How We’ve Fallen Out Of Love With Love Island’s Marketing

Much has been made of this year’s Love Island. Since around springtime this year, long-time fans called out their desperation for the seventh season. With this being the first summer series since 2019, combined with a slightly delayed release this year, the anticipation for Love Island could not have been more fervent. Let’s be honest – we were all looking forward to hearing “can I pull you for a chat?”, a heated row or two around the fire pit, and curveball bombshells that come in with the express purpose of tearing apart a new and delicately-formed kinship. After the last eighteen months we’ve had, we craved the escapism of Majorca, a place the majority of us couldn’t make our way to for obvious reasons.

 

Yet despite the anticipation, this year’s offering seemed to fizzle out almost immediately after its inception. Islanders simply weren’t gelling with one another, playing it safe, or exhaustively professing their love for one type of girl: ‘blonde.’ After an underwhelming finale, in which Liam and Millie were the winners, various claims swarmed the internet that the show had “lost its magic.” Those of us who watched in the early days might be surprised that such a behemoth of television has hit a seven-year itch, but it was perhaps inevitable… Cult shows like Big Brother no longer hold the public’s attention like they did back in the early 2000s.

 

Under the influence

 

Unlike Big Brother, which simply became part of Britain’s cultural furniture and therefore was seen as less and less controversial (so, arguably, less compulsive viewing), part of Love Island’s decreasing appeal is the way in which every aspect of the show has become hyper-marketed. From the contestants themselves, to the products they use – everything seems tailored to have the viewer putting something in their online shopping basket by the end of each episode.

 

That’s not to say brands are unwise to work with Love Island contestants, and influencers in general. Quite the opposite: it’s literally a million-dollar idea. Why not work with ‘normal’ people who have recently had internet fame imposed upon them to promote your product or service? We’re well-versed with helping businesses work with influencers, and the results are almost always fruitful.

 

Too much of a good thing

 

The problem is that it is such a good idea that everyone wants a slice of the pie. We’ve now ended up in a situation where the over-saturation of the Instagram-influencer-slash-fast-fashion-brand-ambassador is having viewers tuning out, turning off and unfollowing. This year’s show saw a dramatic drop in viewers, with Love Island’s initial 6 million viewership per episode having halved by the final weeks – a far cry from its peak in usual seasons, which was around 7 million viewers per episode. Likewise, the largest Instagram followings amassed this year were by Liberty Poole and Millie Court, both at 1.1 million. But these pale into comparison when it comes to Molly Mae Hague, who left 2019’s show with a huge 2.5m followers (however, do remember that she was an influencer and YouTuber prior to appearing on it). Lucinda Strafford, who arrived mid-season, was so transparently in the villa for a fashion brand deal according to Twitter users that a flurry of memes followed her exit from the show.

 

 

Lucinda has since snapped up a deal with sister brand I Saw It First after being voted off the show.

 

Keeping it real

 

People like authenticity. Typically, the influencers that do the best on the outside world are the ones who do the least brand promotion. Some speculate that part of Molly Mae’s success, for example, is that she doesn’t go down the route of peddling any old product the way that other influencers have been known to such as diet pills and CBD gummies, the scientific effects of which tend to be dubious. TikTokker Manrika Khaira, who appeared on Channel 4’s The Circle earlier this year and who has over 400,000 followers on the platform, works only occasionally with brands, and stresses to her followers that nothing she promotes is something she wouldn’t use herself.

 

On the flip side of the coin, last year, YouTuber Jack Dean paid former Islanders to promote his fake moisturiser brand, which they needed little encouragement to do, claiming that they’d been using the moisturiser for a long time and explaining all of the supposed benefits. The video has since hit over a million views. Exposés like these that reveal the cracks in the veneer of influencer-dom. Since the inception of Love Island, the British public has been sold a lifestyle of free products, brand partnerships and gifted getaways – it makes complete sense that, seven years down the line, the desire to find love has been eclipsed by the desire for fame and money.

