PR Campaigns - The Good, The Bad & The Viral

It’s been a scorcher of a month here at Sunny Bird PR and the PR campaigns have been coming in thick and fast.  We take a look at some of our favourites this month and the campaigns that really should have stayed in the boardroom …

This month’s round-up includes a campaign involving pool-side inflatables, unfashionable emojis, cucumbers and a questionable beer caviar campaign...

“Catch Me if You Can”


Gym company David Lloyd created a quirky new concept to gain national media coverage in print and online. In response to a nation of binge watchers, the premier fitness club decided to equip its Personal Trainers with TV screens attached to their backs which clients can watch whilst running. The gym brand aimed to eliminate the excuse of not being able to tear ourselves from our screen by incorporating the nation’s favourite shows into their workouts. Clients are encouraged to select a show at the start of their workout, from a range of platforms including BBC iPlayer and Netflix, to coincide with the distance they aim to run. Once the workout starts, the aim is for the client to keep up with their trainer to continuously watch the show. Speaking of the new PTV classes, General Manager of David Lloyd Chigwell said: “We appreciate that the hectic nature of modern life means people often struggle to find time to exercise each week. Our new PTV classes aim to counter this trend, giving time-poor parents and young professionals the perfect means to stay up to date with their favourite shows while ensuring they stay active and healthy at the same time.” The inventive exercise class and clever PR campaign achieved widespread national coverage including The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, Cosmopolitan, iNews and the Metro, not to mention numerous regional titles where the company has gyms.

“Pass on Plastic”

pass on plastic.jpg

Simple yet effective, Sky’s ongoing Ocean Rescue campaign has repeatedly shown the industry how to do corporate social responsibility right! Their most recent tactic to tackle the issue of single-use plastics in our oceans was a social media led, digital campaign called #PassOnPlasticEmoji. Their aim was simple: to reverse the normalisation of plastic and support Sky’s ongoing Ocean Rescue campaign around a key calendar hook for them, World Oceans Day. Their tactics were simple too, as they petitioned Unicode (the company that makes emojis) to remove plastic emojis from the keyboard, to highlight the fact that these products shouldn’t be as commonplace in everyday life as they are. The campaign was not only a huge success on social media, but gained print and online media traction too, with coverage in The Sun, The Times and The Evening Standard. It’s a campaign that demonstrates that you don’t need a huge budget to make a huge impact.

“This Campaign Really Blew Up”


Our next PR campaign comes from who conducted a survey amongst 2000 British holidaymakers and found that pool inflatables were one of the most left behind belongings during their trips. While half of all visitors buy a pool inflatable, only 28 per cent take those plastic flamingos, unicorns, donuts, and inflatable fruit slices home after their trip! They took this opportunity to have some fun, and set up the world’s first ‘Inflatable Sanctuary’ for abandoned pool inflatables at a hotel in Majorca – a fantastic photo opportunity and a great way to recycle and reuse them. Each year thousands of blow-ups around the world are binned due to the hassle of carrying them home in suitcases, but visitors were able to “adopt" these abandoned flotation devices and reuse them for free during their holiday.

Guests at the hotel embraced the concept and provided them with a new home, snapping and posting away across social media. The tongue-in-cheek rescue centre achieved coverage in numerous publications including The Telegraph, Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller, The Sun, Daily Star, Lad Bible, Teen Vogue and Lonely Planet to name a few. This campaign seemed so simple to create, and at a low cost; obtaining a few staged photos of the inflatables with tags around their necks reading ‘Love me!’, succeeded in achieving endless national coverage themselves and the hotel involved.

Tip: If ever you’re stuck for PR campaign ideas, go down the simple, sweet and light-hearted route!

“Finger-licking Good PR!”

KFC teamed up with McCormick (food technologists) to create an edible nail polish to combine food and fashion in line with their brand ethos of a ‘fun dining experience.’ There were 2 flavours of the polish; original chicken, which was made into a nude shade and hot & spicy chicken, which came in a hot orange. The campaign was to address the main branding message of “finger licking good” and was promoted via social media and launched with one cryptic Facebook post inviting local celebrities and press as well as food and fashion bloggers to an exclusive tasting event. The nail varnish bottle was designed with KFC’s young and trendy target consumer in mind and is similar in style to the likes of cosmetic giant MAC.

The campaign achieved global media coverage including; The BBC, The Metro, The Independent, The Mirror, The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, YouTube, ITV, Allure, Huffington Post, Cosmo, Glamour, Bustle, Adweek, Buzzfeed, The Drum and Popsugar. This bucket load of coverage generated a reach of over 300 million along with 91% positive sentiment associated with the campaign and an increase in sales of 12% for KFC.

“World Cucumber Day Delights Hendrick’s Fans”


In the world of PR we often need to create angles, hooks and pegs (ways to get your clients in the media without any ‘new’ news) and an old favourite is the ‘national day.’ On World Gin day for example, every self-respecting gin-maker will be in at least one round-up or feature. The only down-side is that the gin market is very busy, so it can be a bit of a fight to get your brand heard.

And that’s what we liked about this campaign; Hendrick’s chose the quieter and more modest World Cucumber Day to take a slice of the media limelight. The brains behind this lie in the well-known marriage of cucumber and Hendrick’s, any gin-lover will tell you that it is the ONLY garnish to go with a Hendrick’s and tonic.

Not only that, there is a lot more media space on World Cucumber Day allowing Hendrick’s message to be heard loud and clear. The tactics of this campaign did not disappoint, the heritage brand didn’t just issue a press release to consumer media, they thought outside the box and introduced an experiential element which really worked.

On Thursday 14 June (World Cucumber Day) Hendrick’s placed pop ups in London and Manchester; physical booths with a Victorian theme where people went to collect a token that they could exchange for a free G&T in one of 200 bars across the UK until 20 June…The tokens? Actual cucumbers.

Not wanting to alienate the rest of the nation, the brand also created digital tokens available through its Facebook Messenger account and created an online hub (ideal for SEO) for World Cucumber Day which had cocktail recipes and videos on it.  Unsurprisingly Hendrick’s achieved great coverage for this campaign and was featured in The Metro, Mirror, Prima, The Ginkin, The Drinks Business and regional titles.

We loved the fun and quirky element to this campaign and also the effectiveness in really cementing the cucumber as an integral part of a Hendrick’s and tonic. It worked, and the brand achieved coverage in a strong set of titles.

“Beer Fear!"


And last, but definitely least, Carlsberg created a Caviar Beer for The World Cup to win over European fans. The idea was to give people a taste of Russian and Danish culture and give the brand a more premium quality to attract a different kind of consumer. Achieving coverage in The Drum, AdWeek and Fortune, it seems this campaign certainly hit the headlines, but was it for the right reasons? 

We all know that brands sometimes want to make a new name for themselves and get away from a reputation they once had. But the reality is, we will always see McDonalds as a fast food restaurant, Waitrose will always be expensive and Carlsberg will always be for mainstream football fans…