2021’s Traffic Stopping PR Moments

By Alice McCutcheon

 

We might specialise in the property sector where PR stunts rarely feature in a campaign, but we’re a creative agency and we’ve always got one eye on what other industries are up to.  I’ve always loved a brilliant PR stunt.  They’re so visual and the ones that really make an impact are brave, part of a wider marketing campaign and stop you in your tracks.

My background is consumer PR and there was a time when a brainstorm was not complete without contributions around floating something down the Thames, creating something for the 3rd plinth at Trafalgar Square or projecting an image onto the Houses of Parliament.  If I remember rightly, only one of these came into fruition in these instances, but it was definitely one of those career defining moments that cemented my passion for PR.

The PR stunt has evolved since these days.  They’re still on the PR menu but need to be shareable, memorable, measurable, fun and integrated as part of a wider strategy, not just coverage driven.  Here we share the PR stunts that have got our attention this year.

Beans on Weetabix

This has to be up first.  Unless you were asleep throughout the month of February this year, you would have come across this quirky social media PR stunt. Raising eyebrows on Twitter, the well-known breakfast cereal suggested that it was a good replacement for bread and should be eaten with Heinz Baked Beans.  The digital team at Frank PR had teed up brilliant responses from other a hoard of other big brands from Innocent to KFC.  The Weetabix team engaged with them all and the prank spiralled, creating widespread press attention and a social media explosion.  Virgin Airline’s response was my favourite. It chimed in with, “That doesn’t fly with us” to which Weetabix replied “We really think when it comes to breakfast, the sky’s the limit!”  The conversations went viral and grew momentum at an incredible pace, creating an award-winning campaign.

Ikea world cup

Ikea struck gold and raised a smile, picking up engagement across all the major social media channels with a doctored image of one of their well-known coffee glasses shaped like the world cup, valued as ‘priceless’.  The Swedish retailer aptly named the cup KOMMONENGLAND in their crockery section and with one of their flagship stores located a stone’s throw from Wembley Stadium, it was a slick PR move that hit the shareable button spot on.

Airbnb

The holiday rental company grabbed the opportunity to piggy back on the media circus around the return of Sex in The City, re-creating Carrie Bradshaw’s Manhattan apartment.  Offering visitors the opportunity to spend the night in the super stylish, TV icon’s brownstone where it all began, Airbnb strengthened the PR tactic with a virtual welcome from Carrie Bradshaw herself, reminiscent of the show’s recognisable narrated intro. It also made a one-off charity donation to The Studio Museum.  What’s not to love?!  The press loved the idea too and it was featured everywhere.

Environmental Crisis – Addressing the elephants in the…park

Drawing attention to the ongoing environmental crisis, this epic environmental campaign saw life size beautiful elephant sculptures appearing around London in June this year.  The hero press image from the photo call that launched the campaign was of the herd of impressive pieces of art on The Mall. This visual demonstration image appeared all over the media, supported by broadcast interviews from ambassador Joanna Lumley, highlighting the ongoing collaboration between two non-profit organisations; CoExistence and Elephant Family, which explores how humans can better live alongside animals and the larger ecosystem through imaginative public art projects.  To top it off The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall’s Clarence House twitter account said: “Why did the elephants cross the road? To raise awareness of healthy co-existence between humans and animals!” The 100 life-size Asian elephants created by communities in Tamil Nadu first seen crossing the Mall, were impossible to miss during the following weeks as they were placed all around the capital.

PR stunts can be exciting, cause driven, inexpensive, emotional and outrageous and the ones that stop us in our tracks have the magic ingredient; memorability.  Any housebuilders out there brave enough to mark their news in 2022 by floating a life size house down the Thames or similar, we’d gladly be here to help!