Saturday, 28 March 2015

SeaWorld Fail

In 1991, Sealand whale trainer Keltie Byrne, fell into a pool with 3 of her killer whales and they attacked her, dragging her down under the water and killing her.

After that, one of the more aggressive whales in the attack, Tilikum, who had been kept in abusive captivity since 1983, was shipped off to Seaworld. In 1999, a Seaworld trespasser was found dead, draped over Tilikum's back, covered in wounds and abrasions.

In 2010, during a live show with his long-term trainer, Dawn Brancheau, Tilikum leapt out of the pool and grabbed her hair with his teeth, pulling her underwater and holding her under until she died. This was the most aggressive attack given that he had completely scalped her and ate her arm.

Dawn with Tilikum

Unfortunately for SeaWorld, the story and background into Tilikum and how killer whales were treated in captivity by them, was made into a documentary and in 2013, 'Blackfish' was released at the Sundance Festival, quickly picked up by Magnolia Pictures and CNN for wider release.

 Click to watch 'Blackfish' trailer
 Click to watch 'Blackfish' trailer

So why am I telling this morbid story?

Well, of all companies, SeaWorld decided to open themselves up to the public on Twitter on Thursday with the hashtag #AskSeaWorld. 

I mean, aren't you already feeling a bit like....

So, in an effort to increase transparency of the company, SeaWorld opened the floor to the public, and it wasn't quite the response they wanted....

You'd think that the marketing/PR team at SeaWorld would have thought this through carefully.
They must have been aware that questions would have been about how they treat whales, rather than 'what is an orca's favourite food?'.
SeaWorld did not contribute or comment for the Blackfish film, they kept a dignified yet suspicious silence, But now, 2 years later, they speak out! And this is what they had to say.....

NO SEAWORLD NO! You just don't respond to consumers and the public with memes, belittling them and their opinions, ESPECIALLY when you are in such a fragile position. You cannot open yourself up to the public and ask them to ask you any question and then not respond to them, shrugging them off as trolls and trouble makers, treating them like children.

So what did they say when they DID answer? Automated, copy and paste responses.

I can't even.....

Social Media can make or break your brand in an instant.

Many brands try to stay relevant and 'cool' with sarcastic comments or piss-taking memes. They want to have banter with the public and make it hilarious and newsworthy - when in fact it has a detrimental effect.

Tips to avoid this: 
- Decide your tone of voice as a brand and how you speak to consumers
- Align with your companies PR and external affairs team before embarking on hashtags that opens yourself up to questions.
- Prepare different answers for all possible questions
- Prepare for an outcome you weren't expecting

And if you can't do that, then stay away from the hashtag.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Nothing to fear

Funny how back when the internet took off, digital futurists all panicked and said that technology would take over and require less use for humans. When actually, thanks to the above info, it's been proven that that's far from the case.

Many people worry now that the younger generation, or 'digital natives' as they are better known, will grow up anti-social and too reliant on technology having been brought up to swipe before they can write,

Technology gives us the chance to be even more connected, social and informed than ever before. Many people assume and fear it will stunt our growth in the future and make us detached from the "real world", but in reality we should have more faith in the human race.

We've clearly managed to advance dramatically in technology, yet as we can see, the most successful tools are still driven by basic human ethics: showing a passion for community, breeding creativity and supporting others.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Lidl Surprises

Never before have people cared so much about what they eat, where it's come from, and who they are helping by eating it.

Top chefs campaign for us to not waste food, to buy locally, support your farmers, go free range... which all sounds like a bit too much effort and probably quite pricey.

Shoppers are constantly looking to chow down on the cheap, and it's obvious that it's affecting the grocery market because out of the top UK supermarkets: Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury's, Morrisons was the only one to achieve sales growth in January.

In fact, discounter retailers, such as Aldi and Lidl, are fast becoming the supermarkets of choice and, instead of being seen as 'classless', it's now something to be proud of thanks to their low cost and high quality produce.

Just today I saw Lidl's new 'Little Pub' advert by TBWA, as part of their on going Lidl Surprises campaign. Take a look...

(Click to watch)

Personally I think this is a brilliant ad; it shows how we assume that great tasting food and drink has to be expensive, when that's not the case. And it's from LIDL?! Well, there goes all our snobby assumptions about that place.

If you go to Twitter, you can see consumers and shoppers getting involved with #LidlSurprises, tweeting and sharing their delicious looking dinners - all fresh, all cheap, all Lidl.


Of course there will always be those who prefer Waitrose and Marks and sparks, but if Lidl and cheaper supermarkets continue producing wholesome, organic produce at a fraction of the price, whilst having the support of top chefs and the ever-growing community of food evangelists, eventually the more expensive shops will need to step up their game.