UK parent blogs are big business. With a weekly audience of around 500,000 unique readers, our bloggers are popular, engaging – and influential.
So it’s hardly surprising that so many brands want to work with UK Mum and Dad bloggers to spread the word about products and services.
Each month, the Tots100 Brand Panel will be highlighting some of the best and newest blogger outreach campaigns, and providing their expert feedback as bloggers on what works well – and what lessons can be learned by PR agencies to do even better next time.
This month, we asked some of our bloggers to cast their eye over four brand campaigns from Motors.co.uk, Apetina, LEGO, Knorr and . Here’s what they told us:
First up, BeSafe and Motors.co.uk teamed up last month to raise awareness of the availability of rear-facing car seats for older children, and to promote a video showing how to fit such seats – since they’re sometimes seen as being more complicated. The Tots100 supported the campaign on a voluntary basis, as we think it’s a great idea. Bloggers got involved, writing reviews and promoting the safety video.
What did our bloggers make of the Motors.co.uk campaign?
Ana: I love this, I saw a lot of conversation about it, I think because it’s such an important issue. Lots of people seemed to have opinions about it. One thing, though, I’d have preferred the video to be on the blog, rather than linking to the video on another site.
Simone: I was unaware that you could get rear-facing seats for 4 year olds before this campaign – it looks well thought-out, and I’ll certainly be more likely to look out for information in future.
Mags: This campaign reached me through a number of channels so the message definitely got through, and I think it was a successful campaign in sharing the message about rear-facing seats being safer.
Kate: I’m a bit ambivalent about this because no figures were given for how many deaths these seats could prevent – I’m uncomfortable with sweeping statements without evidence to back them up.
Penny: I picked this up via Twitter and the message that these seats are safer came through loud and clear. But I’d love to see pics of how they work in the car, and see specific results about this car seat and the safety stats. Are the seats expensive, too? I don’t know.
Sharon: I read two of the reviews and loved that the children could see more in a rear-facing seat – it dispelled the myth that children won’t like rear-facing seats. But having said that, it’s too expensive for me to make the switch, having already bought car seats.
Next up, Knorr invited parent bloggers to a cookery master class with Marco Pierre White in July to learn about one pot cooking – what did our bloggers think of this campaign?
Ana: I’m so jealous, what a once in a lifetime experience! But I’ve not seen people Tweeting about it, and didn’t see any blog posts personally. Maybe it would have been more effective if more bloggers were encouraged to make the dishes, with the ingredients, and then invite the best to a day. Or produce a video of the day, perhaps?
Simone: I was vaguely aware of seeing mutterings about this on Twitter but as – like most events – it was in London, I didn’t pay much attention. But I think the idea of learning to create easy one pot meals is fantastic.
Kelly: I do love a cookery demonstration and the tips on the blog posts are useful. It’s not overtly about the product, which I like.
Laura: Blogger events are great, I just wish there were more up my way!
Kate: I thought it sounded like a Knorr ad in places, but the posts with personal advice are better.
Penny: I’ve seen lots of Tweets and Facebook updates – how great to meet a celeb chef and love the one pot theme. Great to see MPW tips translated to home cooking. Maybe having a photographer along to capture some fun shots would be good? Knorr got a little over-shadowed by MPW for me, I think.
Thirdly for this month, Apetina ran a cookery campaign of its own, challenging bloggers to make a salad using its cheese, and then inviting readers to vote for their favourite recipe via Facebook. Here’s what our bloggers thought:
Simone: I saw this campaign on Facebook and loved it – I love making my own recipes and reading the reviews was valuable, and I’ll certainly add a pot to my shopping in future. A campaign that invites bloggers to be creative is always fun to take part in.
Mags: I’m allergic to dairy but I saw and loved several of these recipes. A great campaign.
Kelly: It’s hard to judge a competition like that because it depends entirely on the ability of the photographer. There are no ingredients – or links back to posters – so it’s not a competition that I would vote on.
Penny: Have seen a few posts, I presumed it was a competition, but now see it was a sponsored post – I am glad the bloggers were paid for their time. Nice prizes and incentive to vote. Love the recipes and it makes me want to try new things with Apetina.
Sharon: I took part in this and loved it, but I’m not sure it was highly publicized – it was a weekly Facebook competition between four bloggers. I wonder if it might have been better to have 1 competition for 12 bloggers, and open voting in the final week.
Finally, LEGO sent some of its Duplo reviewers a hamper of specially picked goodies rather than toys. Was that a good idea?
Ana: I think this brings about such goodwill with bloggers, especially if gifts are personal, and chosen with the blogger in mind. Not too sure how it helps the brand, though – if I was looking for new Duplo, would I read this?
Emma: I loved this, it was such a surprise to get something for me, rather than Oli – I thought it was sweet of them to notice that we have to write about the products usually, while the kids get the fun of playing with it.
Simone: Unbelievably thoughtful and one of those stories we bloggers love to hear, and share.
Mags: I loved this because the treat was something I’d pinned on Pinterest, rather than something chosen at random. It felt really special.
Kelly: It was clever as it shows the company gets that building relationships isn’t always about the product, but about making connections with bloggers.
Kate: I don’t get it. Nice to receive, but how does it help them?
Mary: I thought well thought-out and productive as a way to build good relationships, and shows blogs have been read and researched.
We’d love to know if you have thoughts on any of this month’s Brand Panel campaigns. Do you agree with our panel? And please leave a comment if you’d be interested in taking part in future panel discussions. Thanks to Ana, Emma, Kate, Kelly, Mags, Mary, Penny, Sharon and Simone for your time this month!