Five Favourite Easter Marketing Campaigns

There’s a definite positive vibe around today, the sun is shining and everyone is looking forward to that extra-long weekend off work. So take some time, relax and check out some of the best Easter campaigns we’ve seen this year.

B&Q                                             

Can you think of a better way to spend your four day weekend than picking up on some home improvement and DIY jobs? Well I’m sure you can, but B&Q is hoping to change your mind with this £10m advertising campaign.

Accompanied by Snap’s ‘I’ve got the power’, the TV spot inspires gardeners, decorators and men of meat to get up off the sofa and ‘unleash their inner B&Q’.

The campaign is the first for B&Q by marketing and advertising agency WCRS and the 60 second TV advert featuring the iconic orange apron will also be supported by two 30 second executions promoting new B&Q products.

 

Cadbury and National Trust Easter Egg Trails

Cadburys and National Trust have joined forces on this one to create some good old chocolate-inspired family fun at Easter. Now in its seventh year running the Easter egg trails has proved to be a success all over the country.

The trail is said to inspire children’s inner adventurer and transform them into an ‘Eggsplorer’. They’ll receive a make-it-yourself pith helmet, a journal containing clues they’ll need to complete the trail and a Passport to be stamped along the way, and on completing the trail they will be rewarded with a Cadbury Easter egg.

cadburys

Changes for 2014 includes a revamped website, featuring photo sharing mechanics for Facebook and Twitter and even more locations, as it now runs in over 300 parks across the UK.

 

Virgin

This creative campaign from Virgin trains has turned the usual “Kids go free” offer on its head by giving parents the chance to go free with a child’s ticket.

Illustrated with humorous images of a parent and child with their head swapped, Creative Director, Nick Hastings has saidthe unfamiliar deal will “stand out a mile” (unsure if the pun was intended!)

virgin

Unfortunately, the promotion is only available to families from the Midlands traveling to London and will run up until 27th April.

 

Asda

Now we’ve all already seen, laughed and got bored of the dancing chick on our TV screens in their new Easter themed advert but there is more to come from Asda!

asda

The supermarket giant has teamed up with app creators, Zappar, to create ‘The Easter Adventure Hunt’, an in-store game that challenges shoppers to find three Easter ‘friends’ hidden within stores.

These ‘friends’ will be life-size character stickers which will be placed in around 400 Asda stores. When zapped using the app on smartphone or tablet, the characters reveal a “hidden world” underneath the store floor.

The retailer will also be (very bravely) handing out iPads for shoppers without smartphones.

 

HELL Pizza

I thought I’d finish with this very controversial yet quite disturbing stunt I came across from New Zealand-based pizza purveyor – HELL Pizza. To help promote their new Easer themed pizza, rabbit pizza (!), they have created a fluffy billboard made from real dead rabbits.

hells

Five Ways Social Media Has Changed PR and Journalism

Traditional roles of PR and journalism are changing – there has been a huge increase in digital PR agencies, meaning these PR pros are looking for more likes and followers over coverage in the press which is affecting journalism negatively. However social networking has advantaged journalism in other ways. Here’s a short list on the biggest benefits social media has had on the two industries:

The Citizen Journalists – Seconds after tragic events such as the Boston bombings and Lee Rigby’s attack, bystanders quickly pulled out their smart phones to take photos, videos and compose tweets on what they saw. These first-hand accounts are used by reporters to put together breaking news stories.

Access to the public in real-time – PR pros no longer have to rely on press coverage to get their message across; they can now simply post a status or tweet via social networking platforms and the message will be received in seconds.

Access to journalists – Through multiple platforms of social media and blogs, the PR pro can measure the authority, influence and background of a journalist, making sure they are contacting the right person, and structuring their pitches around the journalist’s area of interest. And with journalist’s phone ringing off the hook and their email inboxes full to bursting; PR pros are beginning to pitch to journalists via social media. Such immediate and concise pitches are said to be useful to time conscious journalists.

