Thursday February 12, 2015
Everyone's at it. No not that.... I mean everyone seems to be desperately seeking ways to link their brand or service with the release of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie.
The first one I spotted was B&Q, apparently this was a genuine internal email to staff telling them to get familiar with the story as they are expecting an increase demand for things like cable ties.... Hmm. Only thing is, the cat is now out of the bag and it they have confessed that it was all a ruse. I would be interested to know the reaction of staff to this. Sure, it generated coverage but actually it wasn't true - the proof will be in the evaluation of course.
Then came Flirty Shades of Surf. That one puzzled me because grey isn't a colour I would want to associate with my washing ! But harmless enough.
Now London Fire Brigade is apparently in on it too, with crews on standby to handle a predicted spike in handcuff related incidents. Reading the London Fire Brigade story I was very cynical at first but actually they use it to make an important point about not wasting valuable fire brigade time. I thought that was a good use of the link. I wonder if they will be able to evaluate the success of this activity.
So, used intelligently this type of PR can work well but we need to be careful not to undermine trust - but maybe everyone already knows you can't believe what you read in the papers!