Marcus Rashford’s Persuasive Campaign forced Governmental Change

Marcus Rashford’s Persuasive Campaign forced Governmental Change
Marcus Rashford MBE

In my experience Public Relations is all about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you and the prime minister recently found this out when he battled with Marcus Rashford over child poverty in the UK.

Rashford’s campaign was extremely successful and can be called one of the best advertising campaigns of the year as even though it was not marketed as such, it still has all the key aspects of one. This campaign was extremely successful through their ability to persuade the public to take more interest in child poverty in the UK and their public shaming off the government’s inaction on this issue. The campaign was able to change public expectations on what the government should be doing to help and created enough public pressure on the government that they gave into the campaign’s objectives – which was not a cheap ask.

After the government stated they would not be carrying on the free food voucher program over the summer Holidays, Rashford crafted an open letter and sent it to all 650 MP’s, posted it on his social medias and sent it to News outlets, and through this he forced the government to make a quick U – Turn within 36 hours and keep the scheme open for the 6 weeks of Summer holidays. One of the reasons I believe he was able to create such a quick change in government policy was by posting the letter for his 2.7 million followers to see, Rashford forced a public response from the government, and drove up public interest in it.

Rashford continued the momentum of the campaign and began to push for free school meals up until Easter 2021 over the holiday period. The Prime Minister rejected this and insisted that there would not a repeat of the U-Turn as they were now in a different position – however he did not expect he would be shown wrong just a month later. The campaign grew and became a wide-reaching movement which mobilized the Public, the media, businesses and opposition politicians to pressure the government. Rashford’s twitter followers went up from 2.7 million to 3.9 million over the course of this campaign and he gained an MBE for his previous work in reducing child hunger which further increased his status and effectiveness as an ambassador. Marcus Rashford was essential for the campaigns success as he was a credible persuader as an extremely popular footballer who grew up on free school meals and who understands the necessity of them for some families allowing him to become a relatable spokesperson for these children. He was also the first one to put a massive ‘game – changing donation’ into the campaign. These factors show us that the campaign was effective in fulfilling the ethos mode of persuasion as Rashford shows himself as trustworthy and honourable, and that he knows what he is talking about.

Following Rashford’s example, Massive brands such as Asda, Tesco, Sainsburys, the Co-opt and McDonalds began to fund millions into the campaign with their original donations goal of another £100,000 towards it being completely blown away with over £20 million raised through financial and food donations. The Campaign was so effective as it has aspects of logos and pathos methods of persuasion also involved throughout, with a clear and rational message ‘no child should have to go hungry’ which it is difficult to disagree with no matter the circumstances of their parents. The campaign use of pathos was especially effective  as they showed videos of some of the children affected by poverty and these examples were so strong that they immediately caused anger and pulled on the heartstring of the public as they were disgusted that children in their own country lived like that.

As well as the significant social presence of the campaign, and the donations of big corporations and the public, 100s of small businesses all over the country also offered free meals to children over the Halloween break after MPs voted to not provide them, and this caused significant anger and support within the public also as businesses who were struggling due to the Pandemic were having to step up in the place of the government. Rashford also used his twitter account to post everywhere that was providing these meals and media outlets also provided lists and locations where people could go to make use of this, which was essential in getting the word out to those who were eligible and also to persuade other businesses to join in with the campaign.

These tactics along with a petition demanding extra funding which gained 1 million signatures and even backlash from his own party MP’s and councillors placed an overwhelming amount of pressure on the Prime Minister and so he announced a new package in early November which provides nearly £400 million into different areas such as free school meals over the holidays until Easter 2021, more money pumped into food banks and funding to lessen the burden for disadvantaged families over the coming winter.

Headlines such as Boris Johnson Gets a Kicking From Rashford’s Meals Campaign, UK Pulls A U-turn, Backs Soccer Star Marcus Rashford’s Child Hunger Campaign, Marcus Rashford forces Boris Johnson into second U-turn on child food poverty, Marcus Rashford: PM climbdown over free meals in school holidays, Johnson’s handling of Rashford free school meals campaign ‘a disaster’ also show the effectiveness of Rashford’s persuasive campaign and the damage it has done to the Prime Minister over his presumed weakness and ‘flip-flopping’.

