In light of my blog on disruptive PR, I began thinking about examples of disruptive PR campaigns. Everyday we’re subjected to brands telling their stories, but how many of them actually make a difference to us? And how many of them do something so different that they’ve disrupted the PR scene?
Here are my top five examples of brands being disruptive in consumer and B2B PR:-
1. Support small businesses: Large enterprises usually relish being a giant in the market but software company, Intuit championed SMEs in their ‘small business big game competition.’ Companies that use Intuit’s QuickBook’s software could enter a competition to win ad space during the world-famous Super Bowl, paid for by Intuit.
2. Tell a lie: PRs have a reputation for spinning the truth, and Bacardi’s comms team went one step further by being completely dishonest in one of its PR campaigns. Top Gear’s mysterious Stig character was revealed during one episode as Michael Schumacher. But of course, up until then he wasn’t the man behind the famous white overalls. This was all part of Bacardi’s ‘champions drink responsibly’ campaign. This got many of us talking about whether Schumacher really was the Stig.
3. Be generous: The relationship between PRs and journalists isn’t always harmonious. But Skoda broke the mould when one journalist tweeted to them that he didn’t own a car. Skoda responded by giving him a new Octavia. Expensive, but simple. Call it bribery, but I think it’s a good way of forging a fruitful journalist-PR relationship.
4. Link to pop culture: Software provider SunGard showed how moving into the cloud isn’t much different from escaping a zombie apocalypse, as it published a guide on how to do both. This coincided with the release of a zombie apocalypse film, so many resonated with it. B2B PR agencies like us often have to liven up dry subjects, and SunGard showed us one way to do this.
5. Leak a memo on purpose: This takes my last point a little further. Recently, a memo from B&Q was ‘leaked’ over social media, ahead of the release of the 50 Shades of Grey film. The note told B&Q staff to prepare for an influx of rope, cable wire and tape sales, like what supposedly happened when the book was released. This stunt was of course a set-up, and we learnt how effective a staged leak can be (and that B&Q has a naughty side).
Alex Brown has just started his career at Skout PR and will be a regular contributor to the Skout blog.