Don't Shout at Tea, It Talks Back.

So, if you’ve been on the internet at all since Friday, you’ve probably seen #SueYoureShoutingAtTea trending.

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Saying that, I didn’t even know anything about it until today, I really should get Twitter, like. BUT, in my defence, us Irish ones don’t care much for Yorkshire tea when we’ve got proper Irish stuff like Nambarrie and Punjana to keep us going. Just saying.

Anyway, here’s a lil summary to keep y’all in the loop:On Friday, Rishi Sunak (a baddie tory ) posted a photo of himself (the vanity) with a massive bag of Yorkshire tea on Twitter. A lot of people obviously thought that this was a paid partnership or advertisement of some sort – which, is a bit ridiculous when you think about it, I mean, who would pay to be associated with that party? No harm, like.

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So, in true Twitter fashion, users pretty much ripped into Yorkshire Tea, threatening to boycott them and calling them all sorts. Must be pretty scundering that you’ve got the opposite of Midas touch and people will boycott something as serious as tea brands just because you use ’em. And brands are actively trying to disassociate from you. Take a hint, lads.  

Even though Yorkshire Tea actually came out at the weekend and said that it was nothing to do with them. One woman in particular was having NONE of it, behold, the star of the show: Sue. Spoiler alert: Yes, it was her who shouted at tea. Let’s take a look at what she said. Enjoy.

So, how did Yorkshire Tea respond to all this negative criticism? With a well thought out, articulate public announcement, of course. Ahem:

Twitter pretty much went nuts over this, hence the trending hashtag. Someone jokingly said they should make t-shirts with a “Sue, you’re shouting at tea” slogan, which of course, someone did. If Forever 21 was still around, you can BET they’d be stocking ’em. 

Yorkshire Tea’s response got a hell of a lot more attention than the original post by Rishi Sunak did, and it got people talking about something else other than the whole right-wing-association thing, AND didn’t just “restore” attitudes towards the brand, it improved them. I personally always assumed they were a bit of a boring brand, because well, look at the box. Plus, look who uses them, just saying. But, now, they seem a lot more interesting. I’m still not gonna buy their teabags like, but still, fair play lads.

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As with EVERYTHING, some people aren’t happy with how Yorkshire Tea handled it. They said that they’ve pretty much humiliated Sue and made her a laughing stock on the internet. Thousands of people have seen the tweets are basically taking the mickey (keepin’ it PG [Tips]) out of her. She’s pretty much been scundered in front of thousands. 

I know she called them out, so they can call her out back, but, at the end of the day, she’s one person, and they’re a major brand. They’re more cut out for bad press than she is. Saying that, Yorkshire Tea, no matter how good their PR team is, probably didn’t think the tweet would go as viral as it did. And, at least her display photo (I don’t even know if that’s what they’re called on Twitter but O well) wasn’t even her. 

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Probably Sue right now

But, all funny tweets and tea-shirts (ha ha) aside, it highlights a problem for brands.  What happens when someone who a lot of people hate likes or uses your brand?  At the end of the day, you can’t stop people posting photos of your products and “promoting” your brand, even if you would rather they bought from your competitors instead.

Regardless of any bad press, I think it’s safe to say that Yorkshire Tea more than recovered from the lil Tory blip. So, what does all this teach PR and social media managers about crisis management? A witty tweet can do a hell of a lot more than a press release, apology, official statement and Labour-inspired photoshoot combined. 

Using Films for Political Campaigns: Good for Politicians, or Bad for the Films?

You might have seen Trump’s MARVELlous campaign video. Ha ha. Not really. Anyway, twitter account ‘Trump War Room’ which claims to be managed by ‘Team Trump’ released a video campaign promoting Trump’s potential re-election in 2020.   

It shows Donald’s face on Thanos’s body, in an (apparently) very famous scene from the Avengers film. I actually saw this film and it still doesn’t make much sense to me. (My attention span only goes so far when Julia Roberts isn’t involved). Basically, the jist is, Donald /Thanos declares that his re-election in 2020 is “inevitable” and then clicks his fingers (because that’s how Thanos kills people apparently). Yep.

