Believe it or not, it is November already (which means you can start playing Christmas tunes soon). Despite being the coldest October for 25 years, there has been a lot to celebrate. In Digital PR, Halloween presents a great opportunity for some of the wackiest campaigns. Although it may be time to clear out the wilting pumpkins in favour of tinsel and baubles, we look back at the most memorable PR stunts and campaigns that took place during October.
1. October means Stoptober
Philip Morris, owners of cigarette brand Marlboro, have made a U-turn in their branding by creating an ad campaign urging smokers to quit. The campaign, ‘Hold my Light,’ aims to encourage people to help their loved ones quit the habit. Like many tobacco firms, Philip Morris are moving towards focusing on new products. This due to the decline in the numbers of UK smokers. Their new branding will include smoking alternatives such as vapes, e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products. The centrepiece of the campaign was a video of a woman handing a lighter to her friends in a Mission Impossible style activity. Her friends are there to support her in quitting smoking.
Philip Morris have received backlash from critics. Cancer Research UK considered the campaign to be hypocritical, as it was there to promote smoking alternatives. In reply to these claims, Philip Morris stated that the campaign was generated to support smokers in their bid to quit. Judge for yourself in the video below.
2. Alexa, what does LOL stand for?
During October, O2 and NSPCC teamed up to highlight the generational language gap between parents and kids. To do so, they launched a “Parents vs Kids” voice-activated quiz on Amazon’s Alexa. The study aimed to educate parents and help them feel confident talking to their children about their internet activity. Fronting the campaign was former Spice Girl Geri Horner and her daughter Bluebell. Research from the study found that 48% of parents feel confused with the language that young people used. The findings of this campaign highlighted the challenges that this can create in today’s constantly evolving digital world.
3. Superstition ain’t the way – RSPCA
According to RSPCA data, it takes 30% longer for a black cat to be adopted than a tabby cat. In fact 70% of RSPCA’s cats are black. It is thought that the long-standing superstition that black cats are bad luck is behind the struggle. However, Dare have launched a Tinder-style app called ‘This is Scare app’ to help find these felines new homes. The app allows users to adopt a cat by swiping right to the one they want most. This fantastic campaign was designed to make people question their superstitions, dispel the myths surrounding black cats and hopefully encourage audiences to donate to a great cause. All proceeds from the campaign are divided between Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Cats Protection and Blue Cross.
4. Frightening Fanta
Consumer giant Coca-Cola never fail to create a memorable seasonal campaign – Holidays are coming after all. During October, they cleverly used Fanta to create one of their biggest Halloween campaigns ever. The campaign included spooky limited edition bottles and cans, two Halloween themed flavours (Blood Orange Zero and Pink Grapefruit Zero), Snapchat filters and an event known as Twisted Carnival. The event toured the UK taking fans on a scaremongering journey, full of thrills and terror. Fanta Marketing Manager, Rosalind Brown, states that “Coca-Cola is to Christmas, how Fanta is to Halloween.” With Fanta sales growing by 23% during Halloween last year, it appears that Coca-Cola know how to create successful PR campaigns.
5. Yorkshire Tea or “Yorkshire Tree”?
Yorkshire Tea are in the fourth year of a five year pledge to plant one million trees across the UK and Kenya. As part of this campaign, they created their first ever augmented reality experience game. This campaign aims to educate families about environmental sustainability and the vital role of trees. The game transports users to the forests of Kenya and the UK, where players plant seeds and pick avocados. The challenges within the game aim to highlight the importance of planting trees. You can access the game by printing off the poster where a code can be scanned by your mobile phone. This will then transport you into a digital experience where you can share the challenges faced by local farmers across the globe. We can expect more from Yorkshire Tea as they reach the fifth year of their pledge.
So that commences our Digital PR round-up of October 2018. Stay tuned for our next PR overview in November. If you’d like some advice regarding either your PR or link building strategies, then do not hesitate to get in touch with us – we’re more than happy to help!
For tips on creating a successful campaign, why not check out our advice on How to Create a Winning Digital PR Campaign on a Budget.