PaddyPower is one of the leading Irish bookmakers who will do just about everything for some publicity, whether it be conventional marketing or controversial PR stunts, From taking bets on whether Oscar Pistorius will “walk” from his murder trial to publishing a poster portraying Jesus and the disciples gambling at the last supper. Personally i think most of the PaddyPower advertisements are hilarious and they continually think of clever ways of advertising their brand. PaddyPower’s marketing department definitely produce material based on the understanding that “all publicity is good publicity”.
Below is a list of previous PaddyPower PR stunts that i believe are some of their best pieces of work.
5. Cheltenham festival pants
During the 2013 Cheltenham festival, PaddyPower offered race-goers the chance to get the best seats in the house in a flying pair of PaddyPower underpants. The giant flying underpants were not only seen by the 70,000 people in attendance but also was picked up on live TV broadcasts. Cheltenham festival organisers subsequently demanded that PaddyPower take down their flying pair of pants following the involvement of the Civil Aviation Authority.
4. Nicklas Bendtner’s Lucky Pants
During a EURO 2012 group game Nicklas Bendtner coolly dispatched an equalising goal for Denmark, he then proceeds to pull down his shorts where he reveals a pair of PaddyPower lucky pants, The stunt landed Nicklas a £80,000 fine which PaddyPower paid on behalf of Nicklas. The fine was issued on the same day that Croatian fans were fined £60,000 for racial slurs directed at Italian striker Mario Balotelli, PaddyPower publicly addressed the harsh penalty fee and were disappointed in EUFA’s “double standards”.
3. Ryder Cup Sky tweets
In a campaign to support Team Europe at the 2012 Ryder Cup golf tournament, PaddyPower decided to take to the skies above the Medinah Country Club to issue the worlds first ‘sky tweet’. PaddyPower hired a fleet of aircraft’s to display tweets in the sky in support of Team Europe. The messages were quickly seen by the golfers and was picked up live on Sky Sports broadcasts. The campaign was so successful that BBC re-used the footage for their 2012 Sports Personality of the Year awards.
2. PaddyPower’s Drive Through Confession Box
Prior to the Pope’s visit to Ireland on August of 2018, PaddyPower erected a giant drive-thru confession box to facilitate for the Irish population to repent decades of sins from the comfort of their own car. PaddyPower even carried out a special survey before building the express lane to eternal salvation, when asked if they found it convenient to attend confession, the majority (61%) said no, and a further 15% said it could be improved, cue PaddyPowers “convenient” method of attending confession.
1.Always bet on black
Ahead of the one of the most anticipated fights the world has ever seen between undefeated Floyd Mayweather and Irish MMA champion Conor McGregor, Floyd steps up for his weigh-in, slips off his trousers only to showcase PaddyPowers bright green lucky pants with the phrase “always bet of black” embroidered on them in an apparent gut-shot to his opponent’s ‘f**k you’ pinstripe suit effort during the fighters’ promo tour for the event. Quite frankly, nobody had seen this coming especially given that PaddyPower, an Irish betting company wasn’t backing one of their own in Conor McGregor. Instead they had fledged allegiance to undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather.
PaddyPower even held twitter competitions to win a free pair of PaddyPower lucky pants signed by Floyd himself.
James McGirr is a final year BSc Public Relations & Communication Management student at Ulster University. He can be found on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/james-mcgirr-247328143/ & Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jimmymcgirr
With 66% of the UK online population using some form of social media, there’s no denying that social media plays a significant role in our daily lives. It has changed how we keep in touch with friends, read the latest headlines, and how we shop for the latest fashion trends.
With most Millenniums and Generation Z’ spending countless hours scrolling through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – Brands are always looking for new ways to target their audience.
Call in the Influencers…
The latest marketing trend brands are using to target their audience is through the use of social media influencers or influencer marketing.
After a quick Google search, a ‘social media influencer’, can be a described as, “a user on social media who has established credibility in a specific industry. A social media influencer has access to a large audience and can persuade others by their authenticity and reach”.