Anyway, this lil stunt didn’t go down so well (SHOCK) for a couple of reasons:

1. Thanos is a baddie.

2. SPOILER ALERT: Thanos dies seconds after this scene.

3. People don’t really like when politicians ruin use a film they love to promote their questionable political agendas.

4. Because (some) people consider Trump to be a baddie, too.

So yeah, Trump compares himself to an infamous villain that no one but himself likes, who vows to wipe out all of his enemies. And wants to kill everyone. And then dies. After he’s wiped out by his enemies. No, it wasn’t the Democrats who came up with this. It was actually Trump’s team. I know. 

Now, Trump’s not the only one doing this (that’s the most defence I can give him). Britain’s Donald Trump Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, did something similar the other day. Only it was worse. He tried to associate himself with the iconic classic, “Love Actually”. How DARE he taint the name of one of the GREATEST films of all time. Despicable.

And for obvious and similar reasons, people weren’t happy.

For one, the actual film creators don’t want associations unless they’ve been agreed and paid for. (A lil thing called “copyright infringement” is a bit of an issue, you see).

Jim Starlin (the man who invented Thanos) wasn’t happy at all either, (again, SHOCK). He said, “After my initial feeling of being violated, seeing that pompous fool using my creation to stroke his infantile ego, it finally struck me that the leader of my country and the free world actually enjoys comparing himself to a mass murderer. How sick is that?” I hear ya, Jim.

Plus, when politicians use a film we love to promote themselves, it doesn’t make us like them. It makes us not like the film.

It’s like when brands use songs in their ads, and then play it to death. Any time you hear that song, you get flashbacks to the ad. So while Trump might want people to think of him when they watch Avengers. People don’t want to think about him. Wonder why. Sure Pharrell Williams has already told Trump to stop playing his song “Happy”, because people might think they’re associated. Poor Pharrell.

Saying that, when you’re known as a “controversial” figure, some negative tweets probably won’t phase you. And, doing something like this does get a lot of attention. Do you think someone like Jim Starlin would feel the need to speak out about his outrage to a standard, promo video of Trump? Unlikely. This got the public, celebrities, and news outlets talking. And, they get to annoy their opponents, which is probably a bonus for them.

So, maybe using popular films to promote political campaigns does work. When you’re someone like Trump or Johnston, what have you got to lose anyway?

Just please, PLEASE, leave ‘Love Actually’ alone.

Peloton's Advertising Disaster

Now, we all know Christmas ads can be pretty cringey – like the Mariah Carey ‘Walkers’ one, BRUTAL, and the public are just sitting at the ready just WAITING to slate them online. But one that’s getting a lot of attention is the Peloton one.

You’ve probably heard of Peloton, it’s basically a (£2,000) exercise bike with a tablet-y thing that lets your stream live workouts while you pedal. I know what you’re thinking, but no, it’s COMPLETELY different to just watching YouTube workout videos on a regular spin bike…

Does everyone look like this during exercise?

Anyway, Peloton released their Christmas ad a few weeks ago, if you haven’t seen it or don’t fancy watching the 2 minute creative masterpiece, here’s a lil summary: The ad starts with a man buying his wife a Peloton exercise bike for Christmas (so basically the gift of pain, sweat and exhaustion, lucky gal). For her revenge, To thank him, she decides to make a vlog of her using the bike throughout the year, and makes a compilation video, which she then forces him lets him watch. The ultimate film night. 

Enjoy 🙂

It wasn’t long before this ad really got people talking, but not for good reasons. You’re shocked, I know. The ad was criticised for being “sexist”, with people saying a man buying his wife an exercise bike might be seen as an indication that he wants her to lose weight. I mean, it wouldn’t exactly boost your ego, would it? Then the fact that the woman looks to be in perfectly fit and healthy shape added a bit more fuel to the fire.

Next in line to be mocked by the public, was the woman saying, “A year ago, I didn’t realise how much this would change me”; because, well, there wasn’t exactly a jaw-dropping transformation (or transformation at all) after using the exercise bike for a year. So it doesn’t really do much in selling the actual product, does it? Using a “before and after” to showcase the results of using a fitness product is a pretty good strategy, but only if there are actual results to show, like.

