Tag Archives: Public Relations
In what could have been a successful ongoing event to add to the excitement for tourist visiting Times Square, New York was actually just a single 24-hour PR event for Corona. The event was a 24-hour beach party but it should have been part of a longer event as summer is more than just 24 hours and beach holidays should be relaxing not fly in fly out as Corona has tried to market them.
From an online perspective it was a bit of a dismal failure with a larger drop in online interest in the brand after the event, you can see even when adding in News headlines, none of the PR activities around the 24 beach party were picked up by media. For the amount of money that was spent renting the prime real estate in one of the most expensive locations in the world, more thought should have been put into PR as well as online marketing. According to AdAge the costs to advertise in Times Square can range around $350,000/month for a single outdoor billboard and that was 5 years ago, but according to Wikipedia the signs can be rented from as little as $10,000 per hour if available.
A 2006 NYTimes article on Times Square’s viral benefits for advertisers being that visitors/tourists photograph, blog and watch the YouTube clips but even using the audience figures this campaign still amounts to a failure. The rental cost would have been around $25000-50,000 for the day at 2006 prices and since it wasn’t a public holiday Corona might have even got a discount for their event, but I’m not sure they got a decent ROI for a haphazard product launch.
Beer, Win & Spirit companies know how to do a headline grabbing launch party, but this event seemed to lack all the PR hype a unique event like this should have attracted. One of the Youtube clips I found while fairly well produced still didn’t really set the charts on fire with less than 400 views, that shows that the event didn’t attract as much attention and interest as it could have.
There also doesn’t appear to be anything like an official Youtube brand channel, an official twitter feed as Corona Summerbration did last year, it still actually has a few hundred people who are following the account and it would have been smart to update these loyal followers that the new campaign for 2010 is Beach Party. You have a pre-engaged audience ready and willing to accept advertising/brand promotional messages for Corona summer campaigns. It’s not like you are now selling Corona T shirts or are cross promoting other beer brands, it’s the same product and its the same seasonal campaign, which makes it a perfect match that was missed.
It seems that the old Summerbration campaign page is still up and live, which is wasteful for the client Corona who is paying the costs to host the site and should be redirected to the new Beach Getaway campaign site. The redirect will provide the new site with increased traffic, improved search results in search engines such as Google and allows the consumers to easily find this years promotion and not get confused with Summerbration 2009.
The Facebook pages also seem to be lacking for Corona as a brand but I did find an unofficial fanpage for Corona Extra. But the Corona Extra Facebook page has 22,292 fans who could have been engaged to drive some hype prior to the event, and even used to better distribute the summary videos shown above to friends on Facebook. The below images show that even though the Facebook page is not an official page it still has a reasonably high level of fan interaction for the wall posts which the Corona Beach Party @ Times Square could have benefited from.
This shows the brands complete disconnect with online marketing and failure to understand the benefits of engaging social media which was a shame as I know many people in New York would have attended if they knew the event was on. It wasn’t a secret show for a big act, it was a PR event for a new summer promotion that flopped in one of the biggest advertising market places in the world, maybe they should just stick to making beer?
Looking at Google Insights for Search screenshot below for a period of the last 30 days for US Google search traffic around the keyword “Corona” showed that even though the Beach Party event was held in New York City, it was only the 4th most interested metro location for search traffic around “Corona”. The metro locations that showed more interest in Corona was: Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth and Washington with San Francisco matching New York for web traffic.
Typically when a large event happens and is promoted effectively it influences consumer web search traffic as they are looking to find out more about the event, where it was held and what it was offering/promoting. There was a very weak link between offline activities at Times Square, via PR channels and a complete miss on the online activities.
