Pepsi goes down well, but a seriously distasteful Halloween costume does not

Howdy folks, @ShazzaYeti here with the next instalment of good and bad PR examples. It’s been a busy couple of weeks in the calendar, with Halloween and Bonfire Night taking centre stage and giving businesses up and down the country opportunities to piggyback on the coverage of the events. So, what’s been happening in terms of good and bad PR activity?

Good PR of the week

When adverts are good adverts, they tend to result in great media coverage. Think about the John Lewis Snowman advert and the big commercials aired during the Super Bowl; plenty of coverage can result from a clever idea.

So, when Pepsi came up with a bit of a belter for a print advert just in time for Halloween, I thought it was worth sharing with you all.

Poking fun at rivals in an advert is a risk that can sometimes pay off, especially if the tone is right. So, when Pepsi used its rivalry with Coca-Cola to form the basis of a print advert, it was definitely a success.

The advert shows a can of Pepsi wrapped in a vampire-esque red cape, with the name “Cola-Coca” written on it.

Keeping it simple, the message below the cape-wearing can just read “We wish you a scary Halloween!” conveying that the Pepsi can had dressed up as a scary soft drink for the spookiest time of year. Brilliant.

Brussels-based ad agency Buzz In A Box created the advert for Pepsi, which I’ve seen talked about on some impressive media outlet websites. Nice work to all involved! So, how long until Coke responds with a tongue-in-cheek advert? Watch this space.

Bad PR of the week

Two female students have brought shame on Chester University and left the staff at a local nightclub looking red in the face after they chose questionable and distasteful Halloween outfits to try and win a competition.

Amber Langford and Annie Collinge, both aged 19, thought long and hard about their fancy dress choices and bypassed the usual witch, vampire and zombie routes; instead recklessly settling on the idea of dressing up as the Twin Towers during the 9/11 attacks.

They wore the home-made outfits, labelled North Tower and South Tower and featuring planes and explosions, to Rosies nightclub in Chester and entered the competition. After the outrage that has spread across the web since the images were uploaded, I bet the staff at Rosies nightclub are seriously regretting crowning the two girls as the winners of the fancy dress competition, handing them £150 in shopping vouchers.

The students have since apologised in an interview with The Sun newspaper and claimed they “never meant to be offensive“, but even though they look like pretty awful human beings after the stunt they pulled, it’s the nightclub that looks worse in my opinion. For one thing, not only did the club let the girls into the venue in the first place, but they allowed them to take part in the competition and win it!

Stonegate Pub Company, which operates Rosies, said that the decision to give the young women a prize for their outfits was a “serious error of judgement” made by a DJ. The University of Chester also condemned the “appalling photos“. Well, that’s alright then. Cough.

Got anything good or bad that you want to share? or @10yetis on Twitter.

Creative Moment Awards 2020