Three Powerful PR Stunts from October

This month’s review of three PR stunts from three global brands shows that, when done well, PR can make a huge impact. Nike did wonders for its reputation by surprising a runner with cerebral palsy with a three-year contract, HSBC bank tackled the issue of gender pay equality with its book of alternative fairy tales, and Hellmann’s fed leftovers to a hungry stadium of sports fans to highlight the issue of food waste.

Nike makes history with first cerebral palsy athlete

A 20-year-old student known as Justin ‘Magic’ Gallegos made history last month, after he was unveiled as the first ever Nike Athlete with cerebral palsy; a condition that affects body movement and muscle co-ordination.

Nike’s insights director, John Douglass surprised the unsuspecting American amateur runner at the end of his first ever half marathon in Oregon, USA, which he completed in an impressive time of two hours, three minutes, and 49 seconds. As he crossed the finish line, Douglass handed him a three-year contract, making him one of the brand’s official athletes.

Cameras were there to capture the historic moment, and the footage was broadcast on World Cerebral Palsy Day. The heart-warming scene saw a shocked Gallegos burst into tears and drop to his knees as the emotion took over.

Gallegos used a walker as a child but after physical therapy, he improved his gait enough to walk without one. He began competing in long-distance running in high school and caught the attention of Nike, who worked with him to develop a shoe for runners with disabilities.

This feel-good PR stunt has resulted in some great PR for Nike, which was needed after the PR disaster they suffered in August, following the launch of their NikeLab NRG Beryllium Balaclava x MMW.

HSBC Publishes Book of ‘Fairer’ Fairy Tales

Would you read your child a bedtime story from your bank? Well now you can, as HSBC published a  ‘fairer’ book of fairy tales last month, to prepare children for financial independence. The book, called ‘Fairer Tales: Princesses doing it for themselves,’ is a twist on the traditional fairy tales of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Rapunzel, whereby the princesses no longer rely on Prince Charming to save them. Instead, it’s their financial acumen that gets them through. Rather than attending the ball in uncomfortable glass slippers, Cinderella designs and makes her own trainers before going on to launch her own sportswear company. Rapunzel cuts off her hair to use it as a rope and escapes the castle herself, which she then rents out to Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella.

The book was launched after research by HSBC found that the financial gender gap is already well in place by the age of 10. It looks to tackle the issue by showing girls that women can achieve their goals independently. And the story made all the national papers.

As well being distributed to primary schools, Fairer Tales: Princesses doing it for themselves, can also be downloaded.

Hellmann’s feeds soccer fans leftovers

Food waste is a global problem. We waste about a third of all food produced each year. After America, Canada is the second worst country worldwide when it comes to food waste. A reported 396 kilograms of food is thrown away annually per capita, which equates to $30 billion a year.

In an effort to show Canadians that food is too precious to waste, mayonnaise brand Hellmann’s carried out an immersive PR stunt at a soccer match.

Hellmann’s brand ambassadors handed out free hot meals to delighted fans at a sold-out game at Scotiabank Arena, which is North America’s third busiest arena. Hidden cameras caught the delighted faces of fans as they enjoyed their free food and settled down to watch the main event.

At half-time, a video appeared on the big screen, catching everyone’s attention. It began with some shocking facts about food waste, including the fact that four million Canadians go hungry every year. The video then informed them that, before the event, Hellmann’s had collected food that would have been thrown out from local supermarkets and used it to create the hot food that everyone was eating.

The video went on to tell people about the Hellmann’s Real Food Rescue programme. In partnership with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, who own most of the major sports teams and stadiums in Canada, Hellmann’s pledged to donate 50,000 meals to people who need them. They will recruit companies to recover excess food that’s still perfectly edible after stadium events and deliver it to local food banks, to feed people in need.

We’ve seen many brands raise awareness of their own Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goals while educating consumers on important social and environmental issues, but this PR stunt was particularly clever and impactful.

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