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The (alternative) top 10 PR Campaigns From Cannes according to James Herring

23rd June 2015


The biggest creative names in marketing, media, and technology convened in France this week to attend the annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, a weeklong event in its 62nd year. Ninety two  countries submitted a record 40,133 awards entries this year into dozens of creative categories including PR, experiential, digital, innovation, outdoor and creative effectiveness.

There were 1962 entries for PR alone. Taylor Herring's Peter Mountsteven's sifted through them and then blogged about 60 noteworthy campaigns but here is James Herring's attempt at his own Top 10. At the time of writing the winners of the PR Lion had not been announced.

1. Airbnb: Sydney Mardi Gras

Airbnb gave one lucky gay couple the chance to not just see the parade but to be in the parade.

The brand created a special home ‘float’ for the Sydney Mardi Gras for the competition winners to live in complete with balcony, picket fence and beer on tap.

2. Sport Clube Do Recife: Security Moms

Brazilian club Sport Club do Recife attempted to end supporter violence at the club’s home games in the most innovative way – by employing 50 mothers of football hooligans to act as stewards.

The mothers were trained by the club and patrolled the pitch in high-visibility vests bearing the words Seguranca Mae – Security mums.

3. Smart: The Dancing Traffic Light

An interactive installation in Lisbon aimed to encourage pedestrians to wait until it’s safe to cross the road by making the traffic lights “dance” using motion capture technology.

4. Exit-Deutschland: Nazis Against Nazis

Neo-Nazis gathered in a small German town found themselves the target of an anti-fascist prank when they inadvertently raised €10,000 for an anti-extremist organisation.

Without the marchers’ knowledge, local residents and businesses sponsored the 250 participants of the march. For every metre they walked, €10 went to a programme called EXIT Deutschland, which helps people escape extremist groups.

5. American Greetings: The World’s Toughest Job

American Greetings card store successfully piggybacked the mothers day news agenda stateside by placing fake adverts for ‘the worlds toughest job’ online and in newspapers.

They then held video conference interviews with candidates capturing their amazed reactions when they realised the job they had applied for was one they already excelled at ‘being a mother.’

Retweets from Gwyneth Paltrow, Chelsea Clinton provided brand endorsement they could only dream of.

6. Ikea: Experience The Power Of A Book Book

The home store launch their new catalogue by piggybacking media interest in the iPhone6 launch.

7. Burger King: The Proud Whopper

Burger King made a bold proclamation in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community with the launch of a specially packaged burger.

The “Be Your Way” project was created in San Francisco, where a limited edition “Proud Whopper” burger was added to the menu to coincide with the city’s annual Pride festival.

Customers who ordered the “Proud Whopper” found that the burger was the same as a classic Whooper, but came wrapped in a rainbow-colored wrapper with the inscription, “We are all the same inside.”

8. UNICEF: Toys in Mourning

In Paraguay, 4 newborns die every day from preventable causes.

Unicef teamed up with Asuncion toy stores to highlight the issue by staging toyshop window takeovers for one day only featuring ‘toys in mourning.

9. Red Cross Antwerp: A Disastrous Press Conference

The Belgian public were starting to take the Red Cross for granted so the company staged a unique press conference that would remind the nation of its importance.

The journalists would encounter a massive car pile up accident en route which had been specially built as the backdrop to the media event where the media were explicitly confronted with the importance of the work the Red Cross does.

10. Mollie Biggane Melanoma Foundation: Free Killer Tan 

Mollies fund boosted awareness of the dangers of melanoma on a tiny budget by creating a fake indoor tanning salon which offered customers a free ‘killer tan.’

Once inside the unsuspecting tanners discovered they were actually at their own funeral as the tanning bed transformed into a casket.

This ranking was compllled by @TaylorHerringUK's James Herring



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