World Records and media attention, Pink Ribbon

Pink Ribbon Museumplein AmsterdamThis weekend I spent in Amsterdam, where there is always something going on. I walked by Museumplein, when a large group of people holding pink umbrellas caught my eye. It turned out to be an attempt to form the largest ribbon in the world for the Guiness Book of Records. They succeeded!

You could ask yourself why you would try to form a big ribbon? In this case there is a very good reason to, given the fact that the ribbon was pink. Pink Ribbon is an organisation which tries to increase the awareness around breast cancer. They do this successfully in many different ways. Estee Lauder is known for illuminating many famous buildings or sites in pink, such as the Niagara Falls and the Australian Harbour Bridge. In The Netherlands, a special glossy magazine is published once a year of which all turnover is donated to breast cancer research. Doing this year after year is not enough to get attention every time so therefore they came up with the World Record.

It is interesting to see how organisations attempt to get in the news. Trying to set a world record is nothing new. Just recently, Mentos set a world record making Mentos geysers (famous because of movies on YouTube). Last week, Cosmopolitan set a world record in photographing women in bikinis (over one thousand). Personally, I like the Mentos record since it uses the hype in a fun way. You can question whether making a big ribbon helps, but it at least makes you think about something serious as cancer. What Cosmopolitan tries to achieve with their world record or which message they want to send is still not clear to me. Using a world record just to get attention but with not much of a link to what you do or what you stand for is useless attention in my eyes.

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Kanye West vs 50 Cent

Kanye West vs 50 Cent9/11 is the day the war on terrorism basically started. This years 9/11 might have started a war of another kind, namely in hip hop. On this date, 50 Cent released his new album ‘Curtis‘ and simultaniously Kanye West released his ‘Graduation‘. Since 50 Cent is known for his fights with fellow artists (such as Nas, Jay-Z and The Game) he felt it was about time to start a new one. He might regret picking his new enemy though…

It all started with 50 Cent finding out that Kanye West moved up his release date to the 9/11. 50 Cent reacted by saying that Kanye only wanted to use the rivalry with 50 Cent to promote his own album. He might be right about that, but since musically he felt superior to Kanye he stated that if Kanye would outsell him, he would quit his solo carreer. There was an interview with both artists in the Rolling Stones, with a great cover! It resulted in a big media fuss and a lot of attention for both artists. Now, after a few days the first score is Kanye selling 700,000 albums to 50 Cent selling only 550,000. Bye bye 50 Cent!

The ones truly winning this whole ‘war’ though are the people of Universal, record company of both, who have had a big role in this great mixed marketing campaign. Quintessential of a laughing third…

PS. My personal favourite is Kanye West, I love his second single of his new album which could have been a warning to 50 Cent: Stronger

I’m back! / Four Day Marches in Nijmegen

Before I continue, I would like to apologise for my absence the last two weeks. First, I was very busy and right after that I’ve been quite sick. But I’m back and planning on keeping up my normal blogging pace :-)

What was I so busy with you might ask? Well, since the beginning of this year I was selected to set up a student department within the Red Cross in the city where I study and live – Nijmegen. One of our big activities we came up with was centered around the biggest event in Nijmegen: the Four Day Marches. For four days, over 40,000 international people and military will walk either 30, 40 or 50 km each day! This makes it the largest march in the world. And it’s not only about the march; during ten days there are numerous concerts and parties organised, which makes Nijmegen one of the most fun places to be in The Netherlands for those few days :-)

Back to my story… What will those people need after walking so many kilometers? We thought a free massage would be nice and that’s what we did. We offered the walkers free massages by working together with physiotherapy students who all did this voluntary. With a strategic location, sunny weather, friendly and motivated volunteers, lots of (media) attention and many tired walkers we could help it turned out to be a big success! This is the picture that made it to the ANP, the leading news agency in The Netherlands. More pictures can be found here, an interview with Omroep Gelderland (local news) here.

Massage Red Cross

London baby!

British flagNow that everything is taken care of and it is certain that I’m going to go, I can say that I’m going to work in London this summer! Last semester I did an internship at an international communication consultancy in Amsterdam, which worked out really well. In my last week I decided to approach the Dutch CEO to see if I could do another (short) internship at one of their offices abroad. A few weeks ago I got the news that I was accepted at their London office!

Since then, I had to take care of a few things. First, I found an apartment to stay, which is from a Dutch photoghrapher living in both Amsterdam and London. From there, it will be around half an hour to get to SoHo, where I’ll be working. Last week, I heard that I’m placed at the marketing communication division, which I’m really happy with. The contract is on the way, and yesterday I booked my ticket. I can’t wait, since it will be a great opportunity to learn more about pr/marketing and especially when working at such a great and big office. And I’m so excited about the city, I’ve never even been to London before and now I will be living there for a little while. I’m so happy!

London view

I was in the news!

NRC Next articleWell, kind of at least :-) Let me explain… In November ’06, me and 19 other students throughout the Netherlands got selected for a new project set up by the Netherlands Red Cross. These students are responsible for the set up of student desks in their city, nine university cities in total. We have a meeting in Utrecht every two months and last time a journalist was there too since the newspaper found it an interesting initiative. Well, that resulted in a full page article in NRC Next yesterday. NRC Next is one of the most popular newspapers among students, with a circulation of 75,000 after existing for one year. This article also got a follow-up by NOS (Dutch Broadcasting Foundation) who shoot a video about this topic in Rotterdam.

After doing an internship at a communication consultancy, I have seen many press releases come by and it’s always interesting to see which information is picked up by journalists and what is not. It’s funny though that in this case no press release was used but we probably got more (free) exposure which we wouldn’t have if we had used it. It’s exactly this kick what I like about communication/PR!