An influencer can either be an everyday person like you or me (with a lot larger Instagram following), the latest Love Island contents, or the ‘official’ celebrity.
Essentially, brands will send free PR Packages to these ‘influencers’, who will then post a sponsored ad about the product on their social media accounts. Or an Influencer will be paid an agreed amount on each time they post about the brands product. Brands utilize influencers in the hope that their influence will result in more people buying their products.
Influencers are promoting everything from cars, to hotels, to beauty products, to shoes, to diets, and a whole lot more.
This is why you may have seen a lot of your fav’ celebs’ or the so-called ‘insta famous’ with #ad #sp on some of their posts.
An influencer with an Instagram following of around a million can command £10,000 for a one-off post. An influencer with between 3,000 and 10,000 followers can expect to earn £50-£100 per post. Keeping these figures in mind, influencer marketing is fast becoming one of the most effective online marketing strategies for brands. Recently, brands have raised their budgets for influence marketing between 3 – 6%, with $2 billion in the last year being spent on influencer marketing overall.
Owner of Cocoa Brown Tan, Marissa Carter seen the full effect of influencer marketing, when one sponsored post by Kylie Jenner seen her product sell out in 24 hours.
And it’s not just celebrities making money out of influencer marketing. In December 2018, a mother revealed to the Daily Mail that her baby boy, aged one, who is an Instagram influencer has already gotten £10k in freebies (including a different pram for every day of the week). Ralphie Waplington, aged one, from Essex, has an Instagram following of 14,000. The boy’s mother, Stacey Woodhams, runs the account, with Ralphie’s wardrobe and bedroom furniture all provided free by brands and the family enjoys days out in exchange for posts on Ralphie’s account. However, this has been received with backlash, as some seeing this as child exploitation.
On the way out…
Content creation is now in the hands of influencers and who are providing a key role in the story that brands communicate. In order for influencer marketing to be successful, influencers content must be authentic and original.
With brands and influencers both having a very successful 2018, it’s hard in seeing the influencer marketing trend going anywhere. However, some experts predict there will be a decline in social media influencers is on the horizon in 2019.
Today alone, it’s hard not to scroll through Instagram and not spot at least one sponsored post. Influencer marketing has become too mainstream, too commercialised, and too common. Content is becoming less organic and genuine, you get a sense that influencers are only doing it to gain a few more followers, and gain a lot more money.
I may be wrong, but I feel as if influencers are on the way out for 2019.
What’s huge, yellow and generally regarded to be a massive waste of money? No, I’m not talking about the fact that Fox is still churning out new episodes of the Simpsons, I’m talking about Canaduck. Well, Canaduck isn’t the official name but it’s easier to write about than the unimaginative “Rubber Duck (Sculpture)” drummed up by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, from which Canaduck derives from. But that’s beside the point. Is Canaduck really all it’s quacked up to be? (Sorry- there are a few more of these to come).
Bobbing along at six stories tall and weighing over 13000kg, Canaduck cost the Canadian taxpayers a total of 200,000 Canadian dollars. Talk about a massive bill! (again, sorry but I can’t promise that I won’t do it again). It’s safe to say that Canaduck fairly ruffled a few feathers since its announcement in June 2017, but what did it actually do? Well, the truth is, we’re still not sure. Visitors were able to walk around inside the giant bird via a backdoor entrance that somewhat emulated the stuffing of a turkey. This peculiar design seemed to be overlooked by the media as the world seemed more perplexed by the obscurity of the bigger picture than the daft little details. But what did the duck mean? Who thought it was a good idea? And why was the world so captivated?
The minds behind the cutest 13-tonne structure in the world are the organisers of the Redpath Waterfront festival. The festival usually takes place in the penultimate weekend of June is free to all who wish to attend. The annual event’s website states that the festival intends to provide “on-land and on-water programming for people of all ages and interests with the goal of promoting Toronto locally and internationally as a premier waterfront destination”. Ok, so Toronto is a premier waterfront. Ducks like water. Now the duck existentially makes sense… right?
