Five 2016 sporting campaigns at the top of their game

By Joey Green

June and July saw Euro 2016 and Wimbledon hitting our screens, which was an emotional roller-coaster to say the least.

We saw England’s embarrassing exit from the Euros 2016 AKA Brexit 2.0, Murray’s Wimbledon win, Iceland’s terrifying Viking clap (it’s why we lost, right? Riiight?) and the infamous scratch and sniff incident from Germany boss Joachim Low, bleeugh.

However, we also got to see brands utilising the events of the year so far, to engage consumers. With big sporting events like these, it’s inevitable that many brands want to jump on the bandwagon. As Rio 2016 approaches, let’s see who cut through with the most inspiring and creative campaigns?

Carlsberg

We’re a big fan of Christ Kamara in this office so when Carlsberg packed him off on the tube, dressed as an older gentleman to reward unsuspecting tube travellers who offered up their seat with tickets, we loved it. Part of the ‘If Carlsberg did substitutions’ campaign, it’s funny, it’s heart-warming, it tackles an on-going discussion about offering seats and it got a tonne of coverage. Kudos to Carlsberg.

Evian 

In order to engage Wimbledon fans and those that like to shake their bootay, Evian launched their ‘Wimbledon Wiggle’ (a move inspired by tennis players) campaign where they asked consumers to send in moves, which were posted on the Evian Facebook page. Here at Fanclub, we love a campaign which utilises user-generated content and the likes of Jonathan Ross, Mollie King and Holly Willoughby all got involved with the wiggle.

Copa 90

Bringing together football and current technology trends, Copa 90 created a chatbot specifically for Euro 2016 to keep fans in the know throughout. Content included everything from guides to articles. Although not in-your-face creative, we like the use of new technology trends to reach an engaged audience and actually provide value, the innovative idea received a lot of pick-up in the tech press.

Orange

Continuing with the innovation theme (oh, we do love to see how people use data), we want to give a nod to Orange who analysed each day’s tweets during Euro 2016 to see which nation’s hashtag was used the most and lit up the Eiffel tower in that team’s colours. Again, use of data, a landmark, and some great colours, made a lovely GIF.

Morrisons

After Andy Murray took home the men’s singles title at Wimbledon, Morrisons rebranded its Wimbledon store to Murriwins, complete with sign. Although the store did it before after Murray’s 2013 win, you have to give some credit for recycling a great, quick-fire idea (and hopefully the sign).

With Wimbledon and Euro 2016 out the way, we’re looking forward to seeing what Rio 2016 will bring.


Does PR work on Reddit?

How to tackle the Wild West of a reluctant social community, by Emily Barnes

For brands, Reddit it is new and relatively unchartered territory- and for good reason.

For those who need a quick briefing, the social news networking site is a space where registered users share news, thoughts or images as either links or user-generated content, which are posted to areas of interest called “subreddits”; with topics ranging from worldnews, movies, politics and gaming (it even has a subreddit for PR pros) to more niche subreddits like the ever popular ExplainLikeImFive (does what it says on the tin). Posts can be voted up or down by other users, with the most popular content going to the front page of that subreddit and potentially of the whole site.

You might’ve seen Reddit gain traction in mainstream media; mostly thrown around in publications like The Huffington Post and Daily Mail who use the more sensational user-generated content for their own stories. The self-proclaimed “front page of the internet” is a monumental platform for discussion and content-sharing, with front-page content going way beyond Reddit’s 234 million unique users and into viral territory. Access to so many engaged users all over the world is an amazing opportunity for PRs to learn more about their clients’ demographic as well as to implement some clever campaign tactics.

But Reddit users, or ‘Redditors’, are notoriously savvy to bullshit. Reddit is fundamentally a frank and honest space that users understandably want to keep that way, and self-promotion is rejected with particular hostility. It goes without saying that employing Reddit as a brand or representative has to consider a careful, honest and informal approach.

So, how do we crack a quick-witted userbase with a reputation for pitchfork wielding scepticism of corporate activity on the site, and use Reddit productively for PR? Don’t be scared- it’s not all bad. Let’s look at how PR fits in.

  1. Research

Since Reddit is essentially people talking about pretty much every topic you can think of, it’s a great go-to for looking at sentiment on a topic, brand or person- or simply learning about them.

When looking at brand sentiment, Reddit is also a great place to check on customer service- when a redditor voiced his anger at being ignored by Samsung after his phone battery melted, a rep from HTC offered to send him a brand new HTC phone on the condition that if Samsung replaced his old one, he donate it to charity. The community loved it.

The site’s structure and function make it a fantastic way to talk reach otherwise hidden, niche audiences, which can be great for pitch research, for example. Use this scope to access focus groups that would have marketers chomping at the bit, including experts and professionals as well as consumers, to impress prospective clients and keep your finger on the pulse for current ones.

  1. Get involved in discussion, or start one

Bear in mind that Redditors are famously creative, witty and honest, use this to you advantage by hosting a discussion as part of your research, as part of a campaign or simply for brand awareness. Transamerica (whose reps also happened to be actual redditors)  launched a financial advice session for users in a personal finance subreddit, which went down particularly well.

  1. Brand image and reputation

A go-to PR channel is an AMA (ask me anything); which is essentially an online press conference for your client that shows honesty and transparency through an informal Q&A session. Ben and Jerry (of Ben and Jerry’s, of course) even developed a new ice cream flavour as a result of theirs.  As the name suggests, the consensus is that your client can be asked anything, so be prepared and don’t push back.

