Each month, a group of Tots100 bloggers give their verdict on some of the blogger outreach campaigns targeting UK parent blogs.
With a weekly audience of more than 500,000 readers, Tots100 bloggers are often invited to work with brands on everything from events to reviews, ambassador programmes and charity campaigns. But what makes some campaigns work especially well, while others sink without trace?
Last time, our bloggers shared their thoughts on campaigns by The Wilderness Festival, CBeebies, Premier Inn, River Island & Red Hot World Buffet.
This month, we invited our panel to tell us their honest feedback on five blogger outreach campaigns aimed at Mum and Dad bloggers, from Baker Days Cakes, Byron Cookies, Nook HD, Weighwatchers and Lakeland. Here’s what they told us:
First up; Baker days sent numerous bloggers a Valentine’s Letterbox Cake to review. What is there not to love about this campaign… it’s CAKE! Does our panel feel the same?
Mags – I love the idea of Baker days letterbox cake and was lucky enough to get to review one. The idea of a personalised cake, small enough to fit through a letterbox yet big enough for the person you want to treat to enjoy and show them you are thinking of them is fantastic. I think the campaign in general was well run but feel that the whole concept of a “letterbox” cake was lost on some who expected the actual cake itself to be bigger which lead to a little negativity. Perhaps it should have been stressed that it was a cake for one, not to share unless the recipient is feeling generous.
Laura – I was involved with this review. Great idea, especially for a girl like me who loves cakes. Got a bit fed up though seeing them come up in my reader one after another after another.
Amanda – I did this one, at Christmas, I think as the one who buys the gifts I was really intrigued by it. Yes it’s not a big value item, but its the kind of thing I would be hesitant to purchase, unless I either knew someone or had read a review about it. So think its a great idea to get the word out by using bloggers.
Mags – as a result of the campaign I now recognise this brand so yes it has been successful. The funny thing is until I read some of the posts and saw photos of the packaging I hadn’t realised this was a brand we bought in a random store in the past which my family enjoyed and asked for again but I couldn’t find until now after reading about them.
Mary – Who doesn’t love a decent cookie, and I was very overwhelmed with this delightful range of cookies from Byron Bay. I was very impressed by the quality and appeal of the cookies and having never tried the brand ‘Byron Bay’, shall certainly be on the look out for some. I like that they are approved by the vegetarian society and I thought a very well organised and researched campaign from Byron Bay.
Tina – These look great! I love that there is a range for special dietary requirements. Their range seems to offer something for all tastes. I didn’t see these reviews as they went live, but I would definitely try them now I have seen the reviews.
Amanda – I think because this is well established brand, I would have expected them to think of a campaign that was a little bit out of the box. The bloggers, have spent time tasting and writing about the cookies, I just think perhaps, it would have had more impact if they had perhaps had a competition to perhaps invent your own flavour, just something to get people talking about the brand.
Laura – I’d have liked to have been involved with this. Giveaway and reviews work well as it generates more traffic if there is a prize I think.
Barnes & Noble
Tina – I saw a few tweets floating around about these. The tweets generated more interest than the reviews in my opinion. They got me to google the product and see what I was missing out on. I think the social media coverage was a definite plus.
Simone – In a market completely dominated by Apple and Google Nexus tablets, it’s quite refreshing to read honest reviews on such a nifty looking tablet. A tablet that I wouldn’t necessarily have heard about. As I myself seemed to have lost control over my iPad, it’s great to find out about smaller, cheaper tablets that children can use.
Amanda – Some really great reviews were written about this. I would definitely use reviews such as this when considering purchasing a tablet. I really enjoyed reading about the different things that the nook could be used for, and think it was a great campaign.
Mary – I really was interested in reading these reviews, especially because as a family we are considering a mini iPad and I wanted to see what tablets there are on the market. I was convinced the reviews were very genuine and as the product was ‘on loan’ you felt you trusted the reviewer and their opinion. Sometimes reviews can be a bit ‘sugary sweet’ about a product but one wonders if is just because it was ‘free’ as such. I was impressed with the reviews and as a consumer would certainly now think of purchasing a product such as the Nook HD.
Mags – I was already aware of the Nook HD but reading the various posts and seeing photos on instagram and twitter made me a lot more informed on the brand should I be interested in purchasing one at some stage or get into a conversation about it.
Sharon – I didn’t see this one at all but then I’m not all that gadgety and they’re not the kinds of reviews I read. That said I’ve just read geekmummy’s review and it is the most comprehensive review I’ve ever read (even in a magazine) and it goes to show the value of blog reviews – that review alone will help people make up their mind. I did see reviews of the google tablet though interestingly, so maybe the reach of that campaign was better? And yes I’d love someone to send me a tablet to review!
Weightwatchers have selected some bloggers to become Weightwatchers ambassadors which gives them a three month pass to all their online services. Working with a weight loss company like this is like a dream to a lot of bloggers who struggle with their weight but does everyone agree?
Simone – I am actually part of the campaign, after they let me in as a late entry in the New Year. The campaign is certainly helping me to write my weekly weight loss posts – the weekly tasks such as ‘How do you cope sticking to your diet whilst eating out’ certainly make you think about how to adapt to the diet. Since joining the campaign I have met so many wonderful bloggers who are also on a weight loss journey. It feels like we are all in this together, sharing tips alongside yummy recipes.
Kate – – I am always a bit dubious about anything diet related being promoted through blogs. The problem is not everything works for everyone so someone’s experience may not reflect yours at all. There are reasons why I would never go to Weight Watchers so it didn’t interest me.
Amanda – I think as a blogger desperate to lose a few pounds, I can definitely see the merit in testing this. In fact I was a little jealous. I think this is a slow burner, as unfortunately though I have read them now, up until now I had read any of the posts. It hard to judge what impact the bloggers have. as we don’t know whether they have succeeded in their weight loss. But I do think following something like this and it being successful would definitely make me want to join weight watchers.
Mags – I have got to say that I have been massively impressed by a lot of bloggers success with the weight watchers campaign and can see that it works.
A very well timed campaign from Lakeland saw a few bloggers receiving goodies for Pancake Day… It seems our panel is all in agreement about this one!
Mags – The Lakeland Pancake campaign actually reminded me that pancake Tuesday was coming up and if I had had spare cash I would definitely have purchases a crepe pan, they look fantastic from what I read on reviews.
Mary – I really enjoyed reading about the very well designed crepe pan and also the ingenious citrus lemon, especially as I too am often left with half used lemons around my fridge. I had not come across these two items before and would certainly consider purchasing as we are big pancake eaters in this house, and not just on pancake day! Great campaign from Lakeland.
Kate – Gutted I missed out on this one – am very jealous! Not sure I’d go off and buy a special crepe pan as I’d probably only use it once a year but the citrus spray looks intriguing and useful. Obviously, very seasonal so it’s well timed. I love Lakeland anyway as a brand so I can forgive!
Simone – I love, love, love Lakeland! Any blogger who gets to work with the company is very lucky indeed! It made absolute sense for the company to in some way get involved with Shrove Tuesday. I am sure every household loves pancakes, yet I know of some people who are scared to make them.
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 Amanda, Kate, Simone, Mags, Mary, Tina, Laura and Sharon for your time this month!