Three of the best this Christmas


M&S Magic & Sparkle campaign shot

M&S Magic & Sparkle campaign shot

Christmas is a great time for reflection and my thoughts often turn to the fantastic PR and marketing campaigns we’ve been involved with and those we’ve seen elsewhere.  For example we’ve loved developing some really clever content strategies for office supplies price comparison site, where business is burgeoning and international music venue Sage Gateshead, where engagement is at an all time high.

Our video production arm, Your Brand As Broadcaster,  has been extremely well used by almost all of our clients who have benefited from higher click through rates and an improved organic page ranking in Google, driven in part by the films we have produced, each designed to be watchable, relevant and very shareable.

Looking at some of the big brands, there has been a lot to draw inspiration from. My favourite campaign of the year has most definitely been Coke’s personalised bottles, a really simple and highly effective idea that continues to be popular now.

The summer campaign invited people to share a moment of happiness with friends, families and loved ones and – in a relatively brave move – swapped the iconic logo on the bottles with 250 of the most popular names in Great Britain. Taken on the road in July and August, trips into towns and cities saw over 350,000 bottles personalised. I’m sure you’ll remember it – never before have I seen so many avatar’s replaced on Twitter and Facebook with named bottles of coke in a superb example of how people will become your brand ambassadors for you, if you give them a compelling reason to.

Interested in other peoples’ favourite campaigns from 2013, I turned to the chair of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations North East committee, Chris Taylor, for his view. For him, it has been ‘Elvis has left the building’.

Chris said: “Welsh local government might be an odd place for the year’s best PR campaign but Torfaen Borough Council’s winter maintenance message featuring an Elvis impersonator talking about gritting roads and collecting waste is a work of genius.

“At a time when North East local authorities are dusting down their grit wagons and winter safety messages, this is a fantastic example of how councils can communicate with residents. It’s engaging, funny and very, very shareable, yet with a serious message.

“Half a million YouTube views later you have a lot of more engaged residents with a smile on their faces who have a new perspective on the work their council does to keep things moving. Check it out at and spare a thought for all of Elvis’s colleagues keeping our region moving this winter!”

I then asked Stephen Waddington, director of Ketchum Europe and the co-author of #BrandVandals, if any of the Christmas campaigns had caught his eye.

Stephen said: “The M&S Christmas campaign has become a traditional feature of the seasonal calendar alongside crackers, mince pies, presents and trees. This year’s #magicandsparkle campaign is no turkey. It’s an exception piece of creative work that is beautifully produced and integrated across all forms of media from TV advertising to social.

“The question is whether the campaign translates to magic and sparkle for the high street retailer. M&S recently announced its ninth consecutive quarter of falling sales. Food sales are up but clothing continues to fall against high street competition.

“Therein lies the issue for M&S. Good public relations and strong marketing campaigns can generate attention but it needs to be supported by product.”

All the examples shown here are worth looking at if you’re searching for creative ideas for your 2014 campaigns but Stephen makes a good point. Glitz and glamour and big spend doesn’t always translate into sales so tread carefully and make sure the product or service you are offering fulfils a need for your target market – and that you deliver on the brand promises you are making.




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