Recent Public Relations Stunts AKA "Wins"
Although we are only three months into the new year, it seems that public relations teams have been very busy at their jobs. If you keep up with the latest and greatest in the world of public relations, you’ve probably read about two companies’ efforts – KFC & Lacoste – or at least spotted their names in a headline or two. I’ve decided to take a look at them in this post, because I absolutely love what they did for my two favorite things, fashion & food.
Lacoste, the French fashion brand, temporarily replaced their iconic crocodile logo with ten different endangered animals following their runway show at Paris Fashion Week. In partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and alongside advertising agency BETC Paris, Lacoste kicked off their “Save Our Species” campaign, which is aimed toward fighting to protect wildlife worldwide. This was the first time the company replaced it’s crocodile logo from its polo shirts.
A unique aspect of this campaign was that the number of polo shirts available for sale corresponded to the number of animals that each species remained in the wild. For example, there were only 67 ‘Javan Rhino’ shirts sold and 150 ‘Cao-vit Gibbons’ (a type of ape, if you were wondering). There were a total of 1,775 polo shirts made. Each one costs about $183 and the sales went toward the preservation of its designated species. It’s no surprise that these shirts were sold out almost instantly. However, donations are still being accepted, if you’re feeling generous.
What I love most:
- They found a creative way to use their brand for good.
- They highlighted all players. Typically, agency’s don’t receive much name recognition, so it’s great to see that BETC Paris was represented.
- This was unexpected, at least for me. I never thought a fashion brand like Lacoste could pull something like this off. While they are well-known in the tennis world, they are more of “quiet” brand in mainstream fashion conversations. Well played Lacoste!
KFC, the American fast food chain restaurant that specializes in fried chicken, responded to a chicken shortage in the UK/Ireland with the use of a clever ad. In late February, KFC went through a funny/bizarre crisis where they ran out of chicken due to “operational issues” with new delivery provider DHL. This caused most of its 900 locations (within the UK and Ireland) to temporarily shut down. Of course, you can imagine that there were many angry customers/disappointed chicken fans. So much so, that the hashtag #KFCCrisis was created. It actually sparked a lot of attention on social media.
However, there is a silver lining. KFC took the serious PR crisis matter into their own hands and got the creative juices flowing. They first set up a website letting people know which locations were still open. Second, they got to working on a witty, but a foul-mouthed apology. The full-page print ad, crafted by Mother London agency, ran in The Sun and Metro.
It’s no wonder that this attention grabbing ad received positive receptions, especially on social media, from chicken fans, marketers, and even other PR professionals. According to Adweek, founder and group managing director of Frank PR, Andrew Bloch, tweeted that the apology was a “masterclass in PR crisis management.”
What I love most:
- They found a witty way to address a situation (crisis) that should’ve never happened in the first place, while tailoring to their audience. I’ll be the first to admit that this ad might have been received negatively in the US. However, it worked perfectly for British humour.
- Rather than pointing fingers at their delivery service provider and having them take the blame, they put it upon themselves. DHL remained unspoken of in the ad. They took one for the team and left the other key player out – diplomatic PR pros.
- I love that they had fun. It’s hard to stay calm, cool and collected in tough situations. But their team handled it well, and set an example for other companies.
Although we work in the technology sector here at REQ, there is nothing stopping us from being creative like Lacoste, or be witty in an adverse situation, like KFC was. There are opportunities for both ends of the spectrum (and anything in between) in the world of PR. It’s important to ‘stay in the know’ as agency professionals, and use these examples to get our creative juices flowing and help our clients to the best of our ability.