Even as someone new to the world of PR, I can recognise the impact PR campaigns can have, whether for better or for worse.
During my two weeks of work experience at Acceleris I have learnt the significance of brands protecting their reputations. There have been lots of examples in the media recently where brands have triumphed in marketing themselves and some at the opposite end of the scale.
Here we take a look at some examples which have sparked criticism from the not-so-adoring public, as well as the championing of some brands for their success.
Neither hopeful nor glorious festival
The ironically named ‘Hope and Glory Festival’ in Liverpool was cancelled in early August, just as acts were ready to go on stage. The worst part however, is that it was cancelled with one disastrous tweet simply saying, ‘No festival today’. Overcrowding at the 12,500 capacity St George’s Quarter led to the event being scrapped, with thousands of ticket holders left disappointed. Day-ticket holders lost out on both a highly anticipated festival and £55, while those who had bought a weekend ticket and paid out £89 were left confused and angry.
Although some posts on the Facebook page pointed the blame at the production manager, who was even named and shamed, the PR company behind the event were ultimately responsible for dealing with all the publicity and social media for the event. The agency continued to point the blame at anyone but themselves, and the director added fuel to the fire of public outrage when he bungled his interview on talkRadio and only offered to refund the one ticket to a listener who called in. In such a modern, technology dependent era, PR disasters like this spread like wildfire and can easily destroy a company’s reputation. There is no doubt that this event was a disaster and the PR company have been placed at the centre of it.
Social media Mum 1, V&A Museum nil
A breastfeeding mum took to social media after she was asked to ‘cover up’ when she accidentally flashed her nipple whilst breastfeeding at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Kensington. However, the mother did not passively accept this disapproval, and she took to Twitter to express her outrage.
Using her Twitter account the mother tweeted: “Flashed a nanosecond of nipple while #breastfeeding and was asked to cover up in @V_and_A courtyard. Am perplexed…” Then continued with, “On the upside, I had a lovely day at the V&A exploring depictions of breasts through the ages and making lovely mammaries. I mean memories”. Ironically, the incident occurred within World Breastfeeding Week, which works to dispel the sense of disapproval some women feel while breastfeeding in public. Using hashtags such as #normalisebreastfeeding , #empoweredbirthproject and #breastisbest.
The V&A’s director apologised after the tweet went viral, saying “@vaguechera V sorry. Our policy is clear: women may breastfeed wherever they like, wherever they feel comfortable & shld not be disturbed.”
Easy access to social media allows people to share perceived injustices and also allowed the V&A to publicly apologise. Ultimately, it all ended well.
In a glorious attempt to boost tourism, the organisation Visit Sweden has listed the entire country on Airbnb to try and appeal to young travellers. The Swedish tourist board is trying to encourage and educate people in the concept of Allesmansrätten, or ‘the freedom to roam’.
Allesmansrätten refers to the general public’s right to camp, hike, explore and use the country’s natural resources at will. The campaign boasts that, “Sweden has no Eiffel Towers. No Niagara Falls or Big Bens. Not even a little Sphinx. Sweden has something else- the freedom to roam. This is our monument” conveying that Sweden’s natural landscape is the jewel in its crown and a great reason to visit. The weirdly wonderful campaign promotes the country’s own unique offerings and the Airbnb stunt helped them gain publicity and drive traffic to both Visit Sweden’s and Airbnb’s websites.
Heroes and zeros awards
Each of these events gained recognition across various media channels and one in particular reignited the discussion on the issue of breastfeeding in public. It is becoming increasingly clear how crucial the effectiveness and speed of responses from companies is, in order to prevent the destruction of a certain brand.
For a successful PR campaign which is current, unique and exciting, Visit Sweden has to win my hero award.
As the biggest failure, the Hope and Glory Festival PR catastrophe is doubtlessly the winner of my zero award. Hopefully the lesson of ‘not cancelling a huge event with a three word tweet’ has been learnt.
Here at Acceleris we have a vested interest in the reputations of our clients. We believe it’s not what you say that defines you. It’s what you do and how you do it that creates your reputation. What we do is protect and promote the brands of our clients. To find out more about our work for other clients, take a look at: http://www.acceleris-mc.com/pr-portfolio-case-studies.html