Wrong. A water city or not, Conservative MPP Rick Nicholls seemed personally offended by the bird, stating “As the PC Critic for Tourism, Culture, and Sport, I am not against people enjoying Canada Day festivals and festivities, but what I object to is the government funding a giant rubber duck that has no connection to Ontario or Canada”. Being publicly ridiculed by such a credible source, the geniuses who drummed up this idea must have felt like sitting ducks themselves. On the water, the duck looks calm and collected, but glance below the surface and his feet are churning a mile a minute. Nicholls clearly didn’t appreciate what this meme-worthy inflatable bird was doing to the reputation of his city on a global basis. Maybe Canada just hates the idea of being laughed at, eh?
As this inflatable structure made worldwide news, I remember laughing profusely. Only now as I sat to review the giant cutie, did I really ask myself what the duck could have stood for. A hefty sum of taxpayer’s money was thrust into this duck- could it be a satirical swipe at the Canadian government’s misuse of taxpayers hard earned money? Or was it literally just a two-hundred-thousand-dollar floating selfie partner? What did the driving forces behind Canaduck have to say about all this? Well, they claimed that the duck would boost tourism “with particular Instagram and selfie appeal”. So, there we have it. My brainpower in hoping to unearth some deeper symbolism of the duck appears to have been misplaced. It’s officially just a big duck.
There is something beautifully Canadian about Canaduck; innocent, apologetic for its own nature and, quite frankly, too nice for the United States. The instantaneous and volatile nature of the meme world allowed this gigantic bath toy to reach parts of the world that the team at Redpath Waterfront Festival had surely never dreamed of. But meme trends are as short as they are sweet. What the media didn’t tell us is that Redpath Waterfront Festival generated a record economic impact of 7.6 million dollars as well as an unbridled level of publicity for the festival. The previously labelled “cluster duck” made such a splash that the water taxi industry even saw an unexpected resurgence.
In the end, this boils down to the age-old debate of whether or not any publicity is good publicity. This was a remarkable PR stunt to follow in that it evolved from a laughing stock to a resounding success for revenue and brand awareness. Was this the plan all along? Or were there jobs on the line in the build-up to the festival? Did the brains behind the world’s largest duck foresee such a rollercoaster of publicity chockfull of political and economic commentary? Or was it just a big duck because they thought it might look cute? Returning to the previously mentioned intended goal of the festival (promoting Toronto locally and internationally as a premier waterfront destination) Canaduck, despite all its critics and cheap jokes, can surely be considered an emphatic triumph. Say what you will about our feathered friend, but one thing is for sure; it all went swimmingly in the end.
This would have been the part where I asked you all to click the link below to sign my petition to bring Canaduck to Newry to help revive the place as a premier waterfront “city” but the petition has been thrown out. UKgov.com claimed I was “probably joking”.
Needless to say, it was not a day for the ducks.
Eamon Daly is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. He can be found at: Twitter – @EamonDaly5 ; LinkedIn – linkedin.com/in/eamon-daly-608780137
I’m obsessed with Netflix at the moment – between removing everything from my life that doesn’t offer joy (thanks Marie Kondo) and being on the edge of my seat watching Fyre Festival, Netflix are killing it at the moment.
For those of you who haven’t seen the documentary, Fyre Festival (where have you been?!) Fyre Festival began with a story-style advertisement, which now has over 4 million views.
In reality, the five star accommodation transpired into disaster relief tents, luxury meals consisted of two slices of dry/brown bread (brown bread, of all choices) and cheese. Dogs roamed the luxury space, the attendees 5* service included soggy mattresses, no water, no air conditioning, no electricity. Sounds like a dream, I know.
But, within the PR and marketing world, influencers and models took the heat and were blamed for the failure of the event, not the organisers.
An article from Wired stated that ‘the influencer model is now in jeopardy. And maybe that’s not a bad thing’. Many articles offered similar opinions, following the disaster of the event.
Now, during a two hour lecture, my attention can sway, but surely the overarching aim of a marketer/influencer is to sell to people and increase sales via different mediums?