Sharing – Although the rise is social media has effected journalism negatively in some aspects –  with almost all major news organisations now having their own Twitter and Facebook accounts, followers can share and retweet stories, allowing it to reach a much wider audience and generating more traffic to their websites.

However – Social media isn’t everything- with the explosion of social networking over the past 10 years you could be led to believe that social media drives everything and will eventually take over the world. With this, you may also believe that the days of traditional journalism are also over – you would be wrong – it is traditional PR and journalism that drives the conversation online.

The relationship between PR and journalism – is it as bad as it seems?

Whilst researching public relations and journalism for my dissertation it came to my attention that almost everyone in the industry has an opinion on the relationship – and almost everyone’s opinion is negative.

Even though there are hundreds of academic books and journals written in the dark ages that describe the “uneasy” and “distrusting” relationship and although there are countless blogs that list the ways in which PR pros annoy journalists and vice versa; does this really represent today’s situation? Is it really as bad as everybody makes out?

I came to the decision to compose the unspoken side of the story and point out the positives of the relationship:

Journalism and PR are fields with much in common; they have similar purposes – to inform the public and both share the need of information, access and editorial coverage.

A strong PR to journalist relationship benefits each side of the fence, and creates mutual dependence; the press is the largest outlet to inform a mass public which is why PR teams are constantly contacting journalists in hope that they will cover stories on their clients.  And with newsroom cuts and the increasing speed of technology; journalists have twice the workload and half the time to carry out investigative reporting meaning journalists often turn to PR practitioners for story pitches, press releases, and quick answers to their questions.

Technological developments have eased the strain of the relationship. PR hasn’t been primarily about the printed page in years – it has become a world of social media and digital expertise meaning journalists are no longer the exclusive gate keepers to access of free publicity. Websites, blogs and social media have become alternative methods of communication, which are quicker to publish and reach all the right people.

That being said, it does not mean that journalism now relies on public relations. Journalism has also adapted with the digital age and is no longer just about the newspaper either. Social media interactivity allows journalists to quickly pick up breaking news and arrange interviews giving them greater access to information without having to involve PRs.

However, when all is said and done, it is without doubt that the two industries will always need each other and will always work hand in hand, meaning that journalists will always have to talk to PR pros and vice versa. The practice of journalism and public relations is bound to run more smoothly if the negative stereotypes were forgotten and the relationship is strengthened.

Celebrity Cribs

If you had an excessive budget what would your dream home look like? Where would it be and what would you have inside of it? How would you decorate it?

We know we would never be able to afford them, but it’s always nice to ogle over the extravagant properties of the rich and famous.

 

Leonardo DiCaprio’s Palm Spring Pad

Who needs an Oscar when you have a brand new luxury Palm Springs home worth £3.1 million?

Leonardo Di Caprio’s most recent addition to his portfolio of A-list homes spans over 7,000 square feet and includes a full size tennis court, floor to ceiling glass walls and wooden ceilings. The mid-century home boasts six bedrooms, eight bathrooms, a pool and a bar.

Leonardo home
And incase you’re not envious enough, DiCaprio also owns a Malibu beach house, a penthouse in Manhattan, a condo in Battery Park City and a luxury Hollywood home.

 

The Smith’s Family Residence

If you go by the saying “the bigger the better” then you might prefer the Smith’s family abode.

Featuring a meditation house, an artificial lake, tennis, volleyball and basketball courts and a recording studio, the Californian family home is said to be worth over £26 million and pans over 25,000 square feet. In fact, the home is so big that it requires its own personal ZIP code.

Will Smith home

The interior also represents Persian, Moroccan, Spanish, as well as Southwest American cultures thanks to the Smiths’ collection of antique carved panels, doors, and architectural details.

 

Beckingham Palace

Slightly closer to home is the Beckham’s West London five story mansion which encloses eight bedrooms and seven bathrooms. The couple paid over £30 million for this house which stands on one of the smartest streets in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Beckhams home

Well what’s so good about this house I hear you ask – how about secret underground tunnels running beneath a huge oriental garden, hidden doors built into bookcases and a basement spa?
The house boasts a huge playroom for the couple’s four children and to cater to fashionista Victoria’s needs, a cat-walk style runway, walk-in wardrobes and four nail bars.

