COLIN THE SHOTS: A PUBLIC DISASTER FOR M & S

COLIN THE SHOTS: A PUBLIC DISASTER FOR M & S

Colin or Cuthbert?

Like many others, I have been closely following the Colin & Cuthbert the Caterpillar Twitter gate. The biggest showdown since McGregor v Mayweather. It was quite refreshing to see these two heavyweights go caterpillar to caterpillar rather than the usual COVID-19 debates.

M & S and Colin aren’t very happy with Aldi and Cuthbert because of the similarities of the two products and so M & S are threatening to sue Aldi; despite other major UK retailers also selling their own caterpillars: Curly, Clyde, Cecil, Charlie, Morris and Wiggles.

Are M & S fighting a losing battle?

Has Aldi just proved there is no such thing as bad publicity?

Well, let’s find out.

On Thursday 15th April, news that shook the world of children’s parties, office birthdays, and millennials, Colin the Caterpillar laced up his six boots and went to war. M&S has filed an intellectual property claim with the High Court against Aldi, in an effort to protect their chocolate-covered swiss roll celebration cake, and demanded that Aldi stop selling their copy cat-erpillar, Cuthbert.

Like Prince, Madonna and Boris, in birthday party circles, Colin needs no second name, with over 15 million sales under his belt during his 30 year life.

Such is the cult of Colin that M&S created a female version – Connie the Caterpillar – who sports a pink bow. You can also buy Colin in mini-roll form, as gummy sweets and sour sweets, and, hauntingly, stand-alone Colin faces. The Colin canon is broad and terrifying.

The first imitator was Wiggles from Sainsbury’s in 2011, who was shortly followed by the rest of the army. (An army is what you call a group of Caterpillars by the way) For the most part, the caterpillars are extremely similar: all are chocolate Swiss roll sponge with chocolate buttercream, and chocolate covering, decorated with sweets. All the caterpillars have shoes extending down the length of their bodies, and a cartoon face that could generously be described as sort-of reminiscent of a caterpillar, or maybe a train that has come to life. The packaging is also near-identical: long, rectangular green boxes with cellophane windows showing off the cute little caterpillar.

So why now? Why Aldi? Why Cuthbert?

Perhaps, some cynical sorts have suggested, this is not, in fact, the landmark case of intellectual property law it purports to be, but in fact, a PR stunt confected by the rival supermarkets. Certainly, Aldi’s social media over the weekend hasn’t suggested that they’re quaking in their Caterpillar boots.

Marks and Spencer is quoted as saying:

“Love and care go into every product on our shelves. So we want to protect Colin, Connie and our reputation for freshness, quality, innovation and value”.

But has this all the signs of a publicity disaster for Marks and Spencer?

There is no doubt that Colin the Caterpillar is valuable to Marks and Spencer but have Aldi’s tweets proved the company should have thought about it more before bringing the action? 

You definitely came across the brilliantly funny social media campaign from Aldi’s Twitter account #freecuthbert, you couldn’t miss it, it was everywhere! The newspapers, online, Colin even got an interview on This Morning with Philip Schofield.

Let’s make sense of it all;

Marks and Spencer bit the bullet and lodged a claim with the High Court against Aldi for infringing on the Colin-related trademarks that Marks & Spencer owns.

Naturally, Marks and Spencer want Aldi to remove the Cuthbert the Caterpillar cake from their stores and to refrain from selling anything similar in the future.

Aldi’s witty and punful tweets stole the limelight of Marks & Spencer’s sue claims but when the fun dried out, Aldi suggested that they all put this nonsense behind them and that they “raise money for Charity, not lawyers.”

However, M & S completely missed the mark with some Twitter users calling the retailer “pathetic”. M & S suggested that Aldi just use their own character and threw Kevin the Carrot Cake into the mix. Poor carrot probably already has enough on his plate.

So was this all worthwhile for M & S? A PR Stunt or Stint?

