Heinz turns #BlueMonday bright red

I’ve written before about how celebration days, awareness days and national holidays can be used to build a Content Calendar that will help you plan your communications activity for the year ahead. They’re a great tool for identifying opportunities for a PR stunt, a bit of thought leadership or a timely social media campaign.

I spotted a great example of this being put into action by a big brand today when the team at Heinz delivered an effective PR stunt on what has become known as “Blue Monday”.

According to mathematicians, a combination of grey skies and failed New Year’s resolutions means Monday 16th January is officially #BlueMonday – the most depressing day of the year (source: Cheapflights.com)

The stunt was simple:

  1. Place cans of Heinz’s famous tomato soup in bright red, ‘In case of emergency – break glass’ boxes in highly photographic locations around London
  2. Send strong images – like the one featured by Secret London below – to the media with a compelling caption or two
  3. Encourage the spread of user-generated #BlueMonday content across social media
  4. Revel in the thanks of grateful soup eaters (and maybe a picture desk editor or two)

heinz-blue-monday

It’s a good case study for seizing an opportunity that provides a strong platform to communication your brand message. In this case, Heinz was keen for its tomato soup to be associated with warmth and comfort – everything that Blue Monday is not – so they presented their product as the solution to the most depressing day of the year.

Time for a nice warming bowl of soup, I think…

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Top picks for 2017: Podcasts

Always looking for entertainment for my commute into London, I have recently expanded my library of podcasts.

For anyone who wants to try something new in 2017, is keen to make the most of their commute and learn simply by listening, I’d highly recommend you give these a go…

1. Answer Me This

My first (and probably still favourite) podcast is Answer Me This, a fun and informative podcast by friends Helen and Olly who answer a wide and sometimes weird selection of listeners’ questions. My husband got me into this one after I kept asking what was making him laugh so much and I’m grateful that he did.

From “Why do politicians refer to each other as ‘My Learned Friend’?” to “How do they make McDonalds fries all the same size?”, not a single episode has failed to keep me entertained, even on the longest of road trips.

amt

2. The Modern Mann

Next up is The Modern Mann (also by Olly from Answer Me This), a magazine-style show with regular features called The Zeitgeist (a round-up of current trends) and The Fox Hole (a sex questions feature). The middle feature – an interview with a different, very interesting person each time – tends to be my favourite. From ‘The Gentleman Bankrobber’ to a former British ISIS recruit, each one is unique and enlightening.

The Modern Mann is fast-paced, light and my go-to podcast when I’m commuting or out for a lunchtime walk.

3. Serial

Keen to try something new, I started listening to Serial while I was painting my house and needed something more engaging than background radio tunes. Hailed as the ‘number one podcast’ at the time, I had high hopes and I wasn’t disappointed by season one.

This podcast delves into criminal investigations, with the first season examining the case of an American man who had been convicted of murdering his girlfriend in 1999, even though there was no physical evidence tying him to the crime. One episode had me convinced that he was innocent and the next had me questioning everything I had previously heard. Addictive? Absolutely. I can’t count the number of times I’ve already recommended this as essential listening to friends and family.

Season two hasn’t quite been my cup of tea as they switched to a new case and a military investigation but I’m hoping there will be a season three soon and that it’ll be more like the first one that I so enjoyed.

4. Freakonomics

Recommended to me by a friend and included in an online list of podcasts to try, this is my most recent find. Discussing socionomic issues from tweeting and eating to the 10,000 hours rule for becoming an expert at anything, the content is varied and they don’t dumb things down, which I love.

Admittedly, I’ve only listened to two episodes so far but what I’ve heard I’ve liked and I’ll definitely be downloading a few more.