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Archive For 'December, 2012'

Merry Christmas Starbucks, #spreadthecheer

20 December 2012 at 21:06

They say that success breeds success. But perhaps it’s also true to say that bad press breeds bad press. This has been evidenced by Starbucks’ vicious circle of negative PR in recent weeks.

Once a darling of the high street, which seemed to really ‘get’ consumers with its crowd sourcing initiatives, the British public have found the brand’s apparent tax avoidance hard to swallow.

Despite voluntarily pledging to pay £20million in corporation tax over the next two years, public opinion of the brand is still at an all-time low.

So why, oh why did the coffee chain expose itself to a public Twitter hashtag campaign this week?

If you missed the story, Starbucks encouraged Twitterati to use #spreadthecheer to broadcast messages on a giant screen alongside the ice rink it’s sponsoring at the Natural History Museum. But the initiative fell foul of a content filtering malfunction. Sadly for Starbucks, its critics sabotaged the hashtag and used it as a sounding board to criticise the firm.

As we move into 2013 a big question mark hangs over the future of Starbucks. We’ll be watching with interest to see if the coffee giant can reverse its fortunes and win back public favour over the next 12 months.

Here’s a full write-up on the hashtag malfunction from The Drum:

Starbucks #spreadthecheer campaign backfires as tax protestors inundate feed with complaints

Starbucks embarked on a Christmas campaign on Twitter at the weekend which was played out on a big screen in the Natural History Museum, where the coffee chain is sponsoring the ice rink.

Starbucks asked fans to tweet using the hashtag #spreadthecheer. The messages were then were blown up onto the giant screen.

Unfortunately the filtering system crashed, allowing those critical of Starbucks' tax bill, or lack of it, to flood the feed with less than complimentary messages. One tweet called Starbucks "tax dodging MoFos", while another simply said: "Hey Starbucks, PAY YOUR F**KING TAX".

Another Twitter user encouraged customers to tip staff "as Starbucks has just cut their wages", while another wrote: "If firms like Starbucks paid proper taxes, Museums wouldn't have to prostitute themselves to advertisers."

The National History Museum apologised for the mistake and said that sponsorship deals such as the one with Starbucks helped the museum to put on extra events.

A Starbucks spokesman said: “We apologise to any visitors who may have been offended by inappropriate messages displayed on the Twitter wall screen at the Natural History Museum’s ice rink café. This was due to a temporary malfunction with the content filtering system."



Tags: Twitter | Startbucks

Posted in Friday Rambles | No Comments

7 steps to social heaven

14 December 2012 at 12:15

What does it take to create a social media campaign that really works? As with all communications activity, it comes down to the planning and implementation. You need to define your objectives and build a strategy from there, it’s not about waking up one morning and deciding ‘we need to be on Twitter’.

Social media planning


US agency Fandon has published a great guide to social media campaign planning this week. You can see the full article here, but in a nutshell, their chief social strategist advises:

1. Stick to your priorities

Determine what's most important to your brand then stick to it. As marketers, we've all been in situations where a good idea eventually gets convoluted after making its rounds through the organization. Everyone has a stake, especially when it comes to social, and your stakeholders can be the biggest killer of your killer idea. This is not to say that collaboration and integration are not important, these are absolutely key elements for success. What I am stressing is focus. One concept cannot be everything to everyone.

2. Find out what's important to your audience

A killer campaign entertains, engages, and delights people. It also provides an insurmountable benefit to a brand in the form of word-of-mouth. You have to work harder in today's marketing to get people talking and finding out what to talk to them about can be easy. Set down your brand playbook, clean your slate, and study your audience to understand what matters in their life, what makes them happy and, most importantly, where your brand fits into their conversations with their friends.

3. Search all corners of the universe for your "aha" moment

It's all about finding the "aha" moment. It has to be different, surprising, emotional, and entertaining… All you need is one strong concept and it might come from the quiet guy in the office who is never asked for an opinion -- or it could come from your top art director. Lead a focused but open forum, then sleep on it, and you'll have some gems to work with when you launch into strategic planning.

4. Plant your campaign right in front of your audience

Take your campaign to your audience in one or more spaces they like to be online. While Pinterest is cool and shiny it might not be where your people hang out. If you don't already have a following there it will be difficult to drum up support to launch your campaign with. "Viral" doesn't just happen. It is seeded. Gaining traction for your social campaign involves leveraging your existing audiences and their friends.

5. Develop an integrated strategy

I'm a bit biased so I'll just get it out and tell you that social media is darn special. I will also admit that it's not magic. It can be often treated as a stand-alone tactic. A killer campaign does not stand alone. It involves 360-degree communications, paid advertising (yes I said it!), and many of the other treatments any other promotion would require. Work cross-functionally to develop an integrated communications plan and multi-channel promotion through advertising, email marketing, PR, and other social networks.

6. Execute like a master

The devil is in the details. Human communication is complex and sometimes mind-boggling -- it's what keeps us social marketing people on our toes. Proper execution will make or break your campaign. You have to understand how people speak to each other in Facebook versus Twitter versus Instagram and how they use it. Otherwise, your "follow me on Facebook @brand" will be laughed upon and no one will want to associate with your silly little campaign. "Post your photo on Facebook using #happy" will also be laughed at. If you do not immediately understand why, I suggest hiring a social marketing specialist ASAP.

7. Make it shareable

There's no such thing as social that doesn't involve sharing. It's a key component so be sure to incorporate it. Sharing can be how someone "enters to win" or a way to earn a fun reward or offer. The benefit is two-fold, they engage with your brand and they spread the word to their friends. Every time someone shares his or her message, your content or a link to your page, the effectiveness of your marketing is compounded. Some call this earned media. I call it earned awesomeness.


If you want to talk about how a social media strategy might enhance your communications, give us a call today.


Tags: Fandon | PR | social media

Posted in Friday Rambles | No Comments

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