 

In your face

 

So how has this affected the public’s perception of the show, other than the decrease in viewership?

 

My lovely colleague at Source, Jess, put out a poll on Twitter to her 3,000+ followers to ask them how they felt effectively marketed to by Love Island. Their responses were very clearly in favour of the more subtle marketing of the previous years’ series, as opposed to the much more obvious zoom-ins, strategic placements and sponsorships of the current year.

 

 

The fatigue with Love Island, and influencers in general, was always going to happen sooner or later. But brands should think carefully as to whether or not the idea of working with fresh-face influencers has lost its novelty or not – and whether or not viewers find the persistency of their presence in the show annoying enough to avoid their products altogether. At the end of the day, viewers and social media users are far more likely to buy a product when it has come from a reputable source: not simply because someone they saw on television for a few weeks tells them to in a sponsored post. This brings to mind the astonishing statistic that as many as 92% of us buy from brands based on the (honest) opinions of friends of family. As ever, authenticity is key!

 

At Source, we know a thing or two about working with influencers, bloggers and more, and how it can work best for you and your businesses. Give us a call today on 01829 720789 to talk to one of our experienced team members.

 

 

 

 

From Journalism To PR: What Have I Learned During My First Month At Source?

It’s been roughly a month or so since I started my role as an Account Executive here at Source, and the time has flown!

So, with that in mind, I’m going to try to give you a brief synopsis of what I’ve learned during my first month.

One thing has become immediately clear since moving over from journalism and into PR and marketing – I’m having to employ a high level of proactivity that, perhaps, my previous roles didn’t necessarily require.

I’m no longer reacting to press releases appearing in my inbox, interviewing business leaders, or hounding the phones for potential news stories.  Instead, I’m having to think outside of the box a bit, juggle different client needs, and deliver on the campaigns in place – all of which is an enjoyable challenge.

What does that involve then?

Well, rather than searching for stories, I’m searching for publicity opportunities for my clients at Source. For example, interview or feature opportunities for client businesses or submitting awards as they’re a great way to enhance their reputation and build credibility.

Social media is also increasingly important to client businesses and to ignore it would be suicide for a company looking to broaden its customer base. At Source, I research and create posts for my clients that cover a wide variety of topics, from industry news, people developments to charity initiatives.

Writing social media posts is a small contribution, but a few posts a week can keep your followers in the loop with regards to what’s happening on the inside, and what a company is doing to either improve its reputation or give back to the community.

It’s also been rewarding to get a better feel for some of the company’s software which helps identify and target key journalists or influencers and the social media scheduling and analysis tools which ensure we target the right post at the right time and to the right audience.

Time allocation

At the moment, I still feel like I’m getting to know Source PR, how we operate and, of course, my clients, but everyone here has been really helpful since I’ve arrived and I’m certainly starting to find my feet!

So far, I’ve also spent time has been spent writing blogs and building content for client websites, which has also really helped me get to know them. Curating the weekly social posts for the clients I look after is another great opportunity for me to familiarise myself with them, their industries, and the top industry publications.

But, because of the more proactive nature of PR, I’m starting to realise that the sooner the more ‘scheduled’ tasks can be done, like the socials, for example, the better! This then allows more time to look for new client opportunities or to add value to campaigns which helps cement existing relationships.

How’s it going?

In summary, I’m really enjoying it so far! I know which aspects of the role I can make my own and where my strengths lie, but I also know what I need to do to become a proficient Account Executive. Hopefully, with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, I’ll be able to head out and meet with some of our clients, too – it will be good to put some names to faces! So, as far as I’m concerned, it’s onwards and upwards from here.

 

Colin Vs Cuthbert, Covert Collaboration Or Legitimate Lawsuit?

If you’ve been anywhere near social media within the last week or so, you’ll have noticed that there’s something of an unexpected war going on between two beloved supermarket brands at the moment: M&S, the British retailer, has launched a court case against German supermarket Aldi for allegedly imitating its birthday cake, Colin the caterpillar, with its own version, Cuthbert.

