Comedian Mo Gilligan of Channel 4

Hot off the Press: The Best PR Stories from August

This month’s biggest PR story was undoubtedly the Home Office’s ill-advised attempt at tackling knife crime with – wait for it – fried chicken boxes. A poultry PR attempt if we ever did see one. Fortunately, not every PR stunt fell fowl of the masses. From a gin slogan improv class to an anti-pollution porno, here are our favourites from the month of August.

Channel 4 mocks the negative Nancys

Since Points of View isn’t on TV anymore, compulsive complainers now have to ring Ofcom or take to Twitter in order to get their jollies. In a bold and brilliant move, Channel 4 released their ‘Complaints Welcome’ promo, which can only be described as an F-you to the Negative Nancys of the world.

Featuring a Who’s Who of C4 talent, including celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, newsreader Jon Snow, and the Last Leg’s Alex Brooker and Alex Hills, the one-and-a-half-minute promo rehashes real but ridiculous complaints in a Jimmy Kimmel ‘Mean Tweets’ fashion. Complaints include everything from Jamie Oliver’s sausage fingers and gay men kissing at teatime, to Prue Leith talking when her cakehole is full.

Aviation Gin gets Ryan Reynolds

While most booze ads like to dazzle us with pretty liquid visuals, tumbling ice cubes, and Insta-filtered displays of sun-kissed socialising, Aviation Gin’s new promo took a much simpler angle. The snappy advert features Deadpool star and company stakeholder Ryan Reynolds, as he hilariously attempts to come up with a new slogan for the brand. Our faves include “It tastes like God cried in your mouth” and “If you’re drinking anything else, you’re drinking bullsh*t”.

The ad was uploaded to Dropbox and the link sent to customers via an ‘accidental’ email. Within it, an accompanying message from Ryan read: “Bruce, Oh. My. God. The tagline shoot = disaster. What in the fresh hell is going on with our marketing department? Let’s cancel my afternoon fish pedi because I’ve gotta solve this myself. What else is new? LOL. Also, reach out to the production company and have them erase the drives with this footage. Can you imagine if we had a repeat of my previous reply all incident?! Ha! LOL.” Well played.

Beano discovers the world’s funniest fart

Aside from those with a Downton Abbey demeanour, most of us Brits never grow out of finding farts funny. In a wonderful display of excessive free time, the folk at kids’ entertainment brand Beano made it their mission to find the world’s funniest fart by enlisting the help of high-flying scientist Dr Helen Pilcher.

Along with the help of an expert mouth-farting voiceover artist, they studied recordings of 176 fart sounds, which ranged from low and high pitched, to wet, dry, loud and squeaky. They then asked the great British public to vote for the funniest, and the winner was clear: It was long, loud, and just slightly wet. Brownie points for the creativity, Beano.

Things get salty between Marmite and Vegemite

Burger King and McDonald’s took a breather from their on-going feud this month, giving way to a new Joan Crawford and Bette Davis-style brand spat. It all kicked off when British-born Marmite started handing out free jars during cricket’s Ashes test matches, and Vegemite took a dig at them by taking out an entire full-page advert in The Daily Mail, plastered with fighting words.

Marmite didn’t take long to respond to the Aussie brand, which it did by taking out a full-page ad too. Addressing insinuations that the British can’t handle Vegemite because of its Australian vigour, Marmite made reference to 2018’s ball tampering scandal and said, “Dear Vegemite, we might not taste like Australia, but love it or hate it, we won’t be tampering with it. See you at the home of cricket”. Meow.

Pornhub cleans up

When it comes to environmentally-minded companies, there’s an unlikely new passenger on the ocean clean-up bandwagon: Pornhub. The adult entertainment site took a proactive approach to pollution this month, by sending two porn stars to do the deed on one of the world’s dirtiest beaches, while people in Pornhub-emblazoned hazmat suits went litter picking around them. By the time the porn film reached its climactic moment (no spoilers), the entire beach has been returned to its golden former glory. We can’t help but think it would’ve gone a little quicker if the porn stars had mucked in too.

While the idea of having sex next to plastic waste probably won’t appeal to most people, there’s actually a very good reason to go and watch it. For every view of the free film, Pornhub will donate money to Ocean Polymers whose mission is “to provide a sustainable solution to the removal and processing of ocean waste”. See the safe for work trailer here.

Want to join the PR revolution? Call me now on +44 (0)77604 70309

I get you into the places that matter

The Times
Financial Times
Evening Standard