WestJet: My Favourite Feel Good Campaign

I’m a bit of a sucker for a good viral video, especially if they make me laugh out loud or bring a tear to my eye.  If I had to choose one company who tug at my heart strings every time it is WestJet, an American airline who create the most fabulous videos that have gone viral in an instant.  Some of THE BEST feel good campaigns in the world are the ones that WestJet have created, especially their Christmas videos, which really continue to maintain and build on their reputation as a friendly and caring company as well as having a positive impact on their website hits, bookings and revenue.  You might be wondering why I’m talking about Christmas when we’re only in July, well to create campaigns with such a huge impact, WestJet actually start their planning in August.  At least they have done for the last two years and I sincerely hope that those in their PR department are have another on their agenda this year too.

Last years campaign was INCREDIBLE.  At 25 years of age, I still love Santa.  I’m a believer; there’s just something about good ol’ St. Nic that really makes Christmas feel so magical and brings people together.  When I first saw the WestJet Christmas Miracle video, I couldn’t help but beam with happiness and if was in America and I’d needed a flight that day, theres no doubt in my mind who I would have booked with!  Check out the video below:

The video was created to show the world that the owners of WestJet care at such a special time of the year.  Virtual Santa kiosks were set up at different airports and passengers were asked what they wanted for Christmas.  As they boarded the plane, 150 WestJet employees worked their socks off to make their Christmas wishes come true and when they got off the plane, the passengers were surprised with their gifts wrapped up on the baggage carousel.  Hidden cameras captured scenes of tears of joy and laughter as the passengers were surprised beyond their wildest dreams.  You can watch a case study of the results of the video here:

The WestJet Christmas Miracle video was uploaded to Youtube on 8th December 2013 and Twitter and Facebook updates amplified the reach that the video had through the use of hash tags and propelled the video to viral stardom.  WestJet were the number one trending topic worldwide with millions of people from all over the globe interacting with the company through social media as well as watching the video.  The result was amazing for business but it did more to rocket the reputation of the company with so much positive publicity.  An American news channel even hailed it as ‘the perfect lesson on how to do public relations’ and I couldn’t agree more.

What I also really admire about WestJet as a company is that the way that they really engage with social media, and their ever increasing audience, to really shout about the good work that they do and what they stand for as a business.  They’re their to be profitable but they’re also their to give back and do some good in the world.  I love watching how passionate the Vice President, Richard Bartrem, is when speaking about WestJet in this video:

He comes across as a fabulous representative of the company.  What he is saying is believable, honest and you can relate to it which would definitely increase a customer or potential customers trust in WestJet.

The year prior to the WestJet Christmas Miracle, they created a Flash Mob in an airport (check out the video here) and over the years they’ve created some fantastic videos, not just at Christmas time.  Give their Youtube channel a watch to really appreciate the PR genius that goes on in this company.

In the meantime, I’ll be waiting with baited breath to see what they do this year… Ho ho ho!

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Top 5 Tips for a Successful Blogging Event

So you’re working in fashion and beauty PR and you’ve been set the task of planning an event for fashion or beauty bloggers.  Where do you begin?

There are a million and one things to consider but today, I thought I’d start you off by sharing my top five tips for a successful blogging event.  Are you ready?  Ok let’s go…

Image by Anirudh Koul- Source

Image by Anirudh Koul- Source

1. Location, location, location

The location of the event is very important as it can make it or break it.  Consider WHO you want to invite, paying particular attention to what I call your key influencers– those bloggers with the most influence over your target audience, and WHO the event is for; if you’re organising an event for a cruelty free make up brand don’t pick a venue that’s next door to a butchers and if you know that some of your bloggers have mobility issues then make sure its a venue that is easy to access.

While the capital, London is not always the best location to hold an event purely aimed at bloggers as they don’t all live in London, many have a small budget and some have a family, studies or a full-time job to work around.  All of these factors can often limit their attendance at London events as it can be very costly and time-consuming to travel to and from the capital.  That being said, some of the most popular bloggers live in and around London and some of them do blog on a full-time basis, so it really depends on who you’re hoping will attend.  Also, if you’re wanting to attract the press too then London is ideal.