 

A sour taste

 

It’s an unusual case for many reasons, with the first being that Aldi is known for copying other, ‘official’ brands, and replacing them with a similarly-designed, cheaper alternative. The retailer has thus far evaded a case like this, which begs the question: why this product in particular?

 

Another question remains: why target Aldi for a lawsuit when there are many other retailers, including ASDA, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, that all have caterpillar cakes too?

 

Some people have theorised that the ‘lawsuit’ is actually a collaboration between the two supermarkets to generate publicity for their respective brands. Though a court case is an unconventional way to generate PR, there are instances in which the attention brought by the companies involved has ensured the brand name has been given an amount of exposure that would rival a typical PR campaign. McVitie’s court case regarding the categorisation of a Jaffa Cake as a ‘cake’, which was initially a ‘biscuit’, started the now well-known debate of which category the confection lies in.

 

Similarly, a 12-year-long case also involved M&S regarding whether or not a ‘teacake’ was classed as a cake or a biscuit (the retailer ultimately winning their case).

 

Eagle-eyed M&S shoppers have also pointed out the new abundance of Colin products, such as mini cakes, sour sweets and gift bags, as well as children’s clothing and a Connie Caterpillar cake, supporting the fact that the company is definitely going big on all things caterpillar right now. Though a court case sounds like a stretch in terms of marketing tactics, stranger things have happened in the world of PR.

 

Copycat-erpillar

 

However, in the opinion of Rebecca Jane writing in the Burnley Express, the case is a legitimate one due to the extent of the similarities between Colin and Cuthbert, compared to the cakes made by the other supermarkets. ‘If you compare them all, they have fundamental differences – except for Aldi’s. The Aldi cake is almost identical to Marks and Spencer, and that’s where Aldi’s defence will fall down. In law land, in my belief, it is called ‘passing off’. Therefore, M&S will win.’

 

So it seems M&S are indeed willing to go to bat over these similarities: but is the lawsuit worth the poor PR generated?

 

Battle of the brands

 

The case has provoked Aldi’s social media team to take things by the reigns, providing an endless stream of jokes and memes regarding the sticky situation…

 

 

Aldi has been known to poke fun at other brands on Twitter, such as the IPA company Brewdog and, more recently, Dulux paint, due to its own hiccup involving its new sponsorship of Tottenham Hotspur. Its approach to social media, with tongue-in-cheek jokes and references to other brands, far surpasses that of M&S, who has so far stuck to its guns and have kept pretty quiet on Twitter regarding the case.

It all came to a head on Twitter on Tuesday, when Aldi took M&S to task in its most tactical move yet:

 

M&S’s response clearly tried to invoke the teasing approach Aldi has so far perfected, but turning down an offer of a collaboration for charity was never going to look good. Aldi has boxed them in a corner here: if M&S do indeed win the case, as predicted by Rebecca Jane, it would be a poor move for its image to keep the money it wins as opposed to donating it to Macmillan.

 

However, in the other corner, some believe that ‘playing the charity card’ was in bad taste by Aldi and over-stepped the line.

 

At the end of the day, was it even worth challenging the supermarket in court over such a petty difference? The fallout might just mean shoppers choose the cheaper, similar alternative, as the case seems to have done little but draw attention to the fact that shoppers can get an identical version of the cake for less!

 

A final note: these are the Google search trends for the respective products over the last 30 days. Only the sales of the products will determine the true effects of the trial, however, it looks like, for now, Colin is still very much the king of the cakes…

Time will tell how the case plays out: who knew children’s birthday cake could be so complicated?!

 

At Source, we know how best to put your brand’s name out there without any hassle. We have over ten years’ experience in PR, digital marketing and communications, including crisis comms: why not give us a call on 01829 72078, or get in touch with us via our TwitterFacebookInstagram or LinkedIn?