Looking at the website there is also a very large potential advertising space that Corona could have used to promote its Times Square Beach Party to its actual customers, there is a small link that enables you to visit their official Corona Facebook fanpage but I’m unable to access it, as it seems that page is no longer active and just redirects back to Facebook.com. This is a another failure to get social media right for this beach getaway campaign and it would have made more sense to have a campaign specific Corona Facebook page for all their summer events which can be re-used each year and would continue to grow members and audience they can market…
Corona’s marketing agency could have easily allocated a bigger budget around AdWords that would target at least New York residents, who heard about the event but missed it and wanted to find out more what it was about. There was some ads showing for Corona related search terms but they could have been tailored to NY with a messages such as hints about the Beach event they missed but it’s not too late to win…
Why not buy more AdWords traffic?
During the time leading up to the 24 hour event, it would have made sense to buy AdWords around Times Square related searches and depending on the budget it would have made sense to continue this until the campaign gathered some more momentum at least in the New York market as shown in the metro interests was quite low for New York. Since the event was focused around Times Square, it makes sense to run a geographic campaign that should capture some of that traffic.
When I heard about the event, I Googled it to see what I could find out about the Corona Beach Party event, the screenshot below shows that besides the 2 video results posted 5 days ago, and a press release showing at #5 the results seemed to be more focusing around Corona’s dual signs that are showing on 1600 Broadway on 48th Street and not the event. This shows both a lack of freshness in the Google results around Corona but also how it is likely that even if the PR releases had worked, there was no campaign site or official page detailing more about the event and advising its just a 24 hour one-off event.
It seems that while some of the digital PR releases using keyword friendly links “win a beach getaway” worked for the exact phrase, the failure of the PR campaign to get picked up by multiple media publications meant that the site will likely struggle to the much higher traffic and suitable term “beach getaway” as shown below in the second screenshot. Again there is a missed market that could have been reached by expanding the campaign to use a larger AdWords budget. It’s interesting to see that Coke did not want to miss the PR opportunity and was seen in several searches buying AdWords traffic around related search phrases, all promoting its own Summer rewards program.
The welcome pages that require you to enter your state and verify your age is a large roadblock for any campaign, but business needs to obey local laws and campaigns such as the FTC’s national campaign to prevent underage drinking.
While many companies seem to be understanding how social media works and they are slowly getting better at tracking consumer sentiment and complaints they still seem to fail at responding. Following someone’s bad advice as to how to best respond to the increasing negative feelings within social media and mainstream media, AT&T produced a “Im a PC” style video.
The canned response from AT&T is a PR polished video combining flashy graphics, friendly images and some random guy named Seth the blogger talking about how everything is not really that bad as supported by the random graphs shown in the background. The video also highlights that AT&T is to be credited for enabling the smartphone revolution over the past few years with no supportive facts or recognition of the other network providers.
The first point which Seth the blogger helps explain is that the issues around their current network issues are in fact based on you and 300% the growth in wireless usage each year. Considering falling revenue from other segments of the market would the best way to explain your failing network to provide quality service on customers using it? Is it better than consumers are not using your network?
Each time you use data on your mobile phone plan over your allocated data rate you pay your phone company its a simple enough concept. Looking on a AT&T business rates plans this shows that excess data usage is charged at $0.0048/kb or $5.12/mb which makes for a very profitable business, not something to complain about.
The process where AT&T begin to try and repair their reputation involves first explaining the complexities behind the issue of bandwidth and how more complex it is to deal with MMS. This is another area where they fail down as typically the early adopters who are also the ones making the most complaints have a good grasp around the technology and don’t need a “Dummies guide to mobiles” video. If you are trying to reach your audience using social media you need to tailor your message to your audience, and this is another area where AT&T fail.
The point about this ground breaking technology is that MMS is not a new feature on mobile phones and has been available on GSM/GPRS since MMS was first introduced by Telenor of Norway in March 2002. This was followed by Optus introduced MMS into Australia in July 2002, and mm02 launch in europe in October 2002, so why the big issue for a large telecommunication company like AT&T?
