive spending.

With 65% of people admitting that they would buy things just because they are discounted what’s to stop retailers cashing in and providing more and more lucrative deals to attract customers. This was consistent with PWC’s report which stated; “A genuine, time-limited deal can make customers feel rewarded, and may persuade undecided shoppers to purchase while they can.”

Which’s recent report found that “95% of the Black Friday deal items investigated – which included popular tech, home and personal care products – were available for the same price or cheaper in the six months after.” Therefore customers were led to believe they are getting an amazing deal encouraging them to spend when often these deals aren’t genuine.

One thing I have personally found this year however is that the sheer amount of marketing material distributed by companies is overwhelming. My emails and app notifications have not stopped this week with each brand trying to one up each other on their deals. And it’s not even Friday yet! When participants in the survey were asked about this the jury was still out. 32% of people found the deals overwhelming, 20% reported receiving ‘a good amount’ whilst 35% of people thought ‘the more merrier’ in regards to the amount of information they wanted to receive. So overall 55% reacted positively to the marketing material they were receiving from companies. Showing that the marketing material retailers are putting out is still working in luring customers in to shop these deals.

Overall I think Black Friday is a big win for retailers it has been proven that customers will purchase things they usually wouldn’t or make a buying decision more quickly if an item is on sale. However often retailers aren’t losing out by discounting these items, as Which found these deals often aren’t genuine and are marketed to look like a massive saving when in fact they aren’t. I think it’s up to customers to be savvy in their Black Friday purchasing and consider whether they are really getting a huge saving.

Check out:

Which Report: https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/black-friday/article/black-friday-deals/black-friday-deals-how-to-check-if-a-black-friday-deal-is-real

Pwc Report: https://www.pwc.co.uk/industries/retail-consumer/insights/black-friday-cyber-monday.html

Manipulating the Media: Are the Tory Parties Digital Campaign Tactics Ethical?

As the General Election approaches, the Tory and Labour Parties are campaigning for the coveted position as Prime Minister. I don’t claim to be an expert in British Politics, but have been following some of the recent activity in the debates and on Twitter. And I have to say what have I seen is somewhat reminiscent of tactics I saw in the lead of to Trump’s Presidency. I mean we aren’t quite at a Cambridge Analytica level scandal just yet. But what I have seen so far is media manipulation tactics verging on fake news. Trying to trick the public over social media. So let’s go over what’s been happening:

Fact Check UK

During a TV Election Debate – The Conservative Press Office Twitter account which boasts 75,000 followers, changed it’s name to Fact Check UK before tweeting in support of Boris Johnson. The chief executive of the independent fact-checking charity Full Fact also condemned the Conservatives stating; “It was an attempt to mislead voters and I think it is inappropriate and misleading for a serious political party to behave that way,”

Twitter warned the Tories not to repeat the stunt, saying: “Any further attempts to mislead people by editing verified profile information – in a manner seen during the UK election debate – will result in decisive corrective action.”

Fake Labour Manifesto

In the second scandal of the week Labour published their Manifesto online, but it wasn’t without obstruction from the Conservatives who set up a fake website which was said to be containing the Manifesto. The Tory party paid Google to promote it’s website up the search rankings in order to mislead the general public. The website brings up a webpage which contains details of why Jeremy Corbyn won’t succeed in his plans for the UK.

Both these tactics are examples of Conservative Party Propaganda Techniques in the Digital Age. But are these underhand tactics ethical? In my opinion no, not all. I think we are seeing a change in UK Politics to become closer to our US Counterparts, and I think social media can be so deceiving. Whilst social media is a great tool for campaigning during elections and can be an amazing way for way for young people to engage with politics. However, the tactics employed by the Tory party have been employed to trick the public into voting a particular way.

What Changes is Instagram Making In Response to Mental Health Concerns for Young People?

I’ve heard a lot of rumblings this week about changes coming to Instagram, in a step to protect the mental health of the platforms users – especially young people, under 18. So what are these changes and are they a step in the right direction for this highly criticised social network?

Instagram Head Adam Mosseri recently stated in a blog post: “The tragic reality is that some young people are influenced in a negative way by what they see online, and as a result they might hurt themselves. This is a real risk,”

Banning AR Plastic Surgery Filters

Instagram has decided to ban AR Filters that replicate the appearance of having plastic surgery. If you aren’t sure, AR Filters are the face filters, you can add to your Instagram stories and August the company rolled out an update which allowed anyone to publish their own AR Filter on the app. However this meant these filters going unchecked by the app developers and filters like the one below being created. In a bid to peel back the over editing and perfect image on Instagram these filters will now be removed from the app in the near future. As you can see the filter could be seen to promote these unrealistic beauty standards and in turn make young people compare themselves to this and strive for an unachievable standard.

