Storm will be focusing on all things natural and organic this autumn having been appointed by the UK’s leading wholesale distributor within the nutrition and healthy lifestyle channel, Tree of Life. Storm will be implementing a thought-leadership campaign to support the company within the grocery and wellbeing retailing press, as well as providing trade marketing support for a number of its exclusive brand partners. Part of the Brands of Distinction group, which also includes Petty Wood, Tree of Life supplies a wide range of retailers from independent and traditional health food shops and cafes to larger multiple retailers, supermarkets and e-commerce retailers, both in the UK and overseas, with over 10,000 products lines from 600 organic and general health foods, vitamin, mineral, sports nutrition supplements, body care and green and ethical household brands.
Having personally dropped off the Facebook bandwagon a few years ago in favour of regaining my privacy and rekindling face-to-face relationships with loved ones before I turned into a total social recluse, these days I rarely use the site unless I’m desperately bored or in need of a stalking fix.
But lately, I have found myself logging on and scrolling through my news feed at least several times a day because, though I’m shamed to admit, I’m thoroughly enjoying the newest craze, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. My news feed is jam-packed with videos of people being soaked or soaking themselves with buckets of icy water and it’s their reactions to the challenge – screams, gasps, profanities and the like – that I find particularly entertaining.
The craze apparently began back in July when Charles Kennedy, a golfer from Florida, responded to a friend who told him “pour ice over your head and I’ll donate to the charity of your choice”. Charles chose ALS because his cousin is a sufferer of the disease. He then challenged his wife, who challenged her friends and so on until it reached an ALS sufferer. He challenged a famous sports player and voilà, overnight it had infiltrated the celebrity circle. Now it’s gone viral across the globe, and it’s showing no signs of slowing.
At the time of writing, the Ice Bucket Challenge had raised almost $US100 million (almost £60 million) – an undeniably superb sum and further evidence of the incredible potential for social media in ‘doing good’. It also highlights the power of social media to spread ideas and news quicker than will ever be possible for more traditional forms of media. By the time a press office has begun writing a release, a campaign may already have reached millions across thousands of countries around the world, if it attracts the right social media attention.
This isn’t the first ‘nominate and challenge’ campaign to go digitally viral, either. Back in March this year, the No Makeup Selfie challenged people to brave posting a picture of themselves wearing no makeup and donate, which raised over £8 million in aid of Cancer Research UK.
But with a plethora of celebs getting involved in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, it has attracted some bad press and has been dubbed “just another great PR campaign for the rich and famous”. Not just celebrities, though – companies of every industry, from retail giants to restaurants to financial firms, are jumping on the bandwagon, and enjoying the free publicity and charitable rep that comes as part of the package.
A couple of weeks ago, Senior Vice President of integrated marketing at Coca-Cola Co., Wendy Clark, posted a video of herself getting doused by a giant polar bear, the brand’s iconic ad character, and drying herself off with a bright red, Coca-Cola branded towel. Where this works as marketing tool for a brand is that it gains global media attention (Wendy’s video has almost 21,000 views on YouTube), but it is not seen as unethical or as ‘in your face’ marketing, because ultimately, it’s all for charity. Very clever.
Sure, success for such campaigns happens because they appeal to our emotions and are highly entertaining, but it’s the power of multiplication that’s key here. If a challenge calls on each participant to nominate three others, for example, it causes a serious viral effect that spreads very quickly.
So, in an age where social media is so unequivocally present in our lives, businesses have to think on their feet and many are out there now, furiously trying to brainstorm innovative ways to use the potential virality of social media to their advantage.
Ever wondered how could your business do the same?
Storm has been appointed by Reed Exhibitions to handle the international PR for the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) which takes place in Hamburg annually, as well as support the launch of WTCE Americas, being held in Seattle for the first time this October.
Over the past three years WTCE has established itself as a hub for industry expertise, bringing together buyers and specifiers from the world’s international, charter and regional airlines, and rail operators. The show provides a unique window for exhibiting companies to showcase their products and services, and meet and network with sector peers. Following the event’s huge success, WTCE is now tapping into the Americas, launching WTCE Americas in Seattle, where air, rail and cruise operators in the US can network with suppliers, both domestic and international.
