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Trump embassy visit: Using fake news to make news

Trump embassy visit: Using fake news to make news

On Friday 12 January, the world woke up to the news President Trump had cancelled his visit to the UK, originally scheduled for February, citing the US embassy in London as his reason for the change of plan.

For many, it was just another ill-advised tweet from Trump. For us, it turned into the perfect newsjacking opportunity, putting Madame Tussauds London front and centre of the international news agenda and giving the people of Britain what they were promised – Trump.

As other people began arriving at their desks, we’d already pitched the idea of taking Donald Trump’s wax figure to the US Embassy. Whilst domestic and international media descended on the London Embassy, we would bring them what they really wanted – the most infamous man in global politics.

The first call was to our friends at the Press Association, to validate they’d be interested and to package our content. Was it something they’d be interested in? Obviously! Next, the amazing Madame Tussauds PR team sprang into action, getting Donald’s figure out of the world-famous attraction and ready for his moment in the spotlight with only a moments notice. There’s nothing better than a client that works fast and shares your vision, just as determined to make it happen as we were.

As we arrived at the now infamous (and amazing!) US Embassy we were greeted by the world’s media. Our number one priority was to protect the wax figure, then to give everyone the shot they wanted when we were ready for them. Not easy surrounded by over 100 people. In fact, before we’d even had the chance to fully unveil the uncanny likeness, photographers were snapping and members of the public were trying to capture their selfie.

We stayed outside the embassy for 30 minutes – in that time we did live broadcasts with BBC and Sky News, we facilitated interviews with Washington Post, CNN and Al Jazeera and we dealt with the courteous Metropolitan Police who had been notified of the media scrum. We drafted media comments, quotes and news alerts within the space of 20 minutes.

CNN Trump Tweet Madame Tussauds Stripe

While we were busy working to finalise the stunt, a social media storm was taking place. Our content was being shared by major news outlets, publishers, celebrities and influencers across

Trump madame tussauds wax work Stripethe globe. And all of it positive, congratulating Madame Tussauds London for their wit, satire and speed of reaction to deliver this moment. Highlights included CNN, Mashable, Sophia Bush and The Poke. Then came the Twitter Moment, a personal career highlight!

Brands clamour to create newsjacking opportunities but few succeed and only a handful have succeeded to this scale. Four words define successful newsjacking: Relevance. Timeliness. Simplicity. Distribution. We take for granted that this was a simple activity to execute, but its simplicity is only driven by a well tuned and tried and tested approach to capitalise on these moments when they arrive. Use the media to craft your story, don’t second-guess them. Build strong relationships so that they become a sounding board to deliver them what they need, how they need it.

Madame Tussauds London was featured on the six o’clock news across BBC, Channel 4 News, ITV and Sky News, was covered internationally on CNN and Al Jazeera – as well as securing front page of Saturday’s The Times. Despite this, it was the social content, both earned and owned, that delivered above and beyond what we had hoped for.

How often are we asked to make something go viral? Well, this time we did it. With over 24,450 online mentions and over 27m impressions within a 48hour period, it may have been a bad day for Trump, but it was a good day for Stripe and a GREAT day for Madame Tussauds London.

Snapchat: the gift that keeps on giving

Snapchat: the gift that keeps on giving

It’s been quite the summer for Snapchat. The introduction of Memories, Instagram causing outrage by basically stealing Stories, CEO Evan Spiegel popping the question to Victoria’s Secret Angel Miranda Kerr – every tech geek’s dream – and now its rebrand to Snap Inc. and of course the launch of Spectacles.

We’re a bit obsessed by Snapchat at the moment, everything they do seems to work. But Spectacles? Spectacles caused a bit of a discussion on Monday morning. What’s the point? Can anyone really be bothered buying and wearing a pair of sunglasses for the sole purpose of capturing a video? Have they learned nothing from Google Glass?

We weren’t sure. However, having dug a little deeper we think this might actually work.

 

What are ‘Spectacles’?

If you haven’t heard – which from a bit of research (a question in the girls’ WhatsApp group) not many outside of the communications industry have – a bit of background for you. Spectacles are the latest piece of wearable tech. A range of sunglasses from Snap Inc. that will record 10 to 30 second video clips with just a tap, the video footage will then wirelessly transfer to a user’s Memories in the Snapchat app. Spectacles look nice, nicer than Google Glass anyway, and will be available in three colours when they launch in the US this autumn for $129.99.

Initially, I had no idea who would want these. Why wouldn’t you just use your phone like we have been? But, actually, imagine being able to capture one of your favourite memories or events, then going back to see that memory exactly the way you experienced it. For me, it feels like they’ve introduced the GoPro for everyday members of Gen Z. Instead of capturing outdoor, extreme activities you can record everyday moments – the last day of school, the family BBQ, your best friend’s wedding. They’ve introduced the fun factor that was missing from Google Glass.

 

How will this work for brands?

A recent piece of research by Cisco Systems predicted that 80% of consumer internet consumption will be video content by 2019, and just last month Facebook sheepishly confirmed that text posts are declining on the platform in favour of video and images. We know video is becoming more and more important and it looks very much like its popularity will continue. The technology Snap Inc. are introducing means that the circular video can play full screen on any device, in any orientation, and captures the human perspective with a 115 degree field of view. Meaning even if you aren’t there, you can experience it, not just watch it – exactly what got people so excited about VR tech this year.

I think the popularity will depend on the early adopters. Will Gen Z influencers get on board; can we imagine the likes of Kylie Jenner, Zoella and Calvin Harris, some of Snapchats most loyal users, wearing Spectacles? I’m not sure. But, I’m looking forward to seeing how it works.

Brooklyn does Burberry

Brooklyn does Burberry

Burberry is getting a bit of stick at the moment. I mean, hiring Brooklyn Beckham to shoot their latest Burberry Brit campaign – how dare they? Fashion photographers across the world lashed out as the eldest Beckham child announced it via his Instagram and shared the news we could watch the live stream on Snapchat.

I can see their point. They’ve worked hard for years to hone their craft, build relationships and ultimately make it in a business that’s hard to crack. However, as a comms professional I think it’s brilliant.

Brooklyn has over 5.9m Instagram followers and is one of the most influential people in the world right now. Arguably his audience isn’t exactly Burberry buyers – but let’s face it, everyone loves a Beckham. I know I follow him, so do my friends and colleagues and would we have known or been interested in a new fragrance campaign if it wasn’t for him? By getting Brooklyn on board, the brand has gained global coverage and has positioned themselves as cool, innovative and accessible to all.

People want to see what he’s doing, what he’s wearing and who he’s talking to. This is why Snapchat is the perfect platform. The behind the scenes look into celeb life is what makes the social channel so brilliant and Burberry have combined this love for celeb gossip with their own story.

For me Burberry is owning Snapchat. They’re the only brand doing it well.

It’s the third most popular social app among Millennials and has more than 100 million daily active users. So why isn’t the industry using it more? It’s raw, relevant and real which can be scary, but with over 6 billion daily video views surely that’s a risk worth taking. Digital commerce outperformed all other Burberry channels, with mobile visits accounting for most of the traffic to Burberry.com.

Maybe 2016 is the year we all jump on the Burberry bandwagon?