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Sometimes PR/Agency People are Awesome

+Note this post is about how ridiculously amazing I’ve been treated by a company, but fair disclosure, I got an awesome compensation package to be part of their campaign. Seriously, cash and ice cream. Cash. Ice cream. Ya, amazing.+

There are countless blog posts online about how out of touch PR people are with trying to reach influential bloggers/social media types. From mass-emailed blind press releases to not understanding how social media really works.

I finally have a story that is the opposite.

Many of you have heard of, or even read the story about Tassimo’s campaign in Canada in my book, (great post about it from Erin Bury here) and how they spread the word about the coffee maker by giving machines to influencers instead of a TV campaign.

It was pure genius on many levels, and so much of it had to do with Duri Al Ajrami, the Director of Social Marketing – Senior Partner at OgilvyOne Canada.  It was his ability to connect with me and many others that made us even open to the thought of this campaign. He emailed us after doing his research, met with us and understood how it all works, being the beloved go-between for their client and us crazy social media/blogger entitlement types 🙂

Fast forward to a month or two ago: I have been approached hundreds of times since by PR/Communication folks to try out their stuff and in return I can give them free exposure. For the most part I don’t even blink. It’s like they just went from blindly faxing reporters to blindly emailing bloggers. Then Duri drops me an email and explains that Magnum Ice Cream is launching in Canada and they want me on board, I’d hope it was because of my rugged good looks and boyish charm, but mainly because I have a platform.

He said all the right things: I only had to tweet/blog if I wanted to, only talk about it when/if I wanted to. He knew I wasn’t going to post a blog on UnMarketing as a “sponsored” post to say how yummy their ice cream is. His main concern was that I did anything that I was comfortable with and my audience would be too. We high-fived, they shipped me a case of ice cream in dry ice, I ate most of it in a 2-day binge, reflected on what went wrong that made me eat a case of ice cream in 48 hours and then decided to record this video (I haven’t even gotten to the awesomest part yet, keep reading):

I thought it was a fun way to talk about it! I even titled it “Magnum’s False Advertising”, which I’m sure made the client throw-up a little. I talked about how the box said the flavour was “Double Chocolate” even though there are actually four layers of chocolate, and I demanded it be changed to “Quad Chocolate”. Duri loved it, I enjoyed making it because I was my smart-ass self, and my friends liked it. They didn’t even mind that a lot of people who watched it wouldn’t be able to enter the contest since it’s only open to Canadians. Perfect. All good, everyone’s happy, let’s go home and eat ice cream?

Think again.

Duri just showed up at my house (he emailed first, relax) and said “I have a gift for you!” And handed me this:

Are. You. Kidding. Me?!?!

If you didn’t catch it, look at it again.

They loved the video so much, they “whipped up” four custom boxes of the ice cream with my new flavour description. And these aren’t stickers slapped on, it’s four real boxes, with the ice cream bars inside.

I literally lost it in the driveway, ran upstairs and am typing this right now.

Just because you’re in an agency, doesn’t mean you can’t be awesome.

PR doesn’t have to stand for Press Release. It can still mean Public Relations.

When you do awesome things, it makes people want to share the awesome.

It wouldn’t matter how much they paid me, I wouldn’t use this blog to promote ice cream.

And now I just did. Because of the awesome.

Well played Duri and Magnum, well played indeed.

Has anyone outreach/agency really blown your mind? Share it in the comments.

+UPDATE+ Duri mentioned in the comment below “To be fair to all … The idea of the box was a team effort lead by the the AWESOME Mark Forward and Jamie George (two amazing Ogilvy folks) who planned this and blessed by our amazing clients Gina Kiroff and Joyce Kim who always drove us to think out of the box. I just delivered 🙂 Thank you all for your great words … we’re still learning”

Another great PR/Business lesson: Give credit where it’s due.