Samsung’s Wi-Fi carrying pigeons are crowned PR winners this week
3rd April 2014
Good PR of the week
It’s been an interesting week on the good PR front with lots of April Fool's pranksters getting stuck in to the annual stunt free-for-all.
I do love April Fool’s day and some of the stunts that emerge are usually genuinely creative and excellently implemented ideas. Yet the big problem with April Fool’s based PR stunts is simply the level of competition.
It’s often pretty stiff. So whilst stunts on paper might seem top drawer, the overall measurement is press coverage. Some of them just fade away in the flood …
One that I was a particular fan of was Samsung’s "Fli-Fy" – which ingeniously looked to utilise the so called "flying rats" that plague city centres across the country. The technology giant claimed that it had developed micro-router packs to attach to London pigeons, alleging that the product is "lightweight, water-resistant and do not impede the pigeon’s normal flying action". Apparently, with more than 50 gathered together Wi-Fi/Fli-Fy signal strength is better than 4G.
In addition to the idea itself, I also loved the excellent comment from Tim Verhoeven, project director at Samsung Innovation Labs:
"This is about thinking laterally - using one nuisance – pigeons – to fix another – a lack of Wi-Fi. It is a breakthrough of sorts but of course pigeons have always been at the forefront of mobile communications technology. From the sixth century BC, pigeons have been used as the fastest and most reliable way to send messages over great distances. As you're never far from a pigeon in London, we think this idea could really take off."
I couldn’t have put it better myself. Genuinely, I couldn’t.
A clear winner
I don’t have enough column space for all of the day’s stunts, so I’ll just drop this cheap yet good one in too. Wynsors World of Shoes introduced its new product range of "Invisible Shoes". Working closely with the likes of Alexander Vuitton (Who? Exactly!) the team developed a unique transparent material … or rather they didn’t. What they did do is whack some snazzy photos of bare feet and a price tag of £100 on the WWS website. They also partnered with the cancer charity MacMillan, meaning that if anyone was fool enough to purchase a pair then the proceeds would go to charity. A nice touch! It got some good local coverage as well as a trending hashtag in the world of social media.
Good PR to you.
Bad PR of the week
The new England football kit was revealed this week. It looks nice. Well actually I don’t know what it looks like because I only had eyes for one thing; the price tag. The new kit is priced at a ridiculous £90. News of which even had David Cameron commenting that Nike should probably have a "rethink" after criticism from Helen Grant, the sports minister, who said it "wasn’t right".
The price of replica kits has risen exponentially in the last few years. In the misty depths of my childhood a replica football strip cost about £30 and even then it was regarded as extortionate. The football industry is a massive money spinner as evidenced by footballers’ wages. Whilst I don’t actually begrudge footballers having a slice of the wealth pie, fleecing ordinary folk to that kind of tune just isn’t on. It seems that the greedy FA and Nike have gone a step too far this time if even the prime minister is wading in. Bad PR to them.
Worthy of another quick mention following Mother’s Day at the weekend is Interflora. It would’ve been one of the busiest trading days of the year for a florist, but Interflora didn’t do well. By all accounts it messed up hundreds of orders, delivering dead and damaged flowers, the wrong order or simply nothing at all. The firm was hammered on social media and it’s no surprise, after all no self-respecting mother wants to be handed a bunch of dead chrysanthemums* as a sign of their worth to their offspring.
Whilst it’s undoubtedly only a small fraction of its total deliveries, it doesn’t reflect well if a company’s entire Twitter feed is made up of apologetic responses to complaints. Bad PR to you, Interflora.
Andy Barr is once again absent from the good and bad PR throne so I’m taking up the crown and sceptre in his place. Follow me on Twitter if you fancy @lloydhughes13.
Seen any good or bad PR recently? You know what to do, @10Yetis on the Twitter, or firstname.lastname@example.org on email.