Storm has been appointed to manage global media campaigns to consolidate Bühler’s position as a worldwide leader in optical sorting, rice and pulses processing. The extensive programme will strengthen the company’s global brand profile through media relations, keynote speaking opportunities and press events, showcasing Bühler’s credentials worldwide.
This summer has seen a flurry of sporting events hit the UK including the Grand National, London Marathon, FA Cup Final, Wimbledon, the World Cup and the Tour de France. Whilst these events have provided us with excellent entertainment, Friday quiz material and some hilarious in-office sweepstakes, they have also gifted brands with new opportunities for PR.
Thanks to these events, any dip in brand awareness can be quickly eradicated with the effective use of social media if it is efficiently used as a tool to keep our brands at the forefront of the public’s mind.
For example, the World Cup was deemed Twitter’s most discussed sporting event ever with over 35.6 million tweets. As well as naysayers making last ditch attempts for coverage throughout the World Cup, the real PR play has been off the pitch with some particularly effective activities from the ultimate sporting contenders, Nike and Adidas.
The battle for supremacy in the global football market is ever-present and one of the ultimate ‘goals’ for both brands. The World Cup is the main event in their sporting calendars, and much to Nike’s dismay, this year saw Adidas set to be the favourite due to its official tournament sponsorship with Nike nipping at Adidas’ heels in terms of market share.
Despite official sponsorship, some seriously creative and effective campaigning from Nike with their ‘Risk Everything’ slogan led to the solid thrashing of Adidas’ ‘All or Nothing’ campaign across social media. To top it all off, companies that are not official sponsors of the World Cup face legal repercussions for using specific terms, therefore whilst adhering to these rules and regulations, Nike’s brand presence has still been so extensive that 30 per cent of UK and US consumers polled believed it to be the official sponsor.
Nike’s social media campaign and excellent product placement had a tangible effect on consumers, whether they actively purchased the brand or not and pipped Adidas to the post despite all odds. Now that’s great PR.
Storm client Chang Beer also took the opportunity to capitalise on the ever-present football buzz by creating a pop-up penalty shoot out goal on London’s Southbank, maximising the event timing by holding it on Father’s Day… pitch perfect! The experiential marketing event allowed the brand to talk to consumers via pre-activity coverage as well as securing face time with football fans who were given the chance to win Chang Beer footballs, t-shirts and bottle openers. They were the perfect goodie bag to take home to watch the football and kept Chang Beer in at the forefront of its target market’s mind.
Capitalising on the strong media hold in London, journalists and bloggers were invited to participate via social media and in person, the photography from the event was also seeded out to key publications nationwide, thus securing yet another opportunity to infiltrate the media!
With PR usually operating on a seasonal basis, as well as blessed new product launches and the occasional holidays such as Valentine’s Day, it is a breath of fresh air to have so many sporting events taking over the UK population. These crowd-captivating events provide us with real-time ‘hooks’ that truly facilitate our ability to get creative. We’re able to get our brand names out there in quirky and exciting ways that differentiate us from the rest. It’s also the perfect excuse to piggyback a trending hashtag or two!
We are pleased to welcome Kliklok International to the Storm client roster. For over 50 years, Kliklok has been at the forefront of food packaging technology for the frozen and chilled foods, snack food, dairy and bakery sectors.
Kliklok offers an extensive range of durable and efficient equipment including top load and end load cartoning, automatic product handling, wraparound sleeving, and end of line machinery, together with the Woodman range of bagmakers, trolley loading equipment, and display card loaders.
From their UK premises in Bristol, Kliklok International designs, manufactures & distributes machinery throughout Europe, the Middle East, South East Asia and Australasia.
Last week Irish bookmaker Paddy Power hit the headlines after persuading Stephen Hawking to lend his name to a “formula” calculating England’s chances in the World Cup. They even released an accompanying video where the leading theoretical theorist chats about how “England couldn’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo”.
