PR stunts

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The Greenpeace Shard PR stunt – was it worth it?

Greenpeace is known for its headline grabbing PR stunts, but was its latest stunt– climbing the Shard in London- really worth it? It claims its cause was to draw attention to Shell’s oil and gas drilling plans in the arctic. However, Greenpeace climbing a tall building – it’s all been seen and done before.

The irrelevance of targeting the Shard as the chosen building to climb can only be described as somewhat confusing, given that it has nothing to do with Shell or the plans in the arctic. Greenpeace says that it chose the Shard because three Shell buildings and the HQ can be seen from the Shard; meaning Shell would see its climb. The Shard PR stunt

However, if they wanted to increase the general publics’ awareness, they’ve failed spectacularly. The main thing people will remember is that they climbed the Shard, and most are unsure why. Greenpeace didn’t even get a chance to release a large image of a polar bear as they were too tired and had run out of time, which could have helped to demonstrate their cause a little better.

I think a lot of their previous stunts have been much more effective as they are visual, meaning people will remember them. For example, the KFC rainforest campaign was extremely visual and quick but effective, whereas Greenpeace took about fifteen hours to climb the Shard, which isn’t exactly thrilling to watch.

I agree with Toby Young from The Telegraph when he noted it would have made more sense to climb the nearby Shell HQ building, although calling the stunt ‘sexist’ is utterly ridiculous. Despite only women taking part in the climb – and yes this may have been for better publicity, Young describing that this is Greenpeace ‘accepting that women are the weaker sex’ is a joke.

All in all I think this was a waste of Greenpeace’s time, and am baffled as to why they didn’t just climb the Shell HQ if it was so near. The stunt won’t have a lasting impact and is already becoming old news.

This was a guest post from Gemma Payne who is helping out in the caves today.

With thanks for the photo credit to :

The top five Valentines’ PR and social stunts

It’s almost that time of the year again which most of us dread. Red roses and pink love hearts smeared over every shop, no chance of table reservations and a depressing 24-hours for all singletons – its Valentine’s Day. But love it or hate it, it’s a great time for PR stunts and campaigns and here are five of my favourites from recent times:

1. #TweetHeart

These days it seems that social networking is the most popular way to channel our love and emotions and companies have been using this to their full advantage this Valentine’s day. A popular online blog – Not on the High Street – came up with the idea of offering a very unique and personal gift this February 14th. They have created a competition in which contestants must tweet a special message stating why they love their valentine and including the link, #TweetHeart. The top 10 tweets will be turned into a love song, performed and recorded by a band called ‘The Coopers’ and posted online for their partner to see. You can read more about it here.

2. ‘The Twosie’

Asda's twosie as seen on their websiteSupermarket chain Asda did a brilliant job of getting plenty of pre-valentine’s day media coverage, by introducing The Twosie. After a survey on Facebook told them that most couples would be staying in this Valentine’s day (and after the onesie trend still doing so well) George at Asda decided to do the obvious, stick two onesies together, and produce the twosie, before posting it on their website.

A soft fleecy double poncho with bunny design hoods and ears, embroidered faces and ‘Love Bunnies’ print on the back and for just £25, it sold out in record time.

3. Love Advice from Britain’s Oldest Couple

Last year, Britain’s oldest couple took to twitter and dished out love and relationship advice to the public. Lionel and Ellen Buxton, who will be celebrating 77 years of marriage this summer, tweeted on behalf of a wedding video company, called Shoot it Yourself. Although they haven’t tweeted since, their messages can still be seen on their twitter page @lionelandellen.

This resulted in some very interesting tweets, and gained some great coverage from newspapers such as the Daily Mail and the Sun.

4. Flaming Grill Facebook Date

This Valentine’s day, Flaming Grill Pubs are playing match maker. It has launched a campaign in order to increase activity of its Facebook page. Basically, you must join the page and choose a date from your Facebook friends. You are then in with a chance to win a meal for two with a bottle of wine thrown in!

A simple idea which will be no doubt rather popular with the men!

5. A Sex Guarantee

A Scottish clothes retailer named Foul Fashion is offering shoppers a ‘sex guarantee’. It will give its customers a full refund this month if its unusually colourful shirts don’t attract the opposite sex.