We’ll leave you with some friendly and cautious advice:

Think and post like a user and not like a brand

Be transparent, informal and genuine. Think like a user- from the types of questions you’re asking to the way you word your posts. Relax and strip away the buzzwords- it’s not often you feel obligated to do that in PR!

Play by the rules

Each subreddit has its own rules and guidelines for posting and commenting. Ensure you’re familiar with these, else you’ll get booted out by the mods and, if you’re really foolish, you’ll be banned.

Have a play around

As with any new platform, it’s important to explore for a while to get to grips with functionality and user culture. Non-posters are known as ‘lurkers’; get lurking, you creep. Even better, emerge from the darkness and get involved early to establish yourself on a non-business level. If you immediately jump in with your PR hat on, you’ll get thrown right back out. Take it as a warning!

And lastly, if you’ve got places to be and want a condensed version of how to use Reddit as a brand you can read its official ‘brandiquette’ guide, or, if you’re a PR or journo, the pressiquette guide is worth a read.  You’re welcome.


‘Don’t kill the new biz prospect’, And other tips from AbFab

By Georgie Travis

We had a team night out this week to see the eagerly anticipated Ab-Fab film.  As a bunch of PR professionals, dressed in knock-off Lacroix, oversized sunnies and fluffy sliders it seemed fitting to preface the showing with a steady bar crawl and slew of prosecco; off to a good start then.

Booze and pizza aside, the thinly-veiled ‘purpose’ of seeing Ab Fab was to gain a few pearls of wisdom from Eddie and co. on how to run a ‘successful’ PR business.

We braced ourselves; the characters were rumoured to be based on the antics of PR luminary Lynne Franks, who captured the zeitgeist of London in the eighties with her party planning prowess and representation of London’s elite. What we got was 90 minutes of PR mis-haps, fits of laughter and a whole long list of what NOT to do. And here they are.

  1. Don’t push a new business prospect off a balcony (especially a national treasure such as Kate Moss)
  2. Client retention is key. Don’t wind up your existing ones or attempt to hide from them by pretending to be manakins
  3. For event success, the recipe is as follows: obscure fashion designer + ridiculous, hard to pronounce name= surefire hit; the fashion masses will flock
  4. Keep budgets in check- you don’t want to be stuck without any of that ‘hand money’ for emergency situations
  5. Never underestimate the power of the PA, however flaky she may seem

 

The film was belly-laugh funny, with enough celebrity and fashion-world cameos to fill the guest list of Patsy’s next LFW pardee, and then some. The fashion didn’t disappoint either, with outfits from London’s emerging fashion darlings Shrimps, Charlotte Simone, Ashish and Anya Hindmarch taking centre stage.

Favourite cameo? It’s a toss-up between Rebel Wilson’s unexpected turn as a passive aggressive air stewardess and of course, Queen Kate, ever so elegantly tumbling off the side of a building into the Thames, only to appear days later wondering where the party was at.

Sweeties, you simply must see it!


How brands cut-through the news during the political pantomime

By Sarah Boulton

The political pantomime of the last few weeks has had us all glued to the TV and pouring over the press, eager to hear more, with twists, turns and theories to rival Game of Thrones.

There isn’t a day that goes by without a development of some sort. A perfect environment for PR and marketing departments to hijack the news, here are a few of our favourite brand campaigns that took advantage of the headlines:

  1. Ryanair – The Irish budget airline Ryanair chose to address the issues full on, on its website, where it advertised cheaper flights in the immediate aftermath of the EU referendum as the pound plummeted. The airline’s website read: “Bye Bye Europe! Visit Europe for a plan…and for advice on how to play to soccer,”
  1. Saatchi London – The advertising agency opened a pop-up ‘Brexit Tattoos’ shop on Berwick St, ahead of the vote. It was free to get a tattoo with the aim of highlighting the permanence of your vote. ‘It’s your choice but it’s permanent’ was the shop’s motto – Nice!
  1. Pornhub – This is one of our personal favourites, which hasn’t been directly claimed from the company but smells suspiciously of a PR stunt. Following Boris Johnson ruling himself out of the leadership of the Conservative Party and therefore the race to become Britain's next Prime Minister, the 52-year-old may found himself a new profession pretty quickly - as a porn star. An “angry voter” uploaded a clip of one of Johnson’s Vote Leave speeches under a title found as 'DUMB BRITISH BLONDE F*CKS 15 MILLION PEOPLE AT ONCE'.

When hijacking news like this where there are some very passionate opinions involved, therefore there are some key guidelines to follow to ensure that you get the reaction you are looking for. Here are our top tips:

  1. Nail the Tone of Voice – This is the most important point. When doing PR around a serious and heated topic the TOV is crucial in nailing the story. It has to be witty, tongue in cheek and in its essence light-hearted. If it makes people laugh during a challenging time, then your story is bound to be a hit.
  2. Know your audience – Will they “get it”? If your audience is used to serious communication from your brand, then think carefully about how they would react to something sarcastic or ironic.
  3. Be speedy – Timing is everything in PR, having a perfect reactive idea to a news situation is great, but if you don’t get the story out quickly then it loses all relevance and interest. You can even plan in advance for big events such as the EU referendum and have something set up for both eventualities.
  4. Be brave – Sometimes it can feel scary to get involved in something that is so heavily debated, but as long as you have taken all the above points into consideration you will have nothing to fear! Trust your PR agency, they know what they are doing

Do get in touch at hello@fanclubpr.com if you would like to hear some examples of how we hijack the news for our clients. We have a hilarious example from the General Election!