PR Campaigns - The Good, The Bad and The Viral

Each week the Sunny Bird PR team research PR campaigns that have made their way into the media and choose one to share that demonstrates effectiveness, reach, simplicity, message and in some cases the opposite – how not to execute a PR campaign. Every month the team chooses their personal favourites and here we deliver them - The Good, The Bad and The Viral from the PR Campaign world. This month we present a social media campaign which we have followed from its inception in January to its completion in March. We’ve also looked at the unlikely pairing of the NHS and dating app, Tinder, to promote organ donation and filling the bad category this month is a tasteless campaign from The London Dungeon for Valentine’s Day.

All Aboard for the Best Intern-ship!

This campaign offered the perfect antidote to the January blues as it whisked us away to the promise of golden, Caribbean beaches, sparkling waters, food and drink and even the promise of money.

Royal Caribbean, the luxurious cruise company, pipped the rest to the post by claiming 2017's first 'best job of the year' stunt. Although these stunts are now quite commonplace with more ‘best jobs’ around than ever before, this one does stand out from the crowd as it was promoted on instagram and was hiring for instagram.

Royal Caribbean announced that it was looking to recruit an intern via Instagram to ‘work’ on three of its cruise ships over the course of three weeks. The lucky recruit would get free food, drink and flights and also a healthy £3,000 in cash. Their role whilst on board the cruise ships travelling across the oceans was to be ‘a hybrid between a photographer, documentary maker and storyteller’ - that can be translated to 'taking envy-inducing pictures and sharing them on Royal Caribbean's Instagram account'.

Royal Caribbean's Managing Director for the UK and Ireland, Ben Bouldin, commented: ‘Our cruise holidays are filled with extraordinary moments and we want to find a talented storyteller who can help us capture the unique experiences that make holidays so special.’

What piqued our interest in this campaign was that Royal Caribbean had only chosen instagram as a platform – typically the age of the average cruiser is over 50 whilst recent statistics show that 90% of instagram users are under 35. The Instagram ‘job’ came after research revealed the photogenic platform had redefined the way people book holidays. The research behind the decision comes from a poll commissioned by Royal Caribbean to find out whether or not social media was overtaking traditional channels of inspiration such as holiday brochures and comparison sites. We’re very sure that Royal Caribbean knows what it’s doing here but we would like to understand the inner workings; is the brand attempting to draw in a younger crowd? Are under 35’s influencers on the over 50s? Our money goes on wealthy families looking to take that last family holiday before their kids fly the nest, they want something fancy that everyone will enjoy and Royal Caribbean seems like a good option – they are on Insta after all – they must be cool!

The coverage has been excellent so even if the Instagram route is flawed at least they’ve achieved a broad wave of PR off the back of this campaign. So far, we’ve spotted the piece in Condé Nast Traveller, Mirror, Metro, Express, Daily Star, CNBC and other media titles around the world.

And the Winner is…

The Sunny Bird PR team really liked this campaign from Royal Caribbean that was spotted back in January, so much so in fact that we have been keeping track on the campaign ever since.

Ciara Flynn, fought off stiff competition from over 75,000 applicants to win the travelling photographer’s dream job and become the official Instagrammer for Royal Caribbean. Ciara's winning photograph of two young Buddhist monks won her three weeks across three oceans with all expenses paid and even a cash prize of £3,000.

The competition was only open to UK and Irish candidates but that didn’t stop almost 350,000 people worldwide posting to the hashtag, hoping that their image might be considered.

The campaign was the brainchild of Ben Bouldin, Royal Caribbean's Managing Director UK and Ireland, and came in response to data showing that more and more people were using social media channels as inspiration when booking their holidays.

'We're confident that throughout the "Intern-ship", Ciara will be able to skilfully shoot similarly amazing moments on board our fleet, capturing the imaginations of the younger generation and inspiring them to consider cruising as their next big adventure.' 

And there we have it, Royal Caribbean are on the hunt for a younger cruiser and quite rightly picked Instagram as the ideal platform to sway this new demographic.

Royal Caribbean has produced a very effective campaign here that generated a huge increase on its social media as well as a tidal wave of coverage including The Mail Online, Metro, TTG media, Travel Weekly, India Times, Dublin People, the Express and many more.

The NHS Teamed up with Dating App Tinder to Find People the Perfect ‘match’

In recent years the NHS has struggled to create a strong and memorable message that encourages young people to sign up to the donation register and in July 2015 the rate of people giving blood and signing the organ donor register fell for the first time in a decade. In 2015, the NHS wanted to get their organ donation message out to a younger audience, so they teamed up with popular dating app Tinder to get their message in front of their core demographic.

The app is usually used to find people a romantic match, however for one fortnight, the app also encouraged users to become organ donors. When people swiped to ‘match’ a prospective love interest, a message appeared on the screen encouraging them to sign the organ donation register with a direct link to the website.

Tinder also created bespoke profiles for some of its more high profile members, including Olympic medallist Jade Jones and Made In Chelsea’s Jamie Laing. These profiles carried the donor symbol and when somebody ‘matched’ with them the user received a message saying ‘if only it was that easy for those in need of life-saving organs to find a match’.

The aim of the campaign was to educate and encourage people to sign up to the register and by targeting this popular dating app, they are directly reaching the younger demographic that they are focused on. It was a clever way to interact with a specific demographic and the campaign was executed in a memorable and effective way that took social media by storm.

London Dungeon Apologises for Dark Valentine’s Tweets

Valentine’s Day is traditionally known to be all lovey-dovey. You would think that taking your partner or family out to a popular tourist attraction around Valentine’s Day you would be greeted by a special ‘all things love’ event. This was not the case for all popular tourist destinations as London Dungeon took Valentine’s Day in a much darker direction this year.

The family tourist attraction had to apologise after a social media backlash over its Facebook and Twitter posts. The tourist attraction was posting dark humour-themed Valentine's jokes on social media, but many were seen by followers as tasteless and sexist if not downright aggressive and offensive.

One social media post read: “What’s the difference between your job and a dead prostitute? Your job still sucks!”

Another said: “Jack the Ripper just messaged. He wants to Netflix and kill.”

Some posts made comments about the appearance of women: “I love a girl that’s a good eater. Female translation: you’re fat.”

A spokesperson for London Dungeon said: “We apologise that our social posts caused offence. Our ‘Dark Valentine’ campaign was a range of posts aimed to highlight the darker side of history and create debate and conversation. As a brand we strive to entertain our guests so they can enjoy the London Dungeon experience – both in our attraction and on social media. However, on this occasion we recognise that some of the topics many felt were inappropriate and therefore we apologise for any offence caused.”

Even Ann Summers who was working with the tourist attraction for one of its Valentine’s Day events thought it was in bad taste. “It is really disappointing to see tweets which are overtly sexist and negative towards women – attitudes we absolutely do not tolerate – or support – at Ann Summers,” the playful lingerie chain told Metro.

At Sunny Bird PR we believe this stunt was done on purpose to create heated discussions in print and on social and to this end it was very effective as it went wild on social and was also picked up by The Guardian, Metro, The Telegraph, Huffington Post and ITV News.