Top 10 April Fool’s Stunts

PR Practitioners everywhere seemed to have a field day yesterday! Here’s my list of the top 10 pranks of the day:

Google

Regular pranksters Google certainly did not disappoint this year! Now I could probably write a whole post purely on Google’s April Fools stunts from yesterday, but I’ll cut to the chase:

Google Nose: First up is Google Nose, as its name implies, the service lets you search to find out what your queries smell like. You make think that only an idiot would believe it, but after reading some long technical words, many of us must have pulled our screens a little closer and had a sniff!

Google Maps Treasure Mode: Google created a treasure map mode on Google Maps along with a video announcement telling us that the ‘Google Maps Street View team’ have found a treasure map belonging to an infamous pirate. They said the map contains a variety of encrypted symbols which you are tasked with decoding.

Gmail Blue: This one is said to be a dig at Microsoft’s future Windows 8 revamp, also to be named Blue. Google created an almost two minute long video explaining the new technology that is going into their new Gmail design, only to find out at the end, that they just coloured everything blue!

Google seemed to have a bottom-less budget in their marketing and PR department this year. They also made up pranks with Google+, Australian Google Street View, Google Enterprise and…


…YouTube
YouTube took to their blog and posted a video to tell us that their site was set up merely as a way to find the best online video in the world. The video claimed that they had enough footage to end the competition and close down the page.

Bing
If you happened to be on Bing.com yesterday (which I’m sure you didn’t), you would have got a shock. The site completely changed how it looked if you typed “google” in the rival search engine. It was still regular Bing under the surface but the layout was a copy of Google’s. And just for an extra dig, you could either press the “Search” or the hilarious “I’m Feeling Confused” button instead.

Twitter
Yesterday morning Twitter announced it will no longer allow the use of vowels in tweets. The social networking site said that by eliminating vowels, they are helping tweeters to a “more efficient, and ‘dense’ form of communication.” And if you really can’t live in a world without vowels, Twttr (as it renamed itself) will allow you to tweet A, E, I, O and U for the small fee of $5 a month.

Sony Animalia
Sony had us all laughing with a video telling us they are releasing a new “Animalia” line of products for your tech product-starved pets. Because apparently your hamsters needs a good beat whilst on their exercise wheels and your cat would love some headphones to block humans out!

Virgin Atlantic Glass Bottom Plane
The folks at Virgin Atlantic Airways can never pass up an April Fools. This year they took to Richard Branson’s blog to reveal a glass-bottom airplane supposedly made so we can “appreciate the beauty of the British landscape” whilst flying!

BMW Pram
BMW unveiled a new product yesterday, a pram! Or should I say ‘the limited edition BMW P.R.A.M. (Postnatal Royal Auto Mobile).’  Available in Princess Pink or Royal Blue, the soft-top convertible has been designed especially for the arrival of the new Royal baby.

The Metro
I won’t deny it, this April fool even got me! The Metro published a roundup of stunts from yesterday such as The Sun joking that the Angel of the North will be renamed ‘Cheryl Cole’ and the Guardian trying to fool us that scientist have bred rabbits with human ears. Only when you get to the end do you realise they were all completely made up!

Sacla Italia
Italian food brand Sacla added a touch of tech to its April Fool’s joke with the announcement of its latest product, ‘Twitteroni pasta – Eat what you tweet’. Rather like tinned alphabet spaghetti, Twitteroni pasta is shaped into letters, but also includes hash tags and the @ symbol.

The Huffington Post
The latest addition to the London skyline became the world’s best thrill-ride according to The Huffington Post yesterday when they unveiled ‘The Shlide’ – the helter-skelter style slide around Europe’s tallest skyscraper, The Shard.

 

What was your favourite April fool’s stunt from yesterday? Is there anything I’ve missed?

Student Wire

Recently the team at Dinosaur PR  launched an online student magazine – Student Wire. A website specifically for students, written by students about being a student! Whilst on a two week work placement with the agency, I was lucky enough to get involved.

