Miss Scotland sends a Valentine – to a dead man?

PR is a rather surreal game at times. There I was in the DADA offices yesterday, when current Miss Scotland Stephanie Willemse shouts out to me “Craig, how does this look” and opens her coat to reveal an interesting (and incredibly sexy) outfit

Steph was doing a job for the National Trust for Scotland to promote the fundraising for the new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum (the same one we were fundraising for via Twitter in Jan 2009). Anyway Steph got into the spirit of things – aided and abetted by DADA’s talented Breea McGinness and the Trust’s Amy Gunn – and put on a I Heart Burns t-shirt and minikilt. What can I say, I thought it was a perfect outfit, but judge for yourself and click for larger versions)…

And say what you want, but Robert Burns must have had some pulling power to be getting Valentine’s Day card from Miss Scotland – more than 200 years after he died.

Stephanie Willemse

Help preserve Scottish poet Robert Burns’ legacy – Give just $2

It’s the cheapest birthday present ever! As I’ve mentioned online and below, we’re fundraising via Twitter for the new National Trust for Scotland Robert Burns Birthplace Museum. I’ll also be posting lines of Burns regularly via his Twitter account at www.twitter.com/ayrshirebard. For anyone writing about Burns until Tuesday, feel free to use the hashtags #burns. I’m also using #burnspoem when I post a line from Burns.

Feel free to spread this far and wide – here’s a tiny URL for this post: http://tiny.cc/6dV1U.

As this post shows, Burns has touched nearly everyone on the planet, so surely $2 isn’t too much to help ensure Burns legacy is remembered for another 50 years.

Any company which donates a minimum of $100 will get a free press release sent to their relevant media – global, local and national – as well as a thank you via Twitter.

If you have a Twitter account, all you have to do is add your details below and hit ‘Give and Tweet’. It will then prompt you for your PayPal account details – and that’s you, done! You can give more than $2 if you want, that’s just a suggested minimum.

If you don’t have a Twitter account, but would still like to donate via PayPal, all you have to do is send a payment – it doesn’t have to be $2 – to burnstwitter@nts.org.uk

If you don’t have a Twitter or Paypal account, follow the instructions downpage here. If you don’t have accounts and don’t want to set them up, but still want to donate, you can discuss donations by telephoning the Development Department on 0844 493 2113 during regular office hours or by email to development@nts.org.uk.

Acceptance of donations will close at 9am Tuesday morning UK/GMT time.

When Twitter meets Robert Burns

Exciting one this…just been given the go-ahead to spend the weekend seeing if Twitter can work as a fundraising mechanism for Robert Burns and the new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum (what? If it’s good enough for Stephen Fry, Jonathan Ross and Andy Murray, it’s good enough for Burns – and besides he’s been on Twitter for months at @ayrshirebard)

Now I’ve written regularly about how I think Twitter can be used to promote events and organisations, so this is a case of the proof is in the pudding – and no doubt I’ll be picking the brains of Sarah Evans to see if I’ve missed any tricks.

It continues what has been a very Burns-intense day for me as earlier on I was involved with Tunnock’s (of the Teacakes and Florida Oranges fame) and that involved coming up with a few Burns/Tunnock’s poetry mashups:

Address to a Snowball

Fair fa’ coconut sprinkled face,

Great chieftain o the teacake-race!

Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,

mallow, choc, or cream:

Weel are ye wordy of a grace

As lang’s my arm.

Ode to a Teacake

Wee, mallow, rounded, choccy biccy,

O, what a panic’s in my tummy!

One needs tae eat ye hasty

Wi bickering brattle!

I wad be laith to rin oot of thee,

An hae to eat a tattie.

Anyway, for those wanting to follow the fundraising adventures, set your twitter accounts to follow @craigmcgill and @ayrshirebard and the fun begins at noon on Saturday (following the 25th across the globe)

(if you’re still trying to work out all this Twitter stuff, here’s a great starting Twitter guide courtesy of Dubber and Clutch – and those are good guys to follow on Twitter as well.

And now, the obligatory press release….


23 January 2009

Burns Museum benefits from UK’s first fundraising by Twitter

Twitter – the massively popular online service used by the likes of Stephen Fry, Jonathan Ross and Andy Murray – is to be used as the UK’s first fundraiser for the National Trust for Scotland’s new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.

Twitter has been used as a fundraising mechanism in the US, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars, but this is believed to be the first time it has been used in the UK.

The Twitter fundraising push will run over the weekend, when the world is celebrating the 250th anniversary of the bard’s birth, and end on Monday evening.

Robert Burns is already on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ayrshirebard where lines from his poetry are posted daily, and it is through this Twitter account that the fundraising works and updates will be announced. Regular Tweets reach out to Twitter’s global audience.

