Clean Home vs. Chemical Free Zone

Cleaning.

A chore for many and a hobby for some.

As sad as it might be to say cleaning is something I enjoy, you can’t argue that a clean, clutter-free environment is not a pleasant place to be.

RH10

Maybe these thoughts are a foreign language to some. But if you can in any way appreciate this perspective, perhaps you’ll understand the joy that a visit to the cleaning product aisle in the supermarket brings (and maybe, you’ll have even experienced it yourself!)

RH11

Or maybe, that’s the most ridiculous statement you’ve ever heard.

However you feel about it, I know that my feelings are no longer the same, for reasons I never considered to be an issue.

RH12

After spending 7 months in the domestic cleaning industry I can no longer look at cleaning products with the same heartfelt appreciation I did once before

Besides that fact (without going into the details) that it is not an enjoyable part-time job

It’s certainly not something (as I ‘ve learnt from experience) that’s good for your health.

Physical activity every day ✅ (maybe that shouldn’t be considered the worst part)

Breaking your back trying to haul Henry the hoover in and out of homes/up & down stairs ✅

Breathing in harmful chemicals ✅

I would never have imagined that the amount of energy being exerted could be negatively affected by the toxic fumes exposed by every bottle

Maybe I missed the part where they educated me about this in my childhood.

Maybe I’ve just lost the plot entirely.

Yes, I know certain chemicals shouldn’t be mixed,

Yes, I know bleach should be kept far away from children,

Yes, I know that there are specific chemicals that should be used with precaution even in small, diluted quantities.

But when everyday cleaning products are used every day and they begin to have adverse effects on your health?

I’ll admit maybe when it’s your job you’re using them more often than the average human concerned with keeping their home smelling fresh and countertops bacteria free.

But still.

Google has a lot to say on these issues and you can check it out for yourself.

I just know that when I began to cut back on using cleaning products completely I found that water and equal elbow grease left the same impression.

Could it all be just a marketing ploy?

Do cleaning products really make a difference to the cleanliness of your home?

Or do they just pollute your environment with toxins to give you the impression of a clean home?

Related imageImage result for you sit on a throne of lies

You can argue with the experts.

I just know I’m no longer as eager to try out the newest scent in the Zoflora concentrated disinfectant range or Febreze’s newest collection of holiday scents for Christmas.

If you’re particularly keen, Pinterest is the best place to pick up natural cleaning hints and tips on how lemons and vinegar will do the same job at a fraction of the price.

Rachel Henry is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on Linkedin at: Rachel Henry

Hush From Scratch

There’s something very satisfying about launching a new nightclub event. Especially in a small city like Belfast where the competitors witness your every move and try their best to trip you up at every hurdle. It’s a thrilling and hands-on process that brings great success, but it requires more work than you can imagine. However, the proud moment when you succeed makes the stress all that more rewarding.

Here is a little insight to how we developed HUSH, a successful Saturday night brand that was located in the city centre. HUSH was introduced to the renowned Belfast nightlife scene following a strategic 6-week launch campaign similar to any PR campaign you would see from our beloved duo, Grunig and Hunt.

First was the long and draining planning stage. It was crucial for the basis of the brand. We brainstormed the initial fundamentals of any club night; gaps in the market, where we wanted to position, the target demographic, brand names, artwork design for online and print, the music policy and things of that nature.

We sent off different brand ideas to our graphic designer who came up variations of logos in terms of font, style and colour. It was exciting seeing all our ideas slowly but surely coming to life. These variations were pitched to focus groups consisting of staff and our target market. The final call was then made. We now had a brand and a logo, it was time to get this show on the road!

Next was the implementation stage. This involved increasing brand awareness by getting as many ‘eyes’ as possible on our new brand, creating a buzz amongst our customers and giving them a taste of what’s to come. This was completed using both traditional methods and more contemporary digitalised methods.

The process involved a lot of questions and answers. “What are the best channels to reach our target audience?” It’s apparent that social media is leaps and bounds above other platforms. We discovered Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram are a club promoter’s dream. You can interact instantly with your consumers 24/7 for relatively no costs. Cheap, cheerful and easy, just the way it should be.