 

Their client The Student Store wanted to create a thriving online community of students who can help each other out, give advice and provide great content and articles. The team at Dinosaur got to work and put together focus groups of students from local universities to bring together ideas of what we could do. We came up with Student Wire.  Emilie Sillett, a second year public relations undergraduate and current intern at Dinosaur PR was made editor of the website due to her bubbly personality and passion for blog writing. She was then asked to recruit a team of budding journalists to help her write for the magazine.

 

After the website had been set up, it was time for it to go live and see what the public made of it. To gain interest, the site was seeded online through social media and student forums, getting as many people as possible to check it out and create a buzz around and about the site. After just two weeks Student Wire is a great success and a hit with under graduates from several universities in the UK.

 

So far writers from Leeds Metropolitan, Liverpool John Moore’s, University of Salford and London Metropolitan provide advice, news and ideas on anything from how to choose your student accommodation to how to cure a hangover. Emilie is always looking for interesting features and creative writers so drop her an email if you think you are cut out for the job –contact@studentwire.co.uk.

For an idea of some of the topics we write about at Student Wire, check out my favourite posts so far:

  1. The Student Halls Lottery by Sarah Raynard
  2. Clubbing.. Why bother? by editor, Emilie Sillett
  3. Celebrities And Their Surprising, Unrelated Degrees by Amanda Champion
  4. And have a look at my own article, Technology That Will Make Life Easier.

 

And finally, the sponsors of Student Wire – the Student Store have recently launched a photo competition of ‘the work space from hell’.  Be it your messy student house, your dirty desk or your rotten bedroom we want to see. The winner will be determined by public vote via the Student Wire Facebook page – so be creative as possible and you could be in with a chance £100 shopping voucher and the Adobe Creative Cloud software up for grabs! Apply here.

Making The Most Out Of Summer

It’s that time of the year where every student starts looking forward to the summer holidays, and hopefully some warmer weather. But 3 weeks in and nothing to do, it can become very boring very quickly. So start making plans now to ensure you won’t be sat through 3 months of boredom. 

Part time job
It’s easier said than done but a summer job is usually plan A for most students. Start early, print out a pile of CVs and hand them out to bars and shops. Major companies will advertise online so don’t forget to spend time searching the web. And with current employment problems, it’s all about who you know, ask your friends and family if there are any vacancies at their work place and ask them to recommend you.

Working Abroad
Does the thought of spending 3 months working at your local pub bore you to death? Widen your horizons – work abroad! You might be surprised to know that as part of the European Union, UK citizens can plan a working holiday in Europe with ease – there is no need for a visa! There are usually plenty of opportunities especially in popular 18-30 holiday destinations. But if that’s not your scene, there’s always Camp America or Camp Leaders. Check out your university’s website or Anywork Anywhere for more opportunities.

Placement/Work Experience
Working for free might not be at the top of your list for fun things to do over summer but a couple of weeks work experience whilst you have nothing else to do can become extremely useful in the future. You’d be surprised how many business owners would be grateful for student help over summer. Email local business or have a look on Step to see if anything interests you.

Plan a budget holiday
Admittedly you may not be getting the hot weather you are hoping for whilst staying in the UK and you may also think that being a student, you won’t be able to go away this summer – think again!

  • The best thing to do is avoid going away in the school holidays, plan to go in May or early June, as soon as you finish university. Alternatively, early September before your next year starts.
  • Spend time on different websites looking for the best offers, last minute deals are usually the best value for money so don’t worry if you haven’t got anything booked yet.
  • If you’re travelling in Europe, make sure you have an EHIC card They’re FREE and can get you free or discounted medical care in all countries in the EU.
  • Order your currency before you go – that way, you’ll get a decent rate and will be able to stick to a more realistic budget. Plus, using a cash machine abroad can end up costing you a fortune.

Make the most of your family
Finally, remember to see the family and friends you don’t have chance to visit while you’re away at university – I’m sure they’ll appreciate it!