Creativity in Public Relations » Great PR Practice http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal Creativity, marketing, great ideas, smart thinking, public relations, insights, inspirations, innovations and more. (Formerly known as Ryan's View) Wed, 05 Aug 2009 00:52:54 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 en hourly 1 Samsung’s 24-Hour Dance-Off http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/07/07/samsungs-24-hour-dance-off/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/07/07/samsungs-24-hour-dance-off/#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2009 00:34:51 +0000 Ryan Peal http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/?p=639 24-hour Dance-off – love it!  On July 7th in London 100 competitors will take their positions on the dance floor, slip on headphones, turn on their Samsung BEAT Edition DJ music phone and start dancing . . . and dancing, and dancing for up to 24 hours as they compete in The Last Call to win €10,000 and a date with Swedish pop star September.

Last month Europeans in 9 countries entered for the chance to win a trip to London to compete in the finals, embedding a competition widget to their blog, Facebook and MySpace pages.  The widget was active for only 24 hours, so contestants had to encourage friends and family to cast their votes quickly.  The widget had a built-in leader board element so you could see if you were in the race fairly quickly.  A few weeks ago the 100 lucky winners got the call that they won a new Samsung mobile and a trip to London to compete in the grand finale.

Now this week the 100 contestants will compete at nightclub “Matter” at the O2 arena in London – each dancer has one square to dance in, and stay in.  The trick is that if anyone receives a text or a call during the competition they are out.  So the contestants have been telling their friends via their social networks that they are in the finals and to not call or text on July 7 – a natural way to talk about Samsung, the new mobile and the competition.

For the last few weeks each contestant has been working on a campaign page, adding photographs and videos (connected to the campaign’s YouTube site) and links to follow them on Facebook, MySpace and of course Twitter.   Each was interviewed answering a few questions and talking about the competition.  Everyone has some fun stories on what they are doing to make sure no one calls or texts them on that day.  And on the site you can suggest music tracks to be added to the playlist.  The whole fun will be streamed live on the campaign site, worth watching and seeing how it all plays out.

What can we learn from the campaign?  As always, having an simple concept always works – dance for 24r hours, last one dancing wins.  Doesn’t get any easier than that.  Next up, integrating the product into the campaign.  That works here naturally as the Samsung mobile provides the music at the event and people have to tell friends/family not to call/text because of the competition- a natural way to talk about the product and for it to be a part of the fun.  Leveraging social media to spread the word.  This too is built into the competition, using widgets to drive awareness, creating fan profile pages, etc., all scoring major points.  And finally, great visuals/content and a way for all to participate – 24-hour streaming of people dancing in little squares to music on their headphones, you can’t help but be a bit curious about the whole thing.

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Smarties Colors For A Cause Charity Campaign http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/06/23/smarties-colors-for-a-cause-charity-campaign/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/06/23/smarties-colors-for-a-cause-charity-campaign/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2009 00:23:46 +0000 Ryan Peal http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/?p=626 Yes, I’m a big fan of Smarties – I used to eat them all the time and lick them and stick them on my face to make colored circles on my nose and cheeks (you know you did it too).  Those little candies have just launched a new campaign called “Colors For A Cause” that makes it fun and easy for people to help Smarties decide where to direct donations to some great organisations doing their part to help the world.

When you visit the campaign site you first see six Smarties candies (in six different colors) spinning around, each representing specific causes like the environment, arts, sports, health, humanitarian and animal protection.  By clicking on a Smartie you learn more about each specific cause area, including easy ways you can help make a difference (like building a bird feeder to help animals or playing frisbee to help with your health) along with some interesting facts (like the worlds fastest tennis serve was 249 kms and the artist who designed the Rolling Stones lip logo was only paid 50 pounds).

Next up, the fun part, telling Smarties where you’d like it to donate the 10 cents donation it is making on your behalf.  There are two ways you can decide how to donate – one is an easy one, simply click on the interactive big Smartie and allocate specific percentages to each cause (it takes a bit to get used to how it works but keep trying), 100% could go to animal protection or you could divide a percentage equally to each cause.  If you aren’t sure, there is a 10-question quiz that offers you some multiple choices and uses your answers to get a sense of the kind of person that you are and suggests a specific percentage breakdown to each cause.