Hiring a venue and everything that goes with it in London is going to be a lot more costly than hiring a venue outside of the capital however this can work to your advantage.  If you’re a high-end brand and want to attract the attention of a select number of bloggers with a huge fan base, many of which generally live in London, holding a small brunch event in the capital can work particularly well, especially if you’re able to have a spokesperson from the brand there to talk the bloggers through the brands new release.  It’s a personal touch that enables two-way communication with the bloggers and helps the brand to be able to gauge understanding and encourage coverage of their product as the event is deemed to be more exclusive.

Image taken by Ryan Johnson- Source

Image taken by Ryan Johnson- Source

2. Timing is KEY

Another make it or break it event pointer to consider is the time that it will take place.  This is particularly important if your event is in central London and you’re inviting A LOT of bloggers as not everyone will be able to travel into the capital for a 9AM start.  In such cases, keep the event to the afternoon or early evening.  That way you give everyone as much opportunity as possible to avoid rush hour and out of towners can work travel to the event around their day job, studies or family life.

Make sure you check to see if any similar events are being held on the same day that you’re holding yours.  It is not necessarily a bad thing if your event is on the same day but it can be if it is at the same time as many bloggers are invited to similar events and you don’t want half of your guests leaving half way through the event to go to another brands showcase a short tube ride away.  Many brands, particularly while doing their previews of the next seasons line, will have press days or showcases.  Having your event on the same day and time, if it is a drop in session throughout the day, or if it is the same day but at a different time, can actually boost attendance at your event as many bloggers will be encouraged to travel to the events because they’ll be able to go to both.  It’s the killing two birds with one stone mentality.

3. Know your guest list

I cannot stress this enough; know who you are inviting.  A personal greeting when they arrive to tailoring gifted products to that individual can really help to encourage a blogger to write about the event and your brand.  Don’t simply invite bloggers to make up the numbers.  Choose your guests wisely and look to those with the platform to represent your brand in the best, credible light, i.e. avoid inviting a blogger to a book launch if their spelling is atrocious and you might want to give those bloggers who write a review of a product in a few sentences without clear photographs and swatches a miss as well.

I was once invited to an event for a fashion brand that produced clothes that stopped at a size 12, they offered to pay my expenses, give me a selection of items to review and provide a great goodie bag.  In effect, the brand, or the PR agency that had their contract, were throwing money away.  As a plus sized blogger who writes about plus sized fashion, the event and the brand were completely irrelevant to me and my readers!  It is better to have a smaller event with fewer people there who represent what your brand is about and have the right target audience than to blow your budget on a huge turn out where you’re unlikely to gain any worthwhile coverage that’ll make an impact from it.

4. Create a strong theme

Create a theme that will run through the event from the first invite to follow-up emails.  Granted that some bloggers will turn up to the opening of a packet of crisps, some bloggers are a little more savvy when it comes to event invites and a strong, clear theme can really build excitement and encourage attendance.   The theme should influence the décor at the venue, the press pack, gifted items and the social media buzz around the event.  It should also be very fitting for the time of year that the event is intended for.  Creating a strong theme helps to make the event memorable and it reinforces the brands message.  I’ll talk more about how to create a theme in my next post.

5. Expenses vs Involvement

My final tip will no doubt be a controversial one in the office but it is to weigh up the benefit of paying expenses against getting the blogger involved in your campaign.  If it will benefit your brand to have a blogger in attendance at the event, perhaps for photographs and filming, then set aside some of your budget to offer reasonable expenses (i.e. train or petrol travel, assuming the event has been planned at a decent time to allow the blogger to travel there and back in the same day) to those bloggers that will benefit the brand the most and who have the most influence over your target audience, without jeopardising the event as a whole.  I say this because it is important to remember that bloggers aren’t journalists, generally they’re not getting paid, many make very little money from their blogs if at all and travelling to your event will be coming out of their own pocket.  Some bloggers are willing and able to pay to travel to events but some may decline your invite on the basis of not being able to afford to attend, particularly if the event is in London where travel is very costly or if the event is far away from where they live; again, knowing your guest list helps with this.

