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.

#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.

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)

A Day Without Whopper – When Corporate Social Responsibility Meets Clever PR

So this week something peculiar caught my eye when I was doing my daily scroll through social media. Presenting exhibit one below.

An apparent truce in the Battle of Burgers. On first glance you might feel shock horror, two titans of the food industry coming together in the name of charity. What’s next? Tesco promoting Asda’s Pizza Counter? or House of Fraser giving it’s staff a day off to let people shop at Debenhams? Has the world gone mad.

Ok enough dramatic narrative.

Let’s now look at this from a PR and Marketing perspective, Burger King want to kill two birds with one stone. Or rather two aims with one budget. (Really no budget as they just took a potential hit on sales for one day). One, they have a corporate social responsibility to give to charity. Two, they want a good social media campaign. Possibly throw in a third, that McDonalds are going to give all their Big Mac profits to charity, so how can they ‘one up’ that and do something better.

Enter ‘A Day Without The Whopper’ (whoever thought of this deserves a pay rise, cause I personally think it’s so clever). Here we have a campaign that not only show’s Burger King supporting Charity but supporting their competitor to support charity. The sheer shock value of the whole thing makes it the perfect social media campaign, Burger King knew what they were doing here and did it well. The design itself is eye-catching and you automatically recognise the two brands, which if you’re like me will have made you stop in your scrolling and think ‘What’s this about?’. And for me the post has great ‘share-ability’ value for social media, it’s a talking piece. It stuck with me, I automatically asked my work colleagues if they’d seen it and what they thought and that’s exactly what a good campaign should do.

This is infact not the first time that Burger King has played on the rivalry as part of an Online Campaign and the brainchild for this idea may have started back in 2015 when the ‘McWhopper’ was born.

Back in 2015 Burger King created the ‘McWhopper’ and sent an open letter to McDonalds proposing a collaboration between the two brands in honour of ‘Peace One Day’. Burger King called for a ‘ceasefire on Burger Wars’ in the name of peace with all proceeds going to the cause. McDonalds didn’t bite at the McWhopper and politely declined the offer.

So it seems this time around, Burger King have taken matters into their own hands, with this charity campaign and in my opinion Burger King came out looking better than ever. On social media people praised Burger King for their great campaign and it afforded them a day of trending online and looking like the ‘bigger person’ in said Burger Wars.