Budweiser and the Whopper
Last year certainly wasn’t the year everybody had planned, but that didn’t get in the way of some great PR campaigns. To round off the year, here are two of my favourite efforts from December alongside something of a PR conundrum…
Budweiser – Messi’s goal record
Lionel Messi is often considered the greatest footballer of our generation, and for good reason. He recently made history by overtaking Pelé’s long-standing record for most goals scored at a single club after scoring his 644th goal for Barcelona FC. To mark the momentous occasion, Budweiser created a custom bottle for each of the goals and sent them to the 160 goalkeepers Messi scored against.
Each bottle displays the goal number and a silhouette of Messi in a classic goal celebration pose.
Why we like it: Breaking such a record is a huge achievement and what better way to celebrate it than with a light-hearted PR stunt. By sending each of the bottles to the 160 goalkeepers Messi beat, the campaign generated additional coverage following social media posts by the keepers themselves including Juventus shot-stopper Gianluigi Buffon and Chelsea’s no. 1, Kepa Arrizabalaga.
It’s not just about the Whopper
When millions entered the toughest coronavirus restrictions in England, all restaurants and pubs were forced to close except for deliveries and takeaways. In light of the announcement, fast food giant Burger King revealed it would use its platform to advertise independent restaurants that have struggled this year, starting with a simple social media post using #WhopperAndFriends, because there is more out there than the Whopper.
Why we like it: We’ve seen some brands do some great things throughout the pandemic to help their communities, but this move from Burger King is a class act. The company has a track record for light-hearted, often tongue-in-cheek marketing aimed at some of its biggest competitors. But during such a strained year for many, it dropped its usual tone to amplify the importance of supporting your neighbours, even if they are your competition, perfectly encapsulating the general spirit of community, solidarity and support that has been the silver lining of the pandemic.
There is no denying the power of influencer marketing for brands. Enlisting the help of influencers to market a product or service can support an integrated campaign to raise brand awareness and even drive sales, like we did to launch a new range of toys for Mookie. But it only works if the collaboration is genuine and the influencer has credibility.
In December, many influencers came under fire from their followers and the general public for seemingly ignoring coronavirus restrictions to jet off to faraway destinations under the guise of work trips. One such example is Rita Ora; her rule-breaking cost her a partnership with EE who quietly stopped running the TV advert that starred her alongside Kevin Bacon, but that’s just one of the more high-profile instances of something that was shockingly frequent over the past nine months.
What to learn: In the words of Hannah Montana, nobody’s perfect. But when so many all around the world are suffering from a situation that is negatively affecting the lives of everyone, our tolerance levels for the bratty, demanding and impatient whims of multi-millionaire celebrities has run a bit thin.
We live in a time where social media is king and being seen to flagrantly flout government guidelines - and rub it in our faces - makes the guilty influencers appear tone deaf. This then presents a challenge to brands who want to work with influencers, because it isn’t just about how many followers a social media star has, but how engaged their audience is and, most importantly, how credible their recommendations are. Without a credible recommendation, any influencer collaboration becomes meaningless. We think EE made the right choice, but will others follow suit?