I wouldn’t necessarily offer expenses straight away, I’d wait until the blogger asks and then assess the request on a case by case basis although be very careful with this as a lot of bloggers know one another and may discuss who has and who hasn’t had their travel covered.  Here you should be looking for the bloggers who are loyal to you and who have written honest, credible coverage for your brand in the past and those who are going to get your message out there to the most people, i.e. those who have a large following on social media, high number of readers in your particular niche, lots of interaction etc.  Depending on the event, budget and campaign, you could either invite a small number of influential bloggers to your event and pay all of their expenses or invite a large number of bloggers and if the more influential bloggers ask for a contribution towards their expenses then pay those out.

Essentially, it’s all about weighing up the benefit of the attendance at the event and coverage achieved from that blogger attending vs. the cost of their travel and generally speaking the benefit of their coverage is worth the cost of their travel if there’s a specific reason as to why their appearance at the event will benefit the brand.  Some will bloggers will not go to the event if their expenses aren’t covered and I have to say that I am generally one of them.  This is because blogging and freelance writing is my full-time job so for me to take a full working day to travel to London costing £80-£100 in return train travel to attend an event to then spend another day writing up a post for a company where I may only make a small commission through affiliate links is not worth it to me as I could sit at home and write a post that would earn me the same in commission and benefit my readers in exactly the same way.  With that in mind, I would consider whether attendance at the event is necessary at all as you could forego paying expenses to bloggers and instead provide them with a detailed press pack and the product to review, for example.  This would keep your costs down and achieve the same outcome.  A lot of the time, if I’m unable to spare the time to travel to an event for a new product launch, I’ll politely decline the invitation but if I think that this is something that would work for my readers then I offer to review the product for the brand and this usually is very advantageous for both me, the brand and the PR.

Let me know in the comments if you have any experience of planning an event for bloggers and what your top tips are!

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Gemma Collins for Simply Be

Alright, alright so I promised my next post would be about unsuccessful celebrity collaborations with plus size fashion brands but then #AskThicke happened and everything got a bit viral up in Twitter land and I just had to write about it over here in Blogger Relations HQ.  My fingers have barely rested having been going ninety to the dozen on my keyboard for the last hour lol-ing at Robin Thicke and praying I never make a contribution to such an epic PR fail in the future, but I’m back now blogging about these unsuccessful celebrity ambassadors that I speak of.  Call it a bonus post for today…go on, I know you want it.

Ok, ok I’ll stop with the #AskThicke references.  That’s enough for one day.

So, where Beth Ditto and Evans and Gok Wan and Simply Yours succeeded, as I noted in what would have been my previous post, many celebrity and plus size fashion brand collaborations have failed and I think that is largely because of who they have chosen to represent their brand.  The major downfall I see is that the celebrity doesn’t remain loyal to the plus size community and the brand that they are working with.

Take Gemma Collins for example.  She’s at the top of the ranks when it comes to celebrities who say one thing and then do another.  She launched The Gemma Collins Collection back 2012 and to be fair to them, CAN, who I’m assuming were her PR team at the time, manage to secure some great media coverage for the her and they still do to this day.  However from the outset, Collins appeared to not practice what she preached in that before the line launched she was quoted as having said that she had created a line that all sizes could wear but then when it was launched it was only available in sizes 16 to 22.  She had already signed a deal to bring out a line with Simply Be that would see her range become available for a much larger size range however this wasn’t revealed for a few weeks after the first launch by which point she had received quite negative feedback from plus size women and influential fashion bloggers writing about the range, including Lauren of top plus size blog, Pocket Rocket Fashion.  To my knowledge the PR efforts didn’t stretch to include bloggers which I think was a little short sighted of the PR efforts because plus sized bloggers are hugely influential when it comes to plus sized fashion.  This is something that Simply Be really thrive on and they usually utilise plus size fashion bloggers very well, Gemma on the other hand, not so much.