Aside from that, the ad was mocked on Twitter for just being weird. The public were spoiled for choice on what to comment on. From the sheer fear in the poor woman’s eyes when she’s using the product which has been labelled as “dystopian”; to the fact that she not only filmed it, but made a compilation (why, like); and THEN presented this as a gift to her husband. Uncomfortable viewing to say the least. 

I know there’s the whole “all press is good press” thing, but, maybe not in this case. As if having their advertising efforts laughed at and criticised wasn’t bad enough, Peloton’s shares have actually gone down by 9% as a result of it. It just goes to show how crucial it is to get the ad and message right.

They recently responded to the criticism by saying that the ad was “misinterpreted”, and I do get what they were trying to do, but I think a few things were overlooked when choosing how to communicate it. It’ll be interesting to see how Peleton plan to recover from this and what their next ad will be like. Whether this one’s “sexist” or “dystopian” can be argued, but what can’t be, is how painful it is to watch. 

Boris’s Poli-tea-cal Blunder

I was having a wee jook at the news to see what the general craic was with the world, because I normally live in a nice wee bubble where I don’t really know what’s going on. Call me “uninformed” if you want, but ignorance is bliss and all that? Don’t need any negative energy, thank YOU.

Anyway, on my voyage to wisdom, I stumbled across some ‘breaking’ political news story about the general election. Exciting times.

Boris Johnson has caused uproar and disgust across the water (wouldn’t be like him), not for his extreme political views and this whole ‘Brexit’ shenanigans. No. For putting milk in his tea while the teabag’s still in the cup. You can imagine the outcry.

What sort of person have you got as Prime Minister? You let a man who puts milk in his tea with the teabag STILL IN THE CUP lead you? Wild.

So like, we all know this isn’t “news” at all, so why did Sky feel the need to write an article about it? And why did people care so much?

Because, when people don’t like you, they look for any excuse to justify disliking you. “Why do you hate him so much?” “He’s causing everyone severe bother with this Brexit fiasco and potentially disrupting the lives and futures of like, everyone. ” Hmm, seems a bit unreasonable. “He makes tea wrong.” Fair enough. Say no more.

If he was caught on camera making tea normally, would anyone care? Nah. Because when you’ve a bad public image, bad publicity has more of an effect than good does. When people love you, every wee thing you do just makes people love you more. Do something bad, well sure look at all the good you’ve done to cancel it out.

People don’t like you? Every little thing you do is scrutinised, with people just WAITING for you to do something weird or wrong. Do something good? Doesn’t really matter, look at all the other stuff you’ve done. One good deed doesn’t make you a saint. Probably a PR stunt to make people like you anyway.

Boris’s reputation made something as trivial, sorry, majorly important as making tea, become, like, a thing. Like people actually care about it. If Beyoncé made tea weirdly, would you notice? Would you care? Youse would probably all start making tea the way she does.

But, Boris is pretty controversial (to put it as nicely as I can), and some people just love to have a reason to not like him, or support his credibility as a leader of anything. I mean, if you wouldn’t trust him to make you a cup of tea, why would you trust him to make important decisions and run your country?

“The teabag was STILL IN THE CUP”

I can just PICTURE Labour’s next campaign, “We make proper tea, vote for us”. Would be more effective than any political agenda, I reckon.

The Christmas Cup-Off

Well lads it’s that time of year again, C H R I S T M A S (cups) – get your Mariah Carey playlists pumpin and dig out that Christmas tea towel you’ve lying at the bottom of your third drawer. If you listen carefully, you can almost hear Michael Bublé doing his warm-up.

First of November marks the start of the countdown, and what better way to start than with beautiful festive coffee cups??

Me and my ma had a competition going to see who could spot and photograph (trust no one) the first Christmas cups of the year. The prize (aside from the pleasure of winning) was the winner got taken out on a coffee date by the loser. And there’s me always say I’m strictly anti-gambling, I know. The HYPOCRISY of me.

