PR Campaigns – The Good, The Bad and The Viral

September came around super-fast and with it the SBPR team waved a sad goodbye to summer (how is it autumn already?!). With switches from iced-coffee to regular coffee and the addition of scarves to our work wardrobes, the team searched the media for the best and worst PR campaigns out there to warm us up…

This month’s campaigns include a plastic-free PR campaign from Ikea, an innovative hotel campaign which secured a place on the Condé Nast Traveller Hot List and a controversial Brexit stunt featuring Theresa May in a sack!

Buckle your seatbelts…

The Last Straw for Ikea


Since Blue Planet II aired on our screens this time last year, plastic fever has gripped the nation with brands, consumers and corporate organisations taking steps to reduce their consumption of single-use plastics – and we love it! We at Sunny Bird PR love a conscious PR campaign that contributes towards making our planet a better place to live, and that’s why we love this from Ikea.

Ikea unveiled the ‘Last Straw’ display in the London Design Museum following its eradication of single use plastic straws in stores across the UK and Ireland. The installation aimed to act as a reminder of our collective responsibility to strive for zero waste lifestyles. This follows the company’s announcement in June that they intend to phase out all single-use plastic products by 2020.

Ikea accompanied this creative PR tactic with a social media campaign encouraging people to share the small actions they are taking to maintain a more sustainable life, using the hashtag #IKEALastStraw. What actions are you taking to go plastic-free?

Life’s a Beach for Panacea Retreat


Having recently taken on an exclusive retreat, we thought it would be wise to see what the PR competition looked like elsewhere in the luxury travel market. One such resort catapulted into the UK travel media was the Panacea Retreat in Koh Samui.

As opulent as a Thai island may seem, the resort had some major challenges to overcome if it wanted to attract the affluent British travel market. Specifically, the Panacea Retreat was located on a hill with no direct beach access, wellness venue, children’s club or standalone restaurants outside of the induvial villas.

Not to be deterred, the resort’s PR team devised creative initiatives to turn each one of the hotel’s challenges into a newsworthy story. The inaccessible beach was transformed into a Beach Butler service. Guests selected the best beach for their desires (child friendly, remote, romantic) and were attended to by a butler who was there for their every whim from arranging lounge chairs, gourmet picnics and proffering sunblock.  A bespoke children’s programme was also developed with tailor made experiences from butterfly safari to Thai essential oil perfume making. In addition, a Gentleman’s Getaway was created at the resort’s largest villa featuring a private wine cellar, games room, poker room, boxing ring and infinity pools.

Within a year, these creative concepts had secured the resort a place on the Condé Nast Traveller Hot List as well as features in a plethora of esteemed publications including The Sunday Times, Tatler, Financial Times, Elle, Elite Traveller, Mayfair Times and The Daily Telegraph.

These creative tactics, and consequent media coverage, highlight the power and importance of PR in changing the way a business is perceived.

The Theresa May Sack Race


We absolutely love this innovative, creative and funny campaign from London-based gym, Gymbox Victoria, who has turned Brexit misery into a promotional opportunity.

This hipster gym is offering exclusive 30-minute classes called ‘Brexfit’, where you can vent your pent-up negativity regarding the current political climate on leading MPs. Trainers hope this unique gym concept will allow you to channel your political frustrations into a calorie-burning workout.

The 30-minute class includes politically themed workout stations including the ‘Politician Punchbag’, (adorned with an image of Boris Johnson), ‘Corbyn Ju-Jitsu Throw’ weight-throwing, ‘The Jacob-Rees Logg Lift’ and ‘The Theresa May Sack Race’.

There is even a Cameron Quitters Corner for those who find it all too hard.


Gymbox spokesman Rory McEntee said: “We actually invited Boris Johnson to attend the class although he would have been bonking mad to turn up. The punchbag with his face on has gotten plenty of action though. While there’s nothing certain about our EU exit we are certain this is London’s best gym class for releasing frustration.”

We love how this gym grabbed onto the toxicity of Brexit – a topic that doesn’t have obvious synergy with a gym – and completely nailed it. So very often, a coattails campaign can seem desperate but this one struck the right chord between humour and…humour.

The gym succeeded in getting noticed for its punchy PR campaign and was featured across the board of London-centric titles and further afield including Metro, Time Out, Scottish Daily Record, AOL Travel UK, Belfast Telegraph, The New European and many more.

