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PR Stuntwatch: Scottish Gas Murrayfield get Swiftie fever, TFL slips into its Budgy Smugglers and VisitOslo has an existential crisis

One of the best bits of advice I was ever given by a creative mentor is:  

“Learn to love what you hate."

This means getting comfortable outside your comfort zone, watching Love Island even though it’s brain rot and yes, engaging with Taylor Swift’s Eras tour.

If Taylor Swift fans are “Swifties”, I’m a “Swervy”. I don’t hate her, I just don’t get it. Her stardom is one I file under astonishing but, more importantly, undeniable.

As a result, I’ve been keeping an eye out for brands looking to capitalise on her UK tour and found an enjoyable pair from the Scottish leg.

Scottish Gas Murrayfield Taylor Swift

Did you know that Taylor Swift has Scottish ancestry? Me neither. But apparently there’s some genuine truth in McSwift mania, so Murrayfield sponsor Scottish Gas entered their name change era — renaming the stadium as “Scottish Lass Murrayfield”.

Suffice to say this cleaned up locally, with all Scottish news and TV covering the name change — but the coverage spread globally and online as Swifties swept up every tiny detail of her tour’s operation. This isn’t the first time a brand has engaged in tributary name changes (Wimbledon Morrisons changing to Murraysons is my personal favourite), but it works so well when done right because the fans do the sell-in for you.

The British Geologicial Survey's ‘Swiftquake’

Not technically a stunt, but I love newsjacking from “boring” brands smashing into popular culture — so take a bow the comms team at The British Geologicial Survey. They revealed evidence of a ‘Swiftquake’ — the dancing and noise from Scottish Lass Murrayfield genuinely triggered their seismometers. Again, this zero cost story absolutely flew around the world. Quite literally fan power PR!

VisitOslo Is It Even A City?

Another thing I hate that everyone else seems to love are Scandinavian city breaks. I’ve been to Helsinki, Copenhagen and Stockholm. I left feeling only cold, bored and skint — so props to VisitOslo whose self-aware viral ad has found its way into lots of WhatsApp groups this week…and forced me to consider that my Blandinavia prejudices might be a me problem.

If you’ve not seen it, the video features a resident of Oslo highlighting the city’s art, fine dining and culture credentials — but with a knowing tone that seems to simultaneously take aim at vacuous influencer culture, over-stylised tourism adverts and even the city of Oslo itself. It’s a ‘come here’ advert that leads with ‘don’t come here’.

I love any brand that has the confidence to take the mickey out of itself. It oozes swagger, clarity of conviction and conveys trust. You believe a brand that makes its strengths seem like weaknesses and its weaknesses feel like a reason to go. The ad has racked up (at the time of publication) two million views in two days and shows the value of breaking conventions — especially in an industry that has so many conventions. You are used to seeing travel destinations market themselves in the same way, so when one doesn’t — it feels especially cut-through.

Will this cause an avalanche of bookings to Oslo? It’s too early to tell. But when a piece of owned social content finds itself picking up feature pieces in earned channels, it has more than done its job. In the interests of balance, it’s also worth pointing out that the one thing the content didn’t make jokes about is how everything is stupidly expensive. So, if you do decide to visit Oslo, be aware that the prices are no laughing matter.

Transport For London x Budgy Smugglers

Lastly, and just because I’m conscious of coming across like a right misery this week, here’s a stunt that comes from something I love - quirky TFL collaborations.

Transport For London x Budgy Smugglers

Australian swimming brand Budgy Smugglers (guess what they make) have teamed up with TFL, so you can wear the tube seat patterns on your trunks. When you’re an Aussie brand looking to make a splash in London, there are few better institutions than TFL to partner up with. This link-up is almost as slick as the Victoria Line with no reported delays.

It has picked up all the coverage you would expect — helped by some amusing photos of models looking absolutely freezing. The only disappointment is that they missed a trick with the shoot location. Australian, tight male trunks and TFL? This should have been launched at Cockfosters.

Written by

Greg Double, creative director at Burson.

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