The result was a spectacular marketing success. The video went viral, and the press release found its way onto a slew of national newspapers – not least the full page 3 of The Times.
This is not the first silly or outlandish stunt pulled by the bookmaker. Their history of pranks stretches back more than a decade.The most complained-about advert in the UK in 2002 was the poster below. It shows two old ladies crossing the road, with odds displayed in bubbles above their heads. Paddy Power claimed the bets referred to which granny would cross the road first, but many interpreted them as odds on which would be mown down by the approaching 4×4.
In 2012 the firm began a campaign called “We Hear You”, which comprised of a flurry of attention-grabbing pranks including painting a jockey on the Uffington Horse and hiring aircraft to drag pro-European banners across the sky above the Ryder Cup.
The stunts arguably reached a peak of outlandishness when they sponsored Dennis Rodman, a basketball player turned part-time professional wrestler and triple winner of the “Razzie” worst actor award, to play a basketball game in the hermit kingdom of North Korea. Dubbed “The Paddy Power Dennis Rodman Invitational”, the plans attracted global coverage and had everyone from the celebrity press to foreign policy wonks mentioning the bookies’ brand name.
Almost as controversial was an advert earlier this year offering odds on the outcome of the Oscar Pistorius trial, with text offering “money back if he walks”. Predictably, the advertisement caused uproar – and the uproar generated yet more awareness for Paddy Power.
The bookmaker has perfected a stunt-based marketing strategy that is hugely effective in terms of reach and impact: they claim to have achieved a 50% growth in new customers and a 29% increase in net revenue since beginning the We Hear You campaign.
In particular, one stunt from the Euro 2012 football championships – Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner celebrating a goal by hiking up his shirt to reveal Paddy Power boxers – helped the bookmakers receive more than ten times the press coverage of beer brand Carlsberg, who had paid £25m to sponsor the event. Whatever you think of the company’s pranks, they seem to be working.
What they are not, though, is cheap. Traditionally, stunts have been a great way of generating “return on investment” – achieving high reward for little cost. Arguably the most famous stunt of recent decades occurred when lad’s mag FHM projected a naked image of TV presenter Gail Porter onto the side of the Houses of Parliament. This gained huge notoriety, but cost nothing more than one night’s generator and projector hire.
This value-for-money aspect is why stunts are so popular with charities – think Greenpeace scaling the shard last year, or Fathers 4 Justice throwing paint at Tony Blair.
Paddy Power’s stunts, however, are in a different price bracket. To encourage Bendtner to flash his boxer shorts, the company presumably had to fork out enough money to catch the attention of a professional footballer – plus cover the €100,000 fine he incurred from UEFA. Likewise, Prof Hawking apparently worked for a whole month on his Paddy Power commission – and a month of the world’s most famous scientists’ time presumably does not come cheap.
So, the bookmaker has gained huge publicity but at huge price. They have come up with some of the most original, controversial and eye-catching stunts for years – but missed the traditional point of stunts. It is possible they would have achieved the same increase in sales and brand recognition had they spent their fortunes on a traditional marketing campaign.
Still, while the bookmaker’s pranks are sometimes in poor taste, they are never boring. It sometimes seems like their marketing department is run by unruly teenagers – but with some of their stunts, and in particular the excellent Stephen Hawking wheeze – we think this is a good thing.
Digital technology has been transforming the marketing industry for a number of years, and it is increasingly important for brands to be ahead of the game. So, how will companies, and marketers, make best use of technology in the months to come? To try and answer this question, I’ve put together a trend-spotting guide – coming soon to a campaign near you!
LED technology currently being used on select London cabs will progress over the coming year to incorporate systems which will continually feed the taxi’s location back to headquarters, allowing the advert to be altered depending on the location the cab is driving through.
A similar stunt was already a reality during the summer of London 2013 when Magnum used heat sensor technology to only display adverts when the thermometers hit the 19C mark in any given location.