When I first heard that Gemma was creating a fashion line and bringing it out with Simply Be I was so excited because I thought that her style would be very influential in giving those at the higher end of the plus size spectrum, myself included, that Essex charm and confidence to wear glamorous, colourful clothes filled with print and fun.  However where I think the Gemma Collins line for Simply Be went wrong was that when she was promoting the collection, she was all in favour of bigger women and being beautiful but then in separate interviews and in the TV show The Only Way Is Essex, she was constantly seen talking or even crying about how she hated how big she was and was constantly seen the be trying to lose weight.  That may be representative of a lot of plus size women but certainly not all of them and a lot of negative talk Gemma Collins on Twitter and Facebook was about how she was fat shaming, body shaming and making people feel bad about themselves which is surely going to be counterproductive.  Women don’t want to be preached to about plus size fashion and then read about how that figure-head is now fat bashing.  The Ramblings of Mrs BeBe blog writes an open letter to Gemma Collins that pretty much sums up the feeling of many plus size women.

Gemma Collins Boutique Image Source

Gemma Collins Boutique
Image Source

Add this together with rumours that she didn’t design all of the line and you’ve got a recipe for disaster when it comes to having someone represent your brand.  As a company, Simply Be are all about being YOU and being comfortable with whoever that is.  They make such an inclusive size range, from size 12 to 32, to try to avoid women from feeling excluded and as a brand, they’re all about empowering women, not putting them down.  Their whole philosophy is about making women feel and look good regardless of their size and it is something that they usually do very well but ultimately they were unable to control the reality TV show that Gemma features in (check out this great article about how TOWIE put down plus size women here) and they were unable to control what she said in interviews and on social media.  I really think that its a shame that Gemma’s big mouth could have put a dampener on what could have been a very great partnership between her and Simply Be, who sell online not only in the UK but in other European countries and in America.  Gemma is often quoted as saying that she wants to break into the American market and working with Simply Be could have really given her a foot in there.

Another downfall of her line with Simply Be was that she very rarely promoted it on social media whereas she was always promoting her own clothing ventures for the Gemma Collins Collection, including her online store and her retail boutique.  This kind of promotion she does very well including tweets of her favourite pieces, linking her pieces to current events that they could be worn to, or the weather, tweeting photos of herself in her garments and retweeting press coverage and customer photos however I very rarely saw it for the pieces on Simply Be.  It appeared as though she made a conscious effort to drive traffic to her own website where she would have been getting a far larger percentage of profit than if she had driven traffic to the Simply Be website.  Simply Be do not appear to have any new collections from Gemma Collins so I would imagine that they are phasing out her line and not collaborating with her in the future although there hasn’t been a statement released to say whether or not this is true.  However I have looked online to find that Gemma has brought her collection to Very, another home shopping, catalogue style brand and she is doing the same thing with them whereby she isn’t really promoting them on her social networks, she is instead pushing traffic to the same pieces that are listed on her own website via Twitter and Instagram.

Perhaps it was never in her contract with Simply Be or Very to promote the range on social media and therefore she isn’t legally obliged but it seems very silly not to.  The Gemma Collection has actually done really well for Gemma, who scooped the prize of Best Designer at the British Plus Size Awards in 2013 and is set to host the awards ceremony in 2014.  However the vast majority of her range stops at a 24, effectively alienating the rest of the plus size market and gives the impression that there’s fat and then there’s too fat which of course is a load of rubbish.   This doesn’t tend to sit very well with plus size bloggers who, like me, advocate confidence and wearing whatever you like and as a result, she hasn’t been very well received by the plus size blogging community and she isn’t doing much to change that which has resulted in a lack of support and blog posts against her line rather than for it.

I think that Gemma Collins does incredibly well for HERSELF and shes’ a great spokesperson and sales woman for her own brand, I just don’t she represents other brands as well as she does her own.

What are your thoughts?  Let me know in the comments!