According to McGaritty, P. (2017), “Facebook is dominant social media platform with over 65% of adults using it in Northern Ireland.” Building the HUSH Facebook ‘business page’ was our main focus, as this was by far our most important asset. This page was our customers first point of contact where they could message us with any questions or booking requests. This is where we created events for every Saturday, uploaded photo albums, constructed a ‘guest list’ and booked in tables.

Content on the page varied, however it was designed to be interactive, relatable and relevant. This increased the likelihood of customers sharing the content from their own personal profiles and ‘tagging’ other friends. They would soon become brand evangelists and advocates! Content could be anything at all; drinks deals, funny videos or ‘memes’, DJ graphics, entry prices or generic promotional posts.

It was important to build the likes, reach and interaction amongst customers and ultimately drive all traffic through this platform. We used many tricks of the trade such as competition give-aways and a few promoter wizardry skills that need to be kept HUSH HUSH…The first video we posted was an interactive competition for the launch night to win free entry, a reserved table and drinks. To enter this, we asked customers to ‘like’ the Facebook page, share the video to their own profile and tag 5 friends. This technique caused the video to spread like wildfire and it reached 37,978 people, 16.2k views, 349 likes and 306 comments.

We did not forget about the traditional methods for our PR campaign. We smartly used our contacts to our advantage to save on major costs. The club GM was personal friends with an executive from The Belfast Telegraph and we luckily secured a press release about the launch into the paper. This was also published by ‘The Tab’ – an online newsletter for students and on Belfast Live’s website and Facebook page. One of our DJs was also a radio DJ for Blast 106. He hooked us up with a 30 second radio ad for a fraction of the price and promoted the brand every day between 6-9pm. These were great additions to our campaign and increased the awareness dramatically.

The last stage was the launch. This was Judgment Day for us. Would the long hours of tedious work be worth it? It was the most exciting day, adrenaline was flowing around the air and there was a special buzz which cannot be easily replicated. It was the time to ensure that everything was in place and making sure staff knew their roles. Knowing all the tables were sold out and seeing the guest-list numbers get higher and higher was a sign that success was on the horizon. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly nervous counting down the hours before we opened our doors for the first time.

There is no better feeling than coming up with something from scratch, building it up, utilising all methods, pulling it off and becoming a success. You know it has all been worth it after witnessing the happy customers having a great time and wanting to come back. We were a full house on our launch night and the event has continued to attract steady numbers ever since. Success for the not so HUSH!
If you want to know more about the experience, please feel free to contact me.

 

Cal McIlwaine is a final year BSc in Public Relations student at Ulster University. He can be found on Facebook – Facebook Account / Twitter – Twitter Account / LinkedIn – Linkedin Account

Video Link:

 

Cal4

Cal5

References:

McGaritty, P.  (2017). Social Media Use in Northern Ireland.

Keeping up with Kylie’s PR Blunders

Kylie Jenner has been in the public eye since she was ten years old, but in 2016 when she launched her own cosmetics brand, she finally began to hold her own in the spotlight.

Of course, something that comes with every business venture that any of the Kardiashian/Jenners embark on, is bad publicity, and this was no different for the youngest of the clan.

From the very beginning of the brand, there has been constant backlash of everything that the young entrepreneur has launched. Not long after the first LipKit launch, beauty vloggers began to review the first of the products, and gave very honest, very brutal reviews.

Not only had the products themselves been receiving the awful feedback, the company itself had been getting dogged with complaints of missing products, with customers waiting months and months for their order to arrive, some customers even contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for advice. The BBB website actually displays information about the complaints it’s received of different companies, and of the 136 complaints filed about Kylie Cosmetics, the majority fell under the categories of delivery issues and problems with the products. During this first major PR blunder, the BBB first rated them an F, which then changed to a NR (no rating).

Not exactly great PR for an up and coming business. The company has since had their rating improved to a B, but the negative reviews from customers still overpower the positive, out of 348 reviews, 199 of them are negative, a whopping 57%.

