26th August 2014

The CubanEight Water Cooler – August 2014

Our Favourite PR Examples of the Month

From toys to tech and the charitable response to neknominating, this summer we’ve had a huge range of ideas that took the limelight.

Lego’s new Female Scientists and an end to #PinkItShrinkIt


The “Research Institute”, a new female scientist set is the result of a successful pitch by geophysicist Ellen Kooijman on “Lego Ideas”, a platform which allows anyone to share their concepts and collect online supporters. Not alone in her frustration at the lack of representation by Lego of professional females, a seven-year-old girl sent a letter to Lego that quickly went viral. She wrote that although she “love[s] Lego”, she had noticed that “there are more Lego boy people and barely any Lego girls.” Not only did Lego listen to their customers, but they responded with gravitas and the new sets of female scientists have already sold out.

The toys children play with are hugely influential, and the presence of more female academic role models for children to play with can only be a positive step forward. For Lego, this is great PR from a creative team but moreover it’s great customer service – they’ve listened and delivered.

The new set has garnered national attention, including comments from key campaigners for women in tech and science such as Belinda Parmer, Lady Geek CEO, who campaigns against the “#pinkitshrinkit” approach to toys and how it deters girls from going into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects and careers.

These tiny figurines make a huge statement.


The #IceBucketChallenge for MacMillian Cancer Support

ice bucket challenge

While it’s yet to gain quite the same momentum on social media as Cancer Research’s #nomakeupselfie, McMillan’s #icebucketchallenge soon went viral. Combining a quirky way of cooling down in the Britain’s mini heatwave with the voyeuristic nature of seeing your “friends” on social media getting drenched, this fun and simple campaign is raising more and more money and awareness.

If you want to get involved, simply fill a bucket with iced water and film yourself pouring it over your head. Post to Facebook and/or Twitter and fill the bucket with iced water and text ICE to Macmillian (70550) to donate £3. Then nominate three fiends (or more!) to take part.

The campaign follows on from the example of the US campaign by the ALS Association and has had a massive boost by famous faces such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg publicaly challenging one another via social media. It’s even gone all the way to the White House with the Kennedy family nominating Obama

Barclays Digital Eagles

A soaring success with silver surfers, content marketing at its best- helping the older generation embrace the benefits of digital.

Barcalys Digital EaglesBarclays’ Digital Eagles are an attempt to rebalance the services it offers for the “always on” generation versus the less tech-savvy.

Barclays Chief Executive Antony Jenkins recently announced plans to close a quarter of its 1,600 branches, which analysts claimed highlighted how “banks across the world view new technology as a unique chance to improve customer service while cutting costs”. But while this has sparked some controversy around jobs inevitably lost in the process, one thing Barclays has done well, is understanding how to create content for customer retention in times of change.

According to research in 2013 by The Payments Council, we’re apparently more loyal to our banks that to our partners(!), with the average customer staying with the same bank for 17 years, but only staying married for 11. So it pays for banks to focus on the older generation as well as the young. Remaining digitally-focused in the wake of the success of its mobile banking app, Barclays’ Digital Eagles offer much more than an online banking for dummies tutorial.

From how-to guides and video tutorials, the Digital Eagles team are dedicated to helping the senior generation understand how to use technology in all aspects of their lives. Rather than a self-serving platform that patronises its long-standing customers, Barclays’s array of digital content and services works successfully to provide a go-to platform for anyone struggling to get to grips with tech. Its adverts highlight how the Digital Eagles teams help the older generation to feel more connected with tech rather than alienated- from Skype and social media to #teaandteach sessions. In light of the recent OfCom research that 6 year olds are more tech-savvy than 45 year olds, it’s clear that some education for the silver surfers!