The month in links- November’s Digital PR highlights
You’re wearing two pairs of socks, you’ve had Mariah Carey in your head for weeks now, and you’ve already seen some snow on the ground…It’s December. But before we fully settle in to festive season, let’s take a look at some of the Digital PR team’s November best bits. This month, the team got their Santa hats on to transform a Premier Inn into a Christmas Grotto, smashed a trends report out of the park and outreached some handy tips to help drivers stay safe on the winter roads. Grab a mulled wine and get stuck in to all their brand campaign and press office highlights below.
The festive season is finally here! Families across the country are buying their Christmas gifts, heading out to Christmas markets and adorning their trees with lights. So, to celebrate the spirit of Christmas, we created Premier Inn’s first ever Christmas Grotto Package, asking one lucky family to trial the package and report on their experience.
This is the most ambitious campaign we’ve ever delivered for Premier Inn. Working with their in-house SEO and PR teams alongside a third-party room dressing company, we created a one-of-a-kind Christmas Grotto within an adjoining Premier Inn room. Staying in this room became part of the Christmas Grotto Package, which entails a stay in Premier Inn’s Grotto, a black cab tour of London’s festive lights and a family ticket to Winter Wonderland. Trialling Premier Inn’s Christmas Grotto is the dream job of all dream jobs, so we asked people to apply for the role via Premier Inn’s site, sharing their favourite Christmas memory in 200 words or less.
“Premier Inn’s Christmas Grotto Tester is now their best-ever performing campaign, receiving over 160 pieces of coverage and links, including nationals such as The Mirror, The National Scotland, Yahoo! News, Daily Echo and many more.
Working on this campaign has absolutely been a career highlight, bringing such festive joy to everyone who worked on it, successfully navigating cross-team collaboration and having our efforts reflected in the story’s success. We’ll have our work cut out to top this one, but we’re up for the challenge, so keep your eyes peeled on Premier Inn’s next exciting offering.” Alessandra Carriban, Digital PR Manager
After scrapping a car, a lot of people will opt to buy a new, reliable car with all the safety features and bells and whistles, however we found that millions of drivers actually have a strong dislike for the infamous ‘new car smell’. Known for its heavy chemical/plastic-y scent, some drivers even find it to be sickness-inducing. At the same time, we also found that the comforting smell of their current car, is one thing they actually love about it. To provide the antidote to ‘new car smell’ and help drivers who are maybe missing their old, scrapped motor – we decided to launch ‘Old Car Smell’ – a unique air freshener that smells like a used car.
Partnering Scrap Car Comparison with scent experts EcoScent, we analysed what old cars actually smell like and created a brief of something that smells slightly musty, with the aroma of fried food (drive-thrus), muddy dog walks and the sunscreen from summer road trips. The experts created a unique scent that hit that brief, which was then applied to specially designed ‘Old Car Smell’ air fresheners – in the classic cardboard styling to celebrate ‘old car’ even more!
“While this campaign has just launched, its already picking up links internationally and in the likes of big nationals such as Metro. The insight the new car smell seems to be strongly disliked by so many drivers made the leap to the eventual idea quite an easy one, and its great to see it resonating with a lot of people already.
The added addition of launching it in the lead up to Christmas also seems to be helping, as journalists are looking for fun stories or quirky gift ideas – and this fits the bill perfectly!” Richard Paul, Creative Director
Now in its second year of production, the comprehensive annual report gives an overview of the biggest beauty trends that dominated 2023 as well as the ones that are set to take over next year. It also provides a deep dive into the top 10 biggest trends across skincare, makeup, body and wellness, hair and nails – giving journalists tonnes of data sets to create articles around, as well as lots of data points to include within relevant articles.
To calculate this year’s biggest trends, we analysed the popularity of more than 300 trends by calculating the total number of TikTok views, Instagram posts, Pinterest boards and the annual search volume on Google over the past year.
To calculate the up-and-coming trends that are going to be everywhere in 2024, we calculated the total search volume over the past six months and compared it with the previous six-month period to reveal which ones are seeing the biggest growth in popularity and interest.
“This is our second year producing the BEAUTY PIE Trends Report, following a great success in 2023. We know that trends stories perform well with journalists and audiences towards the end of the year, so to maximise coverage and links, we started outreaching the report in November, which is the perfect time for trend campaigns like this.
