With people becoming increasingly desensitised to traditional forms of advertising, recent years have seen the rise of controversial PR campaigns to catch our attention.
So, what can we take out of some of the biggest PR fails in the last 12 months?
Creative, but on point
With a large number of PR stunts taking place every single day, companies and agencies need to think outside the box to come up with the next ‘genius’ idea. Creative, off the wall, and even bizarre stunts play a key role in an engaging campaign, but steer clear of stunts that are just plain irrelevant.
Take last year’s campaign for Kwik Fit, which saw a giant hamster scampering along the Thames, as an example. The stunt was certainly unusual but lacked any real story to it. Ideas need to be relevant in some way, or else they run the risk of becoming a silly stunt we can easily forget about.
Exciting, not scary
This last year has seen numerous campaigns making headlines for the wrong reasons, proving that some publicity really is bad publicity. In May this year, actors in combat suits stormed a hotel near Cannes as part of a PR stunt for French internet start-up Oraxy. Hotel guests mistook the stunt to be an actual terrorist attack, very bad timing considering the city was already on high alert for the festival.
Double-check and check again
Some real blunders have been made in the last 12 months that could have been easily avoided with robust approval processes. In December 2015, Bloomingdale’s somehow managed to encourage customers to ‘spike your best friend’s eggnog’ in their catalogue. In the UK, a branch of Krispy Kreme decided to run an event badly named the Krispy Kreme Klub.
Sending a press release out with mistakes can mean you’ll lose out on coverage, and mistakes on other platforms can be extremely damaging. It only takes another pair of eyes to notice mistakes or poor choice of wording, or so you’d think.