Starbucks’ annual Holiday cup PR stunt 2016

Starbucks’ annual Holiday cup PR stunt 2016

Disappointment is surging through the Internet like wildfire. There’s been a lot of anticipation brewing from coffee fans regarding what this year’s Starbucks holiday cup will be adorned with. It hasn’t even been released yet.

Continue reading “Starbucks’ annual Holiday cup PR stunt 2016”

F,C,K, M and E Marks and Spencer!

F,C,K, M and E Marks and Spencer!

Ooooohhhh La La…Marks and Sparks what a naughty blunder on your website, or was it?

Those seeking a Christmas bargain this week got a message they weren’t expecting when looking for letter ornaments on the Marks and Spencer website. The letters appeared in the order of F, C, K, M and E with a U in the row above when price low to high was selected.

Now of course the Marks and Spencer PR team were out immediately in full force with a spokeswoman who denies any intention behind it and provided a pretty standard PR crisis statement – ‘This was due to the algorithms used to display products on our website. It was quickly spotted and corrected.’ – Yawn!

But it wasn’t removed quickly enough before the public got their hands on it and for it to go viral now was it ?!

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 22.09.37

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 22.09.45

Hmm, a mistake?! I’m sceptical. This is a way for Marks and Spencer to start their Christmas campaign early and achieve some pre-campaign hype of the humorous and cheeky kind, whether it was intentional or not.

This is an example of viral marketing (Excuse me M and S Lawyers, this could be an example of…) where social media is harnessed through a PR stunt to increase brand awareness.

There is so much to gain from such a little gaff. The Christmas PR and advertising race has become iconic, a top earner and a competition like no other among the big retailers. Although it isn’t appropriate to start the Christmas adverts yet, this sort of mistake, regardless of intention, has now given Marks and Spencer a platform to build on. They already have the consumer’s attention, an edge above it’s competitors prior to the prime Christmas advertising months. It’s a smart PR move, I mean mistake! 😉

How far is too far in PR? – Madonna at the Brits 2015

How far is too far in PR? – Madonna at the Brits 2015

Last night Madonna at the 2015 Brit Awards had a ‘wardrobe malfunction’. But rather than expose herself, which she does anyway as a regular fashion statement, she got caught in her cape. The tumble saw her tugged by the neck down a flight of stairs.

I was watching it live and noted two things. She struggled to undo the cape in the first place and after the fall I took an audible intake of breath, but then I quickly realised that the crowd at the O2 did not have the same reaction. No one made a peep. Silence reigned. Which made me wonder if everyone had just witnessed what I had? Was that real? Thank god for the rewind button.

Visibly shaken, she powered through her big finale. A true professional.

Today, the day after rumours have been flying left, right and centre that this was in fact a PR stunt.

Will we ever know if this is true? Probably not.

But it raises a really good question…

In PR, how far is too far?

There can be a lot of grey areas in PR. For me, risking someones health in any way is most definitely a step too far. I’m sure most people would agree with me.

Would the material girl, Queen of pop, risk falling from a height to establish headlines? Surely not?

No doubt it has secured her virtually every post-Brit headline, lit up social media and set tongues wagging round the office water coolers of the western world.

‘Someones getting fired’ and ‘Where there’s a blame, there’s a claim’ have certainly done the rounds today.

It also drew attention to the cape’s designer, Armani, with the sketch going out in every news article as well as being used by Madonna herself (well her PR team) on Instagram…

madonna sketch

Does the reward outweigh the risk?

When Red Bull sponsored a man jumping from the edge of space and broadcast it live they were taking the biggest risk in their brand history, in fact in any brands history. If anything had gone wrong it would have destroyed Red Bulls reputation. But the risk paid off and secured their notoriety.

If this was a PR stunt, then it is similar to Red Bull. Someone’s life was risked for PR. It only works if if is successful. Otherwise the reputation of the brand, service or person is damaged beyond belief.

Everyone today is commenting on Madonna’s professionalism. That will be her legacy from last night. It’s also done an excellent job in introducing her to a whole new generation of music fans.

So it’s clear to see why it was called in to question that this was a ‘PR stunt’. But like I said…we’ll never know!

What do you think?