The Story Book Activated by Dirt


When looking at creative ideas to get people outdoors and active for one of our clients we came across a PR campaign in Africa by Unilever detergent brand Omo (known as Persil in other markets).

The brand developed what it is called the world's first "dirt-activated" story book for kids, as part of its ongoing "Dirt is Good" campaign.

In a bid to get children outside playing and away from technology, Omo created a book where pages only come to life when smeared with dirt, thanks to a special ink formula from printing specialists Colourtone Aries. Agency Ogilvy South Africa worked with artist Karabo Poppy to create the story, "The Tale of Spots and Stripes." It's a tale about unity, in which a leopard cub and a tiger cub roll around in the mud and then look the same.

The innovative campaign has been featured on Adweek, Campaign Live, PR Examples, AdAge, and Inspiration Weekly.

A Totally Paw-some Campaign!


We absolutely loved this campaign from Pedigree which launched the UK’s first ever digital dog!

Created by communications agency HyperNaked in partnership with Petplan Charitable Trust, Pedigree promoted its annual dog-adoption drive.

The week-long digital campaign encouraged users to take virtual dog Ripley for a web-walk to raise money for dog adoption. Every time a user walked Ripley, Pedigree donated £1 to the adoption drive and Ripley was walked enough for a total of over £100,000 to be raised!

The annual adoption drive aims to save 20 stray or abandoned dogs that are put down every year in the UK, according to charity Dog’s Trust UK.

The innovative campaign was featured in The Telegraph, The Daily Mail and was shared across numerous social media channels, including some National Parks and even @lovebournemouthbeach and @lovebournemouth!

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”

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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…

PR Campaigns - The Good, The Bad & The Viral

As another month whizzes by at Sunny Bird HQ, and we hope the good weather is here to stay, we look back at some of the best and worst PR campaigns we came across.

This month’s round up of thought-provoking campaigns include a tear-jerking Father’s Day stunt, a harrowing street art installation, and a clever anti-social media campaign.

‘Go Ask Dad’


Father’s Day is still a very important date for brands despite it not gaining a fraction of the traction compared to the Mighty Mother’s Day. For a ‘male’ brand it’s an important peg for PR Campaigns that needs to be carefully thought out and executed to return the best results.

Having looked at a few Father’s Day campaigns, it was this one from Gillette that won us over in the office. The big-name razor brand created a truly heart-warming campaign that tackled the issue of sons not asking their dads for advice in this digital age.

Research by Gillette found that 84% of guys say their go-to source for information is their phone and only 13% go to their dads. To prove that dads still know best, Gillette set up a simple yet effective stunt, they invited father and son duos to a studio to film their reactions to a new AI app. The sons were in one room trialling this new app and were told to ask it for advice whilst the dads were in another room. As each son asked the ‘app’ for advice it was actually the father replying through the phone speaking as the app. The sons’ reactions were priceless with many saying how great the advice was. Afterwards, fathers and sons were reunited with some emotional scenes which certainly brought a tear to a few eyes in the office.

This Father’s Day campaign did really well getting featured in industry news as well as top sites such as Huff Post and Mashable.

Suicide Sculptures

Last month saw a poignant PR campaign make national headlines as CALM, the charity that works to prevent male suicide, installed 84 sculptures of men on top of the ITV Tower. #Project84 positioned the figures, complete with hoods over their faces, standing on the edge of the building on London’s Southbank to raise awareness of the number of men who take their lives every week.


Simon Gunning, chief executive at CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), explained: "A non-traditional media route with physicality… gets an impact that you just can't get from any other kind of campaign.

"Seeing it on a screen would be a very fleeting experience and I think it would be impossible for people to understand the humanity in each of those statues. It’s that physical impact that’s jarred people."

The sculptures were created by American artist Mark Jenkins, who is renowned for his street art installations, with the support of bereaved friends and families who had lost loved ones to suicide.

The hard-hitting project was supported by ITV show This Morning across three days of programming dedicated to male suicide. It achieved widespread coverage in almost every national newspaper along with 150 million social media impressions and 32,000 uses of the hashtag #Project84.

The PR campaign also helped the charity gather more than 156,000 signatures for a petition to push for ministerial responsibility for suicide prevention.

