I was a bit cynical when I first read about it, as I wasn’t sure how interesting the content would be, or how it fitted into the company’s overall communications mix.
As I read on though I found myself becoming surprisingly engaged in what it takes to get peas onto our tables and how Birds Eye ensure the quality of its products.
The blog gives readers an insight into the production process for Birds Eye peas, and does this in a way that wouldn’t be possible with traditional media.
The blog is written by Colin and several members of his team – this makes the messages around quality and freshness much more credible than if they came directly from the company itself.
I’m sure that’s one of the reasons Birds Eye wanted to raise the profile of some of the key people in its business, and giving Colin a blog was a way to build on this further.
The blog also links to images on flickr that Colin and the team have been uploading – this is great as it helps visualise some of the things that are mentioned in the blog, and helps the reader relate to the blog authors better. Plus of course all the benefits of well-tagged images in Flickr and the resulting social networking that follows. There’s even a video on YouTube tucked away on an early post.
I wonder how many visitors the blog gets, as it is referenced on the main Birds Eye site, but it’s hardly marketed with real vigour. I couldn’t see any comments made on any posts (although I didn’t read all the posts), and there were only a few odd trackbacks around. I’d be interested in any post-campaign analysis they did.
One way they could increase visits to the blog would be to start tagging the content with Technorati tags (or another similar service) or to start a del.icio.us page with bookmarks to other interesting pea or food-related content. The lack of tagging and the branding that isn’t consistent with the main Birds Eye site suggests that this a really tentative experiment.
Looking below the surface the blog is being run for Birds Eye by their agency Tullo Marshall Warren (a London-based direct marketing agency). I wonder how much of the decision to run the blog was down to the agency and how much was down to the client asking for it. My gut feeling is that this was an agency-driven initiative, but it’d be interesting to know.
I applaud Birds Eye for taking the plunge and seeing how social media can contribute to a more traditional marketing and PR mix. A great start – let’s hope they continue to do more of this kind of thing as it proves that social media has a role to play in the mainstream marketing and PR business.