Top 10 PR Stunts of 2018

October 9, 2018

PR stunts are planned events or campaigns which are predominantly used to create earned media and publicity around the launch of new products. Pretty much every big (and small) business will have used a PR stunt as part of a marketing or advertising campaign. However, some are significantly more successful than others. Here at River & Bear we’ve made a shortlist (in no particular order) of our favourite PR stunts in 2018 so far.

#1 Cadbury’s launch of white Creme Eggs

Source: The Independent

We all love chocolate, or at least, most of us do, and we’re all partial to a money prize competition. So when Cadbury announced a limited edition white chocolate Creme Egg which could win you £2,000, we were all ears. The white egg was available from 1st January to 1st April at a variety of corner shops. The white eggs were disguised: very golden ticket/Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-esque. There was only 1 egg which would make you £2,000 richer, but 34 worth £1,000 and there were chances to win £100. Cadbury successfully got the public involved in a nationwide treasure hunt, whilst also increasing sales. What a tasty way to begin 2018.

#2 Greggs for Valentine’s Day

Source: The Mirror

Traditionally a northern delicacy, Greggs has become a firm ‘food on the go’ favourite throughout the UK. Here at River & Bear, we too are partial to a Greggs, so it was with great joy that we learned of their Valentine’s Day stunt back in February. Selected shops nationwide were transformed into restuarants for couples to enjoy a candlelit dinner, and a Greggs version of fine dining. This is a great example of a company capitalising on a globally recognised day of celebration.

#3 Deliveroo recreates iconic photograph

Source: Daily Mail

We all recognise the photograph of 11 workers having their lunch break perched on a 450ft high metal girder during the construction of the Rockerfeller Centre. In 2018, Deliveroo recreated the iconic photograph with some lucky competition winners. But why? Research shows that British workers suffer from meal boredom, with 1/3 stuck eating the same thing for lunch everyday. Deliveroo took this opportunity to launch a competition for the fearless munchers to take a break from the monotony and embark on the most extreme lunch break of their lives. Competition winners were snapped munching on a modern selection meals from Deliveroo. In doing so, the 1932 image has been recreated in order to promote Deliveroo and their wide selection of brands, ensuring no-one is subject to lunchtime monotony. This is a great example how using consumer research effectively can benefit a brand.

#4 Harvey Nichols rebrand

Source: Campaign Live

Harvey Nichols was no more for September. The famous department store rebranded itself temporarily as Holly Nichols in order to celebrate female empowerment, it has a long standing history of supporting women in the workplace, and also launch its newly refurbished First Floor. Not only did it change its sign on the front of the London store, all Harvey Nichols’s social media and shopping bags were rebranded too. Throughout the whole of September, the store held events celebrating women, whilst also publicising their new First Floor.

#5 ‘We just got Banksy-ed’

Source: BBC

Could this be the PR stunt of the year? Banksy’s famous “Girl with a Balloon” was sold for £1,042,000 at Sotheby’s auction. Moments after the artwork was sold, the canvas shredded itself. Banksy himself has defended the stunt with a quote from Picasso: “The urge to destroy is also a creative urge.” Whilst it is still uncertain whether the contract still stands and if the buyer still has to pay, the stunt has certainly created the desired effect. Undoubtedly, people will be talking about this PR stunt for years to come.

#6 McDonald’s VIP experience

Source: Standard

The McDonald’s High Street Kensington eatery had a one day only, VIP makeover in August in order to launch its new Signature Collection, designed by Mark-Francis Vandelli (best known for his appearance on Made In Chelsea). Guests were greeted by a red carpet, butlers, exsquisite decoration, silverware, table service and a string quartet. Tables were strictly reservation-only. Guests could choose from three burgers on the newly devised menu: the Classic, the BBQ and the Spicy. By creating this unique and one-off pop-up, McDonald’s successfully earned itself a shed-load of media coverage.

#7 Nike’s response to Selena’s catsuit ban

Source: Nike Twitter

When French officials announced Serena Williams’ black catsuit was inappropriate and would be banned from future French Open tournaments. Nike responsed with the cleverly crafted tweet: “You can take the superhero out of her costume, but you can never take away her superpowers.”The tweet was retweeted over 124,000 times, and liked over 295,000 times. Not only this, it was written about by almost every single news outlet, getting Nike a huge amount of earned media through something as small as a tweet. Nike has shown the power of reacting quickly to news stories and articles.

#8 The World Cup

Source: Adweek

Whether you love or hate football, no-one could escape The World Cup in Russia this year. Football mania truly gripped the world. Back in 2014, over 3.2 billion people tuned in to watch the World Cup, and so it is hardly surprising that companies across the globe utilised the World Cup for football related PR stunts. Our favourite had to be Carlsbery’s ‘Taste of Russia’ whereby they created the world’s Beer Caviar. As Adweek suggests, this campaign cleverly brings together ‘Danish innovation and Russian tradition.’

#9 Smith & Whistle

Source: Standard

Here at River & Bear we are clearly huge dog-lovers having got our very own resident office pug, Maurice. It is then no surprise that one of our favourite PR stunts of 2018 was by Mayfair bar, Smith & Whistle, who created a dog-friendly cocktail menu. The cocktails were made from dog-friendly alcohol and nutritional ingredients, so that pooches could enjoy a treat with their owners. The menu included: Poochie Colado, Hound’s Hops and Bubbly Bow Wow. Unsurprisingly, this canine campaign received a lot of attention and publicity, and so highlighting just how effective a classic people-pleasing PR stunt can be.

#10 The Hulk stops traffic in Blackpool

Source: Daily Mail

Created by Madame Tussauds Blackpool to mark the launch of it’s new Marvel Superheroes exhibition. The scene portrays the Avengers superhero stopping a vintage tram beneath the Blackpool Tower. Madame Tussauds created quite the spectacle and is a great example of the way in which creativity in PR stunts can really pay off.


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