June’s PR Sizzle Reel

This June was surprisingly a mixed bag weather-wise, but that didn’t stop big brands and their marketing teams from pulling some sizzling PR moves. From embarrassing plastic bags to vintage adverts, here are our favourites from the month of June.

Canadian plastic-shaming

East West Market, a Vancouver-based grocery store chain, decided to do their own little bit for our grotty oceans, by releasing a range of embarrassing plastic bags. The goal was to discourage customers from using single-use plastic bags at their stores, while simultaneously reminding them to bring their own reusable ones.

The clever move utilised one of the most effective tactics in marketing today: Shame. For the foreseeable future, customers who fail to bring their own reusable bags will be forced to trot around with bags emblazoned with slogans like ‘The Colon Care Company’ and ‘Into the Weird Adult Video Emporium’. Unless they turn them inside out of course.

Renault’s pollution pricing

Renault also got environmental this month, with a pollution-triggered billboard that offered a lovely discount on their new electric car. It all went down in Bucharest, the capital of Romania, and apparently the second-biggest capital in Europe for air pollution.

Besides terrifying residents by making them aware of just how polluted the air they’re breathing is, the billboard dropped the price of Renault’s new electric car (the ZOE) whenever pollution levels rose. It monitored them with sensors placed all around the city, allowing customers to reserve their discount via a mobile phone app.

Nike’s curved mannequins

After releasing a plus-size range back in 2017, Nike stood up again for body positivity again this June, by placing fuller figured mannequins in their London flagship store. The purpose was to ‘celebrate the diversity and inclusivity of sport’, which is always a winning move when you’re a sportswear company.

The mannequins took pride of place on the shop floor, alongside the brand’s performance and lifestyle ranges. Nike follows in the footsteps of Debenhams, which bought in size 16 mannequins back in 2013, and Missguided, which went one better and introduced mannequins with stretch marks and vitiligo.

And footie was supported too

That wasn’t all that Nike were up to last month. In early June, they released the ‘Dream Further’ advert, which followed the success of the ‘Dream Crazier’ ad earlier this year. Created to coincide with the 2019 Women’s World Cup, it featured some thrilling sporty visuals and was all kinds of inspirational.

Set to Joan Jett’s ‘Bad Reputation’, it depicted 10-year-old Makena Cook as she’s lead out on to the pitch as a mascot, before Dutch footballer Lieke Martens takes her by the hand and plays some very impressive football. The ad featured a handful of famous female footie stars, including France’s Amandine Henry and South Korea’s Ji So-yun.

Hovis gets all nostalgic

Every media student and his local Wetherspoons knows about Hovis’s ‘Boy on the Bike’ advert. Released in 1973, the wholesome commercial featured a northern lad traipsing up a steep cobbled street with a bicycle basket full of bread, while a soothing score of trumpets glossed over any suggestion of child labour.

Directed by Ridley Scott, the advert made it back to our screens this June, in all its digitally-remastered glory. Jeremy Gibson, Hovis’s marketing director said, “The values of our brand have never been more relevant, so we decided to remaster and relaunch our Boy on the Bike ad. It represents the iconic, family-focused nature of Hovis that is at the heart of everything we do.” – that, or they couldn’t think of anything new.

Sprite gets on the inspo wagon

Sprite also got inspirational this summer, with a positivity-packed campaign that touted confidence rather than hydration. Swapping their ‘Obey Your Thirst’ slogan for ‘Thirst for Yours’, the brand released a campaign championing emerging talents within hip-hop culture, using musicians and designers to deliver their shiny new aspirational message.

Sprite’s senior brand manager said the ‘Yours’ is intentionally open-ended. “We want the community to interpret and define it in their own unique way and while our fan base hasn’t changed over the years, the world around them has.”

Mastercard’s inclusive plastic

Lots of brands have spoken in support of the LGBTQ community this Pride season and Mastercard was no exception. Last month, they released their ‘True Name’ card, as well as a warm and fuzzy campaign to go alongside it.

The new cards were designed for the trans and non-binary community, who often find credit and debit cards a bit of a ball and chain if they feature their old birth names. These new cards allow customers to use the name that better reflects their gender identity, without requiring a legal name change – which has obviously made a lot of folk happy. Good stuff.

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