Communication Tactics

WestJet surprises travelers with a Christmas miracle

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WestJet Flash Mob

After their flashmob viral video campaign last year, WestJet knew they had to make ‘giving’ look its best this Christmas.

Christmas miracles really do happen. A team of Westjetters and the power of technology brought this heartwarming campaign to life.

“T’was a night before Christmas, and all across the land… the good folks at WestJet had a miracle plan.”

As families were waiting at the departure area prior to their WestJet flight at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport and John C. Munro International Airport in Hamilton, a big blue box decorated as a present caught their eye. On one side of the box was a screen with an interactive Santa all dressed in blue. Upon scanning their boarding passes (loaded with personal I.D. info) a Santa addressed the passengers by name, asking them what they wanted for Christmas. Toddlers stared, old ladies giggled and mothers’ jaws dropped as jolly old Saint Nick asked them personally what they would like this Christmas.

While Santa asked and passengers answered, a team of WestJet employees tuned in and took notes of each request. WestJetters then quickly shopped and shopped at stores like 17th Avenue S.W., Best Buy, and CrossIron Mills to find everything on the list for those lucky Calgary-bound flights.

“But was everything ready? We all had to wait… For the moment of truth, at Carousel 8.”

The real magic happened when passengers were surprised with a snowy Christmas landscape at the baggage claim area upon their arrival. This time, WestJet Santa was there in the flesh along with a gingerbread man mascot. When the baggage claim light came on, a succession of presents rolled in. Tagged by name, the well-branded blue and white gifts made their way into the arms of the smiling travelers. As requested, the young family got the ‘big TV’ they wanted and the dad got his ‘socks and underwear’. Some lucky families even got a Christmas flight home.

Studio M, a digital production company based out of Toronto started brainstorming with WestJet’s sponsorship lead Greg Plata in August to make this miracle come to life. The video was posted to WestJet’s YouTube page on Sunday, December 8th and quickly sparked an online buzz that is sure to carry through until Christmas.

The stunt was impeccably branded and seamless, it is no wonder blogs are saying “WestJet’s Christmas surprise will make you believe in Santa.”

“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good flight!”

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Console Wars: How the PS4 has taken the edge in the U.K.

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With the release of Sony’s new PS4 console on November 29 in the United Kingdom, the Japanese tech company went into high gear promoting its release throughout England and the United Kingdom.

And that’s no surprise since its direct competitor, Microsoft, released it’s next gen console, Xbox One, only a week before the PS4 release. With both companies pushing out brand new consoles at the same time, they have entered a fierce battle for market share. Because of this, the value of generating positive buzz in the U.K. has massive implications for the success of both consoles.

Sony was quick to recognize this and took matters into its own hands to ensure no one forgot that the PS4 was being released in the U.K. at the end of November.

The tech-giant turned to the marketing firm 180 Amsterdam to help launch a campaign for its most powerful console yet.  Al Moseley, CCO of 180 Amsterdam and his team decided to focus on the gamers and their experience rather than the console hardware in order to help generate buzz for the upcoming release.

“The goal for us was to turn a product built for the gamer, by the gamer, into a communications campaign that seduced the gamer.” – Al Moseley

With this simple ingenious idea in mind, the “For the Players” campaign was born. This integrated marketing campaign was filled with gaming culture references, special effects, and relates directly to their core consumer: the gamer. By focusing on the gamer’s experience, Sony was able to generate significant buzz among their target audience before the console was even close to hitting the shelves of U.K. retailers.

See the U.K. ad here:

But Sony didn’t stop there, they also took their campaign to the skies of London.

OXOTo further help amp up the release of the PS4 in Britain, Sony took over the OXO Tower in London for the length of November. The massive landmark was adorned in the iconic symbols from the gaming console’s controller, generating a huge amount of impressions around London. These symbols were lit up alongside the glowing London skyline every night for the entire month up until the U.K. release date.

The choice of using the OXO Tower as a freestanding installation by Sony was strategic for two reasons. Not only is the tower an iconic London landmark that can be seen across the city, but the building has existing windows that are already shaped like an O and an X: two of Playstation’s four renowned symbols – making it the perfect choice.

This extensive campaigning was not done in vain, and has already paid off for Sony in the U.K. market.

Over the opening weekend in the U.K., Sony sold over 250,000 PS4 consoles. This is approximately 100,000 units more than its competitor the Xbox One. This makes the PS4 the fastest-selling gaming console in U.K. history. And it is no doubt that the massive public relations efforts on behalf of Sony and 180 Amsterdam helped make this possible.

A war is raging in the United Kingdom, and Sony and its PS4 are on top.

Your move, Microsoft.

Gap’s “Make Love” Holiday Campaign Makes Waves

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The American multinational clothing retailer Gap has released the holiday extension of its “Back to Blue” campaign launched earlier this fall. The holiday campaign called “Make Love” showcases the things that matter most in life — genuine love, respect, and compassion.

The U.S. campaign starring cultural icons from around the world includes print ads, mail, social media and television ads. New digital content is also unveiled regularly on the brand’s YouTube account.

“Make Love is about giving love through action, whether it’s a service to others or a gift that’s a representation of love,”  -Seth Farbman, Gap’s Global Chief Marketing Officer.

Gap has collaborated with celebrities who have been sharing true love with their field of work and their social lives. The famous personalities modeled Gap’s 2013 holiday collection in the ads, adding a personalized touch to the garments. All stills starring celebrities such as Tony Bennett, Cyndi Lauper, Waris Ahluwalia, Malin Akerman, along with other personalities and famous models can be found on the official Pinterest page of the brand.