 

 

 

 

 

WHY REAL ‘WORK PERKS’ GIVE YOU THE BEST PR

It’s safe to say that the pandemic has shown employees all over the world their workplace’s true colours. The range of response from managers, bosses and directors has been enormous: from some workplaces forcing their employees to download tracking applications that monitor their every move, to others fully embracing the opportunity to let their staff work from home, encouraging flexibility and independence. (We’re happy to state that Source PR is in the latter category!) Naturally, business owners want to ensure their staff are still working effectively, but the lengths some go to have the potential to negatively impact the mental health of an already-fragile workforce.

 

Not so innocent?

 

The treatment of staff by businesses goes a long way in terms of marketing purposes: companies such as Google, Ben and Jerry’s and Innocent Smoothies have made a name for themselves with their relaxed approach to workspaces. Google’s workspaces include their infamous nap pods, in which employees are encouraged to isolate themselves inside when they’re feeling drowsy, slides and ping-pong tables. Ben and Jerry’s also incorporate ‘nap times’ into their work day, and Innocent’s London headquarters is coated in artificial grass and coffee-shop style benches, accompanied by a total absence of dress code – meaning there’s not a power suit in sight.

 

But do all of these so-called ‘perks’ – frequently cited on job websites in lieu of an actual salary in black-and-white – have the ability to make a happier and more productive workforce? Or are they simply opportunities for brands to appear ‘youthful’, fun-loving and innovative, all whilst sidestepping fair wages, effective HR protocol and – in the US – healthcare benefits?

 

THIS is it

 

I recently saw an Instagram post from the vegan food company ‘THIS’, which gave a refreshingly honest account of the cost of living in London – where its headquarters are – which is escalating far higher than wages can keep up with: particularly entry-level wages.

 

The post announces that the company will give each employee a starting salary of £35,000, as “life on £18k a year in London is massively crap.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

@this.uk via Instagram

 

By posting their news in a simple Instagram post – with little fanfare and fuss, and an emphasis on its desire to avoid ‘nauseating virtue-signal[ing]’ – THIS ensures that its followers know its intentions are not to generate as much buzz possible (a quick Google shows that they didn’t distribute a press release) but to inform them of their brand values. That’s not even mentioning the pay rise itself, which is a huge leap for a two-year old vegan food company, and will doubtlessly come as a welcome surprise to its employees.

 

The post is its most-liked by a country mile, with over 23,000 likes, in comparison to its average of 1,000-3,000 per post – meaning that the good news has generated more than its fair share of positive, organic PR. I’d never heard of THIS before seeing the post in question shared on friends’ Instagram stories, but now follow the page and, as a vegetarian, will definitely be checking the range out!

 

It just goes to show that tangible perks – in this case, a fair wage by London standards – help generate buzz in the way that Google’s playground offices (now yesterday’s news) initially did.

 

The price is right

 

Another example of not only good PR, but increased revenue that has been generated by tangible increases in workplace benefits, is the story of Dan Price, owner of Seattle card payment company Gravity Payments. After reading a study on the salary that Americans needed to be at their happiest – approximately $70,000 – Price decided this would be the minimum salary of every member of staff. This would require him to take a humongous $1m pay cut if he were to give this to all 120 of his employees.

 

However, implementing the pay rise across the board proved to be beneficial to say the least. The employee headcount at the company has doubled, with applicants naturally flooding to the business with their CVs in hand, and payments processed by Gravity rose from $3.8bn to $10.2bn due to the increased, and highly motivated, workforce.

 

After the success of his experiment, Price has featured on CNN, the Kelly Clarkson Show and Democratic nominee Andrew Yang’s podcast: all generating excellent PR for Gravity Payments, which by this point had received plenty. (His employees also all chipped in to buy him a Tesla!)

 

PR or ER?

 

By contrast, during the last few years, Google has been plagued with defamatory headlines: earlier this year, more than 200 Google employees formed the company’s first union demanding, amongst other things, fair wages, and the ability to work without fear of discrimination. The company is also currently battling three antitrust lawsuits, and in 2018 was subjected to global protests after numerous allegations of sexual misconduct were uncovered at the company.