It may be slightly sleazy, but is certain to turn heads. The stunt has already been covered by multiple newspapers and PR websites, appeared on This Morning and created a hell of a lot of activity on Twitter.

Have I missed anything? Do you have any favourite PR stunts for Valentine’s Day to share?

This is a guest post from Laura Crossley who will be joining the Prohibition team in a couple of weeks.

Susan Boyle’s Party – PR genius or a PR fail?

For a number of years I have heard people say “no news is bad news” so is any news good news? It has been a phrase I wasn’t sure I agreed with up until quite recently when I read about the ill-fated Susan Boyle’s Tweeting mishap on Twitter.

Twitter has quickly become a channel used by individuals to source information on companies and individuals and sometimes becomes the centre of unwanted news and fun poking. Susan Boyle recently made national headlines over a #hashtagging failure resulting in an innocent tweet about her latest album party turning into a rather different online Twitter party. The ‘Susanalbumparty’ or ‘Sus anal bum party’ unintentionally sent out the wrong message to fans on Twitter. This generated a lot of controversy and quickly ‘trended’ worldwide with people talking about it mainly for the wrong reasons and their own amusement, but has it affected her reputation or has it been a great ‘accidental’ PR stunt?

The media is always quick to judge claiming it is a PR stunt or just unprofessionalism. However, whatever the reason it’s obvious to see it works. We can be pretty sure that particular tweet would not have created quite as much attention if it wasn’t for this witty and amusing mistake.

In my opinion I would describe something as a crisis if a business’s reputation was actually at stake. I don’t believe Susan’s reputation has been affected by it so why call it bad PR? Surely a company’s success is monitored by the media coverage it receives and the sales that generates. And so, when people engage creating more awareness and publicity it helps promote the brand, or in this case an album even further. On the other hand, when some brands have already experienced negativity and criticism it can have terrible consequences on their reputation. For example, McDonalds and its infamous Twitter campaign received far too much bad press and raised issues that the company was dearly trying to avoid. A campaign originally designed to get people to talk online about their favourite burgers, ended quite badly when activists took the opportunity to raise their thoughts and issues on the poor quality of food and hygiene in McDonalds.

It is important to stress that each organisation may receive different reactions from the public and the media, so each case has to be reviewed individually. As long as there isn’t any permanent reputation damage all in all I think it can help grasp the public’s attention and in turn (accidental or not) make it a successful PR campaign and yes increase sales.

I guess the answer to my question is; it depends on how a company measures success. For example, let’s take Susan, yes she probably will be laughed at for a while and be the topic of conversation in offices, and social gatherings. However, she still has an impressive singing career and will probably sell more albums now than ever before. And so, with all that in mind on this occasion I think it’s hard to call it a PR failure.

If you like a nice social media fail, feel free to have a look at the top 12 Social media disasters of 2012, and let me know who would come first on your list?

PR stunt of the week goes to Alton Towers

The PR stunt of the week, so far OK so it’s only Monday, has to go to Alton Towers. The reason is the team there have managed to get national coverage on the fact the new ride “Nemesis Sub-Terra” ride has been classed for the over 12s by the British Board of Film and Classification. As soon as I read that I thought – genius move. This was obviously carefully thought through to make it sound very, very scary and even the board admitted they had never classified a ride before. So that get’s a big tick from me as that story has made both the Sun and Metro.

Then I spotted this viral video that was filmed in preparation for the launch. I think it’s OK and a clever idea but they could have used different camera angles and made it work a bit harder. A big thumbs up for coming up with a different idea and using it across platforms but I think we could do something a bit more daring and scary and more engaging. Good ideas don’t always have to cost the earth to deliver.

I am pretty impressed with the amount of likes the park has on its Facebook page too as as it has almost 1million – they must be hoping to smash that soon. They should come up with a clever social campaign to drive people onto Facebook, when they are on the rides. A check-in on a ride should get you something free at the park or at the very least entered into some sort of prize draw on a particular day.

What they really need to do is to identify bloggers and invite them to test the ride out first for free – I am willing to give it a whirl and share my screams as I love the brand and the park and my wife would love to see me scared out of my mind.

This was also cross posted on my personal blog.