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Backlinks in Blogger Competitions and Paid Links

Aintree Races Image Source

Aintree Races
Image Source

In the time that I have been blogging, I have received countless emails asking me if I’d like to enter a competition for bloggers, some come from in-house PR and Marketing departments, while others are from outsourced agencies.  Generally speaking, entry involves blogging about something along a theme, for example a dream holiday destination or race day outfit, and linking back to either the competition page (which is on the company’s main website) or to another page on the website of the company who are hosting the competition, for example, using ‘ladies day at Cheltenham race course’ and linking to a betting website.  These competitions really blur the line between public relations, marketing and bloggers.

In my early days of blogging, I often thought it strange that it was the aim of a campaign to get a fashion and beauty blogger to link a vaguely related post back to a betting website that was completely unrelated to their blog. I would then question the point in including a link to a page that my readers wouldn’t value. As a blogger, when I usually link a website from my blog it is because I want my readers to go over to the page to check out the item I have talked about and perhaps buy it for themselves, therefore, where is the sense in linking to a site that my readers wont have an interest in and wont click-through to? Afterall, they wouldn’t go into Top Shop looking to place a bet so why would they expect to read a fashion blog and place a bet? That was when I discovered backlinks.

You can read all about backlinks and my thoughts on their future here.  But in essence, when it comes to backlinks, it is the quality of the backlink that is important which is determined by the content of the site that the backlink has come from, most specifically, if the content of the site is relevent to the content of your site then the link will be considered to be of higher quality than if the content were to be completely unrelated. For me, as a fashion and beauty blogger, if my website is linked on another fashion bloggers site or if a quote and link to my blog is quoted on the press section of a beauty brand then those backlinks are deemed to be quality links whereas if a backlink to my blog was created on a website about farming, it wouldn’t be considered to be of good quality.

Now, back to those competitions I mentioned earlier. I’ve seen it done well and I’ve seen it done particularly poorly.   I usually remain impartial when it comes to Twitter chats about such subjects but I’ve been sat on the fence for too long getting splinters in my arse so I thought I’d chuck my two cents worth in and let you know what I think works and doesn’t work from my experience.  That’s not to say that what I think is correct or best practice or even that Google would approve, it’s just my thoughts.

In my opinion, the best blog about this to potentially win this approaches come from PR practitioners and that’s because the approach runs alongside something that’s newsworthy that I would blog about anyway, for example such and such a brand have launched a new whatsit, or thingymabobby are having a sale.  Generally, a clothing brand will get in touch with me and let me know that they’re holding a competition to win a £500 shopping spree on their online store and all I have to do to enter is to create a wish list style post picking my top five things from their latest sale.  Now as a blogger, I don’t mind this approach as it is a good fit for my blog because I already write about fashion and create wish list posts on my site.  I see it as mutually beneficial as I am selecting my favourite pieces from the sale and alerting my readers to it and the brand is getting a quality coverage and backlinks.  I can’t possible cover every fashion find out there in outfit posts, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to afford my internet bill, so doing a wish list of items I like and how I would style them is a great way for me to bring more fashion and style tips onto my site and ive found that my readers appreciate me letting them know about great deals I’ve found.  If I do these kinds of posts, I’m not doing it to enter the competition as I’d have more chance of being run over by a bus; I’m doing it because the fashion items and the announcement of the sale are relevent to my blog; they’re newsworthy to me and my readers.

Ladies Day at Royal Ascot Image Source

Ladies Day at Royal Ascot
Image Source

I’ve seen countless tweets from bloggers talking about how being asked to enter competitions like this is ‘poor PR practice’ but I don’t agree as long as the content is relevant to the blog that it would be written on. Generally such comments are followed with ‘theres always a budget’ which any of us working in PR will know that that is not always the case depending on where funds are allocated and ‘I’m not going to work for free’.  I’ve often tried giving the text-book response about PR being an earned media, blah di blah, but sometimes its best just to keep out of the Twitter banter and remain impartial.