On November 24th, a tweet by Arsalan Iftikhar (@TheMuslimGuy) was sent along with a shot of a vandalized “Make Love” print ad. Gap’s still of Sikh model Waris Ahluwalia and model and film-maker Quentin Jones located in New York City had been marked with very racist comments. The campaign’s tagline had the word “Love” crossed out and replaced with “Bombs,” and “Please stop driving taxis,” scribbled a little lower.

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(via Twitter, @TheMuslimGuy)

The ad had been received so well, encouraging and promoting interracial love and diversity in America. Several tweets and articles rooted for Gap’s campaign and what it stood for.

Due to this appreciation for the campaign, the vandalism was quickly reported on Twitter. This gave Gap an opportunity to excel in public relations reaction skills and problem solving.

The very next day, Gap proudly changed their Twitter account’s header to the Ahluwalia-Jones still, and professionally responded to the tweet asking for more information from the sender, Iftikhar, so that the ad could be taken down and replaced.

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“@TheMuslimGuy Hi there. Thanks for informing us. Can you please follow & DM us? We’d like to know the location of this.” – @Gap

Upon its re-installment on November 28th (four days after the original vandalized poster was tweeted) the new ad was trending all over the Internet.

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The “Make Love” campaign’s poster of musician Malcolm Ford and actor Max Snow has also been vandalized with hate speech in Chicago. The poster was defaced with homophobic comments and was also quickly made public on Twitter by JK Trudell (@jktrudell), and Gap replied shortly thereafter.

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Considering the fact that the hate speech on these ads dealt with touchy issues like race and homosexuality, the brand reacted quickly and effectively. Gap’s public efforts to fix these vandalized ads are impressive and well worth the buzz they have generated.

What do you think of Gap’s “Make Love” campaign and of their efforts in restoring the campaign’s image and message?

 

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They call me “Macca’s”. That’s not my name. That’s not my name.

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ImageMcDonald’s restaurants are publicly recognized in six of the seven continents on the planet. The world famous company claims to operate in 119 countries, with over 33,000 restaurants worldwide.

Whoa.

Now with this much branding, how could McDonald’s possibly relate to smaller, more intimate communities?

McDonald’s Australia CMO Mark Lollback knew just the answer.

This year in January, the world famous company changed its name to Macca’s at 13 restaurant locations throughout the country in celebration of Australia Day and its 40th anniversary.

Studies have shown that over 50 per cent of Australians have adopted the bubbly nickname for the world’s most beloved burger joint.

“Aussies are extremely proud of who we are and where we’re from, and part of being an Aussie or being accepted by Aussies is to be given a nickname – it’s a unique and defining element of Australian culture.” – Mark Lollback

As a Public Relations student, I find this campaign quite thoughtful and unique. Nicknames are used as a shorter pronunciation of a name or title, but can also be used as a connection between two people to strengthen their relationship. Lollback’s plan was to strengthen the company’s relationship with its Australian demographic by changing its brand to a commonly known nickname among the people.

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As part of the DDB campaign, McDonald’s used TV, print, digital, outdoor, PR and social executions to introduce their new Aussie Tastes Menu. McDonald’s could not have picked a better time to execute this PR Stunt. Physically changing the name on their signs occurred during the first week of January until February 4, during the nation’s holiday when morale was high. This was their final tactic for introducing their new Aussie Tastes Menu.

“One of McDonald’s strengths is our global consistency, but also our ability to meet customer demands locally.” – Mark Lollback

My name is Dylan Cain and I have more nicknames than I can count. Some people call me Dill, while others call me Cainer, Dilly, D-Man, or Dill-Pickle. The list goes on and on. When someone calls me by any nickname, I instantly feel special. McDonalds Australia took this idea upon them to further identify with their audience and make their campaign special, too.

Finger Lickin’ Great!

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In 2010, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) knew they had to come up with an innovative campaign to generate buzz and increase the chain restaurant’s business. The company wanted to draw attention to the brand’s 75-scholarship Colonel’s Scholars program. With social media on the rise, the Colonel knew just what to cook up.

KFC teamed up with Weber-Shandwick, one of the world’s leading global public relations firms to award a $20,000 scholarship for a single tweet.

Students could use up to 140 characters, while including the hashtag #KFCScholar to convince KFC executives they were deserving of a $20,000 scholarship towards their college education.

KFC kept active on Twitter, providing followers with tweets like:

KFC's Tweet

“KFC Twitter scholarship application/Tweets rolling in! Search #KFCScholar to read them. More info: http://bit.ly/9reSIN

The scholarship tweet campaign generated lots of buzz for the company. KFC’s Twitter handle saw a 20 per cent increase in followers in just two weeks. The Internet definitely noticed the Colonel’s contest, generating more than nine million social media impressions. (Most of them resulting from tweets during the brief entry period.)

Time magazine’s Keith Wagstaff writes:

“I always thought Colonel Sanders’ commitment was to artery-clogging fried chicken, but no, apparently he’s a scholar as well. I guess that makes the KFC Double Down brain food!”

The winner, 17-year-old Amanda Russell tweeted:

Amanda Russell's Tweet

“Hey Colonel! Your scholarship’s the secret ingredient missing from my recipe for success! Got the grades, drive, just need cash!”

…Earning herself the $20,000 scholarship.

This PR campaign worked wonders for KFC, attracting 2,800 applicants and successfully catching the public’s eye.  Good thinking, KFC and Weber-Shandwick!

Blog post by: Veronique Simard

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