The Trust is still looking to raise £4 million for the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, with £17 million having already been raised.

Trust Development Manager for Corporate Relationships David McKinnon said:

“Twitter has been used for a number of charities across the globe and it seemed like a natural fit for this weekend.

“Burns was one of Scotland’s most consummate communicators and as can be seen on his Twitter site, his work translates well into Tweets.

“We don’t know how successful this first try at fundraising through Twitter will be – it’s never been tried in the UK before, but it’s just one of the new and innovative fundraising approaches the Trust is taking to help raise the funds we need to deliver our exciting vision for the new museum.”

The new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum is set to become one of the UK’s most prestigious and historically rich visitor destinations. This world-class attraction is the largest project the National Trust for Scotland has ever undertaken and will epitomize Scotland’s proud heritage, paying homage to the nation’s most heroic son – Robert Burns.

National Trust for Scotland Chairman Shonaig Macpherson said on Burns being on Twitter:

“Using Twitter to send out the works of Burns is an incredibly inexpensive and fun way of doing that. I’m sure Burns himself would approve because he was, at heart, one of our finest communicators.”

Twitter works by people going to www.twitter.com and signing up for the free service. Users then have the option of finding friends or organisations online and receiving messages sent to them via the Twitter website, instant messenger, handheld devices like the iPhone or other mobile phones.

At Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said: “Twitter is a new way for people to communicate. The National Trust for Scotland has discovered a creative way to spread the works of Robert Burns and we’re flattered to be associated with such a pioneering figure.”

The fundraising can be followed at www.twitter.com/ayrshirebard.


Issued by DADA on behalf of the National Trust for Scotland.

For further information please contact:

Craig McGill craig.mcgill@dada.co.uk / 0141 222 2266/ 07703 175 151

Breea McGinness breea.mcginness@dada.co.uk/ 0141 222 2266/

Notes to editors

1. The Trust’s Burns programme will be the largest, most ambitious project the charity has ever undertaken. It will cost in the region of £21m and this is made up of:

    • £5.8m Heritage Lottery Fund
    • £5.5m contribution from the Scottish Government
    • £250,000 from Scottish Enterprise Ayrshire
    • Land in Alloway with an estimated worth of £2.885m from South Ayrshire Council
    • Trust responsible for raising a total of £7m – approx £4m remaining.

2. The Burns Monument Trust generously donated a series of important assets to the National Trust for Scotland, including the Burns Birthplace Cottage, an irreplaceable collection of artefacts and original manuscripts, and other assets including the iconic Burns monument.

3. The new 1600m² museum building will provide space for the Burns collections, their interpretation and storage, as well as space for visitors and space for learning. The building will provide an exhibition area of 500m² compared to 120m² in the existing museum.

4. Companies interested in fundraising or donating for the new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum should contact Georgina Pearson – 0141-222-2266 or georgina.pearson@dada.co.uk.

5. The National Trust for Scotland is one of Scotland’s leading conservation charities, which relies on the financial support of its members to fund its important work of caring for the natural and cultural heritage of Scotland for everyone to enjoy.

6. You can join the National Trust for Scotland for as little as £5 per month for a family. To become a member, visit http://www.nts.org.uk/Join/Benefits/.

Europe loves Twitter…but there are dangers

Even from before my Twitter article for AllMediaScotland, I’ve been banging on (and on) (and on) about how handy Twitter is for keeping in touch with people, for PR purposes and for fun as well. And now it seems Twitter is the first trendy item of the year, after the report by Hitwise which states that it is overtaking Digg.

While this delights me, I’m hoping we won’t see a rush of corporates and other types just signing up and filling it with rubbish. Hopefully they’ll take the time to see what makes the medium work and then get involved. Forbes has a good article as a starting point. (Econsultancy has a decent piece as well)

(of course I just want people to sign up to my Robert Burns tweets)

I wonder if this will see the Twestivals get a boost as well…

Should Auld Acquaintance be forgot?

Been a hell of a year for a lot of people – media, politicians and the general population – and I think only the most seriously deluded would expect 2009 to be the year it recovers (I mean, seriously people, does no one remember how long the last one took?) so there’s going to be a lot of pain ahead unfortunately.

But Hogmanay isn’t the time of year for that, so a quick thank you to everyone who’s read the blog, passed comment on it or got in touch. And on that shameless note, if anyone is looking for a Robert Burns fix to get them in the mood for the year of the Homecoming, along with the National Trust for Scotland, I’ve been involved in taking Robert Burns into a web2.0 era. There’s more to come, but at the moment you can get lines of poetry a day (and ask Burns questions) at www.twitter.com/ayrshirebard and if you are interested in reading past the works of the man, his letters are going online – on the days they were written – in a blog style over at www.burnsletters.wordpress.com.


Happy New Year and see you all in 2009!