“I placed an order on 12/2/17 for the Koko set for my niece and they have yet to send it out. I have e-mailed them on the 7th but receive a generic response that didn’t answer any of my questions. There is no customer service backing this product . I don’t understand how they are at a B+?”
“I purchased the KoKo Collection lipsticks on 10/24 at around 9:22 p.m. After doing some research on the colors I decided they wouldn’t be a good fit and at around 9:45 p.m. I emailed Kylie’s customer service to cancel my order. I received a response on 10/27 informing me that my order was already placed and I couldn’t cancel my order. I somehow was hopeful that I would be able to use some of the product if not all. Well yesterday (10/30) I received the ripped kit with used lipsticks which was clearly returned by another customer. I emailed customer service right away and provided pictures of the used lipstick tubes and broken package. Customer service got back to me today and notified me that they didn’t accept returns of broken products! will be tossing these in the garbage and will never recommend this cosmetic line to anyone. Buying products online without being able to swatch them is difficult enough and risky on the consumer and therefore buying from a cosmetic line that doesn’t do returns or refunds is ludicrous.”

Other than the ongoing negative customer reviews, the company has had no major PR mishaps in the last couple years. Until now.

With the most recent launch of her brand involving an entire new range of concealers, lipsticks and a brush set, 2 out of 3 of the products have come under fire on the Internet.

Firstly, a lot of the make-up community have criticized the make-up mogul for copying Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty brand with the new concealers. Before the Fenty Beauty launch a few months ago, not many brands had put out products that was inclusive of all skin tones across the board, and this is why Kylie’s concealers have had backlash. Many believe that Kylie has copied Rihanna’s shade range. So, I suppose you could be criticized for worse things than being racially inclusive, right?

However, another criticism of the same product is that Kylie Cosmetics is developed in the same factory as much cheaper e-commerce brand ColourPop, so many are slating the concealers for being the exact same as the ones ColourPop released not so long ago, just with Kylie’s name on it.

Kylie Cosmetics, for the first time since launching in 2016, also released set of brushes, sold separately and as a collective on the website. The collection includes 16, silver/chrome “real hair” brushes, which according to the reviews made by beauty vloggers in the last week, perform well. Although, the thing on everyone’s mind is not how they perform, or how they look, it’s the whopping $360 price tag.

Controversial make-up artist and owner of cosmetic brand Jeffree Star Cosmetics, Jeffree Star published his very honest and brutal opinion of the brushes as soon as the brushes were available to purchase. In a review posted to his youtube channel, Star first of all, described the ‘silver brush roll’ that the brushes came in as ‘tin foil’. He stated to his fans that for what you’re getting, and paying $360 (plus tax and shipping), you’re really paying for a over-hyped celebrity name.

And many other YouTube famous make-up experts seem to agree with this opinion.

Kylie Jenner took to Twitter to defend the price tag, and compared her brush set to the sets released by legendary make-up brands such as MAC, Artis and Kevyn Aucoin, which actually made things worse for Kylie, as many believe someone who has only been in the make-up industry for a few years, simply cannot compare her products to those luxury brands that have been around for a lifetime.

It would seem that Kylie Cosmetics, and maybe Kylie Jenner in general, need a PR professional, and stat.

Hollie Thomson is a final year BSc student in Communication Management and Public Relations at Ulster University. She can be found on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/holliethomson/ or Facebook: Hollie Thomson

4 things marketers can learn from Willy Wonka- ‘The Marketing Legend’

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (starring Johnny Depp, obviously) has always been one of my favourite films- such a child at heart!!

 

Duffy2

This version was released when I was nine. I would have been sitting in front of the TV drooling over all the delicious chocolate and sweets, desperately wanting little Charlie Bucket to find the last golden ticket. Twelve years on, I’m not afraid to say I still love the film however I am watching it from a PR and marketing perspective… yes, my Saturday nights are exciting!

This is totally my own opinion, after all I’m only a final year student, I’m an amateur but from my placement year working in a marketing department I think businesses could learn a thing or two from this fictional character.

