1. Pac-Man takes over UK streets
Here is a great example of how nostalgia can be a strong driver for PR. Google’s contribution to April Fools’ Day was to turn the UK into a giant Pac-Man grid from the classic 1980s arcade game, and allow users to chase ghosts and eat coins (plus of course the occasional piece of fruit). Running away from Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde is actually quite difficult around the Heyford Park site though, where our office is situated.
2. Definitely the best poster in the world…
A good PR stunt is memorable, original, and has an element of surprise. Carlsberg managed all three when they placed a tap on a large billboard in Shoreditch – labelled “Probably the best poster in the world” – where unassuming passers-by could help themselves to a pint of lager.
The billboard simply said “Probably the best poster in the world”, and residents who queued for a free drink would probably agree.
3. Betfair backs Cancer Research UK and London Marathon runners
As a nation we love to take on bookmakers at every opportunity. Gambling is usually outlawed to those who have direct influence on the outcome of a stake, but for the 2015 London Marathon Betfair teamed up with Cancer Research UK to give runners the chance to “Back Yourself”. Participants were asked to enter details and target finishing times to receive a free £20 bet and odds of beating the times they had set themselves. If they beat the time their chosen charity would receive the winnings, and if they didn’t the £20 would be paid to Cancer Research UK – ensuring that charity would be the real winner whatever the outcome.
At a time when gambling receives a lot of negative press, this was a heart-warming “exercise” from a bookmaker which also offered extra incentive to those who were running the 26.2 miles.
4. A Whopper of a wedding…
Sometimes things just fall into place perfectly, don’t they? When American couple Joel Burger and Ashley King recently got engaged, it seemed too good to be true for a certain fast food brand.
Having seen their tongue-in-cheek engagement photos taken in front of a Burger King sign, the popular chain sent their best wishes via a Skype message and offered to foot the bill for all the wedding catering, as well as offering guests goodie bags.
This is an excellent example of proactively jumping on a bandwagon to seek PR opportunities and – assuming Burger and King are a genuine couple tying the knot – will result in wonderful publicity for Burger King in promoting a “family friendly” image.
5. Scarlett Johansson and Cosmopolitan return…with avengance
In the lead up to blockbuster movie The Avengers Age of Ultron’ release, stars Chris Evans and Jeremy Rimmer were caught in controversy over a sexist interview they had conducted about fellow Avenger Scarlett Johansson. Cosmopolitan decided to turn this on its head by asking co-star Mark Ruffalo trivial questions about his diet and grooming tips, while focussing on the stunts and heroine-ism with Scarlett. This reversal of gender stereotype offered a light-hearted response to a story which had already been created, and shows how companies and brands can earn PR brownie points by “putting right” others’ misgivings.