Meshing refers to content that requires the simultaneous usage of multiple devices. For example, you’re watching the Great British Bake off on TV, while holding an iPad. In the future, an app on your iPad would automatically bring up the recipes from that week’s programme without you having to search for them.
US cookie brand Oreo recently exhibited a grasp of simultaneous media when they tweeted “you can still dunk in the dark” during a blackout on a SuperBowl broadcast. Retweeted tens of thousands of times, this was a great use of the principle behind meshing – that you should think in terms of several platforms, not just one.
We’ve seen these made popular by Vine and Tumblr. For the short term the web will continue to be dominated by micro-videos, but how will brands capitalise on them? Facebook video ads, or promoted twitter video ads over traditional TV advertising, perhaps?
4. Paid-for content
Over the past few years, some big websites have begun putting their content behind paywalls – the News International newspapers being a famous example. With websites and online newspapers now reaching maturity, most are now expected to turn a profit, and many may conclude that a paywall might be only way to do this. So what is next? It’s not certain, but one possibility could be the Mail Online.
5. Internet currency
BitCoin, Dogecoin and Coinye – there is a lot of talk that 2014 will make or break these alternative currencies. Often sneered at as the province of IT geeks, anti-government conspiracy theorists and drug users, it is possible that the wider public may begin to slowly adopt digital money. But this is far from certain; the Mt.Gox debacle – where $400m worth of bitcoins supposedly disappeared – will no doubt long continue to cast a shadow over the safety of virtual currency.
We might see an email on our phones from Virgin Atlantic, but then complete a purchase, enquiry or similar on a desktop or laptop device. This is shifting – where an action takes places across several media. In the future, it will be non-negotiable for brands to have adaptable web content across all platforms.
7. Niche Social Media
Yelp, TopTable, MapMyRun, TripAdvisor – these very popular sites collate reviews from users to share with others. These sites are not largely targeted by marketers in the same way as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram are, but expect this to change in 2014 as brands try to infiltrate these niche platforms.
8. Private Social Media
Snapchat, WhatsApp are two examples of private social media – methods of peer-to-peer communication, fenced off from the wider world. How will brands tap into these apps in the future? Given that Facebook, a company looking to make money, has bought WhatsApp, it will be interesting to see how they will alter the app, and what opportunities this will create for brands.
9. Wearable Content
Nike is currently testing clothing woven with flexible LED thread and flexible processors which can deliver messages and capture data. This is a longer-term trend that could – in its most extreme permutation – turn us all into individual adverts.
With an ever-increasing number of tools and platforms by which brands reach consumers, what trends do you expect to be popular in 2014?
It turns out opposites really do attract, with the new trend for beer-based cocktails mixing up menus across the county’s hippest bars and restaurants – just don’t try and order one by the pint.
It’s no secret that the nation’s interest in beer has been on the rise in recent years, giving way to a whole host of independent, micro and even nano breweries.
Establishments of all sizes are getting involved in this trend for posh ales and lagers, with Brew Dog, Meat Liquor and Hawksmoor riding the wave of beertails which includes the fearsomely named Hangman’s Blood – a combination of stout, gin, whisky, rum, champagne, port and brandy. The craze doesn’t end at ‘simply’ blending ingredients, with cutting edge mixologists experimenting with hop infused spirits, beer reduction glazes and fruit infused beers to name a few.
Mother always says, “don’t mix your drinks”, and in this case, and whether or not you agree, it is clear that the beertail revolution won’t be falling flat any time soon.
Storm’s client Chang Beer has even created its own Beertail for Songkran, the Thai New Year’s Day celebration which falls on April 13 – 15. So, use the festival is the ideal excuse to knock up a delicious beertail of your own, like The Grain and Grape below:
The Grain and Grape
30ml Chang Beer syrup
25ml Muscat dessert wine
Two dashes of orange blossom water
Garnish: Lemon zest
Method: Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass and serve in a chilled 5½ oz coupette
Chang syrup recipe
1 bottle of Chang Beer
150g palm sugar
Method: Reduce the Chang Beer to 250ml on a high heat and add the sugar
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