 

Though a huge, global corporation like Google is naturally going to generate a mixed bag of positive and negative coverage, it’s clear that it has placed more of an emphasis on its image to attract employees as opposed to real benefits – a tenuous provision in the age of social justice and activism, that, consequently, has only worsened its reputation and allowed for damaging headlines and coverage.

 

Authenticity is key

 

It’s wise to want to project a positive image of your business, but authenticity and transparency are fail-safe ways of ensuring the ‘bubble’ never bursts. And if that means more employee satisfaction surveys and fewer ping-pong tables, it might be for the best for everyone involved – your brand included.

 

At Source, we know a thing or two about how best to present your company to the world. We have over ten years’ experience in PR, digital marketing and communications, including crisis comms: why not give us a call on 01829 72078, or get in touch with us via our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JO MALONE’S MISJUDGEMENT – THE IMPORTANCE OF STAYING ON TOP OF CURRENT AFFAIRS

While some businesses have folded due to the impact of COVID-19, others have managed to find their feet during it. We’ve seen tongue-in-cheek advertising slogans emerge, such as KFC’s switch from ‘It’s finger lickin’ good’ to ‘It’s good’ as a reference to the importance of hand-washing and personal hygiene,  showing an increase of sense of humour in brand communications in the past few months – a far cry from how we were all feeling back in March.

 

Staying on top of current affairs has always been an efficient way of plugging into the latest trends and hot topics, from newsjacking in PR, to keeping your social media strategies relevant. Gymshark is particularly adept at this, whether it’s voicing their support for the Black Lives Matter movement via a $125,000 donation, or something smaller, such as using the latest Twitter meme format to generate a healthy volume of engagement.

 

 

 

But it’s not just important for brands to stay on top of current affairs for their own inbound marketing, it’s also an essential way of knowing what not to say and do.

 

Gently does it

 

Jo Malone (the brand, not the person – she sold the company in 1999) recently faced backlash for exactly this. The candle and fragrance creator changed an ad that previously starred, and was conceived by, actor John Boyega to include a Chinese actor instead. The use of Liu Haoran instead was to allegedly cater to its Chinese consumer base. The original advert explores Boyega’s beginnings in Peckham, London, with the ad even starring his friends and family. The slogan for the Jo Malone campaign was ‘A London Gent’. With Boyega’s London roots, it simply makes much more sense than when compared to Haoran, who was born and raised in China. Boyega has since dropped his partnership with the company, saying that he does not condone ‘dismissively trading out one’s culture.’

 

Whilst the decision by Jo Malone was a mistake whichever way you look at it, it comes as an even bigger sting following not only the rise in protests in the last few months from Black Lives Matter, but also the actor’s own vocal support for the movement. The erasure of Boyega for seemingly no apparent reason is a reminder of the subliminal racism that is perpetuated by some within advertising industry. The Force Awakens brought in $124 million from China’s box office: though it fared much less strongly than the Avengers movies due to the lack of a nostalgia from Chinese viewers, there’s no doubt that he is known not just to Westerners, but Easterners too.

 

Keeping it current

 

If the powers that be at Jo Malone had their fingers a little more on the pulse when it comes to current political situations, would they have continued with the replacement of John Boyega for their Chinese advert? It’s difficult to say – many more factors must have been at play behind closed doors. But what we do know is that the company would have retained its partnership with the actor. There’s also no doubt that the Jo Malone will have lost the support of some of its British customers in the wake of the upset – something that could have been avoided with a little more planning and consideration for current affairs.

 

Whilst an outright support for Black Lives Matter is a risk some brands simply won’t take, many are. Some, simply to keep their fingers on the pulse, but for others like Gymshark, it’s a clear expression of their brand values.

 

Get in touch with us

 

At Source PR, we always have our eye on the ball when it comes to all things digital. For advice on PR, digital marketing and social media, including working with influencers, get in touch with our team here.