Tesco’s Father’s Day Tannoy Takeover


Tesco were aware that in amongst the hype of the Olympics, the Euro’s and the generally busy Summer, Father’s Day can often get a little lost and be viewed as a low-key event. Statistics highlighted that just 16% said they do something special on the day with a much lower spend for Father’s Day compared with Mother’s Day.

This clever yet warming campaign by Tesco encouraged customers to record a personalised message to show their dads how much they care. The recording was then played in the store over the Tannoy whilst they were shopping.

This campaign was dubbed as a Facebook ‘thumb stopper’ and spread virally to TV channels, Social Media platforms and YouTube, racking up 602,946 views. The video generated 45million overall impressions and more than 17,000 shares. We particularly liked this campaign as although it was low budget, it was an emotive and personal campaign which saw dads in tears. It is not a surprise that this was put forward for the Shorty Awards for Branded Content.

Thanks to the rapid and brilliant response, Tesco then gave customers the option to go to the website and book their own slot to record their message to be played. Furthermore, Tesco sought to provide ‘additional value’ in the form of three tips; the first being a calendar reminder to plan something special for the day, the second, a link to the Tesco Real Food website to view Father’s Day themed recipes and the final tip, a link to Tesco Direct where customers could view and purchase pre-selected gifts for the special day.

Zova Creates a Great Feature… But is Completely Off Brand


We are in two minds about this next campaign. When we came across it, we were instantly drawn to its headline: “Dessert queen with 500,000 fans reveals how you can bake the perfect cake every time – and the secret to getting FIVE times as many servings out of your creations.”

We love a ‘top tip’-style feature as these often leave the reader feeling like they have gained something valuable from their afternoon browse, whether it be useful gym tips, quirky facts to drop in at the pub quiz or baking best practice. This feature is no different, suggesting that cakes should be cooled upside down, cut length-ways rather than in triangles and slathered in jam for a glossy, moisture-locking finish. The crux, however, comes at the end:

Katherine is the latest celebrity guest on Zova's Celebrity Classes, which is a weekly HIIT class provided through an app with the help of expert trainer, Vix Burdon.

While this is a lovely feature – good enough for the MailOnline to share with its two million readers – we just don’t see the benefit for the brand. Of course, people can be into both baking and exercise, but chances are slim that someone browsing for cake inspiration is in the mindset of downloading a fitness app.

Perhaps if Dessert Queen Katherine had made a point about the importance of balancing indulgence and exercise, or one of the tips had been of a health-conscious nature, we could have seen the relevance. But this was sadly absent, and we doubt Zova saw any new downloads as a result.

Wetherspoons Bucks the Trend


Pub chain Wetherspoons hit the headlines this month when it announced it is quitting social media. The ground-breaking news was covered by major news titles in the UK from The Sun to the FT, in news and in comment pages, not to mention Forbes and the Wall Street Journal in the US. Specifically, the chain said (via Twitter and other places) that it is closing all its accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

There were a number of reasons this was such a timely story. The rights and wrongs of social media are being hotly debated. Companies, individuals, governments, charities, politicians and everyone else are continuing to work out how we use social media in the most effective way, so to completely go against the flow and quit it completely is an interesting news angle. In fact, the success of Wetherspoons on social media is questionable. It was not exactly making waves as an influencer and it was struggling to maintain consistency across its more than 900 accounts.

Many are questioning whether others will follow suit, but we highly doubt it. Around 500 million tweets are sent every day, with millions of other individual users and businesses gaining a huge amount through well thought-through and carefully executed social media strategies.

Social media is a constantly-evolving feat, and it seems that Wetherspoons had developed a social media policy that simply wasn’t working for them. But whatever the full reasons behind the decision to change tack, it was a smart move to gain a ton of positive media coverage announcing it.



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.

PR Campaigns - The Good, The Bad & The Viral

Returning to work after the Christmas break can often feel like a slog, but a new year also brings new objectives, new ideas and plenty of rejuvenated energy. This year the team will be managing the PR for a rapidly expanding drinks company (watch this space!) which prompted us to take a look at some of the most effective industry related campaigns.

This month’s round up of wonderfully inventive PR campaigns includes creating the world’s first anti-ageing drink, hurtling a man into space, a community coffee competition and a clever marketing peg.

Hotel Chain Launched an Anti-Age Gin

Some PR stunts are deliberately designed to get picked up by journalists looking for a quick and easy ‘news’ story.