  1. Being the best

Aside from the catchy songs that I sing along to, every decision Willy Wonka makes shows us that he’s entirely focused around being the best. As the saying goes ‘businesses should “be the cheapest or be the best”.  With all the success Willy Wonka has he still recognises the need for cheaper products e.g. when he creates high-quality Everlasting Gobstoppers specifically “for children with very little pocket money”, transmitting a chocolate bar by television, and a stick of gum that tastes like a three-course meal. He makes sure that he is front-page news; fame is at the heart of what he is trying to do and he wants the promotion to be talked about, shared and trending.

  1. Competition is fierce

 

He closed the gates of his factory for good merely because competitors kept stealing his recipes, this as a result shows us just how advanced he was in his thinking in comparison to his competitors.  Now, I wouldn’t say that it’s a good idea to close up shop just because you have competitors but this is why we have creative marketing strategies, to make us ‘stand out from the crowd.’ The lesson from Willy is that if you do not have a plan for improving your current products or services and developing the next game changer in your industry, your competitors probably will.

  1. Re-opening and the media

A great creative idea will always capture the imagination of the media and echo with the audiences. What other way to do this than to hold a good old competition. In the world of social media today we see competitions for winning literally EVERYTHING from TV’s to Holidays to a huge makeup give away and the thing is, does anyone ever actually win the prizes? Is it a tactic to gain more followers and raise more brand awareness on particular social media platforms? Surely someone is going to catch on to this! The beauty Willy Wonka’s competition was that he didn’t really need his target audience to do anything, except buy as many chocolate bars as they wished to find the golden ticket, then again for any child this would be a dream, so it’s no chore!

He relied on the media like newspapers, television news and brochures. As soon as the word got out people of all ages were delving through stores in search for one of the five select Wonka bars, sales went up and profits surged!

  1. The Golden Ticket

Considering the fact that no member of the general public had ever stepped foot inside the chocolate factory, limiting the number of tickets to 5 meant that Willy Wonka automatically created a demand and major FOMO (the fear of missing out) in winning a golden ticket, it nearly becomes feverish. It created a buzz and had got everyone around the world talking about it. It was as if it was something that money couldn’t buy, you just had to believe in hope!

Duffy1

As I said, Willy Wonka and his marketing strategy are fiction and not everything he does works in the real world. I mean, if companies could hire Oompa Loompa’s instead of people we would all be in trouble! However I think this is a fun way of looking at the opportunities for marketing and improving performance!

Duffy3

CHOCOLATE DOES! Go on, have that chocolate that I have been tempting you with this whole post.

Laura Duffy is a final year Public Relations Student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on Instagram @laura_duffyy and on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/laura-duffy-8803b7105/ 

“My Movement told me be a consumer and I consumer it!”

“My Movement told me be a                          consumer and I consumer it!”

 

‘Wings’ by Macklemore narrates growing up in a society surrounded by consumerism. The rapper uses such thought provoking lyrics to express how as a culture, we spend unnecessary amounts of money buying expensive things that we think define our individuality, “Look at me, I’m a cool kid, I’m an individual”.

Relating back to my blogs on part one and two of ‘The Social Influencer’ and the discussion of Erving Goffman’s theory on identity, we have the ability to shape and portray ourselves as whoever or whatever we desire to be.  Humans naturally want to feel a sense of belonging therefore dress accordingly and conform to the set cultural ideologies to fit and feel accepted.  President Jimmy Carter quoted in 1979 “too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns”.  This behaviour continues as Macklemore quotes thirty something years later “We are what we wear, we wear what we are”…“I’m part of a movement”.

CC31

Macklemore and producer Ryan Lewis express consumerism using Nike as an example throughout the song, however initially does not outright quote the brand yet references the unique and identifiable qualities associated such as the strap line “they told me to just do it” and the notorious logo “I listened to what that swoosh said look at what that swoosh did”.

CC21

When objects are brought into the market place, people consider them to be sources of satisfaction with mystical characteristics. Consumers only see the surface of the goods and exploit the labouring process, Karl Marx conceptualises this as ‘Commodity Fetishism’ (Marx, 1954).