What I don’t agree with is blogging to enter a competition to gain a backlink when it comes from a marketing company because generally speaking, the website you’re linking to is pretty much unrelated to the content of your site and there is no new announcement to be made to make it newsworthy.  Plus, those companies don’t want you to tell anyone you’re entering a competition, they simply want you to create the content and stick the link in there; it’s all very backhanded for backlinks.  If I had a pound for every time I was asked to link a fashion blog post to a betting site for the chance to win two tickets to Ladies Day I wouldn’t be sat here writing this blog post.  The sole aim of that marketing person getting in touch with me is to increase the number of backlinks to that website in a vague attempt at manipulating SEO results.  They don’t care that my blog has nothing to do with the company they’re working with and they’re not bothered about the quality of my post as long as their link is there.  Although, surprisingly, I may still write the post and the deciding vote is whether or not the marketing company will pay me to write it because in the vast majority of cases, there IS a budget when marketing is concerned.

Being paid to write a blog post or more specifically, being paid to post a link, is undoubtedly dodgy ground, especially where Google and their guidelines are concerned.  Bloggers who agree to publish a post with a paid for link are essentially adding fuel to the fire but unfortunately that’s the times that we’re living in at the moment and while I’m ashamed to say it, on a blogger to blogger level sometimes its a case of, if you can’t beat them, join them as long as it is right for your blog and your readers.  The internet is so dynamic that such techniques will certainly not be around for long before but those websites that have quality, organic and natural backlinks will always remain.  Google hates paid for links because essentially you’re manipulating search engine results as explained by one of the Google Webmasters below.  Instead what these companies should do is buy an ad instead that doesn’t contribute to page rank or make the link ‘no follow’ which I think is best practice.

Quite controversially, I guess I’ll tell you how I fell into writing the odd post with a paid for link.  Now when I’m talking about the odd post, I literally mean two or three posts a year out of the many tens or hundreds of emails I receive annually, although that doesn’t make it right.  I caught on to what the marketing companies a few years ago were doing when I was asked to write a post about what I would wear to Ladies Day, linking back to a betting site, in order to enter a competition to win tickets to a particular Ladies Day event.  It was then that I realised that the marketing agency will have either got these tickets for free or for a very low price out of their budget and by getting lots of bloggers, regardless of the size of their readership or page views, to write a post and link their intended website, they were in effect manipulating SEO results in a way that was positive for them but negative for Google as the blogs they were targeting had nothing to do with racing or gambling.  It was then that I decided to try to manipulate the manipulates by responding to their email detailing that I wouldn’t care to enter the competition however I could turn the topic into a sponsored post for them.  I was surprised at how quickly they replied with the fee that they would be willing to pay me.

Now it might sound bad of me to accept a link that is paid for but I don’t do it without careful consideration.  Firstly, the vast majority of my readers are over the age of 18 and can therefore legally gamble.  I don’t condone or recommend gambling and I certainly wouldn’t encourage it on my blog but I have spoken in the past about going to a casino and the outfit I wore there.  I have also spoken about going to Ladies Day and I have shown the outfit that I wore to Ladies Day.  I know from feedback and comments that I have received on my blog that many of my readers like to go to Ladies Day and they also find such outfit posts helpful for attending other fancy occasions such as weddings and christenings.  With that in mind, me creating a post to give my readers outfit inspiration for such events isn’t going against the grain of my blogs content, is it not?  The way I see it, I’m giving some earned media coverage to brands that deserve it- for making cute clothes and accessories that my readers will love and that I want to put in an outfit inspiration post.  I’m not being paid to recommend a service and I’m not encouraging my readers to directly click on the link to the racing site, I’m simply embedding a link to it and lets face it, the amount of click-throughs they actually get from it is minimal, if any.  I also offer full disclosure on all paid for content so my readers know exactly where they stand with my blog at all times and my feedback from them is that they like that as they know that it is up to them whether or not they click-through onto any links in the post.

