Beat the Blues

Many will know Blue Monday as the 80s top hit by New Order – but for the purpose of this blog, I’m referring to the term used to describe the most miserable day of the year: the third Monday of January.

With the festivities well and truly behind us; the momentum of work back to full swing and the last payday a dim and distant memory – the end of January doesn’t hold too much to shout about.

Blue Monday was actually coined in 2005 by a PR agency working for Sky Travel, with the intention of using what they had deemed the most miserable day to set a landmark for positive change. (Us PRs do like to spin the positive, don’t you know….)

But, as is often the case in PR, that didn’t happen. The media focused entirely on the gloom filled nature of the day – and it stuck. Yet despite the negative connotations it has provided a great PR platform, with countless brands using the day as an opportunity for a positive PR campaign.

For example, in Ireland this year Libraries NI are teaming up with Samaritans for ‘Brew Monday’ to encourage people to visit their local library for a chat over a cuppa. In the past, Gourmet Burger Kitchen have offered free burgers and a side dish to the first 50 people in its restaurants; and Boots has run a #LittleBoostsFromBoots campaign to encourage shoppers to cheer themselves up with a treat on the day.

And the column inches and air time on the subject speaks for itself.

Blue Monday is the PR stunt that went full circle. It highlights how PR stunts don’t always go to plan, but also how they can be redeemed and can even become something bigger than originally intended.

A lesson for us all… PRs and otherwise, not least given our turbulent current times on the political, as well as the PR spectrum.