Blog : launch

Craving experiences

Craving experiences

Last month, Madame Tussauds London launched Alien: Escape, a terrifying multi-sensory experience, developed with one of the most genius creative companies in the world – Creatures Inc. When we first began working on Alien: Escape, I didn’t know what to expect. Isn’t that the beauty of working in PR though? You start a project with no previous knowledge and by the end you’re an absolute pro – whether it’s a video game, a food product, a documentary, or an experience inspired by a popular film franchise.

Alien: Escape is a multi-sensory experience, which follows the release of the critically acclaimed blockbuster film, Alien: Covenant and challenges guests to navigate a trail of blood, gore, chaos and danger. The mission is simple: Run. Survive. Escape. It is also the most terrifying experience Madame Tussauds has ever worked on, with a recommended age of 15+. If you don’t believe us, you can see how terrifying our celebrities rated it at the launch event.

Madame Tussauds London introduces Alien Escape
Michael Fassbender Alien Covenant

But why do we need them? Are we craving new experiences more than ever before meaning that we no longer need material belongings? Not really. In my opinion, we are still very much a commodity focused society. We love our products and we definitely like to show off with them even if we don’t admit it.

And because we love our products so much, they have been made much more accessible for us. In Western societies, it seems almost unreal to own an iPhone with a model starting below the number 5. No really, who has iPhone 4 anymore? The market is overly saturated and since we all use similar brands and products, we have changed the focus and become much more ‘spiritual’. We’re frantically looking for things to do, because we have everything.

Certain brands have realised this social trend and have adapted accordingly. Snapchat and Instagram are all about experiences – capturing places, people and things we have seen. Facebook has added a permanent “Feeling (happy, excited, tired, sad etc.)” to our status updates.

Any forward thinking brand that seeks leadership in its sector has to realise the potential in triggering some sort of emotion – whether this would be comfort, loyalty, excitement or fear. Madame Tussauds London has definitely raised the bar with getting its audience to show fear with their horrific new Alien: Escape.

Creating an ‘offal’ stir: Burns Night with Macsween

Creating an ‘offal’ stir: Burns Night with Macsween

I’ve spent the last three months in a haggis whirlwind. Tasting, researching, delivering, analysing, pitching, writing, and even dreaming about the iconic food stuff made famous by the 18th century Scottish poet. This is what happens when you’re working with Macsween, pioneers of Scotland’s national dish, in the run up to one of the most important periods in their retail calendar, Burns Night on 25th January.

In the fickle and fast paced world of product communications, creating a strong seasonal story is more competitive than ever as brands vie for the same space and media attention. As communications consultants, it’s our job to get underneath the skin of the brand (or haggis in this case) to understand our clients’ objectives and how these translate into stories to reach the right target audiences at the right time. It isn’t enough any more to be the market leader and have a good quality product – to make headlines, you have to have a strong narrative to back it up and get people talking.

The brief for this project was straightforward – how were we going to make a splash around Burns Night, own and ‘premiumise’ the occasion and ultimately help sales to soar?

Our solution – launch the world’s most expensive haggis to highlight Macsween’s commitment to creating only the most delicious, hand-crafted products.

As you can probably imagine, launching a one-off gastronomic masterpiece such as this doesn’t happen overnight. It requires weeks of planning and working closely with the marketing and product development teams client-side to build something worthy of a story; no small feat. In the end, the talented and imaginative team at Macsween concocted a real culinary showstopper – a 3.7kg haggis consisting of Highland Wagyu beef, white summer truffle and edible gold leaf with a £4,000 price tag.

 

Macsween Haggis Coverage

 

Once the product was in place, it was then a matter of developing simple yet effective supporting assets to bring it to life across multiple channels. Like all seasonal stories, timing was key. With January 25th falling on a Monday this year, we needed the story to land before the weekend, targeting shoppers and putting Macsween top of mind for Burns revellers.

The luxury haggis has made headlines across the world, reaching as far as the US, demonstrating that even within the competitive and complicated landscape of brand communications, simple stories are still relevant and can sometimes create the most impact. The power of haggis should never be underestimated.

A new Stripe force in London

A new Stripe force in London

It’s official… We’re excited to announce the opening of our new London office and the appointment of Chris Stevenson as our London MD.

Chris joins us from Emanate and over his career has worked with some of the most respected agencies and exciting brands to deliver PR, digital and communications strategies for clients across consumer tech, entertainment, FMCG and sports. He brings his expertise and innovative thinking to lead the business and nurture and grow our reputation in London.

But that’s not all we’ve been up to, as we continue to develop our strategic, creative and digital offering. We’re excited to announce that we have three further new senior players to add to our team.