Once you’ve made your donation choices there’s an easy way to invite your friends to help make a donation with a Facebook application.  The Colors For A Cause Facebook app (you’ll need to accept it to check it out) has a nice visual overview of where the money thus far has been directed by visitors – today the leader is the environment – and shows how much you have donated (you can come back every day to vote during the campaign perioid) as well as how much your friends have donated (based on them seeing the campaign in your Facebook feed).  And the page also includes a runny tally of how much Smarties will be donating based on people who have participated – with the total just clearing $20,000 – showing how quickly 10 cents can add up.  And there’s also a Colors For A Cause store where you can buy hoodies or t-shirts or posters to raise even more funds.

What can we learn?  For one thing, everyone loves to help the world, and this campaign provides a natural “feel good” vibe to it.  I know it’s only 10 cents per visit but those ten cents can add up quickly and by being able to visit the site every day during the multi-week campaign you can help drive the totals up.  It’s sort of like a virtual water fountain, the ones that people throw coins in that are collected for charity.  I also like the easy way to integrate with Facebook and to see how much money you and your friends have contributed.  And the content and easy way to browse through different causes and also learn what you can do to help (beyond making a donation) is also a great way to keep the authentic voice high for this effort.

How can we make it better?  Not sure what’s being done off-line (as the campaign is taking place in Canada and I’m in Australia) but would love to see some giant Smarties costumed people out and about where the youth are playing this Summer in Canada – handing out smarties and directing people to the website.  It also would be nice for people to be able to add a “why I’m supporting a specific cause” to make it more personal and to feel like their voice could motivate others.  And I’m also a big believer that people like to see their name – so some type of scrolling leaderboard of people’s first name and last initial could have been nice too.  And just saw that the Facebook feed about the campaign shows up but there isn’t a link that someone could click on to get to the campaign to participate.

All in all, I love it, it works on so many levels and positions Smarties as a brand in touch with the interests of its young fans and has a lot of fun in the process.  Now, go vote, the campaign is over in 2 weeks!

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CEOs Sleep Outside Overnight For Charity http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/06/19/ceos-sleep-outside-overnight-for-charity/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/06/19/ceos-sleep-outside-overnight-for-charity/#comments Fri, 19 Jun 2009 01:26:43 +0000 Ryan Peal http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/?p=628 Last night it was cold (7 Celsius; 44 Fahrenheit) and rainy in Sydney.  And last night more than 200 CEOs from some of the city’s biggest companies felt it more than the rest of us, participating in the annual “CEO Sleep Out” – raising funds and awareness of the more than 20,000 people in Sydney who are homeless each night (part of the more than 100,000 homeless people nationwide, a third of those are children and nearly half are women).

The event was hosted by St. Vincent De Paul Society, and takes a head-on approach to raise awareness of the homeless issue by inviting CEOs to see what their life is like for just one night.  It’s easy for anyone to write a check, it’s quite another to experience a cause firsthand and in turn, probably become a vocal ambassador to help even more. The CEOs were able to bring their own warm clothes, a sleeping bag and a pillow, but were only provided a piece of cardboard and were fed soup, bread and tea/coffee for dinner and porridge and an apple for breakfast.

CEOs either volunteered on their own or were nominated by co-workers from the campaign website which made sending a “you should participate” email.  Once a CEO agreed to participate they set-up a profile on the website and then invited colleagues, friends and family to sponsor their night out with a donation on the site.  And donate they did – the campaign has already raised more than $500,000 and with the CEOs returning to their jobs today that number may go higher as people are inspired by the stories they are no doubt hearing today.

I spoke with Andrew Littleproud, the APAC Regional Director of McAfee (an H&K client) who participated in the event last night to share his thoughts on the experience.  Here’s what he shared:

“The whole event was an incredible eye-opener.  Throughout the event there were different people sharing their own storeis of either being homeless now or once homeless.  The reality of homeless people couldn’t be farther from what the perception is – 80% of people are women or kids or families and not only sleeping outside but sleeping in cars, staying with friends and family.  Some of the speakers had lots jobs last year and talked about being homeless with kids.  Once you lose your address its hard to apply for welfare or health benefits.  And when you try to apply for a job without an address you can see how the downward spiral can start.  You start losing your feeling of security, how you are perceived in the community and other psychological issues.  We all talked about how we had friends in countries all over the world making donations and hearing about the event, and some talking about the event being covered by the media as well, so it was great to know this event was reaching other places who also have a homeless issue.  I tried to start sleeping at 11PM but obvioulsy it was cold and there were a lot of people snoring and getting up in the middle of the night and then getting up early – the whole experience really brought the issue home.”

