October’s Haunting PR Activity

While the weather cooled significantly this month, the otherworldly world of PR certainly didn’t. From controversial condiment hypnosis to discount invisibility cloaks, chrimbo was kept at bay with a slew of spooky PR campaigns that gave us all plenty to talk about.

Marmite attempts mind control

Marmite, known for their slogan ‘you either love it or you hate it’ (which rather excludes those of us who are indifferent), have decided to make one last attempt to convert the haters – this time with the aid of hypnosis. The ongoing campaign invites people to apply for the experience online, which, should they be selected, gives them the opportunity to watch a specially produced hypnosis film in London.

While the full film is deemed too potent to distribute online, a short taster was uploaded to YouTube. The move follows Marmite’s recent study, which concluded that 89% of Britain eats the same old breakfast each morning, with more than a third of us worried we’re starting the day with too much sugar. Marmite’s marketing manager Rachel Chambers said “The taste of Marmite has been dividing families for over 100 years. We’re so pleased that we have finally cracked how to convert even the most vehement of haters to lovers using the power of hypnosis.”

Fortnite brings about the apocalypse

Even if you’re not a gamer, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve heard about Fortnite – the highly addictive Battle Royale-style game that’s lured in a staggering quarter of a billion players. Well, a few million of them suffered devastating withdrawal symptoms this month, when game developer Epic decided to blow-up their online gaming world with an in-game apocalypse. Marking the end of the game’s 10th season, players were left with a plain black screen, which presumably reflected the look of despair on their faces.

Following the event, likened to a TV show finale, social media blew up with panicked gamers thinking they’d have to find a new hobby or go outside. Fortunately, it was just a PR power move, and players didn’t have to wait long for things to get back to normal. Epic promptly released Fortnite Chapter 2, which features a brand new map and an array of new stuff that us non-gamers wouldn’t understand. Phew.

Invisibility cloaks go on sale at Poundland

Discount store Poundland got Harry Potter fans in a tizzy this month, by stocking invisibility cloaks. Supplied on a hanger, with a card that reads “Halloween Invisibility Cloak FREE”, they were bought in to promote Poundland’s biggest ever Halloween range, which features more than 270 spooky products.

Tim Bettley, Poundland’s trading director said “We intended to trial this item last year but couldn’t find it in the distribution centre. But now we’ve found it, we think our customers will see the value, if not the cloak.” Those seeking the ethereal garment will find it in only six Poundland stores, including London Stratford High Street, Birmingham Corporation Street, Salford City, Bristol Galleries, Newcastle’s Byker Retail Park, and Leeds Lands Lane.

Copenhagen Metro taps into our worst nightmares

What’s more nightmarish then a gruelling commute on public transport? Being forced to endure it with irritating people, of course. This month Copenhagen Metro promoted their shiny new metro line with a shiny new campaign, and it included some all too relatable ads.

In ‘Morning Tremens’ we see a sparkly hungover party girl making her way home during the morning commute, trying to keep it together while other passengers munch on nausea-inducing foods. In another, ad, two Goths begrudgingly endure a troupe of overly perky pastel-clad acapella singers. Each ad is summed up with the campaign’s tagline: “Fortunately, you’ll be on your way soon”. Good stuff.

Lidl leaves winos in the dark

What’s more terrifying than being shut away in the dark? Being shut away in the dark with no wine, obviously. Fortunately Lidl found a solution to this highly unlikely problem, with their ‘Chateaux Noir’ blind wine tasting experience. The brainchild of wine wizard Richard Bampfield, the aim was actually to discourage those of us who pick our wine based on looks – with 35% of Brits admitting to choosing their wine based on the bottle, 27% admitting to choosing their wine based on the label, and the remaining 38% probably lying.

The ongoing experiences, held in London, Manchester, and Glasgow, feature night-vision enabled waiters, as well as a discombobulation chamber: a bizarre Willy Wonka-like space designed to scatter your senses before entering the pitch-black ‘Cellar Noir’ tasting area. The pop-up event is now sold out with all proceeds going to the NSPCC. But those who missed out can replicate the experience with blackout curtains and a few bottles of red. What’s known as Wednesday in PR land.

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