According to the stats, Aldi’s news sentiment increased by +8.5%, purchase consideration +6.08% and Social Engagement 460,629 while M&S seen a decrease of 134.1% in their news sentiment, a 2.72% decrease in purchase consideration and only managed to get half of Aldi’s social engagement with 253,581.

I feel that answers the question… perhaps they should have left Cuthbert alone?

Courtney McGoldrick is a third year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn, Instagram & Twitter.

Burger King: Fast Food Royalty

Burger King: Fast Food Royalty

What can I say? Burger King is flying the flag of brilliance for all fast food chains out there.  

Two months ago, they won the hearts of millions when they urged people to buy from other fast food branches;

“We never thought we’d be asking you to do this, but restaurants employing thousands of staff really need your support at the moment.” – name-checking; KFC, Subway, Domino’s Pizza, Pizza Hut, Five Guys, Gregg’s, Taco Bell, Papa John’s Pizza and Leon in the post.

This wasn’t about marketing or advertising, but something much greater. We are living in such stressful and chaotic times. It’s uplifting to see companies that genuinely care. Not only about their own customers and employees. But about their “competitors” as well.

For some, this campaign didn’t pull on their heartstrings. Some called it cynic and a ploy instead to buy Burger Kings famous ‘Whooper’. The post did end with a plug for its own product – “Getting a Whopper is always best, but ordering a Big Mac is also not such a bad thing” – so a touch of healthy (or even unhealthy) scepticism may be in order.

If all else fails, try again?!

Burger King came back with something BIGGER. Something BETTER. Something much GREATER.

WHOPPER & FRIENDS

Burger King is supporting local restaurants who can’t market their brand and came up with a stunning campaign, “Whooper & Friends”.

They shared this image to their UK account and encouraged small businesses to use their Instagram for advertisement. 

And may I add, FOR FREE!!

The hospitality industry has consistently rallied together over the last few months and it’s great to see this continue.

There has been a fundamental shift; consumers are no longer only looking at brands as embodiments of certain values that appeal to them but more so as a cause that they can get behind. A clear sense of responsibility & purpose is now vital! No longer is it acceptable for a brand to be a ‘bit-part player’, to just add a ‘badge of support’ or run one-off PR initiatives.

As we have seen this year with various movements, silence & not being part of the conversation is not tolerated. Now more than ever it has become a necessity to openly state what you are about, what you believe in & what you are doing about it!

Talk is cheap!… Consumers want to see you walk that talk. Burger King seems to have figured this out with this (and other recent campaigns).

Most importantly people are loving it! “Worthy of respect”, “EPIC – what a statement”, “Thoughtful & Smart”, “Amazing Gesture”, “Others should follow”, “This hits so much better than the ‘Buy McDonald’s Ad!

This I believe will be the future of marketing in 2021 & beyond!

REBRANDING

Not only have they been pulling amazing campaigns out of the bag but they have also recently publicised their latest rebranding, “The announcement signals a commitment to digital-first expression and recent improvements to taste and food quality, through the removal of colours, flavours and preservatives from artificial sources from menu items, as well as an ambitious pledge to environmental sustainability.”

The fast-food chain’s first redesign in over 20 years brings back a 60s logo and introduces a brand new font, Flame inspired by the shape of its burgers, with a rich new colour palette, to create a more digital-friendly identity.

Burger King was inspired by their old logo from 1969-1988 and wanted the same feel for their rebrand; which was authentic, confident and simple. They wanted it to be long- lasting, timeless.

The font was inspired by the shapes of the restaurant’s food, “rounded, bold, yummy”. With these shapes, they needed new brand colours; they wanted their font to make people take a bite out of it. I think they have successfully achieved that! Fiery Red, Flaming Orange and BBQ Brown as their primary palette, with Mayo Egg White, Melty Yellow and Crunch Green as their secondary palette. A top-class font, matched with top-class colours. It’s a win, win for Burger King.