When Warner Leisure Hotels teamed up with culinary creators Bompass & Parr to create the world’s first ‘anti-ageing gin’ the hotel giant knew it could guarantee a headline or two.


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Dubbed ‘Anti-aGin’, the tipple’s ingredients include collagen and a variety of antioxidants and ‘skin-healing’ botanicals to help ‘reduce cellulite and sun damage’. 

Nicky Hambleton Jones, TV presenter from 10 Years Younger added extra kudos to the campaign by crediting the benefits of drinking edible collagen.

In addition to stocking the gin at 13 Warner Leisure Hotels across the UK, it was also available to purchase online at – selling out in less than 24 hours!



The clever concoction was covered in almost all of the national newspapers including The Daily Telegraph, The Metro and The Times.

The gin was also featured on BBC Radio, GQ online,, The Huffington Post and Mashable to name but a few.

The creative campaign is a formidable example of a brand generating buzz from something outside of the realms of its core products offering.

Starbucks’ Famous Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back – Better ‘Latte’ Than Never!

Starbucks used over 24 million fans on Facebook to help usher in the Autumn holiday season to announce the return of its popular drink – the Pumpkin Spice Latte.

In 2011, the coffee chain unveiled a Pumpkin Spice Latte challenge on its Facebook Page.



The beverage-branded Facebook game — a first for Starbucks — asked its users to compete to bring the Pumpkin Spice Latte to their cities a week before the drink's official release date.

"One of the things that we know about the Pumpkin Spice Latte is that we have a huge fan base around this beverage that we bring back every year," says Alex Wheeler, vice president of global digital marketing for Starbucks. "We wanted to do something fun and different this year and empower customers to bring it to their city first."

The Facebook application, included three different points-based activities. Beverage fans earned points for city shout-outs, solving a daily challenge or making a daily creation.

A daily challenge might’ve asked a user to watch a video or answer trivia questions. A daily creation, for example, would have a user create and share a postcard for his or her city. One city put together a beauty contest which focused solely on orange clothes, accessories, make-up and hair treatments – what a sight!



The city with the most passionate Pumpkin Spice Latte fans on Facebook in the U.S. and Canada was determined by points and got the beverage in their city a week early. The application featured an activity leader board, showcasing leading cities in real time.

The Facebook contest ran from August 22nd to 26th and the Pumpkin Spice Latte was exclusively released to stores in the winning city – Chicago – for one week after August 30th.

A great campaign grabbing the attention of real pumpkin spice latte fans in America, getting them involved to compete for their city to win!

Red Bull Tackles Space Travel

Red Bull has always done a great job at connecting with their audience through cool events and stunts. Back in 2012, it brought us one of the most memorable PR stunts in modern time: Red Bull Stratos.

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The stunt was collaboration between Red Bull and skydiver Felix Baumgartner and saw Felix ascend to 128,100 feet in a stratospheric balloon, followed by a free fall jump that was live streamed on Youtube. With this, Felix Baumgartner became the first human to break the sound barrier in free fall and helped provide valuable scientific data for space travel.

Before the big event, behind the scenes footage of the preparations had been released to the public along with interviews with the team. This helped build a hype around the event, resulting in a whopping 8 million people watching the jump live on Youtube and coverage in mainstream outlets across the world.

This campaign no doubt cost Red Bull millions, but must have provided immense value for the brand thanks to the incredible coverage that followed, all in line with the brand’s daredevil image. With a tagline like “Red Bull gives you wings”, what better way to reach your consumers than by throwing yourself into thin air?

Iced Coffee Rebrand for the Big Fella’s Special Day

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The world of iced coffee is an even bigger deal down under with leading brand, Farmers Union, outselling Coca Cola nearly 2:1 in South Australia – one of three brands globally to achieve this impressive feat of giant toppling.

Farmers Union wanted to celebrate Father’s Day in a big way and what’s bigger than a brand’s name? Yep, the brazen brand changed its name to Fathers Union as part of its campaign to celebrate Father’s Day. The iced coffee brand also launched limited-edition packaging featuring four unique Father’s Day designs: No.1 Dad, Total Legend, Big Fella and The Boss.

The campaign was accompanied by a series of ads featuring Adelaide radio host Dylan Lewis sharing advice to help dads enjoy the big day. The ads ran online and on radio supported by PR and outdoor advertising in the lead up to Father’s Day.

