We are rapidly hurtling towards Christmas now and it is a time when all the big brands are on a full on offensive to corner the market. This means we are facing a minute by minute barrage of festive advertising and other campaigns. Is this a good or bad thing?
I am not the most natural joyous person and have a real cynical streak so the Christmas period can be a real strain. However, it is clear that there are a lot of opportunities for communicators who find ways to embrace the festive spirit and translate it into a campaign or their activities. Maximising those opportunities is something that I can positively focus on.
In the modern era of social media being able to take advantage of Christmas is even easier. Video is the simplest way of being able to provide engage and often humourous content to get messages across. Whether it is about educating or about selling video can evoke feelings in a swift and compact way. And you don’t have to be one of the retail giants to be able to make the most of things.
During the festive season the police particularly have a busier time with people at risk of burglary, car crime, violent crime on drunken nights out…..the list goes on. So, how can you get some really quite ‘unfestive’ messages out to people but in a way that doesn’t kill the spirit and might be something people take notice of? At Greater Manchester Police we have tried to find a way to do this using children who are after all at the heart of Christmas.
If you have not seen the advent calendar at http://www.gmp.police.uk or on Twitter and Facebook the idea is simple. We have worked with pupils aged between four and 10 from the local school and got them to provide the messages. The theme ‘Christmas Safety is Child’s Play’ has allowed the children to ‘takeover’ Christmas policing in a lively and humourous way. It is often said not to work with children and animals but in this case the children have been amazing to work with.
This campaign goes way beyond being able to provide crime prevention messages in an entertaining way. It has brought the police closer to some of the local community and has left the children with a positive impression of police officers which I hope they will keep with them as they grow up.
It has been hard work. It has taken a huge amount of organisation and creativity. But I think the end result has really been worth it both to develop the campaign and to get closer to the local potential service users.
I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable Christmas and a peaceful New Year. If you haven’t seen the #gmpadvent campaign enjoy… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rPdMC-691g