NON-ESSENTIAL RETAIL STORES: HOW TO REBUILD CONSUMER TRUST

On the 15th June 2020, the Government allowed non-essential retail stores to reopen after being initially forced to close in April due to the outbreak of Coronavirus. Since, it’s been a tough ride for business owners. Trying to maintain a level of consumer trust whilst also being unable to operate is difficult. With many workers on furlough and so many businesses having to cease trading in all respects, some companies mightn’t have had the time to work on their communications and brand reputations during the lockdown period. So, if this is you, we’ve put together some advice on how to rebuild consumer trust and your brand image as you reopen today.

Rebuild Consumer Trust With Visibility

Rebuilding trust starts with being transparent and visible. There are a number of channels you can use to communicate with your stakeholders: social media, email, face to face, even through the press by getting publicity for your brand. You’ll also want to reach people that aren’t in your pre-existing consumer pool, too. We’ll touch on rebuilding stakeholder relations further down, but to really get your foot off the ground as non-essential retail stores begin to reopen, you’re going to want to make sure you’re visible to the entire public. As many people as you can be.

Spread the word of your reopening far and wide, make use of social media, and also sponsored posts where appropriate. Generate press coverage for your business and be loud. It’s all about being visible, especially if you trade in a saturated market. Don’t go quite and assume people will remember you – it’s been a torrid time for us all, you’ll need to remind people why they will love your brand. This is the first step of rebuilding trust.

Communicate What You Are Doing Differently

Now that you have the attention of stakeholders, you need to make sure you’re telling them the right thing. When announcing that you are reopening for trading, you’ll also need to communicate at the same time the steps you are taking to be Covid-19 secure. Presently, non-essential retail stores are only allowed to reopen if they can follow the 2m social distancing rules and can put precautions in place to protect shoppers. You’ll likely be doing this, so let your customers know too.

Lockdown has been an extraordinary and unprecedented time for us all, not least in the UK but across the whole world. Consumer attitudes are bound to have shifted and thus it’s only to be expected that some may be reluctant to get back out there and visit retailers such as yourself again. If you want to rebuild consumer trust, you need to be prepared to be very open, honest and detailed about how you are keeping people safe; and more importantly – you need to ensure those responsible measures are adhered to.

It could be as simple as posting on social media the signage you have installed, the sanitation points that you have around stores or the precautions staff are taking when they come into contact with consumers, or you could post updates on your website or email your databases. Have you and your staff taken Covid-19 hygiene courses in preparation? Share that too. There are plenty of ways to put the message across, the most important thing is making sure it’s said one way or another.

Encourage And Share Testimonials

One of the best forms of marketing remains to be WOM (word of mouth). Around 75% of people go to friends of family for product or service recommendations. If you’re offering a great in-store experience that allows customers to feel safe, then it’s likely they’ll tell somebody that they know about it. However, as a business, it helps to move that along even more and encourage wider testimonials. Is there a way you can incentivise customers to review their shopping experience? If so, this is something worth capitalising on as not only does this encourage further support from the public but it also gives you content to leverage on social media to keep on reinforcing and rebuilding consumer trust in your brand.

Don’t Ignore The Situation, Acknowledge It

Finally, it could be tempting to adopt a ‘business as usual’ stance. Not all brands will want to address the issue of Coronavirus head on, perhaps in fears of it putting more fear into consumers or even because simply that’s what everybody else is talking about. However, news concerning Covid-19 is quite frankly unavoidable. It’s fair to assume that almost everyone living in the UK will be aware to some degree of what has happened, and as such to not address it could even be seen as ignorant.

It’s important to acknowledge as a brand why you were closed, why you are now reopening and most importantly – what you have changed. Government regulations aside, you have a duty to your consumers to adopt safe measures as a retailer, being upfront about these is important – if you communicate to your customers and explain that their safety is paramount, this is a good way to rebuild consumer trust and encourage them that it is safe to shop with you.

Need Help To Rebuild Consumer Trust In Your Brand?

If you’re a brand – non-essential retailer or other – and are in need of support as your business reopens, then get in touch with The Source. Whether you’re needing to communicate to your customers, or market to a wider audience, we have experience in both B2B and B2C PR, marketing, social media and digital communications, we can help you.