Anna Russell, former General Manager, Brand Marketing at Audi of America has joined us as Director of Strategy. Anna will be expanding Stripe’s strategic and creative services and continuing the digital evolution of the agency.

Lesley Morton was part of the original start-up team at Stripe and returns as Head of Brand Entertainment. For the last four years she has been working on global brand campaigns and brings communication specialisms across music, arts, film & TV from her previous role as head of the Music & Entertainment team at CSM Sport & Entertainment.

And last but not least, we announce Hilary Joiner as our new Creative Director. With 20 years’ experience in both traditional and digital arenas, Hilary will be responsible for developing and delivering Stripe’s creative capabilities and ensuring that great ideas continue to be a part of our DNA.

We’re kicking off 2016 as we mean to go on. It’s our tenth year and we’re as ambitious now as we’ve ever been. The demand from our clients for integrated communications continues to grow and at Stripe we’re committed to innovating and differentiating our business.

Watch this space…

Danny MacAskill, a bike and a Highland Cow: it must be MTB World Cup time

Danny MacAskill, a bike and a Highland Cow: it must be MTB World Cup time

It was a first for trials cyclist Danny MacAskill – and a first for us too –  manoeuvring a Highland Cow into a photo shoot for a bike stunt with a difference.

Fortunately we had stocksman Matt Auld on hand to help us with Una Dubh who was on loan for the day from the Highland Cattle Pollok Fold.

Why? It was all to launch ticket sales for the Fort William leg of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup and BUFF® 4X Pro Tour – the multi-award winning event in the Scottish Highlands which takes place on 6-7 June 2015.

The Fort William World Cup will host 300 of the world’s best riders from across 26 nations as they do battle on the steep slopes of Aonach Mor.

We can’t promise Highland Cows at the event but it will certainly be action-packed – tickets available at www.fortwilliamworldcup.co.uk.

Behind the scenes at the Festival of Museums

Behind the scenes at the Festival of Museums

We plucked up the courage to brave the sights and frights of the University of Edinburgh’s Anatomical Museum when we helped unveil this year’s Festival of Museums programme.

Along with a team of school pupils we delved deep into the museum’s dark and mysterious archives to unearth some of its most horrible histories – including elephant skeletons, death masks and instruments made from human bones!

The 2015 Festival of Museums programme features over 100 day and night events specially curated to give visitors a unique glimpse inside Scotland’s best loved museums and encourage them to engage with culture in a unique, hands-on way.

It’s all happening on 15 – 17 May; find out more at www.festivalofmuseums.com.

On track with IRN-BRU’s ‘Train’ Ad

On track with IRN-BRU’s ‘Train’ Ad

‘Train’ has arrived, and we’ve been working with the team at IRN-BRU to help it leave the station!

The new ad continues the Gets You Through series, which takes a tongue-in-cheek look at how a taste of IRN-BRU can lift spirits and help you see a lighter side of life.

The campaign is the brand’s most successful to date with previous ads including Steamy Windows, Blind Date and Fanny generating more than 10 million online views.

Catch ‘Train’  at irn-bru.co.uk/train and there’s more @irnbru #getsyouthrough.

Tickling tastebuds with Sourz

Tickling tastebuds with Sourz

It was a taste sensation ‘on ice’ when we helped launched Sourz’ new Rainbow Ice drink at Ice Bar London.

The tangy mix of raspberry, orange and lime has a cooling sensation that leaves taste buds tingling.

We invited a host of special guests and influencers to try it out and mixed in some pretty unique taste combinations.

Who knew Rainbow Ice would complement bitter lemon? And a dash of Sourz Raspberry with Prosecco went down well.

There were a few surprises for those who joined us on the night as they sampled the icy delights wrapped-up in fleece-lined capes and gloves.

Rainbow Ice is available now – go for the taste test and let us know what you think at sourz@stripecommunications.com.

Getting Ready for Winter (with Terriers!)

Getting Ready for Winter (with Terriers!)

Stripe had the pleasure of looking after (and dressing!) some adorable West Highland White Terriers last week, as they assisted Minister for Transport, Keith Brown in the launch of the Scottish Government’s Ready For Winter? campaign.

The Scottish Government’s ‘Ready for Winter?’ campaign, in partnership with the British Red Cross, provides information and advice on how to prepare and cope with severe weather including snow, ice, flooding and high winds.

The campaign includes a range of online resources and will feature integrated marketing activity across TV, local press, radio (local and community), news websites and social media. This is the fourth year the campaign has run and it will run from 21 October to 30 November.

For more information visit www.readyscotland.org