Darryn Wallace, Marketing and Innovation Director at Lion Dairy & Drinks, the company which owns Farmers Union brand, said, “We have a proud following of local South Aussie men so what better way to honour some of them this Father’s Day, than with the limited edition Fathers Union Iced Coffee cartons."

“Fathers Union Iced Coffee is launching exclusively in South Australia, the state in which the iconic drink was created back in 1977, to show our appreciation for, and celebrate, some of our most loyal fans who make Farmers Union Iced Coffee the icon it is today."

A fabulous, feel-good campaign – not only eye-catching and fun but also a great way to boost sales and talk to the Farmers Union fan base. The campaign achieved coverage in regional and trade media.


PR Campaigns - The Good, The Bad & The Viral

‘Tis the season to be jolly  (fah la la la la, la la la la) and our round up of PR Campaigns for December are well and truly in the festive spirit from giant, controversial advent calendars, to sandwiches that give back, endless Christmas dinners and most importantly at this time of year; those companies that are doing some good.

Beery Christmas Countdown

Popular beer brand, Bank’s Beer, has turned an old disused building into a giant advent calendar as part of its Christmas campaign. The building has 25 windows, each with a unique graffiti image and statement on Christmas – stating things we all think but wouldn’t dare to say!

Examples of the controversial window messages include, an image of a Christmas light covered house stating, “Sod global warming, its Christmas”, a snowman with yellow snow and my favourite – an image of a present with the caption “Half price next week”. The beer brand have created a talking point and proved themselves to be cutting edge and not afraid of putting themselves out there – a stance many appreciate in this corporate world of ‘safe’ messaging.


Although fun and a bit different this campaign hasn’t actually achieved any coverage for Bank's Beer apart from a few pieces of trade and one regional – still a fun way to start the festive season.

Winner, Winner, Christmas Dinner

This campaign comes from the king of roast chains, Toby Carvery, who is gleefully trotting down the ‘job of a lifetime’ PR Campaign route that we see so often.

The UK restaurant chain has launched a new job, where one ‘lucky’ candidate can become a Christmas dinner taste tester. We don’t know about you, but we usually eat around 2-3 roast dinners over the festive season and halfway through the third we never want to see a sprout again so we’re not convinced this ‘job’ will have that many applicants. Although getting applicants isn’t the point here is it…getting coverage is.


The job ad appeared on LinkedIn (nice and cost effective whilst also seeming genuine) and states that the employee will be traveling up and down the country tasting ‘different’ Toby Carvery’s Christmas dinners, passing judgement and getting them all for free.

The job used the hashtag #HireMeToby, where candidates would apply using it, submitting a 25-word piece on how they’re perfect for the job. The ad has created quite a buzz, being covered on Metro, Cosmopolitan and many more smaller titles. Good news for Toby, this quick, cheap and simple campaign has worked (although we won’t be applying).

 Care in A Manger

Out of all the festive campaigns we’ve seen so far, we’re most impressed with Pret-a-Manger, the brand is shunning traditional Christmas marketing tactics and will instead dedicate its marketing channels and digital media budget to the five charities it works with via the Pret Foundation Trust.

The foundation, which raises money to help the homeless, supports charities including Glasgow City Mission, The Choir with No Name, The Clock Tower Sanctuary in Brighton, Cardboard Citizens in Whitechapel, and The 999 Club in Deptford.

Pret’s digital media budget will be donated to charity content, including sponsored posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to promote videos, blog posts and news from the charities. On Instagram a portrait photography series will tell the stories of the people they work with through the different charities and Pret’s Apprenticeship Scheme for the homeless and ex-offenders.

Mark Palmer, group director of marketing at Pret said, “We’re delighted to donate our marketing channels and media, both physical and digital, to the Pret Foundation Trust and the charities we work with. It’s our way of saying ‘a little thank you’”.

PR support will also be given to each of the charities to help tell their stories to key media over the winter months.

Yesterday the company kicked off its Christmas menu where 50p from every sandwich and baguette sold from the range will be donated to the Pret Foundation Trust.


This campaign didn’t achieve consumer coverage (but we think it is more authentic for not having done so seeing as they didn’t have any marketing budget) it was however covered in the trade titles.

One of UK's Busiest Train Stations to Become a Homeless Shelter this Christmas

On Monday December 25, 200 homeless guests have been invited to Euston train station in London for a festive feast.

