If you cast your mind back 4 years (which is an unthinkable amount of Facebook posts!) it was a crazy time. We had riots in London, earthquakes in Japan, floods in Thailand and the deaths of Gaddafi, Kim Jong-il and Bin Laden as well as Steve Jobs and Amy Winehouse…lest we forget the Royal wedding! Oh yes and the launch of Propercorn…I’m sure you remember that one right?
Anyway, the one thing all of these had in common was the volume of noise they produced on social media.
Whether it’s tweeting epitaphs or the opinions on famous people/politicians or simply following people ‘in-the-know,’ (like it or not) these days social media plays a central role in most peoples’ lives. It has changed our world beyond our wildest imagination. We can reach people all over the world about all sorts of things that make our personal worlds turn in a matter of seconds…now that’s self empowerment and a very powerful marketing tool!
People are naturally curious and together with FOMO (fear of missing out) and boredom, most people are glued to their digital interfaces rather than picking up a newspaper or having face-to-face conversations. We get our kicks from instant journalism, from the man on the street e.g. Twitter, Whatsapp, ebulletins etc. We want instant information and part of that is the unpolished, true experiences that come with them. We want things more real, more personal and more exciting.
So back to Propercorn… armed with all this knowledge, the folks at Propercorn took to the streets of London and launched a brand awareness campaign that would inspire the largest audience possible, who all happen to be armed with their own mini journo tools – the digital dandelions that are smartphones!
They sent Propercorn teams out on bikes, they took over Routemaster buses, wallpapered buildings and pavements and set up interactive installations collaborating with the creative genius Rachel Thomas. They even upset the Brixton residents by wallpapering over their iconic Bowie mural for a few days (they had asked permission, but Brixtonites like to be the owners of anarchy in their town!).
Interestingly, Propercorn do all their design work and campaign ideation in-house and instead of looking to design agencies for help, the team draws inspiration from fashion labels such as Kenzo and fashion designer Anya Hindmarch. Propercorn’s design chief Becky Akers stated: “We strive to champion design, placing it at the forefront of everything that we do… rather than falling back on cheesy “health” and “taste” slogans. If we can brighten up someone’s commute with our vibrant popcorn pattern, we will have achieved what we set out to do.”
The campaign went large! It was in your face, on the street and in every stream imaginable. Commenting on the thinking behind it, Becky Akers said: “People go online with a purpose… they are not there to be inundated with pop-up ads and advertising slogans. To us, organic user-generated content is a far more successful digital measure than the number of impressions our ad has had.”
With Propercorn’s strong connection to fashion, they have made the ultimate fashion statement by teaming up with London Fashion Week this year as their ‘official snack’. To add to their fashion credentials, they have also expanded their business by setting up an online shop selling t-shirts, jumpers and screen prints.
To me, it’s a stroke of genius to create a fashion range where the branding is so strong yet ambiguous that people would want to wear it, without making them feel like a walking advert. Whether or not it prompts sales or conversation, it’s front of mind and breaking new barriers for mini campaigns to come. Well done Propercorn – I’m definitely one of your biggest fans now!
Blog written by Lu.