PR Campaigns - The Good, The Bad & The Viral

The festive season is well and truly upon us, but that doesn’t mean we’re winding down at Sunny Bird PR. As we wrap up against the incoming cold spell, we thought we’d wrap up the best and worst PR campaigns we’ve come across this month.

This month’s round up of thought-provoking campaigns include putting coats on statues, a savvy survey which reached 33 million readers, a virtual look into homelessness at Christmas and an election campaign which embarrassingly backfired.

Charity Wraps Up Iconic London Statues

As #snowwatch begins to trend on Twitter and Londoners breaking out in a panic bread-buying frenzy it seems apt to highlight a campaign that pegs itself on the cold London streets.

Iconic statues in London have been covered up in red coats to encourage Londoners to donate their old coats to those in need in this year’s Wrap up London campaign. Wrap Up London is a campaign run by the registered charity Hands On London.


The charity commandeered three London statues in high traffic areas – Sherlock Holmes at Baker Street station, Amy Winehouse at Camden Market, and Kinder Transport at Liverpool Street station and dressed them in bright red coats to raise awareness for the cause.

The campaign, which is now in its seventh year, asks Londoners to send any old, unwanted or unloved coats to the charity to support vulnerable people this winter. Wrap Up London will then send the coats to charities across the capital.

Last year’s campaign saw an impressive 23,000 coats donated, but the number of people living in crisis in the city is rising, particularly those who are young and homeless, so the need is even greater.

This campaign is not only for a great cause but it’s also effective and simplistic – two key components for any successful PR campaign. The proof here is in the pudding with coverage in Metro Online, City A.M, Kensington Chelsea & Westminster Today, East London Advertiser along with a host of other London-centric titles.

Survey finds half of all professionals are bored, tired or angry

Job site CV-Library recently conducted a survey on 1,200 employees across the UK to find out if they are happy at work. The results showed that a large portion of the respondents were in fact unhappy, with boredom, fatigue and anger cited as reasons.


Furthermore, the study found that marketing, legal, hospitality, accounting and computing offered the lowest job satisfaction. CV-Library’s Managing Director commented on the results, saying “We spend too much time at work to not enjoy what we do”.

The underlying message is clear: If your job is making you miserable, you should do something about it and look for a new one. This goes hand in hand with CV-Library’s aim to get more people signing up to the site and start applying for new positions.

Not only did the feature make it to Yahoo News UK and Evening Standard Online, potentially reaching an astonishing 33 MILLION readers. Thanks to its focus on a range of popular professions, it also made it to several trade websites, including ComputerWeekly (IT), economia (Accounting), Onrec (Recruitment) and HR News (HR).

Considering the only assets required for the story were a survey and an expert comment sourced from within the company, CV-Library has shown that you don’t need to spend a bomb to see your story go far and wide!

Retailer highlights homelessness at Christmas

High street retail giant Marks and Spencer gave commuters an insight into the stark reality of Christmas for thousands of Britons, far removed from the happy smiles and mouth-watering food featured on the shop’s TV adverts.

Partnering up with the national homelessness charity Shelter, M&S hosted a virtual reality Christmas pop-up in the country’s busiest railway station- London Waterloo.


‘Diners’ entering the retailer’s pop-up were immersed in three very different Christmas Days scenarios by way of a VR experience of real people in real houses.

The first two videos commuters watched were positive, featuring cheerful families opening presents and tucking into a festive feast.

In contrast, the third showed a homeless family crammed into one room of a hostel devoid of any Christmas cheer without a tree or decoration in sight.

The campaign message is clear: all this family wants for Christmas is a home.

The busy day was documented by Shelter which shared images and videos of the pop-up on its twitter alongside emotive clips related to the campaign.

M&S also shared the day’s events on its social media channels and, in partnership with the charity, created Christmas collection which donates 5% of sales to Shelter.

The PR campaign cleverly harnessed interactive technology to show customers ‘how the other half live’ by virtually putting them in another family’s shoes.

It is a brilliant example of how a brand can raise awareness of a charity and create positive brand associations at a time of year when the general public is arguably at its most generous.

Stunt Mocking Estate Agency ‘May & Co’ Backfires

A Liberal Democrat election stunt dramatically backfired this year after it emerged the party's spoof 'May and Co’ estate agency already exists.

As part of its campaign against Conservative social care plans – dubbed as ‘dementia tax’ – the Liberal Democrats created a spoof called ‘May & Co’ estate agents.


However, the real May and Co has been operating in Chelsea since 1920 and its owner John Yianni was quick to notify the party of its mistake.

Yianni revealed that he was alerted to the firm’s fake name when he began receiving ‘off’ phone calls and the company’s Twitter started to gain more traction.

The owner said he had received an apology from the organiser of the campaign stunt and as a result, the Lib Dems renamed its fake firm to ‘Theresa May & Co’ and altered the address of the spoof website.

Despite the organiser apologising for the mistake, the Lib Dems insisted that its campaign against Tory social care plans would be continuing under the name ‘Theresa May & Co.’

News of this campaign was covered in national titles including The Telegraph, BBC News and Sky News.