For the first time, Network Rail has teamed up with homelessness charities Streets Kitchen and St Mungo's to welcome those in need onto the concourse at Euston Station, which will be decorated with trees and garlands.

Around 30 volunteers from Network Rail are joining teams from Streets Kitchen and St Mungo's to serve a full Christmas dinner. Sandwich shops Pret (yep, they are king of the do-gooders this year) and Leon have also promised to lay on extra food. "The Pret Foundation Trust will be donating snacks and sweet treats," Pret told Mirror Online.


Steve Naybour, head of transformation in Network Rail’s track team, is running the event: "Using a station to give homeless people a Christmas dinner and some festive cheer is a great thing to do.

"Working on Christmas Day is pretty much par for the course for many of us who work for Network Rail, but this year, because I wasn’t scheduled to work, myself and a handful of colleagues came up with this plan to feed some of London’s homeless instead.

"St Mungo’s and Streets Kitchen have been fantastic. And I’m proud to say we’ve had lots of interest from Network Rail colleagues to volunteer to come along on the day to help out."

Street Kitchen's Jon Glackin said the event is a "shining example" of businesses working with community groups to bring a little solidarity in making a difference in the world.

He said those involved hope and suggest that it "could be replicated anywhere and everywhere."

This campaign is such a lovely, organic idea thought up by staff and supported by their employers – we love it – proper Christmas spirit!

Forget Hotels and Air BnB – This Festive Season You Could be Sleeping Inside the Coca-Cola Truck!

Nothing says 'Christmas' quite like the Coca-Cola Christmas Truck, but this year the brand is upping its game; one pair of lucky fans won't just get to see the truck during its UK tour – they will get to spend a night in it!

Coca-Cola has teamed up with for the special competition, which offers two people a once-in-a-lifetime stay inside the truck in London on Friday 15th December 2017. It's the first time ever that Coca-Cola is opening its doors to the iconic red truck for the ultimate Christmas sleepover.

There will also be a dedicated concierge in case guests need any extra comforts and of course, the lucky winners will be able to tuck into a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings.

If people wanted to be in with the chance of winning they simply had to head to the Coca-Cola Christmas Truck listing on and explain why they were the ultimate Christmas fan. Christmas fans had until midday on Friday 8th December to enter the competition.


This festive PR campaign was featured in multiple online national titles including The Mirror, The Sun, Metro and The Evening Standard.

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.

PR Campaigns - The Good, The Bad & The Viral

Another month has flown by in the Sunny Bird PR office. As we dust off our winter scarves and enjoy mugs of hot chocolate by the gallon, we take a look back at some of our favourite campaigns that we came across last month. From a travelling tote bag, to utilising a famous celebrity face, here are our campaign choices, so grab a cuppa and settle in…


Totes Go Travelling

Estate Agents have been battling their fat pinstripe, wide boy, wheeler dealer stereotype since the eighties. Reading some positive press on West Hampstead’s Paramount agency in The Guardian this month made for a refreshing change.

The agency hired a new and dynamic marketing manager, Carla Bradman, who saw the benefit in communicating with the community through social media. Bradman, knowing the local residents well, tapped into their love of West Hampstead, travelling and sharing these loves via social media.

The agency teamed up with a local artist, Rachel Day, who designed an illustrated map of West Hampstead which was printed onto canvas tote bags. The bags were given away from the agency offices as well as from local bookshops encouraging them to be taken on travels and pictured around the world with the hashtag #WhampPlanet. Photos posted with the hashtag were automatically entered into a monthly competition which was judged by a local blogger, Jonathan Turton, and each month a winner was awarded vouchers for local shops.

These unique and funky totes were pictured in all four corners of the globe ranging from the Gobi desert in Mongolia, the Super Bowl final, the Galápagos Islands and the Glowworm Caves in New Zealand. The totes also made an appearance at three of the Seven Wonders of the World: the Great Wall of China, the Kukulkan pyramid in Chichen Itza, Mexico and Machu Picchu.


Tapping into local trends and community spirit are all good PR, says Mark Greig, founder and CEO: “We wanted to separate ourselves from the other 10 agents on the high street.” As a result of the competition, the business has become part of an engaged online community, its Twitter following has reached 5,228. “Social media goes hand-in-hand with the customer”, says Greig. He explained that, as with the travel industry, review sites influence estate agents’ reputation making them vital for business.

