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PR Stunt Watch: Harry's back and Heinz has it licked

Is it me or is the ‘silly season’ not so silly anymore? This was the phrase given to the time, going back to when print was king, when Parliament closed for summer recess, and the more outlandish, absurd wacky stunts and stories would make the news headlines.

This relied upon the absence of the serious business of government. Well, we’ve had that for a considerable time now.

As have become apparent over the recent years, we’ve been run by a coterie of clowns, morons, chancers and incompetents. By the time we get to Parliamentary recess these days, we can’t cope and have to pick up the pieces and let ‘the news’ adopt a more serious tone on the various disasters that are a consequence of the intransigence of those in power.

This is what we are up against as PRs and creatives. It’s become increasingly challenging to subvert and lampoon normality and everyday life with japey stunts as the likes of Johnson, Trump, Truss (remember her?) etc have been have doing that for us every time they spoke.

And therefore, it is sometimes a struggle when one comes to this column to list stunts that caught the eye and impressively cut through. Silly season isn’t what it used to be. Sky Mobile did a transfer deadline day stunt on contract deals which reprised Harry Redknapp hanging out of a car window which did well. Although, let’s face it, Harry has more brand stunts to his name than games managed.

As a regular listener to Talksport (don’t judge me) he’s a regular feature, hawking some brand campaign that is ‘Super, fantastic, triffic’, good as gold’ before rapidly going off-piste and segueing into chummy observations about the gee-gees, ‘Crouchy’, and his wife Sandra. We’ve all been there. It becomes a checklist of any creative PR’s CV. A rite of passage along with winning a six-figure pitch, getting a front page, having a campaign nominated for an award, there’s ‘Launched a brand campaign with Harry Redknapp’.

So enough of Harry. Let’s talk about Heinz as that definitely caught the eye this week. Not just Heinz, because they did a collab with uber-cool paint brand Lick to produce HTK57 paint: the very first time that the colour of Heinz Ketchup – as a limited edition run of 570 pots - is available for its fans to decorate their walls with.

Created by Heinz’s in-house creative team The Kitchen, it achieved lush news, lifestyle and interiors coverage. That’s thanks to the cultural cache of these two brands combining and the unchanging consistent colour of Heinz Tomato Ketchup. Yet, it is far from the first brand – paint / colour collaboration and it won’t be the last. In researching this I discovered I’d somehow missed that Porsche had created a range of paint with Backdrop. But there wasn’t a uniform colour Porsche, just a variety that happened to match some cars. It is highly doubtful that if a person looked at a newly painted yellow wall, you’d be unlikely say ‘Ah, don’t tell me. It’s Porsche, isn’t it?’.

There are also numerous collabs with the world authority on colour Pantone. especially in the world of culture and entertainment. As mentioned in the first Stuntwatch, there is a Barbie Pink, but did you know there was a Minions Yellow and a Baywatch Red? They also created an ‘English Sparkling’ for Laithwaite’s Wine. My agency had a huge success a few years ago with a disruptive, taboo-busting, viral hit when Pantone partnered with women’s intimate health brand Intimina and unleashed a Period red pantone upon on an unsuspecting world. 

This week's PR Stunt Watch was written by Mark Perkins, executive creative director at creative comms agency Cow.

PR Stunt watch is a regular column on PRmoment. Subscribe to our editorial updates to get this feature every week.

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