This week in London, insurance company Beagle Street decided to "Release the Pounds" in a publicity stunt to promote the finding of its latest survey. £5000 worth of beautiful origami dogs were dispersed across the capital for all and sundry to discover.
This in itself isn't a surprise - I've been waiting for a brand to pull a 'find the cash' stunt since December 2014s "Little Yellow Ducks" story hit the news. Essentially, rubber or knitted ducks with money inside started being found across the country. Since then we've learnt it was organised by a woman whose daughter died of cystic fibrosis and who wanted to spread goodwill in her memory. The idea went viral - to date 2,848 ducks have been found across the world, from Blighty to Sapporo. And, where an idea enters the public zeitgeist advertising shortly follows.
Beagle Street explained their thinking:
We recently carried out some research that showed a massive 87 per cent of people are put off getting life insurance because they perceive it to be too expensive. But life insurance policies with Beagle Street are 30 per cent cheaper on average. This week – to show our commitment to cheaper policies – we are literally putting pounds back into people’s pockets. We worked with a team of origami experts to create hundreds of dogs made from £10 notes and have let them loose on the streets of London. Putting a smile on people’s faces and pounds into their pockets.
We also learned that:
The hashtag #ReleaseThePounds trended on Twitter yesterday with loads of people tweeting about their found ‘dogs’.
Neat idea. I love these dogs. I especially love the whimsical publicity photos, and I imagine many newspaper picture editiors will agree with me - which was of course the entire point of the exercise.
From a photography perspective there is nothing which I don't find entirely charming about this PR stunt.
But unfortunately something really jarred for me.
This is the mascot for payday loans company "Provident", who also operate in the UK and are currently advertising using a folded origami dog.
And here is a still from the Provident TV spot, which is currently airing.