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TD Bank (and its customers) are the PR winners this week

7th August 2014


Good PR

I love a PR stunt that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and this one was no different. A bank in Canada came up with a generous way to say thank you to its customers and decided to install ATMs – Automated Thanking Machines – in some of its branches.

Customers were invited to try out a these ATMs at TD Bank, thinking they were just like any other cash-dispensing machines; except they weren’t, were they? They were Automated Thanking Machines! Weren’t you paying attention to that bit?

Anyway, the magic of this stunt is all captured on video and, in the clip, you see customers being given these personal thank you gifts and being spoken to by the Automated Thanking Machine’s voice. One mother was given tickets to Disney for her two children, as well as piggy banks and $1,000 for each kid to start a savings account, whilst an elderly lady whose only daughter is battling cancer in Trinidad was given flight tickets to go and see her. I’m not ashamed to say I got a bit teary at that bit.

Another loyal customer was given a selection of baseball gifts like a catcher’s mitt and a personalised jersey for his team the Blue Jays. He was also surprised there and then at the branch in Ontario by a Blue Jays’ player and then got to go to a match and throw the first pitch, which he said was on his bucket list. I really need to get around to making one of those. The guy who gets the baseball gifts looks a lot like Robert Knepper (aka “T-Bag” from Prison Break), so much so that I was convinced it was him. It’s not.

It’s so far been viewed 7.6million times on YouTube and has received coverage around the world, such as on CNN, NBC and the Mail Online. As well as the personalised gifts for loyal customers who’d developed close ties with the staff, more than 20,000 Canadians who had accounts with TD were given a cash reward as thanks for their custom.

In other news, I’ve seen that number 10 Downing Street is for sale on Zoopla. However, it’s not Dave’s house, it’s a place in Nottingham. A great little PR opportunity for the property website which I’ve so far seen on ITV.

Bad PR

Have you ever been to Adventure Island in Southend? I’m sure it’s the place dreams are made of. Not for one family though, because they got left at the top of a Ferris wheel when the staff shut up for the night and switched the lights off.

Darren and Lynzie Riggs-Long and their three children (aged ten, six and three) were left in a cage (like animals, I tell you!) at the top of the wheel and the kids and their parents tried to get the staff’s attention as the pod they were sat in blew around in the wind. OK, so it probably wasn’t as dramatic as that, but it was pretty awful. Then, Mighty Joe Young came strolling into Adventure Island and lifted the family to safety. Oh no, that’s a different story.

It was just before 10pm when they were forgotten about, but staff switched the lights back on and got them down when a member of the public spotted the family and went to get help.

Apparently, the kids have since been having nightmares and one of them woke up shouting “get me down.” They were up there for 15 minutes in total and this whole story has no doubt been a bit of a nightmare for Adventure Island. The Daily Mail, Daily Mirror and Daily Express have all picked up on the story and it even ended up all the way across the pond in the New York Daily News.

The family’s four-day stay at the seaside town in Essex was cut short because the children were so traumatised by the whole experience and the five free wrist bands that were given to the family as compensation didn’t go down too well. The father said he’d be giving them away. Trip to Adventure Island anyone? Thought not.

Shannon Haigh, 10 Yetis, @ShazzaYeti on Twitter

Seen any good or bad PR recently, you know what to do, @10Yetis on Twitter or [email protected] on email.



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