Christmas Do’s and Don’ts
It’s that time of year when we start to get bombarded with briefs for Christmas campaigns – we have heard it all: ‘We are looking to do a story about how Brits are eating Sushi rather than turkey this year’, ‘We want to find out what percentage of the UK still believe in Father Christmas’ and finally ‘Our client wants coverage in the Daily Mail about how kids are leaving a gluten-free, probiotic yoghurt out for Santa this year and not mince pies.’
The team at 72Point are a festive bunch and we love brainstorming for Christmas ideas for our clients. It generally involves the team regaling the trials and tribulations of our own family Christmases and sharing hilarious anecdotes, which more often than not, do evolve into a newsworthy idea for the national press.
We say it time and time again but for a story to work, whatever time of the year, it has to feel real. So we would urge clients to really consider if they genuinely know many families who tuck in to a nice bit of raw fish on Christmas Day or if they are planning to leave a granola snack out for Santa? If the answer is no, chances are it is NOT a national news story…it’s a crap press release.
Here are some tips for some Christmas coverage…
1. If you have a good story to tell – just tell it. Don’t try to shoehorn in a Christmas element because you feel you ought to.
2. Start sending your stories at the end of November, early December. We know everyone is in the race to get their story out first before it gets gazumped by someone else but Christmas stories in October don’t work.
3. Don’t be afraid to do something that has been done before. We all know news is on a loop. The day Brits start their Christmas shopping, how much we’re spending, how much we are eating, how many work mates we’re snogging blah blah blah, are all going to be done by someone, so you may as well be the first one to get out there. If you have a new idea, even better, but don’t shy away from something because you saw a similar story two years ago.
4. Don’t use nauseating language like ‘The festive period is upon us once again and whether you’re buying winter-warming gifts to wow friends and family, tasty treats to keep around the house, or just a well-deserved festive reward for yourself, look no further than Product X.’ It’s patronising and it will put hard-nosed hacks off using it.
5. Don’t jump on the bandwagon. Yes, many brands like department stores, supermarkets, perfume manufacturers and toy makers are vying for column inches at this time of year, but don’t feel you have to join in. It’s pretty obvious that the Mango Growers Association and verruca creams are not going to be the authority when talking about Christmas and just accept it. It looks desperate.
6. As with any story don’t put your messaging too high up in the copy. Of course if you are doing a story on behalf of Product X they will want to include details about the product but you will put off people from running it with. Make it subtle and relevant to the story.
7. Reference your brand once or twice in a story. Any more than this and it will look like a press release.
8. Don’t include an image of Rudolph, Prancer and Dancer on your press release. It adds nothing.
9. Do include an engaging and informative infographic.
10. Do target the papers between Christmas and New Year, it tends to be quieter and you may have a better chance of getting coverage.
January is the start of a whole new breed of stories…the day we leave our wife, the day we tell our boss to do one, when we start our New Year diet, when we jack-in the New Year diet…this is a whole other blog post. Watch this space.
Oh one other thing…Happy Christmas!
by Libby Beswick
Deputy News Editor
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