In my opinion, my post may contribute towards the SEO efforts of that site but the value really lies in the content created by giving my readers inspiration for outfits that they can wear to special occasions they may have coming up and that worthwhile content wouldn’t be there if I had just chosen to insert any ol’ paid for link into a random, irrelevant post.  There are some occasions where I have written a sponsored post for a marketing agency, who had first asked me to enter a competition, only to be contacted by them several months later asking for the link to be removed completely because they’d had their hand smacked by Google.  The valuable content remains on my blog indefinitely and provides a fashion resource for my readers in the future however the marketing agency have wasted money on a link they can no longer have which makes their work in the first place a waste of time.  Surely the best practice would be to market the brand or the event itself in order to gain organic, natural links in the first place?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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#NoMakeupSelfie Making Money, Changing Lives

When the Oxford Dictionaries named the ‘selfie’ as the word of 2013, I don’t think anyone could have predicted the effect the #selfie would have just a few months later.  Over the last few weeks, photos of my friends and family have been popping up all over my social media newsfeed, looking barefaced and fancy free, and it wasn’t long before a nomination to do the same came my way.

If I’m talking gibberish right now, then let me update you.

On the 18th March, women started posting photos of themselves on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram without make up with the hashtag #nomakeupselfie.  The aim was to raise money for cancer research as those posting selfies were encouraged to donate to Cancer Research UK and nominate their friends to do the same, which is clearly a much healthier and sensible choice than the ‘NekNomination’ trend that was doing the rounds just a short time before.

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 17.01.07

Katy Stoddard posing for her #nomakeupselfie Image Source

The exact origin of the #nomakeupselfie is unknown and it certainly wasn’t started by the PR department for CRUK however they were quick to react to the craze by promoting it across their social networks and CRUK helped to make donating even easier by creating a text number that donations could be made to.

To date, the #nomakeupselfie has raised a staggering £8million.  Cancer Research UK are an independent charity that receive no government funding for their research so they rely on donations in order to carry out the good they do.  The money raised from the #nomakeupselfie will literally help to change lives.

But what made this campaign go viral?  How could it be so successful without a huge PR driving force behind it?

Undoubtedly the success of the campaign is down to its simplicity; simply take a snap, post it and text to donate.  The fact that it started organically helped too as the public were the driving force behind the campaign and recruited other advocates for the campaign, gaining some serious media coverage.  There’s no bells and whistles to be seen here; no fancy shock tactics (well, until you see your Aunty Maud without her usual rouge on), no HD short films and no cheesy, half-hearted celebrity endorsement.  Just regular people using social media to its effective best, from Josephine Bloggs in the street to Kym Marsh from Corrie.  Even men got involved by posting snaps of themselves wearing make up, genius!

Image Source

Daragh Ward wearing makeup, supporting #nomakeupselfie                                                             Image Source

When the photos started littering my Facebook timeline, I’ll openly admit, I questioned what on earth wearing no make up in a photo online had to do with raising money for a cancer charity.  About as much as men growing a moustache during ‘Movember’ does for prostate cancer, I figured.  Either way, awareness was spread, people were talking about it and money was, and is still, being raised.  The fact that the #nomakeupselfie got people thinking ‘Why? What is this about?’ in the first place shows its success and, never one to shy away from the camera, it wasn’t long before my own #nomakeupselfie was posted, my own friends nominated and most importantly, my donation made.

Cancer Research have said that they will be using the money raised to carry out 10 clinical trials which they wouldn’t have had enough money for, if it hadn’t been for all of the donations received thanks to the #nomakeupselfie.  I think that in itself speaks volumes and if we’re a step forward towards finding a cure for cancer then that is a great achievement, regardless of whether the campaign to raise the funds has anything to do directly with cancer or not.  Personally, if I thought it would help find a cure for this dreadful illness, I’d run the length of Old Trafford, mid game, naked, wearing glittery nipple tassels.

What do you think is the success behind the #nomakeupselfie?

Let me know in the comments if you took part in the #nomakeupselfie and if not, you can jump on the bandwagon by posting your own selfie and texting BEAT to 70099 to donate £3 and help to save lives.

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