Our Top PR Campaign Picks from July
From Paddy Power’s dig at President Trump during his UK visit, to doggy day-care brand Rover’s first ever canine swimming gala, the crazy PR stunts came in thick and fast during July. Here are a few of my favourites, starting with two Trump-inspired campaigns:
Trumps controversial visit fuels PR stunts
Last month, US President Donald Trump made his first official visit to the UK since taking office in January 2017. In preparation for his arrival, brands came up with some creative ways to ‘greet’ the leader and grab some topical press coverage at the same time. Here are just two of the many campaigns that ran in conjunction with Trump’s trip.
Never one to miss a PR opportunity, bookmakers Paddy Power dropped a waxwork of American talk show host Oprah Winfrey outside the US Embassy at Parliament Square. Winfrey was encased in a glass box with ‘Oprah for President’ above her head and ‘in case of emergency break glass’ written beneath her. There was also a note that said the odds of Oprah becoming the next President were 20/1.
The stunt was created as a result of a survey that revealed 71% of Brits want to see Oprah Winfrey run for president in 2020.
Paddy Power got themselves plenty of national coverage with this campaign, as it was topical, visually striking and had a clear message.
Another brand to get in on the anti-Trump action was marketing agency Tenth Man, who commissioned an artist to carve a massive crop circle into a field in Stoke Mandeville directly under Trump’s flight path during his visit. The crop circle was visible out of the left window of Trump’s helicopter as he flew from London to Chequers in Buckinghamshire to meet Conservative Party Prime Minister Theresa May.
The crop circle said ‘блядь Trump’ which translates from Russian to ‘f**k Trump’; a dig at Trump’s friendly attitude toward Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as the probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
The 200-metre wide message took 14 hours to create in the sweltering heat, but the effort was worth it for the media attention the little-known brand attracted.
Aside from Trump, the other hot topic of conversation has been the weather. The summer heatwave saw temperatures reach 35 degrees last month, leading to an increased demand for water, and subsequently, a water shortage.
To minimise water wastage, water companies have been encouraging us to have showers of four minutes or less, and to encourage this routine of thrifty cleanliness, charity WaterAid released a series of Spotify playlists that run for four minutes each. The idea is to get out of the shower when the playlist ends. Songs on offer included Adele’s Water Under the Bridge, Drinking from the Bottle by Calvin Harris and Tinie Tempah, and Downstream by Supertramp.
This was a great way to encourage Brits to conserve the country’s water supplies, while highlighting the work of WaterAid. On average, an eight-minute shower uses around 65 litres of water, which is over three times the amount many people in the developing world rely on for an entire day.
UK’s first dog swimming gala launches Rover.com
Rover.com, a website that connects dog owners with pet sitters and dog walkers, celebrated its UK launch by hosting Britain’s first-ever dog swimming gala. The innovative free event encouraged pet owners to celebrate the summer with their dogs and discover ways to keep their dog cool in hot weather.
There were fun events throughout the day: dogs were timed as they completed a length of the pool and the fastest dog was crowned winner and awarded a month’s worth of free dog walks from Rover. There was a competitive game of dog polo, and dog owners could sign up for free 20-minute swimming sessions, so their pups could learn to perfect their doggy paddle from a canine aqua specialist. The event was a great piece of PR from Rover.com. It combined all the elements of a successful PR stunt: it was original, fun, educational and free. And it won them coverage in some high-profile publications such as Metro, The Times and Lonely Planet.
StudioKCA create gigantic whale sculpture from plastic waste
Artists Jason Klimoski and Lesley Chang, co-founders of American architecture and design firm StudioKCA found a novel way of highlighting the threat posed by plastic to marine ecosystems. The duo pulled five tons of waste from the Pacific Ocean and used it to create a four-storey whale sculpture, which was placed in the main canal in the Belgium city of Bruges. The sculpture, which was designed for the 2018 Bruges Triennale, is a powerful reminder of the 150,000,000 tons of plastic waste swimming in our waters. The threat was underlined when a pilot whale in Thailand died after ingesting 80 plastic bags in June.