PR Campaigns – The Good, The Bad and The Viral!

Now winter has arrived, we are taking a look at the PR campaigns that have left us with a warm, fuzzy feeling. So, make a hot chocolate, put your feet up and enjoy perusing the good, bad and viral campaigns we’ve discovered this month…

John Lewis, the first.

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Every year, the inevitable John Lewis advert is released and with that comes an influx of social media comments and shares. One man who can really relate to this is Virginia’s John Lewis, someone who receives thousands of tweets leading up to the release of the John Lewis advert and throughout the duration of its broadcast.

Boasting the handle @johnlewis as opposed to @jlandpartners (arguably harder to search for), the Virginia resident responds to tweets year after year directing consumers to the correct twitter profile, and he even shares his views on the latest advert!

This year, John Lewis (the company that is!) decided to pay ode to the gentleman by creating his very own advert which showcases the witty responses to people’s twitter questions and how he goes about translating our English sayings.

You can view the full advert by following this link. We think it’s better than Elton John’s….

The ‘advert’ achieved over 20,000 retweets and John Lewis even tweeted John with the kind words: “In return for your years of service to us, we’ll be sending any wayward Tweets from your fans straight back to you!”

All that’s left to say really is… would the real John Lewis please stand up?


Deliveroo’s ‘Ride to Find’


The festive season can often be the hardest time for families and friends who are missing a loved one, which is why 500 Deliveroo riders have been wearing mobile billboards across London, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol as part of a campaign with the charity Missing People. The delivery bags featured images of missing people in the area to help raise awareness of individuals who are missing across the UK.

According to the Missing People organisation, someone is reported missing every 90 seconds in the UK, with 80% being found within 24 hours. However, one in five cases take longer or remain unsolved.

With Deliveroo riders being a consistent presence on our streets, this campaign is cleverly using its riders to make a real difference to the communities in which they live and work.

Each of the firm’s 15,000 riders have been encouraged to sign up to receive child rescue alerts, which notifies subscribers whenever a missing child in their area is considered to be at a very high risk of harm. The Deliveroo app is also introducing a fundraising feature, giving customers the opportunity to donate to the charity.

Not only has the brand’s campaign gained coverage in The Metro, Sky News, ITV news, but three out of four missing people have already been reunited with their families in time for Christmas, after their faces were displayed on posters on the backpacks of Deliveroo riders. Amazing news!

Taco Bell Makes Big Ben Chime Once More

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In anticipation of Taco Bell’s first London restaurant opening, the American fast food giant wanted to make a noise in the city.

To announce its arrival, Taco Bell chimed in with a sound London has been missing for over a year: Big Ben’s bells. The clock tower synonymous with the capital has been quiet since major construction work began back in August 2017 and is not expected to be heard again until 2021.

The Mexican restaurant chain worked with an audio engineer to recreate the Westminster chimes by digitising the brand’s own iconic 80’s chime. The sound was then played from speakers attached to rickshaws moving through the surrounding areas leaving unsuspecting commuters wondering if Big Ben had been resurrected.

"Restoring Big Ben's bell with our bell was the perfect way to introduce ourselves to London in a way only Taco Bell can," said Marisa Thalberg, Taco Bell Global Chief Brand Officer.

"We don't take ourselves too seriously and have been known to play a prank or two. We hope our unique twist on Big Ben's chimes brought surprise and humour to Londoners; this was our little arrival gift as we gratefully show up on London's doorstep."

The clever PR stunt, taking place just days before the London store opening, certainly caught peoples’ attention with the news quick to find its way on to social media. The stunt also achieved coverage in the likes of Forbes, The Drum, and Marketing Dive while making major news headlines across the pond in the likes of Fox News and US Weekly.

The Purple Revolution


We love this colourful PR campaign from the purple light up movement. Tuesday 3rd December marked International Day of Persons with Disabilities and to highlight and celebrate disabled people in the workplace, Purple Space encouraged businesses to use purple on logos and for communities to wear purple. The idea was to raise awareness and to help others recognise disabilities.

In the UK, seven million people have health conditions or disabilities and 50% of these people are unemployed. We love that large corporations such as Channel 4, Lloyds Bank, Virgin and HSBC were involved in this campaign as it really boosts awareness. Social media users were encouraged to use #purplelightup on their posts which created even more of a buzz. Channel 4 even aired a two-minute clip which encouraged businesses to help talented disabled people find careers where they can succeed.

This campaign featured in Campaign Live and Financial Times to name a few, spreading a great message this International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Choose Love Pops Up to Help Refugees

Working in PR we often see ‘pop-up’ shops opening as part of a larger PR campaign and often to great success with plenty of national news coverage. However, when you’ve seen so many the idea can become jaded which is why we love this PR campaign from Help Refugees – a pop-up shop with a difference.

Opening on Carnaby Street on Black Friday, Choose Love gave shoppers the option to spend plenty of money but walk away without any laden shopping bags. Inside the shop a plethora of items designed to help refugees were available to purchase, including warm clothing, tents, sleeping bags and hot food. Once the items are purchased by a customer, the shop will deliver it to help refugees this Christmas.

We were pleased to see that the shop also helped to raise awareness of their cause with tons of national features including in The Guardian, Time Out and The Drum, along with plenty of celebrity visits ranging from Jeremy Corbyn to Camilla and Jamie from Love Island!

The store is open until Christmas and shoppers in London can head down to 30 – 32 Foubert’s Place to help, or can visit their online shop here to support the cause.

Eat-y No Phone

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When it comes to PR campaigns, we love to see brands taking a stand and trying to change something not only within their industry, but also within society. Hard-hitting, non-sitting-on-the-fence behaviour is often encouraged by us PRs as it’s a sure-fire way to get your brand’s voice heard (done in the right way of course!).

Frankie and Benny's has very bravely taken on the issue of mobile phones at the dinner table, brave as it involves potentially criticising parenting skills, which no matter how good the intentions are will always produce some kind of defensive backlash. Headlines from the national papers included ‘Frankie and Benny’s BANS mobile phones in drastic bid to get diners talking’ and ‘Frankie and Benny’s BAN mobile phones at ALL its restaurants in UK first’.

As well as potentially being controversial, the popular American-Italian restaurant chain has based its actions on a shocking nationwide study that found as many as 72% of kids wished their parents would spend less time on their phones and more time talking to them. A survey is a great asset for PR campaigns if you get strong stats, and you’ll often see a SBPR campaign backed up with a client’s survey results.

Another golden asset was the much sought-after ‘UK first’ which delivered the national headlines for the brand. The popular diner believes it is the first large company in the UK to impose the scheme and is offering a 'kids eat free' bonus to anyone who agrees to hand over their mobiles at any of its 250 restaurants which delivers a lovely feel-good freebie rewarding element to the campaign.

A spokesperson for Frankie and Benny’s said: "We looked at various ways we could encourage people to engage more at the dinner table, and we've found giving families the chance to part with their devices for a mere couple of hours is a great way to bring them closer and embrace family time."

A very well executed PR campaign in terms of assets, focus and messaging, and it delivered results with features appearing in a plethora of national titles including The Mirror, The Independent, The Daily Star, The Telegraph, The Sun, The Daily Mail, The Times and the BBC.