Well – I won. I saw ELEVEN Starbucks ones in town on the 1st but couldn’t whack out my phone in time, but finally captured the red cups in action on Tuesday (thank you, Caitlin for bringing in your Starbucks to the lecture).

But me and Claire aren’t the only ones having a Christmas cup competition, the coffee shops are, too.

It’s like a Christmas cup-off in the coffee shop world; if you don’t have them, you could be losing out on customers. Let’s be real, we all go somewhere purely for the novelty of the cups this time of year. People go into cafés and ask for a takeaway cup even though they’re sitting in (and not just because the takeaway’s are bigger) and parents ask for cups for their children (I know this is true because my ma does it for me). Little do the baristas know that “my wee girl” is 21, not 5.

It’s a race to see who can release them first (usually Starbuck’s, and Caffé Nero last) and who can do it best. Yeah, fair, people actually want the drinks inside, so I guess nailing the menu is important too, but the real winner is the winner of the cup design.

Not a fan of Starbucks but their cup game is strong

See, you don’t have to go for a fancy festive drink, you can get your bog standard americano, but give it a wee bitta razzle dazzle with a Santa cup. It’s a simple way to get in the holiday mood, without having to drink an eggy, cherry-y or gingerbread sugar-bomb concoction. Dentists, rejoice.

Companies need to NAIL their Christmas drinks campaign, and not just to attract customers with their coffees and cups. What’s the whole point of branded cups – Christmas or otherwise? Brand reinforcement. You need a distinctive cup so when people see that cup on the train, in people’s hands or used as an ashtray on someone’s windowsill (classy), they know who’s it is.

See a Costa cup, *subliminal message received*. Want a coffee? You didn’t but since you saw that woman with one, you’re kinda in the mood for one. Sure why not nip into the Costa round the corner there, you deserve it. Don’t want one? No problem. Sure just REMEMBER that Costa cup, retain the brand name and place it at the forefront of your mind so when you think coffee, you think Costa. Just visualise that cup, v i s u a l i s e.

So having a Christmas cup that really grabs attention is ESSENTIAL. Why do you think there’s so many ads for them? Companies need to shout about their fabulous crimbo cups (and drinks, I guess) so that when you see a wee Rudolph, Santa or Christmas tree cup, you know where it’s from. Christmas cups aren’t normally in the brand’s colours or style, so they need to make people aware that “hey, we look different, but it’s still us”. Not that Clements need to do that because the grinches that they are keep the same grey cups all year round – bah humbug.

So, lads, the Christmas cup-off is ON – but only one can win. Who are you voting for?

Coffee Doesn’t Costa Thing

Well lads, in case you haven’t heard, Costa are giving people FREE COFFEE today  at all of their Costa Express machines. Can I get a ‘yeo’?

Not the type of Yeo I meant, but ok Google, cheers.

That’s right, pop into any wee garage or shop with one of these ‘Costa Express’ bad boys and grab yourself a free coffee. And, this is available all day (1st October). No conditions and no hidden charges. Except you’re only allowed one per person, but sure there’s nothing stopping you caffeine junkies doing a wee tour and hitting them all up. #RoadTrip. Not that I would condone such behaviour. Not at all.

So, why is Costa doing this? Well, to celebrate National Coffee Day and promote their snazzy machine coffee. But, why this specific tactic?

Well, to raise awareness. They want to shout about the fact that you don’t have to visit a Costa to get Costa coffee. There’s the sort of assumption that machine coffee isn’t as nice as the “proper stuff”. So, they want to tell everyone that you don’t have to choose convenience or good coffee. So, good news for people who like Costa coffee but don’t live or be near one. And of course, good news for Costa who are able to ‘go’ to those who aren’t ‘coming’ to them. But, the thing is, you no don’t have to want to go to Costa or have a Costa coffee. You just have to want a coffee. Being realistic, if you’re driving about at 8 in the morning in rush hour traffic, you’ll probably take any brand of coffee you can get your hands on. “There’s a garage, I’ll pop in there while I get petrol”, “There’s a shop at the top of the road, I’ll pop in there while I grab a meal deal”. Whether it be Frank and Honest, Barista Bar, Centra’s own or Costa, you’ll most likely buy it.

