Thank u… but, try again.

On Sunday 22nd September, Ariana Grande brought her much anticipated ‘Sweetener World Tour’ to Dublin’s 3Arena for 3 sold out shows. Her tickets sold out within 3 minutes on release clearly showing the hype and popularity she has gathered in the past year after the release of her ‘Sweetener’ album and return to the music scene following the devastating Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017 at her concert. As a massive fangirl or “stan”, if you will, I was counting down the days until I got to sing my heart out to her endless bops and just stare in awe at the biggest pop star in the world today (in my opinion however, if you disagree I can’t guarantee I’ll listen to your argument).

Upon her arrival and stay in Dublin, the media were in a frenzy reporting on the anticipation for last minute tickets and any glimpse people got of her roaming the streets of Dublin. It was fair to say, there was much excitement in the air and after scrolling through my Twitter feed that weekend, I stumbled across a tweet from Cadbury Ireland and it’s clear they were really TRYING to get in on the hype with a little shameless PR stunt.

Screenshot 2019-09-30 at 18.52.19

Cadbury Ireland’s tweet on Ariana’s opening night

After reading this tweet and staring at it for a few minutes, I had mixed reactions, none of which were positive may I add but, I feel the most appropriate way to explain how I felt is best depicted with memes.

 

  1. Initial reaction

meme1 blog

If I’m honest, when I first read the tweet, I thought it made no sense. What is the relevance between a box of roses to Ariana Grande’s ‘Thank u, next’? In what world do we gift our exes a box of chocolates for the pain and life lessons they’ve given us? What is this weird point they’re trying to promote? I had too many questions for what was clearly meant to be a quick promo for a box of Roses and once, I figured out the message they were aiming for, it seemed a bit lackluster. In my opinion if a company wants to quickly promote a product or message through social media, it should be smart and easy to understand and a lot of the time, memorable for good reasons. This tweet on the other hand left me scratching my head like a lot of other Twitter users in the thread.

 

  1. Follow up reaction

meme 2 blog

This meme really depicts my follow up reaction for a few reasons. As mentioned before, I am a Ariana Grande fan but, I’m pretty sure over the past 2 years, without even being a fan of Ariana’s, a lot of people are very aware of what has happened in her life and what led to the creation of ‘Thank u, next’.

After reading Cadbury Ireland’s tweet, it’s imaginable that the person who came up with the idea has a 12 year old niece who was going to one of the shows and despite not really knowing much about her, it was all they were hearing about from young people so, they might as well post a ‘relatable’ tweet to stay relevant with the current hype.

My main observation though was that 0 research was done and there wasn’t much knowledge on Ariana. The reason behind my assumption being that there was no regard for the insensitivity towards suggesting Ariana should have gave her exes a box of chocolates when,

  1. Her ex Mac Miller, whom is mentioned in the song tragically died from a drug overdose and
  2. Her ex-fiancé Pete Davidson struggles with his mental health and openly discussed suicide following calling off their engagement.

Both of these incidents inspired Ariana to write ‘Thank u, next’. She commemorates them for the life lessons, love and pain that they’ve taught her and ultimately allowed her to take time to love and focus on herself.

Taking all of this on board, I feel Cadbury Ireland’s social media team could have taken a better approach to engaging with Ariana being in Dublin. I understand it was likely an attempted light-hearted joke however, when promoting your products and making links to celebrities, songs, events etc. I believe it’s always necessary to have an understanding of background details like the above and to use these links with the appropriate context.

When carrying out PR work you are always trying to influence opinions and behaviours positively however, without research and knowledge on the message you are promoting, it appears less credible, sloppy and in this case a bit distasteful. Looking through the thread, twitter users were providing nothing, but negative feedback aimed at Cadbury Ireland’s marketing team, which is evidently not what their goal was.

Initially I was wondering was I overreacting and perhaps looking too deep into it however, the tweet didn’t perform overly well, with the general reaction in the thread reflecting my own thoughts.

Screenshot 2019-10-02 at 17.31.50Screenshot 2019-10-02 at 17.32.16Screenshot 2019-10-02 at 17.34.23Screenshot 2019-10-02 at 17.34.58Screenshot 2019-10-02 at 17.35.30

 

I began to look at Cadbury Ireland’s other tweets to gauge whether this is how their social media team usually portray themselves however, I was quick to notice that their other tweets were consistent in their social media voice and tone. This is what you expect from a company when they are interacting with their audience online. This made it all clearer that this Ariana plug was a spare of the moment thought and confirmed my assumptions that they were trying to stay on trend by feeding into the hype around current events.