With the ever-changing digital world we live in, Burger King felt their visual identity wasn’t reflecting them as brand a anymore. This brought them to re-designing their packaging, merchandise, menus, uniforms, signage, décor and digital assets.

Burger King has had an incredible few months, I question will any other fast-food brands be able to compete with their genius campaigns and branding in 2021?

This is exactly what an industry leader brands like, acts like, and advertises like.

Hats off to Burger King.

Courtney McGoldrick is a third year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn, Instagram & Twitter.

Child Poverty & Domestic Violence – A Real Issue in 2020

Child Poverty & Domestic Violence – A Real Issue in 2020

Christmas is a huge part of children’s lives, it is inarguably their favourite time of year. Presents, decorations, playing with family and friends; life couldn’t get better. Unfortunately, not every child will experience the same feelings when they wake up on Christmas morning.

In Northern Ireland alone, 1 in 3 children are living in poverty and over 30,000 children are living in households characterised by domestic violence. These children are at risk of waking up to no gifts on Christmas Day.

This is harsh.

But this is reality.

Cash For Kids NI

For those of you who don’t know; Cash for Kids supports children and young people affected by poverty, abuse, neglect, life-limiting illness and those who have additional needs.

In 2019, over 20.9 million was raised across the UK, supporting more than a million children!

This year, circumstances have changed, and they need our help more than ever.

Over the last few weeks, I have watched stories on Instagram from bloggers who are campaigning for Cash for Kids, but one stands out the most.

Roisin Doherty, who was involved with the campaign last year and again this year spoke about the lack of support and donations from 2019-2020. Of course, the reason being clear, many are no longer in the position to give to charity due to job losses and business closures.

Life can change quickly, as we are all aware. We never know when we may need help. The message to the right is hard-hitting, but it is the reality for the year 2020 has been. This Christmas will be very different for many families around the globe, so we need to make it our mission to help where we can.

A picture speaks a thousand words”

The difference in donations between 2019 and 2020 is indescribable.

Cash for Kids Warehouse 2019
Cash for Kids Warehouse 2020

If you are donating, please be aware that babies are being catered for the most. Teenage boys age 12-18 have little to no donations. Emphasize supporting this category and if you are unsure what to donate have a look at the infographic Cash for Kids created.

They also made an Amazon list to make it easy for those who want to donate with gift ideas under each age category. If you wish to donate this link can be found here, and donations are welcome until Friday 18th December.

Digg Deep for Kids

Launched at the end of  November, Caroline O Neill who owns Digg Mama created a campaign ‘Digg Deep for Kids’. This campaign focuses on raising money for Cash for Kids NI, Women’s Aid NI and CiNI (Children in Northern Ireland).

Back in October Caroline posted a video of her son Darragh which went viral, reaching over 1.1million views on Instagram and even made its way on to ITV news. Caroline wanted to make it matter and used the video as an opportunity to make a difference to so many children’s life this Christmas. With help from friends, Darragh launched his very own Charity Single ‘I’m a Busy Man’.

Through Darragh’s single,you can donate by downloading or purchasing a hardcopy, or you can donate to ‘Digg Deep for Kids’ through this link, with various options to give to three very deserving charities.

In three weeks, Caroline has raised £92,224.25, with three more days still left to donate.

An astonishing amount, which will make a massive difference to many children’s lives.

Hartlepool Giving Tree

Hartlepool Giving Tree is an amazing incentive which I found on Instagram a couple of weeks ago. Although all donations closed on 10th December,  it is something you can think about giving to next Christmas.

The steps were simple and plenty of £££ is not needed to get involved.

Children of all ages asking for simple things; a book, ball, barbie, some clothes. These are children who have escaped domestic violence, being forced to flee their homes quickly leaving all their possessions behind. Without this charity, these children may not receive a gift at Christmas.

With 174,730 presents bought, that is 174,730 children who will have something to open on Christmas day!