The point is, Costa aren’t restricting themselves to deliberate purchases. They’re increasing their convenience and impulse sales, too. More people are buying and drinking Costa coffee, whether or not they intend to.

So, where are these machines? Which shops or garages? Well, you can figure out where your nearest one is today, can’t you? “We’ve got decent machine coffee at selected retailers” doesn’t exactly motivate people to jump to Google and see where, does it? “We’ve got FREE COFFEE at our coffee machines” does. I’m guessing Google’s got A LOT of recent searches asking where these machines are. So, Costa doesn’t really have to promote where exactly the machines are, because customers are hella motivated to figure it out for themselves. Then they’ll know for future where they can get this decent machine brew. It’s a wee coffee-fuelled treasure hunt. Move over, Easter bunny.

Normally, the point of offering ‘free’ things is that you’re hoping people will buy other items off you while they’re there; but, it would be the retailers benefiting from this, not Costa. If they offered free coffee at Costa cafés, people might buy biscuits, buns or food while they’re there, so Costa can still make money. But, in an independent retailer, Costa won’t reap the benefit of any add-ons. Unless they’ve agreed to get commission for every Kit-Kat sold or something, I don’t know.

They’re probably hoping for repeat purchases and loyalty. Once people try Costa machine coffee, they’ll never go back to anything else. Well, in theory, that’s possible, yeah. But there’s always gonna ‘brand switchers’ who just want the freebies or whatever’s on offer, regardless of the brand (@ me). This is always the case with this type of marketing promotion, but maybe even more so because of the ‘convenience’ nature of these coffees. Like I said, it’s not just people who want a Costa coffee, but a coffee in general. So, they’ll likely buy whatever the quick and handy option is.

The thing is, whether people decide to be brand loyal to Costa Express coffee or not, depends on if they reckon the taste and quality is worth the price. The fact is, once the offer’s over, you have to pay the same price for the machine coffee as you would a barista one from a Costa café. So people need to decide whether they’d rather have a Costa machine one for like £2.50, or if they’d be happy to go back to their regular 99p or £1.79 or whatever they normally pay. If it’s a small price difference to their usual, standard machine brew, chances are yeah, they will become loyal. But again, this mightn’t be through specific intention.

“£3 machine coffee?” Costa’s dream customer^

So, it’s a bit of a risk for Costa, and an expensive one at that. So, what else is in it for them? Well, they’re getting people talking. They’re getting free publicity. Everyone will be saying, “Here, did ya hear there’s free coffee at the garage down the road?”, “Costa are doing free coffee, Google the closest one for us there”, I can’t even mentally prepare myself for the cued Insta stories “Thank u @Costa!!!”. We all know how powerful word of mouth is, you trust your mates more than ads, so if they like the coffee, chances are it’s good. They’re not being paid to say it like. Plus, not to state the obvious but Costa have managed to get ME to write about them so they MUST have hit the jackpot. Lucky duckies.

So, Costa can sit back while consumers spread the word and promote the offer, their brand, the machines that do NICE coffee (I didn’t know it was possible either) AND the location of them, for free. Maybe that’s worth more than the £2.50 coffee is.

“Free publicity?” ^Costa

A wee downfall is that Costa cafés might get fewer sales, but, mostly for takeaways or pre-planned visits. People who are passing by and aren’t near an Express machine will still call in. People who wanna sit on comfy seats and leech off their wifi and electricity for a few hours will still call in. People who take a wee notion for a coffee will still call in. Plus, it’s national coffee day so they should be busy enough like. So, it’s good news for them. But, bad news for baristas who were hoping to skive for the day. Sorry, mate.

But, this tactic doesn’t just benefit Costa, it potentially harms competitors, too. Double whammy. If Costa are serving more, then, their competitors might be serving less. Costa could benefit from ‘sales’ from those who would usually get their coffee elsewhere. Just say you go to Caffe Nero or Starbucks normally (even though they leave their water taps running CONSTANTLY), would you not be more likely to give the Costa one a go since it’s free? You never know, you might actually prefer it. There’s not much in the price anyway. So that’s another thing, Costa are able to encourage consumption by those who would otherwise not be motivated to switch brands. They could become some people’s “new favourite”. So, increasing consumption of your own brand while possibly reducing that of your competitors, not a shabby idea, lads. Chapeau.