Expanding Ban on Images/Memes/ Drawings Depicting Self Harm

Previously in February, Instagram banned all graphic images of self-harm, such as cutting, and also said it would prevent non-graphic content, such as images of healed scars, from showing up in search, hashtags and the explore tab. This ban is a further extension on that banning drawings, cartoons or any form of art depicting the same thing.

Influencers Promoting Weight-loss Products

Reality TV Stars Katie Price, Lauren Goodger and Georgia Harrison have all recently had their Instagram posts removed for promoting ‘BoomBod’ – Weight Loss Drink and ‘Protein Revolution’ – Weight Loss Gummies. These posts were banned by the ASA and deemed ‘irresponsible’. So why is this problematic for ASA.

ASA CAP Code 15.8 States : “Marketers must not state or imply that a balanced or varied diet cannot provide appropriate quantities of nutrients in general. Individuals should not be encouraged to swap a healthy diet for supplementation…

The ad’s therefore break ASA guidelines, as they advertise that the supplement is a meal replacement and will make you lose weight.

In my opinion these changes are all a great step in the right direction for Instagram, more regulations should be put in place on social media to protect the mental health of our young people. Do I think its censorship? No I don’t because some of it is just blatant lies, the celebrities above advertising the dieting products are simply being paid to do it and haven’t probably even used the product. How is that any different than adults seeing fake news, not to mention that young peoples minds are much more impressionable. Well done Instagram, now let’s see more from Facebook please.

#WaPoDeathNotices – Where Do We Draw The Line Between Spin and Fake News?

If you haven’t been following the latest scandal in the Twitter-sphere I mean where have you been? But The Washington Post landed themselves in some hot water with the public over a headline that read ‘Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, austere religious scholar at helm of Islamic State, dies at 48.’ You can see the issue here, a slightly strange obituary for the leader of ISIS to described as an ‘austere religious scholar’. It didn’t take long for quick witted Tweeters to pick up on this and call out the newspaper, who proceeded to quickly changed their headline to a more appropriate alternative. However the incident promoted #WaPoDeathNotices to become trending on Twitter. Members of the public soon became spin doctors, creating their own versions of the blunder, for well known historical figures. A few of my favourites below:

You get the idea, have a look at the hashtag on Twitter for yourself, if you like dark humour and want a laugh.

But what’s the point here?

This is all just a great big glaringly obvious example of spin. Had you not known any prior information about the people mentioned in the tweet’s you might have simply read it on your newsfeed and believed it. Then you might pass that information onto to someone else, believing it to be from a reliable source.

Is this all sounding rather familiar, for me spin is an infant form of fake news, a stepping stone rather. I mean if you read some of the headlines on the Daily Mail they can present a drastically different version of events to an actual story, just for clickbait and views.

So where do we draw the line? Is spin ok, but fake news isn’t? Even if the a headline is spun to be misleading and someone doesn’t open the full article for clarity and is left with a false perception? My view is that journalists, political representatives and PRP’s should try and maintain their integrity by not writing spun headlines that could be misleading, as they should be aware that often in the age of social media a headline is all someone will read, while scrolling.

Are Influencer Collaborations Enough To Keep Consumers Craving Fast Fashion?

I recently watched new BBC series ‘Breaking Fashion’ the series is an exclusive look inside In The Style with it’s CEO Adam Frisbee. I have to stay when I first heard about the series I was really excited to watch it and see how things worked at the brand. In The Style is a brand a love and I really liked their collection with Lorna Luxe, so was happy to find out that one of the episodes was centred around this partnership.

Each episode was centred around a different project that the team were working on, 5 of the episodes looked at influencer collaborations and one at the team’s own brand. Why so much focus on influencers, rather than the brand itself you might ask? Well the brand is built around influencer collaborations and Adam himself states in the show that the brand sells much more units of influencer collections than of own brand. But influencers driving traffic to the website in turn, helps sell own brand too.

Adam makes some interesting comments in the documentary about criticisms of fast fashion. Stating that the brand does what it can to stop clothes from going to landfill and only produces the quantities it needs etc. However for me; fast fashion is more about changing the culture of trends. Things coming into fashion and out of fashion so quickly, leading to people throwing them away. Influencer culture is a big part of this as often once an influencer has been photographed in an outfit they won’t wear it again, promoting this throw away culture.

Whilst sustainable fashion as a cause is picking up traction in the media, it was clear to see from the documentary that we still have ways to come in beating fast fashion. The influencer collections proved to be extremely popular for the brand, often selling out very quickly. Influencers portray a luxury lifestyle on social media that consumers are eager to get a taste of and these collections are clearly no exception. Influencer marketing as a strategy is on the rise and is only set to get bigger in my opinion. What we need is more influencers promoting sustainable fashion for the industry to improve, which I think is unlikely to happen in the next few years.