I believe the organisers should be held accountable, who were obviously out of their depth. When looking at online articles, Tweets, blog posts, YouTube videos, it was clickbait, dramatised and heightened (shout-out to A-Level journalism for that analysis). Many stating that influencers where on their last legs, YouTube is on the final countdown and Instagram business-users should be having a mental breakdown as we speak.
But, public relations is defined as a ‘strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organisations and their publics’. And the more research one does, the more you begin to realise that influencer relations, within PR and marketing, can be dated to the mid-1900’s.
In 1931, Santa was introduced as the Face of Coca-Cola – a well know, respected character was used as the face of a product to increase sales. This, in no way, differs when a YouTuber claims they are obsessed with a product in their latest video. Granted Zoella might not have a white beard and red suit, but the same message is passed over the consumer.
So, in my opinion, the influencers shouldn’t be taking the heat for the disaster what is Fyre Festival. Nevertheless, I do believe that marketers and businesses can take essential learnings from the flop.
Brand Loyalty // It’s all well and good getting the elite of the celebrity world to endorse your product, it’ll bring a huge amount of exposure to your product. However, such celebrities are only doing so because of the large pay cheque waiting for them. In order for businesses to effectively grow their brands, they should look towards those, who may have a smaller following, but are more loyal to the brand. Viewers are going to identify authenticity within the sponsored posts and in turn will generate more sales.
Content // It’s important, yes, but why spend hours pouring over a professional editing suite when the video is only going to be posted on Instagram and YouTube? The organisers of Fyre Festival poured hours into their promo video, but they were on a remote island with limited WIFI and electric. Instead of increasing budget for content product, brands should turn to a core content team, where the overall output might not be as stunning, but places the product/service in a genuine and honest setting.
Honesty // Frye festival organisers messed up and instead of taking the heat. They tired to cover up the disaster with lies, false hope and deception. Which, obviously, didn’t work. If a business makes a mistake, it’s better to own up and face the music. Communicate honesty to your customers, post an official statement – it will be hard to do so, but there is a greater chance that the trust consumers once had, can be rebuilt again.
Alex Slaine is a Third Year BSc in Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. He is currently working as Media and Education Intern at Intel Ireland on his placement year. He can be found on Twitter – @alexslainee; and LinkedIn – Alex Slaine
When writing this blog, I had many ideas in mind. After sitting thinking about which idea would be interesting for people to read, I decided to write about something that I am huge fan of, and that is the hit Broadway musical Hamilton. Anyone that knows me will know that there is nothing that I love more than Broadway musicals. One of the biggest musicals of the last decade has been Hamilton. This is a Hip-Hop musical about the American Revolution and it has broken records that no one could have even imagined. Since Hamilton opened on Broadway in August 2015, in the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York, it has received a record-breaking 16 Tony Award nominations (The Oscars of musical theatre), winning 11 including one for best musical.
So how does a Broadway Musical become so successful? How has it been able to attract millions of people to go to see a Hip-Hop musical about the American Revolution? How has Hamilton been able to attract people through their doors, from members of the British Royal Family to the everyday theatre-goer? Well, it’s simple – they have been able to use public relations and marketing to make Hamilton one of the most sought-after shows on Broadway.
Hamiltion was created by Lin Manuel Miranda and it is based on the biography of Alexandra Hamilton by Ron Chernow. Lin Manuel Miranda is one of the main factors forHamilton’s success. Having already achieved success with shows like In the Heights, he had a huge fan base amongst musical theatre fans. He was also able to use his social media profile to attract attention for his new show, even before it opened. Once the show opened on Broadway, it soon became a huge success attracting many A – list stars such as Beyoncé and Oprah, to name a few. These stars would then post photos of themselves on social media, thus creating a desire for other people to go see the show.
