GREGGS in the Mirror
Although currently in the spotlight for the launch of its vegan sausage roll (sorry Piers, we love it), Greggs has often used cheeky publicity stunts to gain brand awareness. On a chilly November day in Northumberland, a local Greggs branch reversed its logo, in order for the brand name to be reflected in Fenwick’s famous Christmas window display, directly opposite on the high street. This clever (and somewhat shameless) tactic quickly became a selfie destination and went viral, with hundreds of people applauding the brand’s audacity online. We can all take note from this ploy: know your demographic, and use this to play to your strengths.
Lloyds TSB’s #GetTheInsideOut
Early last year, Lloyd’s TSB teamed up with Mental Health UK in an effort to encourage people to talk more freely about their mental health. The campaign advert showed various groups of people playing a version of ‘Who Am I?’ with a twist – each post-it had a mental illness written on it instead. A few celebrities were involved, including Professor Green, Alex Brooker and Jeremy Paxman, but so were members of the public, from school age and above. Using this diverse range of people drove home the message that no one is immune to mental illness. Advocating prescient issues like this is growing more popular in advertising, as it showcases brands in a compassionate light, and it’s all for a good cause.
Deadpool 2 Resurrects Blockbuster
In a spectacular PR stunt, Premier, the communications agency responsible for marketing Deadpool 2, resurrected Blockbuster in Shoreditch for two days, to give away thousands of limited-edition copies of the movie. Reportedly, only fans who could whip out their retired Blockbuster card, or prove they had superpowers at the till were eligible to claim a copy of the film. As a franchise, Deadpool is famous for self-awareness and breaking the fourth wall, so the usual PR restraints could be ignored in favour of pure nostalgia, and sheer brand-indulgence.
M&S Royal Wedding Transformation
In a gesture that was equal parts sweet and silly, Marks and Spencer rebranded its Windsor store as ‘Markle and Sparkle’ for the weekend of the royal wedding back in May. On top of this, the store hosted a wedding of its own, between a character based on the retailer’s iconic sweet, Percy Pig, and his female counterpart Penny. Some outlets have dismissed the campaign as a royal fail, but it’s charming in a way that’s undeniably British, if a little twee.
KFC made history in the UK back in February last year, when it bizarrely ran out of its namesake: Kentucky fried chicken. The brand was forced to temporarily close hundreds of branches across the UK, due to problems with a new supplier – this caused unprecedented uproar; particularly for this lady.
Thankfully, KFC’s reputation was somewhat restored by an apologetic ad, designed by independent agency Mother London. The ad craftily reordered the brand acronym, to ‘FCK’, before declaring ‘WE’RE SORRY. A chicken restaurant without any chicken. It’s not ideal.’ Overall, a tactical way to admit fault!
Burger King’s ‘We Don’t Chicken Out’
After the KFC fiasco, Burger King leapt at the chance to poke a little fun at its competitor, with a responsive ad which read ‘WE DON’T CHICKEN OUT’ and then: ‘At Burger King, we don’t do food in buckets, but we do chicken pretty well.’ Burger King also slashed the prices of its best-selling chicken options. The response on Twitter was monumental, and users appeared to relish the drama between the two fast-food giants. Throwing shade never looked so good.
ASOS: Accessible Fashion
In June last year, ASOS became the first major retailer to release a wheelchair-friendly item of clothing, when it launched an accessible jumpsuit for festival season, designed specifically with wheelchair users in mind. ASOS worked closely with Paralympic athlete Chloe Ball-Hopkins to develop the jumpsuit, which went down a storm on social media, with plenty of praise for the retailer’s inclusive approach. The e-commerce giant also stopped editing its online images last year, leaving in features like stretch marks which would usually be airbrushed out. Bravo, ASOS!
Nike’s ‘Nothing Beats a Londoner’
Rarely does an advert elicit a burst of genuine laughter, but that’s exactly what Nike’ ‘Nothing Beats a Londoner’ campaign did in 2018. The three-minute video features countless brits bragging about the risks they take for training. It showcases the brand, taps into a diverse sense of solidarity and sends up the seriousness of sport. Watch it here and try not to laugh…
Now TV’s ‘Jurassic Jeff’
In July, NOW TV marked 25 years since the release of Jurassic Park by installing a 150kg statue of Jeff Goldblum right next to Tower Bridge. Affectionately named ‘Jurassic Jeff’, the 25-foot statue was used in an advert shared on NOW TV’s Twitter, which featured a compilation of iconic clips from Jurassic Park. ‘Jurassic Jeff’ quickly became a selfie spot for and did much to raise awareness for the release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. As one Twitter user pointed out, “none of the movie was filmed in London nor is Jeff Goldblum a native of the English capital. So let’s just bask in its nonsensical glory.”