THE EXPECTATIONS OF BRANDS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

In recent years, the way brands approach public relations and customer interaction has changed radically. When your ASOS or Amazon package doesn’t arrive on time, your first step might be to send a tweet or DM to their official accounts. You’re then likely to hear from a sales team member or social media intern within minutes. Some even go beyond customer service and go to great lengths to provide humorous, cutting content that quickly goes viral; Tesco seem particularly adept at this, whether that’s ribbing a guy who implied that it’s uncool to be on Tesco Mobile, making a pun about ‘hitting the hay’ during their horse meat scandal in 2013, or flippantly telling a Tweeter that they probably aren’t going on any dates this weekend.

An Era of Accountability

A brand’s presence on social media also allows people to come together as a collective to hold them accountable for a product, headline or action that is, at best, below par, and at worst, offensive or harmful. The examples are numerous: the beauty community alone has held gurus such as Jaclyn Hill accountable for hair and metal balls found in her range of lipstick, as well as Jeffree Star for similar reasons; the defamatory Pepsi commercial that featured Kendall Jenner was taken down in less than 24 hours after Twitter’s backlash; and the Advertising Standards Authority began to investigate a weight-loss pill company after its billboards asking ‘Are you beach body ready?’ sparked heated conversations online.

But just where is the line drawn when it comes to advertising? A tongue-in-cheek joke or pun on a billboard might be just that to some, but to others, it could be a sign of the way in which advertising manipulates stereotypes or the insecurity of consumers. In the age of social media and accountability, it’s great that companies find it more difficult to get away with ads that are racist, sexist or otherwise. If it weren’t for the long campaigning of women’s rights groups, for example, we’d still be seeing ads for cars flanked by bikini-clad women.

A Step Too Far…Or Simple Misjudgement?

But it’s not always so clear cut. A campaign by Brewdog in 2018 was withdrawn amid claims of sexism, yet the pink bottles of their Punk IPA – rebranded to ‘Pink IPA’, complete with a new design – underwent their makeover to promote the gender pay gap, with 20% of the profits going to charities that fight gender inequality. Nevertheless, it was deemed ostentatious and unnecessary by The Crafty Beeress, a beer industry blogger, and Labour MP Jo Stevens, who tweeted their distaste.

McDonald’s, usually an industry-leader when it comes to ad campaigns, dug a hole for themselves when they encouraged social media users to use the hashtag #McDStories back in 2012 in order to highlight their guarantee of fresh produce. Users shared their horror stories of ‘finding a fingernail’ in their Big Mac, being hospitalized for food poisoning, and losing 50lb after they stopped eating at the restaurant. The campaign – originally set out to promote something positive – was so disastrous it lasted a mere two hours.

The McDonald’s ad in particular is a stark reminder of just what can happen if the tides of social media turn against a brand. Never mind if the campaign has good intentions; it seems there’s nothing more people enjoy on social media than collectively complaining, for better or worse.

So what can businesses learn from this?

Unfortunately, it sometimes seems to be the case that campaigns are either a swing or a miss, depending entirely on how they’re perceived. Common sense dictates not to go for anything that might be provocative in terms of social justice, and yet the alternative – promoting equality – doesn’t always sit right with consumers either. Ads that are simple, punchy and effective, with no ulterior motives, seem to be the safest bet.

For advice on digital marketing and PR, give us a call on 01829 720789, or follow us on Twitter (@source_tweets), Instagram (@PRSource) and Facebook (Source PR).

Make Your Brand Stand Out From The Crowd

If the phrase ‘we’ve updated our privacy policy’ sends a shiver down your spine, don’t worry – you’re not alone. The recent changes in GDPR laws have left few untouched by consent forms and promises of the sacred nature of personal data collection. But we’re not here to talk about the value of an opted-in database (worthy of a whole other post of its own, with our client Textlocal finding that 54% of opted-in SMS users will respond to a business text), but rather about the panic that ensued as the 25th May approached – and how this can harm your brand.

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