So, go forth and enjoy your free Costa coffee (unless you live in the north of Ireland of course, SHOCK we’re oppressed excluded).

*Not sponsored by Costa. Although, if you want to repay me in cappuccinos, that would be nice 🙂

2,599,964‬ Fake Fans

We all know that ‘IG Influencers’ are thee new, hip-happening social media marketing tactic, with many major companies ‘collabing’ with bloggers, vloggers and other ‘big names’ on social media (although clearly not because I haven’t been DM’d yet?) to get them to promote their goods.

The whole idea is: “okay they have 1 million followers, so we should get x many impressions; they get around 50,000 likes so there’s at least 50,000 active users who will be exposed to the content. Of these 50,000, x many will actually ‘like’ the product (not just double tap while mindlessly scrolling) and then proceed to buy the merch”. Simple.

So, how come an Instagram influencer with over 2 million followers, was unable to sell 36 items from their own clothing line?

Instagram influencer Arii launched her own clothing line, and then 13 days later uploaded (and since deleted) a post apologising to her ‘fans’. I think. To be honest, I’m not really sure what the point of the post was, she seemed to be apologising to customers, calling people out and thanking others at the same time? I’ll let you be the judge because here’s a wee screenshot. Enjoy.

Anyway, Arii states that the clothing company she was working with had a rule that she had to sell a minimum amount of products for them to keep working with her and producing the clothes, which seems fair enough like, it has to be worth their while. But, the minimum order amount wasn’t achieved, which meant the clothes couldn’t be produced so any buyers had to get refunds instead, and the company would stop working with her. Yikes.

So, what went wrong? How could someone with (apparently) such a big ‘influence’ over hundreds of thousands of people and the power to persuade them to buy certain things, fail to persuade them to buy her own line?

Well, likes aren’t everything. *Louder for the Gen Z’ers in the back*. 40,000 likes doesn’t mean 40,000 orders. Your followers and likers aren’t necessarily going to be your customers. People follow companies just to have a wee jook, but have no real intention of buying their products. And on the flip side, I don’t follow a single clothing company on Instagram, but I buy from them. It’s not about how many follow you, but who. Are they actual customers, fans or just wee robots?

Another lil issue may be that Arii didn’t really promote the line? She posted one video announcing the launch. Then another promo post for good measure. And then, boom: the line “failure” post. I’m no expert, but how can people buy what they don’t know about?

But, apart from all that, what about the clothes themselves? Look at Arii’s feed. Look what she wears – the style, the colours. Now look at her clothing line. Does it look like the sort of thing she would or does wear? Sweatshirts and what I can only assume are cycling(?) clothes don’t really fit in with her style. She isn’t even wearing her own clothes in her posts? Even if you don’t actually wear them, at least whack on a sweatshirt, take some pics saying how “comfy” and “cute” it is and then change into something else. Just lie, girl.

People follow influencers and like their photos because they like what they’re wearing. They have similar style, so will buy clothes of that style. If you show them something completely different to what they like or wear, why would they buy them? You need to know who your customers are and what they want. Just because you are selling a product, doesn’t mean that people will buy it. Especially if you wouldn’t even buy it yourself.

But sure don’t we all love a wee conspiracy theory? What if this was just a marketing ploy? Did Arii think and hope that sharing her story of fake friends, fake fans and unfulfilling promises would make some of her 2.6 million followers feel bad and buy the products to help a gal out? Did she want them to take pity on her? Young girl starting her own clothing line in this massively competitive market is bound to be daunting like, why not give her a hand in helping her achieve her dream? Or did she want them to take pity on the people who actually wanted and bought the products but now had to be refunded instead because not enough people ordered them? I don’t know much (or anything really) about clothes production but it seems a bit weird that a minimum order amount is 36 pieces? Could’ve at least picked a round number, pffft.

