It’s a Happy Christmas for Gareth Malone’s Military Wives choir, whose single Wherever You Are was the most pre-ordered ever, according to Amazon. The choirmaster set up the group for the fourth series of his BBC show The Choir, with women from two Devon military bases whose husbands were on tour in Afghanistan. It was a great idea, aiming to help the women through a difficult time. But Mr Malone also planned a series of concerts to build their reputation, give the women a voice and help people understand the difficulties they faced. The series and song helped put the spotlight on servicemen in Afghanistan and their families back home.
Also enjoying a good Christmas is John Lewis, whose sales have rocketed on the back of a clever ad campaign featuring a little boy who can’t wait for the big day – so he can give his parents a present. As Marketing Magazine points out, with many facing economic uncertainty and a frugal Christmas the advert hit the right note by focusing on the joy of giving.
John Lewis also gets points for being tech-savvy with their virtual shop window display at Waitrose in Brighton which features 30 gift ideas with QR codes, so customers can scan the products with their phones and be taken straight to online checkout. Publicity around the display helped ensure at least some customers understood how to use the codes.
Similarly well-loved are the giant pandas Tian Tian and Yang Guang, who have come to enjoy a long stay at Edinburgh Zoo. Pandas have to be the best PR asset China has. Even the country’s offer of help to ease the crisis in the Eurozone hasn’t done as much as the cuddly bears to warm hearts.
And finally it wouldn’t be Christmas without a charity appeal but in an ever-more crowded market it is hard for even the worthiest charities to stand out. After the success of Oxfam’s goats and Shelter’s Housebling, this year we like JustGiving’s Online PR campaign, Spread the Giving. As they say, there are more than 8,000 charities vying for donations this year, many doing amazing work, and, “This Christmas we’d like to make sure that each one gets something.” Spread the love.