We admire the simplicity of this PR social media campaign and how at all stages, it links back to the community. After all, who else is going to be buying, selling, and renting property other than the locals? The bag was designed by a local artist, the illustration was of the local neighbourhood, the photos were judged by a local blogger and it really worked. Paramount undoubtedly stands out now amongst its competitors as a company that cares about and invests in the local community.


Gold PR Heated Up CoolSculpting’s Campaign

Non-surgical, fat-reduction treatment CoolSculpting, has received consistent consumer news coverage since its initial launch in 2010 through product announcements. With competitive brands launching and expanding, the brand was seeking a way to support its current market, lift its brand profile and gain more media interest.

It’s PR company Gold PR, recommended a celebrity partnership. With the importance of marketing products and keeping relevant to the target audience and budget, Molly Sims was identified as an ideal CoolSculpting brand ambassador. Molly Sims is a 43 year old actress, model, author and mother of three who experienced amazing results using CoolSculpting after giving birth.

Gold PR and CoolSculpting announced the partnership to press. This included lining up a national TV exclusive with an evening entertainment show, a Satellite Media Tour and staging media tours in New York City. She shared honest dialogue and tips that helped her get back to her old self in her own way, which happened to include CoolSculpting. Her style was relatable and inspired so many women.

Following the media tour, Gold PR also arranged on-going top-tier print, online and radio interviews to tell Sims’ story. “Many of the beauty reporters and influencers we were targeting during this campaign were familiar with CoolSculpting, and/or had covered the treatment previously. With the Molly Sims campaign, we were able to present these outlets with new and different angles for covering the CoolSculpting story via Molly’s personal experience,” Gold PR explains.

Gold PR helped CoolSculpting create assets to help tell the story of the campaign. These included press releases announcing the campaign, Molly Sims’ biography as well as photos and videos. With these assets, Gold PR secured an exclusive interview with “E! News” prior to first media day.

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This particular campaign achieved 22 TV and radio segments, 70 articles in magazines and newspapers (including Elle, AOL, Yahoo Beauty, and Vanity Fair) and the company saw a 40 per cent increase in new users on social media, compared to the previous month.


Rockstar Riders

Food delivery company Deliveroo offered rock fans the chance to snack like their favourite stars. The campaign was timed around Glastonbury and they used key headliners as a way to grab column inches. Deliveroo compiled an official list of the food items requested by certain stars. These food requests are often referred to as ‘riders’.

Deliveroo then gave the general public the opportunity to order their favourite rockstar ‘rider’ during the week of Glastonbury. This simple, yet effective PR campaign enabled the food delivery company to jump on the back of the media train that follows this major festival each year.


The most popular rockstar riders were said to be Ed Sheeran’s and Katy Perry’s. Ed’s favourite item of Robinson’s squash went down well with fans, as did Katy’s bottle of pinot grigio and dried fruit selection. Deliveroo managed to capitalise on the public interest that goes along with these celebrities. It was an interesting angle that inquisitive people enjoyed reading.

By hosting the celeb riders online they created the perfect call-to-action for the reader and the Deliveroo homepage link was included in the majority of coverage.

The story enjoyed blanket coverage and was covered by Sky News, Metro, Daily Mail, The Sun, The Guardian, OK Magazine and the Express.


Ikea Created The Ultimate House Party

Earlier this month, IKEA opened the doors to an ambitious, week-long exhibition in a central London townhouse to celebrate 30 years of trading in the UK. Spanning over four floors, the public was invited to view a quintessential British living room that took inspiration from the Eighties, Nineties and Noughties as well as a top-floor installation showing the living room of the future.


In the evenings, the exhibition was transformed into the “ultimate house party”, where partygoers could step back in time and enjoy DJ sets, drinks and canapés from each era. While the daytime activities were free for all, the evening antics were reserved for ticket holders. Anyone could buy a ticket, but they sold out quickly due to high demand.

This campaign goes hand in hand with Ikea’s tagline of celebrating “The wonderful everyday”, offering both a nostalgic insight to life through the ages and cementing Ikea as an integral part of British life. It did a brilliant job in showcasing Ikea’s ethos as well as its furniture, while creating a fun and exciting event that went much further than just “look at our amazing products”.

The fact that the campaign encompassed both interior design and an event meant it was covered not only in national press such as The Daily Mail, Evening Standard Homes & Property, and House Beautiful, but also in local London events titles including Secret London, London on the Inside and Time Out.