The numbers speak for themselves – $50 can provide a homeless person with a bed, a meal and a fresh change of clothes for one night.  Double that and you can help fund the Vinnies Night Patrol vans that deliver food and hot drinks to homeless people across Sydney.  A donation of $500 will help a homeless person complete a life skills course to help them get back on their feet.

The campaign works on so many levels.  First up, the experience.  Its one thing to tell a story about a homeless person, it’s quite another to sleep outside on the street. Second, the word-of-mouth that occurred last night via people at the event using Twitter to in-person conversations happening at businesses all over Sydney today, raising awareness of this important cause.  Third, the visuals from the event, showing some of Australia’s most powerful business people sleeping outside.   And finally, how the event itself made it very easy to ask someone to donate – how could you say no to someone who is going to be doing all of the work, sleeping outside, in the cold (and in the rain).

Growing for only 8 people 4 years ago to 60 last year and now more than 200 this year, its great to see a campaign so worthy making such an impact.  Now, next up, this concept needs to “go global.”  It’s an easy event to replicate and one that would only help to raise awareness of this incredible issue.  And know that Sydney was the home to the first “Earth Hour” and the legendary “Movember” campaign, I’m hoping that CEO SleepOut will become the next big Aussie innovation to go global.

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Starbucks, Toyota, Dell and Qantas Ask http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/06/17/starbucks-toyota-dell-and-qantas-ask/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/06/17/starbucks-toyota-dell-and-qantas-ask/#comments Wed, 17 Jun 2009 01:18:45 +0000 Ryan Peal http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/?p=621 Building relationships that last, that’s what brands are focusing on more and more these days as everyone thankfully has realized you can’t just keep selling, selling and selling to people.  Building relationships around value (versus buying) is a totally different way of doing business for a lot of brands.  A few brands are ahead of the game on this front, recently simply asking their customers “what do you think.”  Here are a few examples I’ve been watching lately:

IdeaStorm
.  This is where Dell asks people to join in on some crowd-sourcing of ideas on how Dell’s products or services can be improved.  The site has a great “promote” or “demote” functionality that moves ideas up and down the list on the home page, and a really simple navigation to view, post, vote or see ideas that have been offered by the community.

Why Not.  Toyota asks people to provide any idea, large or small, related to a few specific buckets of discussion (i.e., safety, water, land, air, community and energy).  It’s flash-heavy so takes some time to load but once there it’s a nice site to browse around.  The ability to add ideas is easy, as is the ability to browse other people’s ideas and to share with friends or to add to a personal commitment list.

My Starbucks Idea.  Similar to Dell, Starbucks simply asks fans to share, vote, discuss and see ideas that are all centered on making Starbucks a better place.  The site has great real-time lists of recent ideas and leader boards of people making comments.  The site has a nice explanation of what happens to the ideas once submitted – their team of “Idea Partners” review them and see where they could fit at Starbucks and presents them to decision makers who see how the ideas can be put to work.  Overall, a great “Q&A” for reference too.

All of Aus.  This campaign recently launched from Qantas, asking Australia what they love about Australia and showing all of the comments on a very cool designed site.  The plans are to turn the comments into a newspaper insert and some other yet to be unveiled ideas.  It doesn’t have the same “help us change the world” as the other campaigns but a good example of company trying something new to engage its fans.

Next time you are thinking of “what’s next” take a moment to review these and other similar campaigns, focusing on entertaining, engaging and having a conversation with your target audiences instead of selling, selling, selling.  You’ll have more fun in the process and your fans will start seeing you as a valued part of their world, not just someone who keeps asking for money.

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Ikea’s Gigantic Messages In Bottles http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/06/05/ikeas-gigantic-messages-in-bottles/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/06/05/ikeas-gigantic-messages-in-bottles/#comments Fri, 05 Jun 2009 01:15:38 +0000 Ryan Peal http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/?p=609 A short one for a Friday that again showcases the power of creative, visuals to tell a story, engage the imagination, entertain people and motivate them to tell a friend about it.  Today’s case in point:  Ikea with their new store opening in Tampa, Florida.