Nike is well-established and one of the world’s most iconic brands and market leaders for sports footwear, despite claims that link the brand to manufacturing in poor working conditions in third world sweatshops. We as consumers plead ignorance and choose to alienate ourselves from the production process and have no reservations towards paying a lot of money for products that probably cost very little to produce…hands up, I’m guilty of it!  

Through the use of celebrity endorsements such as world famous athlete Michael Jordan, Nike has managed to position themselves as athletic wear, tapping into the emotions of consumers with beliefs that everyone in this world can be an athlete wearing Nike. Macklemore expresses his vulnerability as a young boy and the influence of celebrity endorsement “I wanted to be like Mike, right wanted to be him, I wanted to be that guy”.

As the song draws to an end, Macklemore quotes “Nike tricked us all”, “it’s just another pair of shoes”…fundamentally all shoes serve the same purpose however our ideological perceptions and commodity fetishism will convince us that Nike is superior and gives us that status symbol that no other shoe could.

 

CC22

Even tattoos are becoming a growing commodity that were once perceived as negative aspects in culture however are now considered to be trendy and cool. Somewhat like clothing, however deeper and more symbolic, ink is used to represent important values, beliefs and ideologies and many tattoo enthusiasts are willing to spend huge amounts of money on their body as an investment in art and identity representation. They are used to differentiate and individuate people, while at the same time enabling people to conform with masses of others, take for example the ‘emo’ movement and the star tattoo…

 

CC24

‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’ by Sophie Kinsella demonstrates how commodity fetishism can drive a lot of consumers into debt, with the desire to satisfy their obsessions over material things. The novel is based on a young woman called Becky who gets herself in to debt trying to fulfil her emotional and psychological need to amass clothes, shoes, and other material objects in order to present a certain type of image to the world.

The consumerist dilemma is the consistent belief that people can live beyond their means, indulging short-term profits without consideration for the future effects of overspending. Kayne West’s song ‘Blood on the Leaves’ demonstrates how society is so backwards that we would rather have material objects than intangible things such as spiritual, emotional, mental and intellectual fulfilment and we are willing to deprive ourselves in order to obtain those material objects, as Mr West quotes “Two thousand dollar bag with no cash in your purse”.

 

CC25

I find the theory of capitalism and commodity fetishism fascinating… so much that I have based my dissertation on the topic. Through my findings, it seems we are buying into it evermore due to the rise of digital and social media, and with the ability to target consumers based on behaviour and search activity, the fetishes for commodities are becoming harder to resist

Marx, K (1954). Capital Volume 1. 3rd ed.

Cara Cowan is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/caracowan/

 

 

FOOTBALL VS PUBLIC RELATIONS Volume 1: Part II

FOOTBALL VS PUBLIC RELATIONS

Volume 1: Part II

 

Public Relations within Soccer

Hi everyone, welcome back. If you read my last blog post you would know that I looked at the similarities between football and public relations. If you haven’t saw it yet, feel free to go check it out. Today I’m sticking with the football theme but I want to look and see what PR exists in football today.

 

Now, if we look at footballers we can’t deny that they have been blessed with remarkable talent. Fortunately for them they are able to make a living (a really good living) from displaying this talent. But where would they be without their fans? If they didn’t have the support of millions behind them then the footballing industry as we know it would not be as popular as it is today and it certainly wouldn’t be making as much money as it does. This is why I feel that it is important for the sport to give back to us. The fans. What is football without its supporters?