With the buzz of the show, and the amount of people trying to secure tickets, the show soon made headlines. People where literally willing to pay someone to stand in line at the theatre to try and secure a set of tickets. Trying to get tickets for Hamilton soon became impossible, with tickets selling for up to $1,150. The high price of tickets caused negative headlines for Hamilton, implying that it was impossible to get tickets unless you could afford the huge prices. To manage this crisis, and wanting to make Hamilton affordable for everyone, the Ham4Ham lottery was started where you could enter to win tickets for the show. In addition, the cast would often perform for crowds of people who were waiting outside the Richard Rodgers Theatre to see if they were lucky enough to win tickets. The #Ham4Ham would often be used by people at the show gaining extra social media attention for Hamilton.
With Hamilton gaining so much attention, and not everyone being able to make their way to New York to see it or pay the huge ticket price, there was soon a huge demand for Hamilton merchandise. In this small way, you could get a taste of Hamilton even if you could not make it to the show. Marketing Hamilton means it is more than simply a Broadway show. Hamilton’s soundtrack was charting so well in the iTunes charts that they released a mixtape of the soundtrack, with songs being covered by popular artists such as Sia, Chance the Rapper and many more. There was such a huge demand for Hamilton merchandise that there is even a store in New York to keep up with the demand from Hamilton fans.
Hamilton was soon becoming a cultural phenomenon and was being used to talk about current social issues that were happening in the United States of America. For example, Hamilton was being used when talking about politics, with the cast even performing for the Obamas at the White House. After Trump was elected President, and with protests breaking out around the country about the policies that he was introducing, many people were seen with posters at the protests that had lyrics from the musical on them such as, “History has its eyes on you” and “Immigrants – We get the job done”. During one of the shows when Vice President Pence was in the audience, the actor who played Aaron Burr, Brandon Dixon, asked Mike Pence after the show finished, and while he was still in the audience, to respect the diversity that the cast represents. This got widespread media attention as was caught on camera by members of the audience. Although it received negative reactions from people, including President Trump, many others applauded the cast for speaking out about social issues that were affecting the country and using their platform to educate people about politics.
I believe that Hamilton has made Broadway more popular than ever and has succeeded in bringing in a whole new generation of theatre fans. Hamilton created such a buzz about Broadway musicals that there was even a Broadway Carpool Karaoke with James Corden, which not only included Lin Manuel Miranda from Hamiltion, but other big Broadway stars such as Audra McDonald, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Jane Krakowski. This has led to the success of many new Broadway musicals such as Dear Evan Hansen, which has achieved similar success to Hamilton. Hamilton has also helped to change the world of Musical Theatre, attracting new fans and showing that it is okay to break down barriers and change the norm.
Muriosa Houston is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at: Twitter – @MuriosaHouston ; Linkedin – http://www.linkedin.com/in/muriosa-houston-32b41413b
It’s no secret that social media and PR has become inundated with influencer marketing. With YouTubers and bloggers making more money than most upcoming musicians, artists and actors, this is a sector not to be ignored. In a recent study Influencer Marketing Hub found that the market size of ‘influencer marketing’ in 2018 was said to be worth $4.6 billion and set to rise to $6.5 billion in 2019. Figures more than doubled from 2017, suggesting that this market is likely to keep growing and growing.
In a world full of “famous” people who were made rich through selling charcoal teeth whitening strips or selling their soul on Love Island it’s hard to tell who’s actually genuine and worthy of that follow. Believe me, I watch Love Island as much as the next person but do I think they are the most authentic salespeople? No, probably not. Maybe we should look at some of those influential content creators who’ve spent years of their life building their brand on YouTube, blogging or creating products and deserve a little bit more of our respect?
Influencer Insights 2017-19 Studies
While it’s very easy to critique these so-called ‘influencers’, they are beginning to have a direct impact on our lives and if you work in this industry you’re more than likely going to be dealing with them at some point in your career. In 2017, Influencer Insights conducted a survey that found 47% of people turned to social media to research a brand. This is a huge element to consider when deciding what influencers to work with.
In Influencer Insights’ first study in 2017 they likened influencer marketing to word-of-mouth marketing with an updated twist. This is a very interesting outlook which forces us to ask if the novelty of influencers is their ability to relate to their consumer? And will we see this change as the years go on and honest opinions perhaps become less authentic? Only time will tell.
