Good and Bad PR: Feeling festive with Christmas 24
17th December 2015
With Christmas Day so close now, it's only right that I make this week's good PR have a festive feel about it and I have the PERFECT stunt to tell you about.
Anyone familiar with the channel Christmas 24, which shows back-to-back Christmas movies, will know that it's an ideal way to spend a cold December Sunday under a blanket on the sofa. I've had the channel on about 50 times already this month. They aren't the highest budget films you'll ever see and you might not recognise most of the actors, but none of that matters because the films are beautiful and Christmassy and make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
So, when I saw the coverage for Christmas 24's recent PR stunt, I instantly loved it. Named The Christmas Gift Experiment, a present-shaped festive phone box was set up in Birmingham New Street station, with the words “free presents” emblazoned on the top. When the phone started ringing “pick up phone” was displayed on a screen above it. A lot of people ignored the ringing phone, but when people answered something lovely happened.
It soon becomes clear that the person on the other end of the phone is Father Christmas and he asks them if they'd like a present. Of course, they all say yes. Who says no to a free gift? A gift then drops out of the machine. However, there's a catch; Santa then goes on to tell them that the gift isn't for them. When asked why, he explains that it's because gifts are for giving, not receiving and then he instructs them to give the gift to certain people minding their own business in the station.
They do as instructed and, after a few suspicious glances from the people they hand the gifts to, the presents are unwrapped and everyone is really jolly and grateful. Gifts include gadgets, accessories and other goodies.
The hashtag flashed up at the end of the video reads #ChristmasAsItShouldBe and we get to see how happy the people who've handed over the gifts end up being after their good deed. It's a feel-good stunt that perfectly encapsulates what Christmas is all about and I love it. I've seen it covered on the Metro and Daily Mirror website so far, as well as on some Birmingham websites.
Here's the video, which has had 1.3m views so far and counting!
The Christmas Gift Experiment
Christmas 24 got together with Santa to spread some festive joy and remind people that Christmas is about giving! #ChristmasAsItShouldBe Christmas 24 - the TV channel that brings you Christmas movies all day, every day throughout November and December. Sky 327 / Virgin 419 / BT 513Posted by Christmas 24 on Thursday, 10 December 2015
I apologise in advance to anyone reading this who has one, but I have an issue with hoverboards. I just don't get it. They're like segways without the handle and they don't even hover ... they have wheels. What's wrong with skateboards? Besides, people using hoverboards look like right plonkers.
Anyway, that's not why I'm giving the futuristic gadget bad PR this week. You've probably seen plenty of stories in the news about the technical faults with many hoverboards.
Trading Standards seized 15,000 unsafe boards being brought into the UK, because many had faulty chargers, plugs or cables that could potentially explode or catch fire. This is due to some being made very cheaply or being important from countries like China.
John Lewis and Argos have now pulled hoverboards from sale, amidst the growing concerns about the safety of the gadgets; whilst Amazon has also stopped selling them and has also emailed customers urging them to safely dispose of the hoverboards at a recycling centre. Amazon said it would refund customers within three days.
So, what started off as possibly one of the most wanted gifts of Christmas 2015 has ended up being something people are now pretty terrified of. One was sold every 12 seconds in the run up to Christmas, but I wondered how many will end up under trees on 25 December and how many will end up at the local tip.
As I type this, the scare stories are flashing up on Sky News on our office TV. What a disaster for the manufacturers and retailers alike, this is going to end up costing a huge amount in refunds.
Last week, a boy riding a hoverboard collided with a bus and died, so there are also concerns about how safe they are to use. I think it's going to be a while before the reputation of the hoverboard recovers and sales are going to take a monumental hit. A quick search of “hoverboard” on Google News will bring up hundreds of negative stories, not just with UK media but around the world.
Written by Shannon Haigh, 10 Yetis, @ShazzaYeti on Twitter