However, even if the U-Turns give the impression of a weak Prime Minister, the potential impact of the extensive and Country wide campaign would have been disastrous and it is it my opinion that the Prime Minister had no choice but to give into anger generated by the persuasive campaign or face the consequences of his inaction in the next election.

Aoife McCreesh is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on: Twitter and LinkedIn.

The impact of going Viral on Tiktok for a Small business

The impact of going Viral on Tiktok for a Small business

While Tiktok was launched in 2016, it has recently become extremely popular, and this popularity has allowed it to become a great advertising method for many small business who cannot afford to pay large amounts on advertising.

Time and time again, we see small businesses on Tiktok going from reaching an audience of sometimes less than a hundred people to reaching thousands of people and selling out their products. This has been an extremely successfully method for people who are selling art, clothes sellers, jewellery and makeup, including eyelashes and lipglosses. I have even bought jewellery of a seller after seeing their products advertised on Tiktok, as I liked the look of their handmade earrings, and I never would have purchased from that seller if I hadn’t seen the business on Tiktok.

Many of the small businesses who advertise on Tiktok focus on Customer Service and add an extra touch to their packages such as personalised thank you notes, packinging and treats such as scrunchies or sweets. This helps them stand out to consumers even if they are selling the same products as larger businesses, and usually at a higher price than those same businesses as their customer service allows them to charge that extra bit. Many businesses also show themselves packaging people’s parcels if requested and these videos alone are capable of reaching tens of thousands of people, and some people buy with the hopes of getting their product packaged on Tiktok, as they are interested in the experience of buying from these smaller businesses.  

A Small business I have seen apply these tactics is an American brand, is Beauty_holics who sells an assortment of products including  a bundle which is two pairs of eyelashes, and applicator, a spoolie and a scrunchie for $30.00. This item is regularly sold out despite being very expensive compared to competitors.

Examples of packaging brands like Beauty_holics use

This is mainly because of the packaging – the products are put into a miniature suitcase instead of a box which is fun and exciting to people and makes them want to buy the product. One of her videos has received 9.1M likes and has been viewed by 62.1M people which is an astonishing reach for someone running a small niched business out of their home, and immediately following this video going viral she completely sold out on her website.

Another reason a lot of Videos from small businesses go viral on Tiktok is because people are generally interested in a glimpse of other people’s lives and businesses and this is why brands that do ‘come to work with me’ or show people how they make some of their products are so successful.

A small business near me, XXI ice in Dundalk, reached an audience of 5.2 million people on one of their 1 minute long videos showing how they make their strawberry rolled ice cream, and has reached a similar audiences on more of their videos, and this advertising reaches places all over the world – not just in Ireland, and has left an impression on all of them from watching such a simple video. There is very few Social Medias which let you easily gain 5.2 million views, as easily as can be done from going TikTok viral.

Chicken Nugget ice Cream from XXI Ice Tiktok video

 The account also makes ice cream with other stranger items such as chicken nuggets which is controversial enough that it helps keep people intrigued as to what they will do next, and so people will be encouraged to follow them on Tiktok.

Many people who promote their business on Tiktok also offer a personal touch such as a mystery pack option. People like these products as it is exciting to get a package in your style but you don’t actually know what you’re getting. The business asks for a few of your likes or dislikes and works from there to personalise your product. One brand who does this well is ‘hissyfitclothing’ who has different kinds of mystery packs, such as pastel, dark, and rave themed ones, her brand is sold out of the mystery packs on a regular basis because they are so popular. The brand is also very responsive on tiktok so it is very popular for their customer service, and she is very open about how she sources and makes the clothing and so it popular for her ethical clothing. She was also able to turn a customer compliant into a viral video, she had a customer go viral by making a video complaining about how the 3 items in her mystery pack didn’t go with each other – which they hadn’t been marketed to do. In response to this she made a video called ‘styling that mystery pack’ where she styled the items from that pack in many different ways.

There is, however, is a downside to Tiktok as a marketing device as while you may get a lot of attention for a while after going viral, it is a very fast moving app and you need to work very hard to keep the attention as the spotlight is very quick to move onto the next viral videos and so it is very difficult to receive sustained attention, and you have to be prepared for the constant up and down of views and sales you receive from advertising through Tiktok.

Aoife McCreesh is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on: Twitter and LinkedIn.