As Gizmodo points out the failure of the MMS is likely due to AT&T Opt-Out codes automatically enabled on all their subscribers accounts, so if this is in fact an internal issue why build a smoke screen around the issue that they need to do more?
So the points to learn from this social media failure is if your are responding to your complaints
- match your message to your audience
- don’t include useless images/graphics
- support your statements with facts
- don’t treat your audience as idiots
- use high profile executives not characters such as “Seth the blogger”
- don’t spend more money on the video than your customer service
- update your website to include new product information you refer to “MMS”
CUPERTINO, California—August 3, 2009—Apple today announced that Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, is resigning from Apple’s Board of Directors, a position he has held since August 2006.
“Eric has been an excellent Board member for Apple, investing his valuable time, talent, passion and wisdom to help make Apple successful,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Unfortunately, as Google enters more of Apple’s core businesses, with Android and now Chrome OS, Eric’s effectiveness as an Apple Board member will be significantly diminished, since he will have to recuse himself from even larger portions of our meetings due to potential conflicts of interest. Therefore, we have mutually decided that now is the right time for Eric to resign his position on Apple’s Board.”
While Google has been careful not to step on too many of Apple’s toes as they expanded their business the launch of Android set the wheels in motion for Eric Schmidt step down. The recent release of Chrome OS has not helped worries within Apple users that Google will turn into the next Microsoft.
The final nail in the coffin appears to be the FTC letters to AT&T, Apple & Google to please explain why Google Voice App was denied from the Apple App Store. Many within the industry thought that with the increasing number of Apple & Google products competitng when Eric Schmidt would have to leave the board. So maybe the idea of more Google products such as a Google Phone might be closer now that they dont have to play friendly with Apple?
What it does look like that this will mean a 3way fight between MSN/Yahoo VS Apple VS Google to win over the consumers. But will many of the default settings on the iPhone such as having Google Search or Google Maps change because of this move? But do Apple set the default search to Bing or stay with Google to keep their users happy?
What is most interesting is that it appears that Apple is the first to announce the move in a PR release on their website, but Google has not made any public announcement at the time this article was written within the Google Press Center.
It seems that the Nike team has been working to ensure what could have been a small PR issue turns into a frontpage disaster story. Earlier in July, Nike confiscated videotapes recorded showing NBA allstar LeBron James, being dunked by amateur player Jordan Crawford.
The event took place at the LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, OH where 2 accredited journalists filmed Jordan Crawford scoring an easy basket while LeBron James was playing defence.
The low quality camcorder footage which does not clearly identify players did not make for any interesting news until Nike demanded the tapes on the grounds that it violated media guidelines which does not allow filming of the skills academy games.
What happened at this point was that internet phenomenon of the Streisand effect took over causing the information to be so widely publicised that it becomes an YouTube sensation. As with the 2003 request by Barbara Streisand to remove aerial photographs of her beach house made a fuss of what is a small issue, but highlighting the issue as one worthy of news coverage.
What turns this into a very bad public relations exercises for Nike is that they appeared to be more concerned with trying to sell LeBron James as the next very brand-able star. This money earner for Nike needs to always look good, so the possible humiliation or at least humbling of LeBron James may not sit well with their future revenue plans.
To ensure that this matter did not get shown by the broadcast partner CBS, Nike demanded all tapes of the event, creating instant interest in what happened. Even if this had been the most boring event ever filmed the fact that the heavy handed approach showed that maybe people were missing out on something great and the interest started.
With such interest it is only a matter of time before a video made its way to YouTube, but it did take up to 2 weeks for the crew at TMZ to get it their hands on it, you can watch it here.
Also recently the Nike guys have bowed to the millions of viewers who have already seen the video and given back the tapes, but not before they ensured they got as much bad press over the issue as possible. Judging by previous viral video events this matter will continue to hurt Nike’s image of being a supporter of up and coming talent if they dare challenge their existing cash cows…
You can hear Jordan Crawford’s interview response about the video here, it is just a short 30 second interview.