So, we should follow those people who drive important conversations, influencers and brands that are transparent with their sponsorships, people who create original content and ultimately those who are morally ethical with their posts (maybe not those promoting detox ‘skinny teas’). As when an influencer aligns their marketing methods with their own key values the brands they’re working with are introduced to a huge, yet targeted, segment of the market. Not only should we, as PR practitioners, choose carefully the people we work with, those people should too choose their brands appropriately and selectively.
Below is a list I’ve compiled of people that have stood out in a saturated but ever-growing industry, as well as their current Insta stats;
@Uhnonee- 131K followers
Oenone is a British personal trainer, influencer, activist, podcaster and blogger. With ‘The Tiny Tank’ as her original Insta handle, she is a ‘tiny’ girl with lots to say. She openly admits being brainwashed by social media in her earlier days and continuously calls out myths being marketed online. Upon listening to her podcast ‘Adulting’ I have learned so much about feminism, socialism and it’s really opened my eyes to the privileges I have in society. Oenone is unique, well-spoken and comes across really genuine, making her channels a must-listen. Glancing quickly at her Instagram page you would think she’s just a normal fitness influencer but if you click onto the posts and read the captions she actually juxtaposes standard bikini posts with lengthy, motivational and often significant captions. She opens conversations and initiates discussions, something hugely important in today’s society.
@SammiMaria- 571K followers
Sustainable fashion is a huge, important topic at the moment and many influencers are starting to raise awareness where they can. Check out Sammi’s video explaining how she is trying to cut down her fashion footprint and also naming brands that do their best to reduce their environmental impact.
I started following Sammi (formerly ‘The Beauty Crush’) about 7 years ago now. Influencers weren’t a ‘thing’ when I first started watching YouTube and from following Sammi’s channel alone I have seen just how much this market has grown. Unlike Tanya Burr, Zoella and Fleur deForce I never really grew out of Sammi’s content. She has been transitional over the years and despite her own worries of not being ‘up-to-date’ with the algorithms, I really think she has done well. Speaking out about her own battles with anxiety, domestic abuse and bulimia she has shared a lot with her millions of followers. Her energy is radiating, she seems truly authentic and her child Indie is one of the cutest on YouTube (If you needed any more reasons to follow!)
@HealthyLittleLifter- 71K followers
For the fitness fanatics out there Aisling is a must-follow.
For some people following tons of fitness influencers may not be beneficial to their mental health, and we should be wary of that. But for people who are looking for that motivation to improve their diet and adopt a healthier lifestyle- follow Dr Aisling Gough. She’s from Belfast and is also a registered doctor with a wide range of knowledge to support her ideas, so I think we can trust her opinion. She posts infograms with truly useful tips, shows you how you can track a Boojum on a ‘diet’ and continuously links new medical studies to better inform her audience. Despite competing in WBFF she hasn’t let this alter her food mentality. This is certainly refreshing and Aisling is a great role model for people who have an interest in health and fitness.
@NellyLondon- 46K followers
Nelly is by no means a ‘larger model’ but she has curves and comes across more ‘real’ than many people on Insta. She was part of Missguided’s #MakeYourMark campaign and regularly speaks out about body confidence, her struggles with eating disorders and her radiating confidence is motivational.
@DrJoshuaWolrich- 137K followers
Joshua recently changed his Insta handle from @Unfattening to his real name. Contrary to the ‘Unfattening’ brand he actually posted nothing about weight loss. He used this trap to get people to his page, conversely trying to encourage an anti-weight loss mindset and bettering people’s attitudes towards foods.
Already a registered NHS doctor and a following that’s growing massively, Joshua is one to watch out for. After being introduced to him on Oenone’s podcast I started following and found his content really refreshing. I’ve already learned so much from his posts and he makes you think about why you call certain foods ‘bad’ or ‘good’. Not only does he correct popular misbeliefs, he also makes you aware of the fake news that circulates the internet in terms of fat loss. In terms of health these myths can be extremely detrimental to young people’s mental health and sometimes even dangerous. This is why accounts like Joshua’s are so important in 2019.