The post was also deleted which is a bit sus. Maybe she realised that it was a bit questionable to blame people who didn’t buy her clothes and broken promises for the failure of the line. I mean, maybe making your fans feel guilty isn’t the best move? Neither is calling out people who didn’t leave you a review. Or maybe, the post had caused enough drama and pity to get people to buy enough clothes to fulfil the order amount. Either that, or she noticed that she forgot the word “take”. I sure did.

me

So why did Arii’s clothing line supposedly fail? Was it because she didn’t do market research before launching the line and people just don’t like the clothes? Maybe it was because she didn’t actually promote it? Or, was it all a big lie and this is actually her way of promoting it? That post got Twitter and Instagram talking about her and her line, with everyone giving their (very qualified) marketing opinions and advice. Buzzfeed wrote about it, and more importantly, I’m writing about it. So it must be a big deal.

Then again, maybe we’re giving her too much credit and it was just an ugly clothing line that only 35 people liked. Who knows?

How to Lose Customers and Alienate People

Have you ever entered a competition or giveaway online? Probably. Well, why not? You might win; someone has to, right? Wrong.

When you enter and don’t get that notification or ‘tag’, you assume you haven’t won and someone else bagged that takeaway or voucher. Lucky son of a gun. Disappointing, isn’t it? Well, would it make you feel any better if I told you that maybe no one actually won it? Yeah, thought it might.

Recently, a lot of brands have started doing “giveaways” and competitions on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. “Simply ‘like’ and ‘share’ or ‘tag your friend that you’d share it with’ for your chance to win”. Now, it’s not exactly a news flash that this is just to increase engagement, activity and interest among consumers. It doesn’t just promote the “prize” product, but the brand and all of its products. Pages you don’t follow come up on your feed because your friends or followers have commented, shared or tagged you in posts (I’m flattered you’d take to me to the spa with you, Amber – much appreciated). And why shouldn’t they? There’s no harm in it. It’s a win-win, really. Brand gets publicity, attention and sales; consumer gets free goodies. Sounds pretty g to me.

I see these competitions and giveaways all the time. I personally don’t enter them because I don’t want a “munch box” that clogs your arteries just by looking at it, and sadly, I don’t exactly have good luck (or any luck for that matter) when it comes to these things. So I just keep scrolling and don’t think anything of it. But the other day, I noticed something th.at annoyed me a wee bit: companies do these “giveaways” but without the whole, ya know, “giving away” part. Basically, there is no winner. Hmm, maybe I’m not unlucky after all.

Over the past week, online retailer Missguided launched several “giveaways” – how to win? Simply comment an emoji representing your favourite of the two items shown. One came up on my newsfeed, so I thought “eh, may as well enter and see”, so commented (the pink was definitely nicer, I can’t pull off baby blue). “Enter by midnight.. Winner announced [the next day]”. So the next day, I checked their profile to see who the winner was, or if they’d been announced yet. Nope, nothing yet. So I checked a few hours later, but still nothing. By 10pm, still no joy. The next morning, they posted another one. “Winner announced tomorrow”. “Maybe I’ll win this one” (grey was a better option, I’d just get the white one boggin’). Tomorrow came and went and still no winner. But they continued to post about other products and memes, as well as launching ANOTHER competition. You see where this is going. Didn’t even bother entering this one, not just because I wouldn’t suit either outfit, but because I caught on to what they were doing and so was huffing on them a wee bit.

I was right, I didn’t win the competition. But no one did. So, why did Missguided do it? Why choose to misguide consumers? *pause for laughter*. Well, this is a shot in the dark, but the 10,000 comments, thousands of likes and hundreds of shares might have something to do with it. Show people a product – one they wouldn’t have otherwise seen, because they weren’t on or going to go on your website and see it there. Now that they’ve seen it, they like it. If they don’t win it, they might decide it’s worth the £25 anyway and buy it. May as well. Just because they didn’t win it, doesn’t mean they can’t have it.