 

Barclays did exactly that. If you aren’t a big supporter of football then all you need to know is Barclays sponsors the Premier League, and the Premier League is the top division in England and one of the most popular leagues in the world. The new footballing seasons kick off in the middle of August and Barclay’s thought this would be the perfect opportunity to thank the fans which is why they launched this campaign on the 16th of August. Just days before the new season started. They released a 90 second video titled “Thank you” which was aimed at the fans. The video consisted of looking at different fans of different ages who supported a variety of teams in the league. It followed their journey to the match and during the match and finished it off with “To follow is to love. To the millions of fans who make the Barclay’s Premier League what it is, we say thank you.” This is the perfect message. The way the say it is the fans who make the league what it is and not the players shows their appreciation and is pretty much saying without us, they wouldn’t be able to have their dream job. This video was distributed worldwide and it hit 200 different countries reaching hundreds of millions of people. With this video they are also promoting competitions to win tickets and they have paired with the hashtag “#YouAreFootball”.

 

I feel like the reasoning behind this has been based behind some negative issues especially with FIFA. At the time they had been under the spotlight in terms of corruption and although they now have sacked their president who was responsible, I still feel like that reputation has been damaged and not mended completely. This campaign, in my opinion, was Barclay’s way of building trust and showing that they are not the same as FIFA. I feel that maybe FIFA should take a page out of Barclays book and try something to rebuild their relationship with the fans.

 

However, this is where I’m going to leave off today. Stay tuned for future posts and I hope you have a very nice day.

 

Joseph McAuley is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. He can be found on Twitter: @JosephMcAuley96 / Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joseph.mcauley.3 

And the pint of Harp

And the pint of Harp

Recently on my Facebook newsfeed I came across this video –

Now I can’t say it’s the first time I’ve seen the ad as I think it pops up on my Facebook every other week but coming across it again had me thinking.

How come we don’t see more Northern Ireland based companies getting on board with this style of region targeted advertising/campaigning?

Harp are definitely the stand out company when it comes to these types of ads as they’ve been doing them for years, one of my favourite ads tells the story about a NI resident who is missing home. He begins naming the things he misses about home the most in threes and at the end of each sequence he says ‘and the pint of harp’. Maybe its just me but I personally love it because it’s stupidly funny and so simple. If you watch the ad, it’s some what true and relatable when you’re missing home.

Their most recent campaign is currently underway and its called ‘Pure Here & There’. It’s based around the six counties in Northern Ireland and it involves two actors using a Northern Irish comedic approach when describing the most well known facts about each county and their including cities and towns. There are six ads for all of Northern Ireland’s six counties and any Northern Irish resident with a sense of humour will appreciate them.

Pure Here & There, Co. Antrim

Pure Here & There, Co. Armagh

Pure Here & There, Co. Down

Pure Here & There, Co. Fermanagh

Pure Here & There, Co. Legenderry

Pure Here & There, Co. Tyrone

I think this campaign is a brilliant example of knowing your audience. I hope nobody takes offense to this but harps main consumers are men, obviously. The two characters in the adverts for the campaign are of course men (if you watched any of the links above) and they work their way around Northern Ireland describing its most famous features in horrible fashion as they sup on Harp beer however that’s what makes the adverts funny. My point is that this sense of humour is performed by men for men and I think Harp know that.

Along with the television adverts they have been selling their harp cans with individual county names on them and their accompanying iconic landmarks designed onto the can. They have even avoided the on-going controversy surrounding Derry\Londonderry by calling it Legenderry, turning a negative into a positive.

There is also the main ‘Pure Here’ advert that tries to figure out the perfect drink that has the pure essence of Northern Ireland. It’s a mix of a column from the giant’s causeway, shavings from the H&W cranes and the buzz of a night out in Belfast however the ad ends by saying these things are undrinkable and that harp had it right all along and closes with the slogan, pure here. An unexpected anti-climax but good advertising all the same!

As a fan of Harp and all things Northern Ireland I think this campaign is excellent, and its because they incorporate everything that people love about Northern Ireland into their campaign in a brilliantly clever manner and more local companies should follow!

They embrace the fact that they are a Northern Irish company and have made a campaign around that using the humour of the area. This style of campaigning and advertising does nothing but good things for their name and I’m sure their brand awareness has soared in Northern Ireland as a result of this. Their beer is probably doing pretty well too.

Aaron O’Reilly is a final year Public Relations Student at Ulster University. He can be contacted on Twitter: @aaronoreilly and on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aaron-o-reilly-ab0708121/