This is what it is about.

Although we may not see it, children and young people can experience domestic violence in many ways. Every child’s experience will be different. Children and young people can be witnesses of violence, they may overhear it and they may also experience physical and emotional abuse directly.

Just as every child’s experience of domestic violence is different, every child will be affected differently. Domestic violence can impact all areas of children and young people’s lives, including, health, education, the development of relationships, recreation and social activities.

If you can give something this Christmas, please do. Any donation, small or large will make a massive difference to a child’s life.

Let’s help children who need it most!

Courtney McGoldrick is a third year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn, Instagram & Twitter.

A STEP INTO THE REAL WORLD

A STEP INTO THE REAL WORLD

2 0 2 0 – What a year?

Apart from living throughout a pandemic, the second half of 2020 has been extremely positive. I think it has taught us all to be grateful to wake up on a Monday morning and be able to go into an office or visit family & friends.

I have completed my first six months as a Social Media Marketing intern with Elite Electronic Systems. It has been the CRAZIEST. FASTEST. But most REWARDING six months. To sum it up in four words… a huge learning curve.

Taking it back to June 1st, my very first day at Elite, I really didn’t know what to expect. Sitting in an office 8-5 was a completely new experience for me, but one I have now adapted to, and learnt to love.

I had a lot to prove as I was the first Marketing Placement student Elite had taken on. I think this gave me more motivation than ever to show I could do the role and, do it well.

The responsibility I was given from the very start, gave me the confidence to step out of my comfort zone, grasp everything with open arms and just try my best. It is thanks to this responsibility that I am, where I am, today.

I am immensely proud of where I have taken Elite in the last 6 months. From starting up Elite’s social media, to adobe designing, video campaigns, website development, analytical reviews, you name it – I have done it!

Within my first three weeks, I created a LinkedIn account and now roughly 5.5 months on we are sitting at 900 followers – pushing for that 1000 mark at Christmas (you can find our page here). From the timid girl that walked in on the 1st June, I never thought by the middle of the first month I would be in full control of social media, creating posts three times a week and learning about the Electronic Manufacturing World, which was complete brain fog to begin. But here I am, soaking up every second of it.

If you want to see some of the work I have been creating in my first six months, I released a promotional video on Elite’s LinkedIn last week (you will find it here). If you want more of an insight, check our YouTube channel where you will find all our latest videos from 2020.

For those of you currently seeking placement:

I want to tell you that, I was you this time last year, extremely apprehensive for what the next year ahead would bring. As stressful as getting a placement is, especially during a pandemic, I really couldn’t have gone to final year without it. The real life, day to day dilemmas are not something a lecture hall can prepare you for.

With already being over halfway through my placement year, I am excited for the next 6 months ahead, new goals, ambitions and one step closer to my final year studies – eeeekk.

My advice for you;

Get as much experience as you can during these strange times; freelance for that local restaurant who needs support during their closures, utilise free online training courses to build up your CV and network on LinkedIn. Most importantly DON’T GIVE UP!! – The skills you will be gain on your placement year are invaluable.

What I would tell my 2nd year self;

  • They understand that you won’t know everything, if not anything – they have been in the same position
  • Ask questions
  • Step out of your comfort zone
  • Its ok to get things wrong
  • Network
  • Challenge Yourself
  • E N J O Y I T! The year goes so quick.

I want to leave you with this;A year from now you’ll be glad you started today“. For me, after only six months, I can tell you I am very glad I took the leap and pursued a placement year.

P.S.

EXCITING ROLE ALERT FOR PLACMENT STUDENTS 2021-22;

Elite are hiring for next year’s Social Media Marketing Intern, a brilliant opportunity for you all. Check out our website – www.elitees.com and LinkedIn– for more details or feel free to message me!

Wishing you all lots of luck in your placement search.

Courtney McGoldrick is a third year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn, Instagram & Twitter.