Connecting to everyone’s awareness of stories growing up of messages placed in bottles from people on deserted islands, hoping the bottles would wash ashore and rescue would be coming soon.  With that in mind, Ikea created giant size bottles containing furtniture from Ikea that look as if they washed up at a pier near Tampa, providing a great visual reminder that the company has opened a new location in the city.  The photos tell the story without any needed explanation – a great example to think about for your next campaign.  (Photos:  MediaPost)

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Bed Jumping Around The World http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/05/12/bed-jumping-around-the-world/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/05/12/bed-jumping-around-the-world/#comments Mon, 11 May 2009 23:22:07 +0000 Ryan Peal http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/?p=585 Bed jumping – I was a rock star at it when I was little and its lucky that a four-city event called the “World’s Biggest Bed Jump” wasn’t in Australia as I would have stolen the show.  The event took place last Thursday to raise awareness of InterContinental Hotel Group giving away a bunch of free nights, and bunch in this case means 5,000,000 free nights in 4,000 hotels in 100 countries.

The campaign went visual – creating huge, giant worthy beds with built-in trampolines and placing them in New York’s Brant Park, Convent Garden in London and locations in Shanghai and France.  And, to drive some additional media interest, InterContinental rounded up some Olympic gymnasts and trampolinists (is that a word) to grab the attention of people walking by, and then invited people to come on and have a jump for themselves (and if you did jump you also got an iTunes gift card for 10 free songs – nice touch).  And yes, the Pointer Sisters “Jump” was played loud and often throughout each event.

People who came to the event were directed to two campaign sites (that link to each other) one is GetAFreeNight and the other is WorldsBiggestBedJump.  On the Free Night site you can register to get up to four free nights by staying at a number of the groups hotel destinations.  And the website is worth having a look at for more reasons than just seeing people jump on beds.  It’s a great example of a social-media driven site, with multiple videos from YouTube on the home page, updates via Twitter and a Flickr photostream – a multimedia smorgasbord of content.

Overall the campaign ticks the boxes of a success effort on multiple fronts – going to the people with something that is fun and entertaining (the huge beds); leveraging social media to extend the campaign effort and visuals; having some type of free offer to drive added interest; bringing in some level of celebrity (with the Olympians); and a fun twist of a simultaneous, multi-city event.  Definitely worth getting out of bed in the morning to check out.

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Videos “going viral” latest marketing hope (Beyonce, Trident, Gillette) http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/04/28/videos-going-viral-latest-marketing-hope-beyonce-trident-gillette/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/04/28/videos-going-viral-latest-marketing-hope-beyonce-trident-gillette/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2009 12:44:11 +0000 Ryan Peal http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/?p=573 Seems like everywhere you look a brand is trying to be connected to the next (or the current) viral video madness that is entertaining the world.  Sometimes brands do it well while sometimes they seem like they are just tagging on and don’t exactly mix in right.  All are just new ways to entertain people enough that hopefully they want to share it with a friend for instant credibility and endorsement (versus straight product advertising focusing on features).  Now its all about driving conversations, talkability and buzz.  And the best part, the ideas for entertaining short videos that could “go viral” can come from anyone – all that is needed are companies willing to experiment and see what happens.

For today’s class we’ll take a look at two different approaches to video entertainment by two different brands (and two different size budgets).  First up, Trident, who recently jumped on the Beyone “Single Ladies” worldwide phenomenon, which shows no signs of stopping.  Recently Trident hired 100 ladies to slip into leotards and hit the strees of London at Picadilly Circus, performing the Beyonce dance number for unsuspecting crowds.  The focus, however, was just getting the content filmed and then posted on YouTube – with some strategic placement on some forums and blogs to drive awareness.  I just one week the video is nearly the magic 1,000,000 views number.  The performance was connected to Trident giving away tickets to an upcoming free Beyonce concert – and has a reference at the end of the video, directing people to visit a campaign site to win tickets.

Next up, some supermen starring in a new Gillette video – the supermen being Tiger Woods, Roger Federer and Derek Jeter, all spokespersons for the razor megabrand.  The brand brought the three together, dressed them up in some stylin’ 70’s outfits, dropped some “staying alive” music into the background and away they went.  The success of the video depends on the “look at what they got these big sports heroes to wear” factor, hoping it is enough to get people to tell a friend about it.  The idea doesn’t have the same talkability as Beyonce (just because that one already has a life of its own online) but the brand does a good job at directing people to a campaign website where people can try and win one of 500 free Gillette razors given away every day for 30 days.  You have to enter your name/email/address to enter and you can enter as much as you want (but only one razor per person).

