What Is a PR Campaign?
A PR campaign is a campaign that is designed to help bring attention to a product, or company, without having to spend money on advertising. With that being said, a company may initially spend money on advertising, but the goal of the campaign will be to gain the interest of the public and have them do much of the advertising for them.
For example, a local car dealership may run a series of ads in the local newspaper talking about their grand opening. In this ad, they mention that they will be raffling off a brand new car, but in order to receive a ticket for the raffle you must first like their Facebook page and share one of their posts. If the PR campaign goes as designed, then they will generate a lot of publicity for them-self without having to spend as much as they would on traditional advertising.
The Importance of a PR Campaign
A PR campaign can, in some instances, be the determining factor in whether or not a company goes out of business. They can take a virtually unknown product, or business, and make them a household name overnight.
They can also take a once successful product that has struggled and make them bigger than ever before. Over the following sections of this article, I’m going to go over some of the most successful PR campaigns in recent memory and give you an idea of how important a PR campaign is.
1. ASB and the Ball Dogs
In 2015, ASB Bank decided to let three dogs fetch balls for them during the ASB Classic Tournament. The ASB Classic Tournament is a tennis tournament and, when there was a dead ball on the court, they would send a dog out to retrieve it. This job is usually done by humans but was instead performed by dogs for added publicity. The stunt went without incident and was generally adored by the fans.
2. Sky Atlantic’s Polar Bear on the Tube
In order to promote a new show, Sky Atlantic created an 8 foot animatronic polar bear and put it in various parts of London. The show they were promoting focused largely on polar bears and they figured this would be a great way to introduce people of London to the animal.
The stunt went over well and people seemed to like the randomness of seeing a polar bear in an urban setting.
3. Intuit’s Small Business Super Bowl Spot
Intuit, a business and financial software company, decided to have what hey called the Small Business Big Game Competition. The concept of the competition was to give a small business a TV spot during that year’s Super Bowl. The winner of the competition was a company called GoldieBlox and they were given a $4,000,000 budget to make an ad and have it air during the Super Bowl.
The ad was well received, but the concept behind it was what really got the attention. By giving GoldieBlox their own ad, Intuit was able to generate a lot of talk about their own company and received a lot of business for their own company.
4. The Ring Girl Comes to Life
In order to create hype for the third movie in The Ring trilogy, Paramount Pictures decided to bring the iconic scene from the first movie to life. In the movie, a little girl is on a TV screen and goes from being a 2-dimensional girl to a 3-dimensional girl by crawling through the TV screen. In order to recreate this scene, they had a bunch of unknowing people, in a department store, come look at a bunch of TVs.
While they were looking at the screens, the girl appears on the screen and does exactly what she does in the movie. This leads to a series of freakouts and caused the video of this to go viral. The video has been viewed over 8,000,000 times on YouTube and over 300,000,000 times on Facebook.
5. Queensland Tourism Offers the “Best Job in the World”
In 2009, Queensland’s tourism board decided to have an open application to apply for the “Best Job in the World”. The “Best Job in the World” was described as being an “Island Caretaker” and consisted of having to make one blog post, per week, while living on an island. The contest went obscenely viral and is estimated to have caught the attention of over 3 billion people.
6. Tate and Lyle’s Edible Hotel
In 2013, Tate and Lyle’s, which was originally a sugar refining business, decided that they wanted to open an edible Cake Hotel. The hotel was a three-floor temporary pop-up and it was stocked with edible art. The hotel was open for one night and the guests were encouraged to eat as much art as they could.
The event was a huge success and generated tons of positive PR for the company.
7. Adobe Mocks Marketing Buzzwords
While Adobe is known for being a computer software company, they recently decided to get in the digital marketing space. In order to do this, they launched a series of commercials which mocked companies and how they go about marketing. The commercials were known for being rather crass and to the point. They were positively received and helped Adobe’s direct inquire sales go up by 45%.
8. Cadbury’s Creme Egg Cafe
Similarly to Tate and Lyle’s, Cradbury decided to have their own candy-filled pop-up. The Cadbury Creme Egg Cafe opened in 2016 and, unlike Tate and Lyle’s edible hotel, stayed open for a full 3 months. While the Cadbury Egg Cafe wasn’t edible, it did have a huge variety of chocolates to choose from and even had its own ball pit. The Cafe was a success and reopened in 2017.
9. Domino’s Tweet for Pizza
In 2015, in an attempt to get buzz on social media, Domino’s Pizza announced that you could tweet a designated emoji to Domino’s Twitter account and receive your order that way. While this is technically true, you first have to register your information on their website before you can order using a tweet. While this never exactly caught on, it did generate a lot of talk and brought Domino’s a great deal of attention.
10. Jackpotjoy and Their Giant Rubber Duck
To celebrate the launch of Facebook FUNdation, Jackpotjoy.com decided to send a giant rubber duck floating down the Thames River. The purpose of Facebook FUNdation is to reward people, who do silly things, that put smiles on people’s faces. Jackpotjoy.com certainly accomplished that and they also proved that no matter how silly an idea is, it can still generate good PR.
The Impact of These PR Campaigns
While there is a great range in the impact of these PR campaigns, they all managed to generate a certain amount of interest. Even though the ASB Bank’s ball dogs and Jackpotjoy’s giant rubber duck didn’t change the world, they did manage to generate some good PR for the companies. This may not make much of an immediate impact, but it could help these companies reach levels of success they wouldn’t have been able to reach otherwise.
With that being said, PR campaigns like the Queensland Tourism “Best Job in the World” campaign and Paramount Picture’s Ring trilogy campaign did have immediate impacts on their success and definitely helped them reach levels of success that they wouldn’t have had without the PR campaigns.
PR Can Transform Businesses
While PR is undoubtedly important when it comes to businesses, PR can also transcend business and affect your personal life. For example, if you have good PR and you lose your temper, people are more likely to forgive you than someone who has bad PR.
On the contrary, if you have bad PR, it is hard for people to change their negative perception of you even if you are trying your hardest to do things right.
This is why, in both business and your personal life, it is so important to get and keep good PR. With all of this being said, hopefully, these stories of successful PR campaigns can inspire people to generate good PR in their business lives, their personal lives and also encourage them to inspire others.
Ronn Torossian is a public relations leader with over 20 years of experience