 

So, on that note the only question I have left for Cadbury Ireland’s marketing team is…

meme 4 blog

 

Marie-Claire Leung is a final year Bsc Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at: Twitter – @MarieClaireL_PR and LinkedIn – Marie-Claire Leung

5 Things I Learned From “thank u, next”

Saturday 3rd November, Ariana Grande surprised us all with the release of her new single “thank u, next”.

A break up anthem with a difference, “thank u, next” focuses on what Ariana has learned from each of her past relationships and how this has helped her to become “so amazing”. Ariana sets and example to all her fans on how to face adversity head on and move on to better things.

Here’s 5 things I learned from “thank u, next”

1. Look back, but don’t stare

CM38

Ariana opens the song by taking a look back at all her past relationships. Mentioning each high profile high profile ex by name, she doesn’t shy away from acknowledging her past and the issues that lead to the break up of these relationships.

The past can provide you with information about yourself and looking back at this can help you reflect. However this should not necessarily inform your future or determine your outlook. Reflecting too much on the past can make it hard to stay optimistic, we often focus on the negatives rather than the positives. Looking too deep into our past makes it hard to envisage a future without these same issues occurring.

As Ariana moves into the final verse of the song, she begins to look into the future and discusses her dreams of marriage. She hasn’t let her past failing of relationships ruin her ideal picture of her future. And neither should you.

CM36

 

2. Learn from the past and take it into the future

CM40

Throughout the song Ariana shares some painful moments that she’s been through over the past couple of years. From the death of her ex Mac Miller, the end of her engagement, family problems and her own struggles with mental health. But she also hints at how ultimately, she’s going to come out stronger from the lessons she’s taught herself.

You Learn about yourself when things don’t go the way you planned them. We learn from the mistakes we have made. Getting hurt allows us to learn more about ourselves as people and allows for self-growth. Taking these lessons with us into the future helps us to not make the same mistakes and betters us as a person. You too can turn out amazing.

CM42

 

3. The importance of self-love

CM30

Unlike other break up anthems that focus on getting over the hurt of a past relationship by scoring your exes,  Ariana sings from a place of self-love as opposed to emptiness and hurt. Instead of moving on with another relationship to get over the past, she is now focusing on her relationship with herself.

Taking time to look after yourself without compromising for others is so important. Focusing on our happiness will help us to lead a better life. Going forward into the future with self-love and acceptance will help us in all aspects of life. The Key to success in any area is confidence within yourself, no one has time for self doubt.

CM34

 

4. The importance of your support system outside of your relationship

CM44

In times of a break up we turn to the people around us for support. Ariana sings about how spending more time with her friends has helped her to stop worrying about the past. She also speaks about her close relationship with her mother, who she wants to walk her down the aisle some day.

After a relationship ends it is these people who we look to for support through the pain. That is why having this support network is so important. Laughter and good times with friends helps us to get over the bad times of the past.

C11

 

5. There’s strength in vulnerability

C10

“thank u, next” is undoubtedly Ariana’s most vulnerable song yet. Explicitly talking about all her past exes by name and her dreams for the future, she opens up to fans.

“thank u, next” has also been Ariana’s most successful single. It broke Spotify’s record for single day streams from a female artist 2 days in a row and became the fastest single to surpass 100 million streams in Spotify history. It is Ariana’s first number one in the singles charts in both the UK and USA.

This success was followed by and iconic video which  broke the record for the biggest music video debut in YouTube history, earning over 50 million views in the first 24 hours.

While this commercial success is amazing the real success of the song lies in Ariana’s openness with her fans which has allowed so many people to connect with the song. There is a reason so many people are listening to the song and that is because we can all relate to it in some capacity.

C32

Allowing ourselves to open up and be vulnerable to the people around us will help you to make deeper connections. We all go through the same struggles in life and we can all relate to each other. A problem shared is a problem halved and vulnerability can be the first step forward in moving on.

C20

 

Cathal McCaughey is a final year student on the BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations at Ulster University and a Study USA alumni of College of St. Benedict / St. John’s University MN. He can be contacted on: Instagram – @Cathal_10 / Twitter – @Cathal__10 / Linkedin – http://www.linkedin.com/in/cathalmccaughey