For me I think both are great efforts, driving buzz for both brands and not doing any type of hard sell.  I wish the Trident Beyonce dance would have had some connection to the chewing gum – like all of the dancers putting in a stick of Trident at the beginning of the routine, or blowing a bubble in the middle of it, or some connection back to the brand.  It looks like a classic “sponsorship” instead of creating something new or putting a little twist on it.  It works with regard to being fun enough that people want to pass it along to friends, but think it was a missed opportunity to add something new to it. With regard to Gillette, I wish it just went a bit further on the “on my God” factor to motivate people to watch it again and send it to friends.  It’s fun but, in my opinion, a funny plot twist (beyond the platform shoes) or visual or something could have ensured it was a huge success.

Hats off to the people behind both videos, as the more brands experiment and try new things we all actually win – people get a new kind of entertainment, more free stuff is up for grabs, imaginations get bigger and hopefully boring ads of the past are gone forever – and true brand engagement is here to stay.

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Creativity Interview: Cranberries http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/04/14/creativity-interview-cranberries/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/04/14/creativity-interview-cranberries/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2009 21:20:31 +0000 Ryan Peal http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/?p=562 My mission to speak with some of the smart marketers around the world today leads me to the cranberry bogs of the United States, where I recently had a chance to speak with Michele Silbey, international Account Manager for the US Cranberry Marketing Committee and client of H&K (full disclosure).  Michele is responsible for enticing more people around the world fall in love with the great taste and healthy benefits of cranberries.

As with previous guests Michele tackled the “Big 5 Questions of Creativity.”  Here we go:

1.    Is creativity important to your business?  Definitely.  We rely on creativity to jumpstart and/or expand exports of cranberries in each market.  Creativity also goes a long way to maximizing our budgets.  If we can use a creative idea that may cost less than a standard promotional campaign but delivers more results, that’s an ideal situation.

2.    Why is delivering or having creativity important for your efforts?  Smart and creative thinking helps us stretch every dollar.  In many markets cranberries are competing with local fruits which means it’s tough for our fun little red cranberry to break through in some aspects.  Creativity is a tool we use to break through the clutter.

3.    How do you define creativity?  For me creativity is thinking outside the box for ideal ways to reach consumers or the trade, whomever you are targeting.  Creativity is taking a normal, often used idea and turning it on its head to come up with a different angle to a common theme that would draw more viewers or eyeballs.

4.    What’s the latest campaign you came across that you think rocked on the creative scale?  I have to say the way the Australia team leveraged the Sex and the City movie last year was very creative – they identified an opp for cranberries to piggyback on the launch of the movie – given the heavily featured cosmopolitan which was throughout the series and in the last scene of the movie. As a result, cosmos were very much back on the bar menu and featured in every magazine. They were even able to get some of Sydney’s  top mixologists shaking up their own rendition of the cosmo to add some spice.  And on a global scale I have to say I love Apple’s recent campaign when they went head on with Microsoft as part of their “I’m a Mac” effort – great, simple, lighthearted and memorable.

5.    On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 not important, 10 very important) how important do you think creative thinking/approaches are to solving business challenges?  I think it does depend somewhat on the actual challenge you’re facing.  If it is a timing or budget challenge, then creativity is maybe not as important as plain old strategic thinking.  However, when it comes to marketing/increasing awareness, creativity can make or break a product.  I give it a 9 in those situations.

So even the little cranberry relies on creative thinking to raise its profile and get people to, well, eat it.  For more on cranberries check out www.cranberries.com.au where you can find great recipes, health benefits and more – you’ll never guess so much good can be packed in something so small.

Get Creative!

