3 Memorable PR Stunts to Kick Off 2019
From Gregg’s vegan sausage rolls and AO.com’s fortress packaging, to Emergency Food Storage UK’s so-called Brexit box: January offered up plenty of publicity-grabbing PR stunts. Here’s a look at three of the best:
UK-based bakery chain Greggs is best known for its steak bakes and sausage rolls. They’re near enough national treasures. So it was big news when the brand announced the launch of its latest product offering: the vegan sausage roll.The Quorn-filled snack was added to the menu after 20,000 people signed a petition, calling on Greggs to produce a vegan version of its best-selling product. To launch the new item, Greggs sent sausage rolls in iPhone style packaging to press and influencers, along with a built-in screen with an Apple-style video of the roll. This created a great unboxing moment, which was shared across the mainstream media and social media.
To the delight of Greggs, the launch sparked a nationwide debate over whether the vegan product could be called a sausage roll.
However, the campaign really picked up traction when controversial journalist and Good Morning Britain TV presenter Piers Morgan posted this rude tweet hours before the first Greggs vegan sausage rolls went on sale; ‘nobody was waiting for a vegan bloody sausage, you PC-ravaged clowns’. Renowned for his controversial opinions, and after having spoken out against veganism in the past, Greggs were not surprised by Piers’ reaction. Their response was a simple tweet, ‘Oh hello Piers, we’ve been expecting you’.
This witty response sent the campaign viral. In an unusual show of solidarity, other high street restaurant chains took it upon themselves to show their support of Greggs by gently mocking Morgan on his Twitter page. Global burger restaurant chain McDonalds posted: ‘like our pals at the sausage roll place, we’ve been expecting you. Don’t worry Piers, you can still get McNuggets in your Happy Meal!’
This is a textbook example of great public relations. The brand turned criticism by Piers Morgan on its head to generate truckloads of fresh publicity. It will go down in history as one of the best foodie PR launches ever.
As anyone with young children knows, when given a new toy, it’s often the packaging that provides the most entertainment. From makeshift dolls houses, to cars and planes, the lowly cardboard box can become almost anything in imaginative little hands. Take eight-year-old Harry Tierney from Bolton. He built a fort complete with drawbridge and windows, with the cardboard packaging from his mum’s new fridge-freezer, and was so delighted, he wrote a note to AO.com to thank them. His letter said: ‘Dear Mr AO, mummy got a big shiny fridge from you for Christmas. I like it when presents come in big boxes because I can make a fort that grown-ups can’t come in. My friends are coming over to play in my fort and I wanted to tell you that you can come too if you want.’ He also enclosed a photograph of him playing in the fort.
The letter caught the attention of AO.com, who were ‘very impressed’ by Harry and his fort. In fact, he inspired them to create a new packaging design that includes dashed lines to help other children make their very own castles.
This heart-warming story has led to lots of great PR for AO.com, whose response to Harry’s letter was inspired.
Emergency Food Storage UK
Emergency Food Storage UK is a company that provides the kind of products you’d need in the event of the apocalypse; and clearly some people think that’s what Brexit will be like, because they’ve been buying the brand’s ‘Brexit Box’ in their droves.
The Brexit Box has a shelf life of 25 years, and contains 60 servings of freeze-dried main meals, 48 portions of meat, a water filter and a fire-starter kit. The brand put out an announcement this week saying that, at the last count, more than 600 people had put in an order for the boxes, which cost £295 each.
Pretty much any well put-together story issued at the moment, that somehow ties to Brexit, gets snapped up by journalists, because the news agenda right now is focused, more than ever, on what leaving the European Union might look like.
Rebranding one of its packages as a Brexit Box was a nifty move from Emergency Food Storage UK. It has put the little-known brand on the map, landing them coverage in the likes of the BBC, Metro, The Sun and across the pond on CNN.
Do you want to stage your own PR stunt?
Each of these brands got a healthy boost of attention following the launch of their clever PR campaigns. I can help you do the same for your brand. Call me on 077604 70309 to find out how.