@JBone89- 141K followers
Jordan (or Jordan’s Beautiful Life for blog followers) is a blogger, YouTuber and author who suffered a car accident in 2005, leaving her paralysed from the waist down. She writes about the usual beauty, lifestyle and fashion topics while proving that influencers don’t always have to fit a certain mould. She’s inspiring to read and follow, check out Jordan’s Instagram page here.
@JameelaJamil- 1M followers
I’m sure you’ve already seen the radio presenter and actress’ #IWeigh campaign which already has over 342,000 followers on Instagram in itself. The campaign aims to encourage people to not base their self-worth on the number on a scale, instead weighing up other attributes of your life. Jameela is using her celebrity status coupled with her own overcoming of an eating disorder to call out celebrities and brands which aren’t doing enough. She’s even recently started a change.org campaign to ban celebrities promoting detox teas which you can view here. Definitely worthy of a follow.
@GraceFitUK- 1M followers
If you haven’t heard of Grace you must have been hiding under a rock for the past year as her brand has completely blown up with an Instagram that has just crept over 1 million followers. She’s a seemingly ‘normal’ girl from London who goes to university at Oxford, maintains friendships and has created a hugely successful but also sustainable fitness brand. At only 21 Grace really is one to watch.
From a career perspective Grace produces some really informative content. In a recent YouTube video talking about the ‘influencer’ job role I learned so much information about the career and how brands can work with these people. Not only did she speak about her own methods of gaining sponsorships and commission, she also videoed an hour-long discussion with other female fitness and beauty influencers speaking openly about how much they get paid, how brands can reach out to them and interesting secrets about the industry. From both a consumer and marketing perspective I found these videos really informative, open, honest and definitely worthy of a watch.
So, to conclude, as the number of influencers out there continues to rise make sure that if anyone you follow on Instagram is making you feel a certain way about yourself, is producing incorrect information or even making you feel like you need to buy something… delete them. It’s not worth it. There is a world of content out there on the internet and we should be using this upsurge in social media use to our advantage- challenging our minds, speaking out about things that need to be spoken about and ensuring we lead a path for generations below us. In an industry overcome with successful females we should be supporting those influencers who are making a difference instead of criticising the career as a whole. We can use this career shift to our advantage. As marketers, advertisers and PR professionals we are in charge of who our brands work with so let’s make sure each influencer we work with is a truly worthy role model.
Lauren Wilson is a third-year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University, currently undertaking a year’s placement at Belfast City Council. She can be found at: LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/laurennxwilsonn/
Like many young girls, growing up I was a typical ‘Barbie Girl’ (it’s almost impossible not to sing the famous line by Aqua in my head when writing that!). I loved everything pink and I proudly owned an army of Barbies, as well as all necessary accompanying accessories such as: the Barbie Dream House, the Barbie horse and carriage, the Barbie Beach Hut – the list is endless.
To my surprise, I discovered that this year on 9th March, Barbie will be turning 60 years old, with a not a wrinkle in sight. She really does live up to the saying: “Life in plastic, it’s fantastic!”.
Ruth and Elliot Handler co-founded Mattel Creations in 1945 and 14 years later in 1959, Ruth Handler created the Barbie doll. However, it’s no surprise that more than one billion Barbie dolls have been sold since she made her debut at the American Toy Fair in New York on 9th March 1959. The Economic Times commented that despite fierce competition in the toy industry, 58 million Barbie’s are sold each year in more than 150 countries. In a growing generation of children’s obsession with iPads and tablets, Barbie has cemented herself as a staple toy for children and come a long way since her first model, pictured above.
Despite her years of success, Barbie has found herself under scrutiny for negatively influencing girls and portraying negative body expectations. Since her creation, it has been debated that Barbie is an unrealistic image of what the ‘average’ girl should look like, as well as failing to represent differences in race and colour. There is no need to question whether Barbie’s body shape is unrealistic. Researchers have reminded us that her proportions would occur in less than 1 in 100,000 adult women and that her waist is 20cm smaller than a reference group of anorexic patients. Most shocking of all, research also argues that if Barbie’s measurements resembled an actual woman, she would not be able to menstruate or even hold up her head.