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Creativity Interview: Positively Wellington Tourism http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/04/03/creativity-interview-positively-wellington-tourism/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/04/03/creativity-interview-positively-wellington-tourism/#comments Thu, 02 Apr 2009 21:52:46 +0000 Ryan Peal http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/?p=551 My dream/mission to speak with some of the smartest marketers around the world leads me today to Wellington, New Zealand, where I recently had a chance to speak with Sarah Peacock, the Australia Marketing Manager for Positively Wellington Tourism and client of H&K (full disclosure).  Sarah is responsible for enticing more Australians to spoil themselves and head a bit farther down under (and to the right) to visit the capital of New Zealand, a vibrant boutique city close to the some of the best wine and scenery in the world.

As with previous guests Sarah tackled the “Big 5 Questions of Creativity.”  Here we go:

1.    Is creativity important to your business?  Extremely important – across the board (domestic, international, corporate, etc.).  Getting the word out about Wellington in Australia is priority #1 as we compete with lots of destinations in the region . . . but of course we are a stand out destination with a huge amount to offer.

2.    Why is delivering or having creativity important for your efforts?  You need creative ideas to cut through the noise and get people and the media interested in Wellington.  We can’t just say “hi, we’re wellington,” you need to engage with consumers,  build a relationship with them, get them interacting with you and add something to their life.

3.    How do you define creativity?  For me it’s about innovation and having a unique voice that’s different (and more entertaining) then our competitors.  And in the end, being clever and smart.

4.    What’s the latest campaign you came across that you think rocked on the creative scale?  It has to be this funny video I saw called “Beached As” which is a funny take on New Zealanders by Australians.  It’s a great example of clever thinking that didn’t cost a lot but got people talking.  It has the right authenticity to it and “went viral” as many people also thought it was great and passed it around.  There’s nothing more powerful than friends and family sending something your way.  And my back-up favourite was a simple commercial by Cadbury with the gorilla playing the drums – nothing to do with chocolate but such a great way to add some fun to their brand.  (link to video)

5.    On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 not important, 10 very important) how important do you think creative thinking/approaches are to solving business challenges?  Of course I’d say a big 10.  In today’s fast paced world you need to have an emotional connection with consumers, and to do that you need to think of the right and smart way to engage with them.

It’s easy to see that creativity is alive and well in Wellington as Sarah and her team continue to develop campaigns that motivate people to discover this amazing city waiting to be explored.  And if you now have visions of the wonders of Wellington in your head join the Wellington Facebook group or sign-up for the Wellington e-newsletter and start planning your trip.

Get Creative!

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Prom Outfits Made Out Of Duck Tape, Stick It! http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/03/04/prom-outfits-made-out-of-duck-tape-stick-it/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/03/04/prom-outfits-made-out-of-duck-tape-stick-it/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2009 08:52:47 +0000 Ryan Peal http://blogs2.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/?p=477 Sometimes all you have to do is go along with the ride, accept how people are playing with your brand/product and nurture it, motivate it and reward the fun.  Case in point: Duck tape!

Known for taping together anything and everything, the makers of Duck tape came upon a photo in a local newspaper about a couple who went to prom wearing a dress and suit made of Duct tape.  After a little bit of searching around the company realized that this wasn’t a one-time thing, that actually a whole underground duck tape outfit industry was thriving.  So instead of getting mad or ignoring the new way people were using their product, Duck jumped in feet first, and decided to launch an annual competition — Stuck at Prom — encouraging more people to have a special prom night wearing duck tape.

Nearly 2,000 couples have entered the contest since it started eight years ago. It’s pretty straight forward – the competition starts this week and runs through the middle of June.  Couples who wear duck tape outfits to prom send in their photos, top 10 finalists are selected by Duck and then the public votes from the 10 finalists to name the winners.  The grand prize winning couple receives a $3,000 scholarship and the school that hosted them at prom also gets $3,000.  Additional runner-up winning couples/schools receive $2,000 and $1,000 respectively – not too shabby all for wearing some tape.

The campaign does a great job of just having fun and encouraging the kids to keep doing what they were doing.  It’s a great word-of-mouth campaign in that previous people who entered or participated are walking billboards.  The company makes it easy for finalists to send emails to friends and create t-shirts or flyers to get people to vote for them (easy tools on the website).  And on the home page of the website the first thing that pops us is “click here if you want to be on the news” – as the company helps kids who are entering connect with local media.  The company started a Facebook page for this year’s contest, so one area to watch to see how it drives more interest/participation this year.

So next time you are working on your next campaign ensure you are having the right conversation, know where you fit into it and find a way to get your fans to become loud and crazy ambassadors for your brand.

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