Mugged for Charity on Twitter by #PrestonInanimateObjects – sponsored by BusinessGiftUK.com
A look at our latest charitable support for the local community, by Managing Director Stephen Ward
So just why have we been involved in the charity mugging of the Right Honourable Seema Kennedy MP, BBC North West Tonight presenters Diane Oxbury, Roger Johnson & Steven Saul and Radio Lancashire’s John Gilmore? They have all been subjects of #PrestonMugShots on Twitter this summer. How did this come about?
While browsing Twitter three months ago I became aware of an unusual Twitter account @PrestonPhoneBox which caught my eye because, when we started trading 33 years ago, it was as contractors for advertising in BT phone boxes in the North West. I had visited the row of payphones, outside the old central Post Office in Preston, on many occasions in the 1980s and 90s.
On Twitter there was a lot of banter between other local “inanimate” accounts and a hashtag emerged for the seven icons as #PrestonInanimateObjects, comprising of @FishergateBllrd, @PylonPenwortham, @Lostock_Henge, @PR1Thermometer, @LeylandTank, @Swingbridge2 and @Prestonphonebox. When they came up with the concept of the Magnificent 7, and appealed for someone to print some mugs, I stepped in and offered our services, suggesting they sold them in aid of local charities.
They agreed, and we decided to support the Rosemere Cancer Foundation and Galloways Society for the Blind. These are two excellent local organisations who we have helped with fund raising and awareness campaigns for several years. We agreed to sponsor the mugs by donating them and came up with design from an idea generated initially by the World Famous, Fishergate Bollard. The first batch sold out within the first week with great support from @gillylancs after the Phone Box, the Penwortham Pylon and I got some airtime being interviewed at the Guild Hall on Gilly’s 30 Days of Summer, Radio Lancashire outside broadcast. “Gilly” kindly bought some mugs for the BBC team and subsequently Tweeted several mug shots, including pictures with TV stars Diane Oxberry and Roger Johnson.
The hashtags went viral and the stocks kindly sold by outlets such as Brew and Bake, Sheridan’sBag Stall and Adrian Livesey Butchers on Preston Market, the BB4B networking group in Leyland and the Preston Marina café. These disappeared rapidly. @brew_and_bake Tweeted “Big THANK YOU to everyone who has bought a #prestoninanimateobjects mug! We have sold out rapidly every time we get a delivery and it is truly brilliant to see #proudprestonians supporting such a brilliant cause for @Gallowaysblind and @RosemereCF”. This clamour for demand and the search for mug availability saw many tweets and many lucky owners of the first batch proudly posted pictures with the hashtag #PrestonMugShots.
At BusinessGiftUK.com we immediately commissioned a second batch and once again fully funded the production. That, together with the fact that all sales have been done without charge or commission by the volunteer outlets, means that the charities will receive 100% of the proceeds.
As the second batch was being distributed I received a personally addressed envelope from the House of Commons. I was delighted to open a hand-written letter from my local MP, Seema Kennedy, thanking me for the charity efforts, which I have shared with the Magnificent 7. We are all hoping to see a @SeemaKennedy #PrestonMugShots picture soon.
The Prestonphonebox told us “It’s been a pleasure to lead a merry band of objects in what just started out as a bit of harmless banter between a bollard and a phone box. This quickly escalated into 7 of us filling Twitter land with entertaining words of wisdom, banter and support for local businesses of Preston and the surrounding areas. Thanks to the efforts of a few people, many others will benefit in the future. It’s a nice feeling to know that small businesses can get involved, such as BusinessGiftUK , Sheridan’s , Brew & Bake , Marina Cafe & Livesey’s Butchers, for the greater good of others, without expecting anything back from it. I speak for all the objects and would like to offer my thanks to all the Prestonians involved whether supplying, buying, selling or promoting the mugs. You are all heroes and should be proud of your achievements.”
There are very few mugs left now and we will not produce any more, leaving this as a Limited Edition item and will look for another idea for the future. #PrestonMugShots Christmas Bauble anyone?
Stephen Ward is Managing Director of BusinessGiftUK.com. For further information, quotes or gift enquiries please call 01772 429111 or email steve@BusinesGiftUK.com