PR Stunts we Liked in January

It may be cold, wet and grey outside, but there were some great PR stunts to warm our cockles last month. From Madam Tussauds’ cheeky Trump stunt, to Weight Watchers’ healthy drive-through : brands are bringing out the big guns to get our attention in 2018.

Let’s start with Weight Watchers

January is never a great month. Most of us are feeling guilty after overindulging at Christmas and have made it our New Year’s Resolution to fix our diets and lose a few pounds. This is backed up by a study by weight loss company Weight Watchers, which found that 41% of Brits feel guilty about eating too much during the festive period, while 30% of us feel under pressure to lose weight in January.

To help us battle our culinary demons, and celebrate the new launch of their weight-loss programme, Flex, Weight Watchers launched a healthy pop-up drive-through in Borough Market for one day in January. The stunt aimed to demonstrate the wide variety of tasty foods you can eat on the Weight Watchers plan, while still losing weight.

The drive-through served free breakfasts, lunches and dinners for the day. The food was cooked from scratch and the recipes were easy for people to replicate at home.

The stunt got plenty of attention in the press and online, and rightly so. It was timely, simple, and let’s face it, who doesn’t love free stuff, especially food?

IKEA ad that doubles up as a pregnancy test

This is a bizarre one, but it got plenty of coverage on the likes of Sky News, The Evening Standard and The Guardian.

To promote some in-store discounts on baby furniture in its Swedish store, furniture retailer IKEA created a print ad containing a swatch filled with chemicals found in home pregnancy tests. The advert stated, ‘peeing on this ad may change your life’. Customers who thought they may be pregnant were invited to pee on the swatch. A ‘positive’ pregnancy reading resulted in a 50% discount.

Although it’s unlikely anyone would use it as an actual pregnancy test, as a PR stunt, the ad served its purpose: making headlines and causing a huge stir on social media.

Madame Tussauds takes a tongue-in-cheek swipe at Trump

Last month, President Trump announced that he was cancelling his planned visit to the UK for the opening of the new £750 million US embassy in Battersea. Trump claimed that the selling of the previous US embassy was behind his decision. He tweeted, ‘the reason I cancelled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama Administration, having sold the best located and finest embassy in London for ‘peanuts,’ only to build a new one in an off location for 1.2 billion dollars. Bad deal.’ Critics have suggested it may have actually been the fear of planned ‘mass protests’ that changed his mind.

Whatever the reason, Madame Tussauds jumped on the news with a stunt that poked fun at the US leader, while generating bags of coverage. The iconic museum transported its new waxwork of Trump four-and-a-half miles from its Marylebone site, to the new US Embassy in Nine Elms. The 6ft waxwork drew a lot of attention from passers-by, with tourists, construction and office workers posing for photos with it next to the embassy building on the banks of the River Thames.

This was a great bit of newsjacking from Madame Tussauds. The stunt was topical, fun, and organised within hours of the announcement. And it was great fodder for Sky News and a slew of other national media.

Help is at hand

PR stunts are a great way to get your brand noticed. If you want to stand out from the crowd, get in contact.

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