Mattel claims that the proportions were created for ease of dressing and undressing the doll, not replicating an adult figure. However, there is no such rationale for the very thin representation of Barbie in her TV show, movies, books, and range of online games. In all forms, Barbie represents a completely unattainable figure for adult women; leading parent’s to debate Barbie’s credibility as a role model. Negative connotations of ‘blonde’, ‘bimbo’ and ‘air-head’ also are associated with Barbie. Teen Talk Barbie in 1992 said phrases such as “Math class is tough”, with many arguing that Barbie discouraging young girls from academic ventures.
Now ask yourself this: how can Barbie represent and be relatable to the twenty-first century girl? Since 2000, Mattel have worked to keep the Barbie brand as relevant as ever to represent woman and remain on-trend. Although the typical ‘Barbie’ style consisted of blonde hair, blue eyed dolls, the first black Barbie called Christie was created in 1969, with Mattel showing exclusivity and diversity. The Barbie franchise today represents more than 40 different nationalities.
One campaign in particular that stood out for me in the evolution of Barbie occurred back in 2010 with American PR agency Ketchum West and Mattel. Mattel, along with Ketchum West, harnessed Barbie’s brand power by having the public choose her 126th career, with her past occupations including president and princess. However, over a million people voted for Computer Engineer Barbie in a campaign mixing the public’s love for Barbie with the movement to empower girls. In an inspired touch, the Society of Women Engineers and National Academy of Engineering helped create the doll’s look.
Michelle Chidoni, VP of global brand communications at Mattel, said the company knew giving consumers a voice and delivering a doll they requested would drive earned media and create a conversation around the lack of women in STEM. “The conversation was extremely positive and underscored the brand’s purpose,” she noted. “When a girl plays with Barbie she imagines everything she can become.”
This campaign broke down the negative stereotypes associated with Barbie, emphasising that Barbie was more than just a fashion doll, but more so a positive role model for young girls. Blonde or brunette, slender or curvy, black or white, princess or president, Barbie is a forever favourite for young girls, and this campaign has helped influence future PR campaigns for Barbie. This includes the most recent campaign, Dream Gap, in 2018 which taught young girls to believe in themselves, and not to buy into sexist gender stereotypes. It also helped to influence the unique range of dolls made for Barbie during International Woman’s Day in 2018, with the release of 15 new dolls which are “role model” dolls crafted in the likeness of real iconic women across the globe, for example Nicola Adams OBE Box Champion from the UK.
With careers spanning from president to astronaut, Barbie can also add ‘Social Influencer’ to her long list of attributes. In the new era of social media, Barbie has remained on trend by having her voice established across a number of social platforms, allowing her to connect with her new digital fan base. The @BarbieStyle Instagram account has 1.5 million followers and looks more like an Instagram account for a celebrity than a doll. Through the success of this account, back in 2016 Barbie was photographed at an event for Dyson’s new supersonic hairdryer, and posted the picture to Instagram. This was the first sponsored post for Barbie, but with over 51,000 likes, it won’t be her last. This emphasises the dynamic nature of the Barbie brand, which refuses to be limited to the category of simply a toy.
Barbie also stays connected with fans through her own YouTube channel, with an impressive 5.5. million followers. Her channel includes a ‘vlog’ style series, which is designed to mimic some of our favourite YouTube stars, yet tailored to provide Ted Talk style videos to young girls regarding a number of issues such as: ‘Feeling blue? You’re not alone’ to the importance of having your voice heard.
Barbie has exceeded her previous stereotype, and has paved the way for a generation of new Barbie lovers; it really is no surprise that she’s remained a universal brand for the past six decades. With talks of a live-action Barbie film starring Margot Robbie, there really is no stopping the Barbie brand.
All that’s left to say is: Come on Barbie let’s go party – here’s to the next 60 years!