We are sometimes asked how PR can effectively go beyond a press release and the typical media outreach. And, oh boy, do we have answers to that! Big answers. Fun answers. And some insane answers, too.
To us, a press release is merely a tiny piece of a much larger puzzle. We actually find that focusing on bigger concepts, events, impactful visuals, social media, unique research, insights, and lots and lots of outreach and relationship-building are what truly generate results.
To showcase the power of PR, we present to you the following five PR campaigns that were not only successful at expanding reach and driving marketing results, but were also totally outrageous and just crazy brilliant!
150 Yellow Sheep for the Tour de France
The Tour de France, the world’s most celebrated bike race, started in Yorkshire, England this year, and it did not disappoint. It’s estimated that 77% of UK shoppers were watching the event on TV.
The Yorkshire Building Society, a sponsor of the race’s Grand Départ event, dyed a herd of 150 sheep yellow, the color of the race’s yellow leader’s jersey. The sheep were located in a field along the route of the first stage of the race. Adding a nice touch to the campaign, the wool was made into sweaters for donatation to charities for families in need.
The sheep of course created a social media frenzy! Search for “yellow sheep tour de france” and Google returns 290,000 results. Brilliant!
Intuit’s Small Business Big Game Competition
Intuit is the developer of QuickBooks, the most popular accounting software for small business in the U.S. The company’s Small Business Big Game Competition was a stroke of genius, empowering one lucky small business to air a $4 million ad during the Super Bowl. Using language such as “Big business no longer owns the big game. You do.”, the campaign was all about empowering small business and providing small business with the admiration it deserves.
The campaign worked like this. First, small businesses told their unique stories. An online vote narrowed the field, and then Intuit employees selected the four finalists. Ultimately, though, it was the public that decided on the final winner, GoldieBlox, which had started up merely 18 months previously.
GoldieBlox was awarded with a professionally produced Super Bowl ad worth $4 million and exposure to a viewing audience of more than 100 million. Brilliant!
Tinder’s “Adopt a Dog” Campaign
Tinder is a hot dating app, with an estimated 10 million+ active daily users and valued at $5 billion merely 20 months removed from its founding. Although the app has matched countless people looking for love, its Adopt a Dog campaign in NYC displays abandoned dogs from kill shelters and provides them with a safe haven by matching them with a new owner. So although you may be thinking of meeting a dreamy new partner when you start using the app, the wonderfully disruptive campaign might make you partner with a furry friend called Fido instead.
Every year, approximately 3.9 million dogs are sent to animal shelters, according to the ASPCA. The Tinder Adopt a Dog initiative, which started July 31, 2014, received more than 2,500 matches in just the first week of the campaign. Brilliant!
Adobe’s “The State of Online Advertising” Campaign
Adobe had long been known as a provider of software for designers, with popular titles such as Photoshop and Illustrator. Then it decided to enter the digital marketing software space, against titans like IBM, Google and Salesforce as well as endless startups with cool, fresh ideas. It was imperative that Adobe somehow fight through the competitive noise to stand out.
To that end, Adobe’s strategy was to identify the customer’s main problem, be brutally honest with the customer about it, and then solve the problem. “Marketing is Bullsh*t” was used as the campaign’s manifesto. (Really, it was!) “It’s time to lay the marketing myths to rest and start creating the next generation of intelligent, effective customer experiences,” the PR team said. The campaign centered on calling out marketing myths and introducing the audience to metrics-driven marketing. The “Marketing is Bullsh*t” ads were raw, blunt and in-your-face.
The company launched a “Metrics, Not Myths” video series and conducted a “State of Online Advertising” study. These assets were used to generate online and offline media exposure and were promoted heavily using social channels such as YouTube, Hulu, Facebook and Twitter.
Over the course of the campaign, Adobe generated 96 million video views, achieved a 45% increase in direct sales inquiries, generated tons of press including a full page in the New York Times, and produced double-digit increases on every brand-tracker category. Brilliant!
British Airways “UnGrounded” Campaign
British Airways offered more direct flights to the UK from the US west coast than any of its competition, yet research uncovered that BA was felt to be out of touch with the area’s entrepreneurial spirit.
To combat the image and start anew with the region’s audience, BA launched a campaign called “UnGrounded” to communicate its hidden-from-view inventive spirit. The brand developed an UnGrounded Thinking microsite centered on innovation in the travel space.
The campaign’s centerpiece, though, was the creation of an innovation lab in the sky, bringing together more than 100 technologists, company founders, academics and entrepreneurs on a hackathon flight from San Francisco to London. Upon landing in London, the UnGrounded flight’s team members presented their work to the UN’s sponsored Decide Now Act (DNA) Summit and the Secretary General of the UN’s International Telecommunications Union.
The results? Premium business from San Francisco International Airport increasd 20% year-over-year; revenue from small and midsize businesses went up 10%; 26 concepts and four winning ideas were generated during the hackathon; and 90 unique articles in top-tier media outlets were published. Brilliant!