PR Campaigns - The Good, The Bad & The Viral

March was a super busy month, so much so that it's taken us a little longer to decide on our PR campaigns. With International Women's Day and Mother's Day all in one month (and an all-female office) we have compiled a powerful mix of campaigns from fighting gender issues online, allowing women to talk about their own body image, Markle's magic on Welsh jeans and a genuine Mother's Day campaign.

Innocent Drinks Keeps Us in Mum’s Good Books

As the big M Day looms we sit like sitting ducks for the target practise of the marketing teams from every consumable product on the market. It’s up there with V Day and F Day and X Day and we get to watch as marketeers everywhere attempt to shoehorn anything to do with mothers into the marketing mix.

There were a few campaigns that cut through the noise and one of those that did it well we thought was Innocent Drinks. The healthy drinks company unveiled Emergency Mother's Day Cards following its social media mantra to be useful and not ‘desperately shoehorn’ in product – music to our ears!

Innocent Drinks released four Mother’s Day cards on its blog and social channels in a bid to aid forgetful children who had forgotten about the special day for mums. The cards, which were printable when clicked on follow the company’s wider policy to create engaging, useful content for the social media platform.


Joe McEwan, head of digital and communities at Innocent Drinks explained that the Mother’s Day content was born from the success of the Valentine’s Day and Christmas Day posts, the first of which ran a similar card scheme and the former an in-depth DIY Christmas decoration guide.

McEwan said: “We’d noticed how popular the simple format of good words on a card had proved for previous events, we have always loved words, and tried to write things that actually add value to someone’s day.

“From day one we talked to people on our packaging in an interesting, engaging way, so that’s something we continue to do on our social channels. Our ultimate goal on social is to create content that’s so good you’ll want to tap your mate on the shoulder to introduce it to them. We’re not interested in dull, generic content. There’s too much of that out there already."

He was critical of brands trying to inject their product into social media discourse for the sake of it: “There is a time and place to feature our drinks in our content – this wasn’t one of them. In my opinion, there are few things more tragic in the world of marketing than a piece of reactive content with a product desperately shoehorned into it,” he added.

And we agree! We liked this campaign, enjoyed its usefulness, simplicity, the fact that it built on previously successful campaigns, how it gave something back to the consumer and it was strong shareable, online content. I bet your Mumma’s are proud of you Innocent Drinks Marketing Team!

The Auto-Complete Truth

The UN Women’s 2013 campaign, ‘The Autocomplete Truth’, is an example of a game-changing campaign. UN Women, also known as The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, was formed in 2010 to empower women around the world. A new entity at the time, UN Women set out to raise its global profile with the help of an advertising agency and clever PR.

“The Autocomplete Truth” began, according to the Dubai-based agency Memac Ogilvy & Mather, when the team googled the term “women should” and were astounded by the sexist autocorrect results: “women should stay at home,” “women should be slaves,” “women should be in the kitchen.”

From there, the campaign idea was simple: integrate the phrases created by Google’s autocomplete feature into photographs of women by placing them over the women’s mouths to symbolise silencing their voices.


Four images were created and distributed in print, on billboards and on social media along with the hashtag #womenshould to spark a global conversation online. An accompanying video was also released highlighting women’s achievements throughout history.

The Autocomplete Truth campaign created headlines around the world including the BBC, CNN, Time, The Huffington Post, The Guardian, Mashable, Buzzfeed, Le Figaro, Metro Sweden, Times of India and Elle. Overall, it was mentioned in the media close to 600 times. In addition, it was featured in leading TV and radio shows and was even presented in the 2013 NASCAR races. The #womenshould hashtag was a resounding success, tweeted in over 50 countries and getting over 134 million impressions on Twitter. At least 755 million people viewed the campaign globally. 

It made people rethink the situation of women today and put the issue on the global agenda once more. And all that was required to make this happen were four powerful images, a 1-minute video and a tight PR strategy.

The Welsh Jeans Celebrating the Meghan Markle Effect

There’s nothing quite like a Royal Wedding for generating press coverage, and here at Sunny Bird PR the team are certainly looking forward to a festive May. With Meghan Markle’s every sartorial move being extremely closely watched, brands that are lucky enough to be one of her chosen ones are certainly handed a great PR opportunity. But a recent campaign by Hiut Denim showed that it takes a bit more effort and good writing to turn a royal choice into a stunning headline.

In January this year, Meghan wore a pair of skinny black jeans by Welsh firm Hiut Denim during a visit to Cardiff. Her choice of denim was mentioned by Wales Online, but nowhere else. Fast forward to March, and Hiut scored articles in The Sun, The Daily Star, Marie Claire and PopSugar reporting that the same firm has seen a massive increase in demand (unsurprisingly) and now has a three-month waiting list for the jeans. The coverage included more information about the firm itself and the profile of its owners, as well as some great photos – not just of Meghan, but also the founders. The difference with the March coverage was that it used a great hook: news of the waiting list. There’s nothing like a bit of fashion unavailability to increase demand, and packaged together with the back story, profile info and some photos, and Hiut created a great story which was much more newsworthy than the event itself that was by then two-months-old-news. Even with global Meghan fever causing much excitement in the press, this campaign shows that with PR reporting something that has happened is not enough; how you say it and when is also crucial for scoring great coverage.


#Thisbody Uses Instagram to Not Tell Women How to Feel About Themselves

American plus-size clothing chain Lane Bryant has made its mark in the US with a string of hugely successful social media campaigns. One of our favourites is the #ThisBody campaign, which aims to empower and celebrate women no matter what their size.

The hashtag was supported by a video featuring famous plus-sized women including supermodel Ashley Graham, Orange is the New Black’s Danielle Brooks and Empire’s Gabourey Sidibe. It showed some of the awful comments that the women have received on social media, while they confidently danced in front of the camera. The message was clear: their bodies are whatever they want them to be, they don’t care about your opinion.

The campaign also featured photos of plus-sized models wearing t-shirts with the text “#ThisBody is made for ____” with different messages filling in the blank. These t-shirts were then made available for sale, for Lane Bryant’s customers to fill in the blank themselves.


There have been a number of campaigns focusing on body positivity in recent years, but this one really stands out as it doesn’t tell women how they should feel about their bodies but lets them decide for themselves and tell the world.

The campaign also showed the power of great ambassadors; with the celebrities in the video having a collective Instagram following of over 10 million. It was also on Instagram that the campaign made the biggest mark, with 93,000 photos having been posted with #ThisBody since.