The report has only just gone live and already we have achieved links from HELLO, Flair Belgium, and Retail Times. As this is a story with global appeal, we are really excited to see the links that follow.” – Maddie Davies, Digital PR Manager
Explore’s small group tour itineraries include some of the world’s most famous landmarks, as well as natural and cultural sights off the beaten track. Whether it’s Kaldbakur Mountain in Iceland or the Rocky Mountains in Canada, the ancient temples of the old Sukhothai Kingdom in Thailand or the Taj Mahal in India, Explore’s expertise lies in knowing where the most interesting places in the world are, and how to get the most out of them.
We noticed on Wikipedia’s app that some articles can be viewed on a map – something’s that’s possible to program if a Wikipedia article is coded with a location tag. Over a million Wikipedia articles have location tags, and working with a data expert we found what places in the world are tagged with the most Wikipedia articles, thus revealing the most ‘interesting’ places in the world.
“Working with this much Wikipedia data was a first for us all, but the time and effort invested paid off. There were countless angles available as we had rankings of the most interesting places in every country around the world. Our approach included creating a score that removed the USA and English speaking bias from the data – but even still, understandably, London and New York still came out top. However we could dig into specific neighbourhoods within the cities to find out where exactly in these cities is the most interesting. The outreach period was long due to the number of countries we could pitch too, but now even though active outreach has stopped this story is still getting picked up naturally. We’re particularly proud of the global news coverage from Time Out New York, Greek City Times, New Zealand Herald, China Times and Mirror Online.” Stephanie Finch, PR Director
Remitly helps people move money around the world to their loved ones and, with an estimated 281 million people living in a country other than their country of birth (3.6% of the global population) we wanted to discover which are the most popular cities for people looking to move overseas. Are employment prospects and generous salaries more important to people than guaranteed warm weather?
Using a similar methodology to our 2020 ‘which countries the world wants to move to’ Remitly study, we analysed Google search volumes for the phrase ‘move to [city]’ and created an overall ranking based entirely on how many countries prefer a move to a specific city above all others.
“This was a return to a highly successful format that worked extremely well previously. Back in 2020 we focused our attention on finding out which countries the world wants to move to most, crowning Canada the winner. Our intention was always to build on this first campaign with a new angle and researching and analysing which cities the world is most interested in moving to seemed like both a natural and highly relevant route. The campaign has delivered close to 150 pieces of coverage around the world including CN Traveller Middle East, Time Out, Daily Mail and Forbes. Most pleasingly we have also secured 87 new linking domains helping us to improve both search visibility and brand awareness in key Remitly countries. Stephen Baker, Head of PR
Press Office best bits
Setting Boundaries- Yell
For small business owners the line between personal and professional is much harder to define than for most employees so we conducted a survey of SME owners to find out more about this issue. Our findings revealed that 85% of SME owners could be losing out on almost £80 per appointment with friendly clients as a result of not charging for additional time spent and 75%find it hard to set clear boundaries.
Cheap MOT Hack- Scrap Car Comparison
We found a hack that council-owned MOT testing stations that they use for their own vehicles, buses, and vans could be a cheaper alternative for getting an MOT carried out on your car.
These centres have to be open to the public and they often will charge a cheaper fee for tests than mainstream garages and test providers. They don’t offer the subsequent fixes/repairs should anything come up in your MOT that requires attention and as a result, their impartiality means they’re unlikely to charge you for costly repairs/upsells that you might be sold elsewhere. So the experts at Scrap Car Comparison recommended seeking out one of these centres if your car is in generally good working order and doesn’t require major works, to save some money on your annual checks.
Winter Temperature Buttons- AutoTrader
We ran a survey asking drivers if they knew what common buttons on their car’s consoles actually do – with the results showing that many drivers have no idea! National and auto press took this data, with a warning about what buttons not to press to help avoid fogged up windscreens in colder weather.
Stunning New Year’s Eve Houses For Rent- Big House Experience
Big House Experience have many stunning large homes available for rent on their website. As New Year’s Eve is a time where family and friends want to come together and celebrate, we created a round up of the best and most beautiful homes that party-goers can hire. A simple story that we knew would resonate with audiences, including national press.
Need some press office quick wins or want the team to work their magic for your next hero campaign? Get in touch here.