How many of these items did Missguided give away? 0. Now, how many do you think they sold? How many people saw the items? And how many would’ve seen them otherwise? How many new followers did get as a result? You sort of have to follow the page to find out the winner, like. Then, there’s the people like me who went on the page specifically to see who won, and ended up seeing other items being promoted. Their new Playboy range launched in the meantime (yeah, I didn’t know it was still a thing either). Chances are, some of these people clicked links on the posts to see these items. So, chances are, some people ended up buying something. It was payday week after all. Yeo.

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I really hope the collection’s not like this

Now, I’m not just singling out Missguided – I’m guessing they’re not the only ones who have used or are using this promotional ploy. They’re just the only ones I’ve actually seen. Lucky duckies.

These fake giveaways are a great way to boost user engagement and activity. They’re a great way to increase sales of individual items. They’re also a great way to have a blog post written about them. But they’re not a great way to build a reputation. Lies, unfulfilled promises and unmet expectations – what a fab way to portray the brand!!

If someone wins a product and likes it, they’ll probably buy from that company again. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but that won’t happen if no one wins the product. Just another slight flaw to the plan. Apart from people actually catching on to what they’re doing.

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So, hats off to the social media and marketing teams out there who do this (especially the ones who don’t get caught). Credit where credit’s due, gaining sales without losing merch seems pretty smart. But, gaining a bad rep and losing trust – and potentially customers, seems less smart.

If consumers don’t trust you, they won’t buy from you. And something tells me that’s a bigger price to pay than giving away a free playsuit.

So, chapeau to the companies who actually give away products. You deserve your likes.

Why Did Azealia Banks Call Me “Ugly”?

Well, I’m sure you all probably know the whole drama surrounding Azealia Banks this week. But if not, here’s wee recap:

Basically Azealia Banks (she’s a “rapper”) was due to perform in Dublin’s Academy, and so was flying over from wherever she was. She got into a dispute with the flight attendant and then left the plane. She was flying meant to be flying with Aer Lingus, so instead of insulting the employee or the Irish air line, Miss Banks had to take it a step further and insult the whole country and its people. How nice.

Miss Banks sporting the native flag of us “ugly” folk

She went on a big rant on Instagram, crying and saying that all Irish women are “ugly”. This is obviously untrue, I mean, have you seen me? My ma says I’m gorgeous. Anyway, she obviously had a bit of making up to do before her concert to avoid being “potatoed” (egged, but, with spuds) on stage as one Instagram user threatened. Way to break stereotypes guys.

After sailing over (she refused to fly), she played to a surprising 800 “fans” – maybe they forgave her, or maybe they just wanted to get their money’s worth – dedicated to “beautiful Irish women”. This girl should really teach a masterclass in PR damage control.

Actual footage of Azealia Banks trying to win back her Irish fans

So that’s that then? Oh, honey no.
For literally no reason, Azealia decided to bash us once more online. This time, she stepped up her childish insults by decided branding the Irish as “inbred”, “barbarians”, and said to one Instagram user “don’t you have a famine to go die in?” What a lovely gal, a true delight.

Anyway, why did she do this? Why be racist not once, but twice to a whole nation purely because of one altercation with a flight attendant?
Because she needs help? Likely. But I’m gonna Louis Theroux it and whack another theory in the mix: she needs publicity.

It’s no secret that apart from her banger “212” – which is SUCH a tune by the way, her other songs haven’t exactly topped the charts,
and she doesn’t get much airtime because of the style and language in her music. When all of this was going on, a lot of users were asking who she even was; I – a former fan, didn’t even know she was on tour (in my own country?)

Her Instagram story went viral, with users flocking to her profile to watch her “rant”. People who didn’t even know who she was or forgot about her went on too, thus (what a word) planting her name back in their minds. People went on her profile, Googled her, talked about her, commented on her posts, giving her a stack of bad publicity. Which is still publicity.

Plus, Azealia Banks gets more exposure and is better known for her “beef”s with celebrities like Lana Del Ray on Twitter than her music. She’s a controversial figure, and she doesn’t exactly have a positive image or reputation, so what has she got to lose? The hearts of a nation, yes. But sure, we’re all inbreds and apparently the rest of the world doesn’t care about us or want to associate with us leprechauns anyway.

So, maybe this was just another little PR stunt to keep her in the public eye, or maybe she is just a header. Who knows?