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Why the best PR campaigns will often come from your consumers

‘Bring Back Allens Jelly Tots” was the message coming from fans of the Allen’s lolly which was removed from the production line way back in 2004.  Whilst this movement of getting these sugary delights back on the supermarket was hardly monemental (less than 500 followers are currently on the Bring Back Allens Jelly Tots Tiny Tots facebook page), it seemed to be enough for the confectionery giant to decide to bring back the Tots.

Media outlets were alerted, it made front page news on several online media forums, radio stations were talking about it and people were ‘sharing’ the good news all over social media.  And yes, the followers of the Facebook page were elated. “I just heard back from Allen’s they said that they do listen to their fans and our posts will be forwarded onto their team. It’s progress, I won’t give up till these gems of goodness r back on our supermarket shelves! Again, thanks for all your support!! Long live Tiny tots!” the excited page manager exclaimed. It seems this victory, however small proved that Allen’s “do listen to their fans.”

This is very clever timing considering the lolly company had a big red cross next to it’s name through it’s recent decision to discontinue the production of Spearmint Leaves and Green Frogs.  This Allens Jelly Tots relaunchdecision was on the back of one which had the entire country up-in-arms when Allen’s parent company, Nestle’, dared to meddle with the sizing of the Killer Python lolly.  This publicity was not good.  The Allen’s Facebook page was hammered with scathing posts condemning the company’s decision.

Throughout all of this PR turmoil, it appears, that Allen’s has latched on to this conveniently timed request to bring back the – let’s face it – not-very-iconic Jelly Tots. However, the publicity for this has proven to work for the company with sweet-tooth’s around Australia rejoicing over the news of an item being re-introduced to the shelves instead of disappearing.

Streets Ice-cream enjoyed a similar sweet taste of success when it took things one step further.  After relentless campaigning and a far bigger social media following, the Facebook page Golden Gaytime Icecream Tub Project saw a victory like no other when Street’s didn’t re-introduce an old favorite, but re-invented it totally! The founder of the page (which only started beginning of July) published their mission as to: ‘Force Streets to make Golden Gaytime in a tub’. The content on the page was engaging and witty and in a blink of an eye, had a following exceeding 3,000 die-hard ice-cream lovers.  The public followed the lead of the ‘G.G.I.T.P Commander in Chief’, Jessie McElroy and started posting pictures of themselves eating and somewhat worshiping the arrival of the ice-cream tub.

The campaign was a success with Jessie even appearing on the Today show and posting pictures of Karl Stefanovic with a tub of the ice-cream.  This was a much more exciting way to launch the product than just the standard TV advertisement and picture in the supermarket catalogue.  The launch of the new product had a buzz and anticipation around it like no other and social media was used to it’s full potential.

But you don’t have to be a large manufacturing company making delicious sugary snack to engage your consumers in the launch (or re-launch) of a product.  Here’s some things we can learn from our yummy friends at Streets and Allen’s:

Listen to consumers – Visit forums, check out community pages, take note of how people react, etc.  Understand both the positive and negative impacts this new idea, product or campaign may have, especially if you are a well established brand.

Be true to your brand – You may have the best idea in the world but if it has nothing to do with your brand or existing products then you have some serious soul-searching to do.  If you have a well-liked and well-established brand, be wary that one wrong decision or campaign could potentially undo all of your hard work in one foul swoop.

Get clever – Streets and Allen’s obviously have big budgets and access to top-notch PR and marketing firms who can do all of this leg work so you need to be realistic in how much you can commit to your PR campaign However, social media is a free ticket to those who can get creative.  With so many platforms available now for people to share information on, this can be to your advantage no matter how big or small the budget.

Milk it! – If something has gone viral (for a good reason) and is using your product or brand – use it! From celebrities being snapped wearing a particular brand of shoes through to someone making a funny video of their shopping experience in your furniture store, if it has gone viral and is gaining positive publicity, use this momentum to possibly spin a new product or campaign.  Just make sure it’s done properly.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m just going to watch that funny YouTube video of that Ozzie couple shopping in IKEA . . . .

 

 

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