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The Fame Game: Air NZ’s plane porn, Hell’s personal messaging and an alternative to Squid Game

This month Special PR’s Head of PR & Influence, Kelly Grindle, selects five of the most attention-grabbing PR campaigns that have made a big difference for their respective brands.

Have a submissions for November’s column? Email [email protected]

Destination Vaccination with Air New Zealand

After a hiatus in the COVID-induced wilderness, Air New Zealand has done it again.

They transformed a 787 aircraft into a special vaccination clinic to encourage Aucklanders to get pricked on Super Saturday.

Bound for ‘Destination Vaccination’ Aucklanders could board the Jabaseat flight, receive their vaccination, and enjoy Air New Zealand’s world-renowned customer service and hospitality – with a behind-the-scenes tour of the aircraft hangar and a commemorative boarding pass to boot.

This is clever on so many levels: Air New Zealand clung to its rightful place as our leading national brand by dominating the Super Saturday occasion; they’ve balanced community responsibility with brand building; and they’ve helped achieve their own strategic objectives considering only vaccinated passengers will be able to fly internationally.

Finish that off with some old-fashioned plane porn (just look at that sexy 787 sporting her Jabaseat branding) and you’ve got a recipe for headlines not just in New Zealand – but around the world.

KFC tops the ELF Scale

This might not be a campaign, but it is a brilliant example of on-point social marketing.

Food influencer Albert Cho of Eat Lit Food embraced a vice we all shared this month: chowing down on a cheeky takeaway burger.

Cho opted for KFC and posted about the glorious, calorie-inducing, juicy goodness on his Instagram channel, rating the burger as a “9.10/10 on a regular scale, 13.83/10 on the Eat-Lit Food Scale.”

Never one to miss an opportunity for newsjacking, the KFC teams promptly updated their social biographies with the glowing endorsement from our most notorious food-fluencer.

The result? A tonne of earned social coverage, and some Kentucky fried free endorsement from the one and only Mr Albert Cho.

Well done KFC. Here’s hoping their PR team is half as responsive and send Special some burgers of our own…

Greta can go to hell

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: ‘Corporate Comms doesn’t have to be boring’.

Hells Pizza is making admirable strides in sustainability. They’ve introduced carbon neutral deliveries in Wellington; minimised waste output; and have pledged to make 75 stores cleaner and greener.

Do you put that as a footnote in an annual report, or do you use it to build your brand?

Hells Pizza did the latter taking out provocative billboards telling climate activist Greta Thunberg to “Go To Hell.”  The personal, but public, invitation targeted her native Stockholm with adshel posters and encouraged her to inspect the sustainability progress of the pizza chain.

But let’s face it, it’s never really about the advertising.

The subsequent PR reached Sweden, UK, US, Australia, India, and little old New Zealand.

Brilliant, disruptive, provocative work from one of our top fast-food brands that had purpose at its heart.

Their sustainability commitments will make me feel ever-so-slightly better when I tuck into their meat-heavy Lust pizza on a Friday night.

An alternative to Squid Game

If you haven’t heard about Netflix’s most-watched show to date Squid Game, you’ve been living under a rock.

The dystopian TV show follows 456 South Koreans who, when facing a daunting level of debt, agree to a kill-or-be-killed social experiment to win a multi-million-dollar prize pot.

A US debt relief app – appropriately called Relief – tapped into this cultural moment, with an exceptionally modest budget.

Relief wanted to educate consumers on ways to get out of debt and distributed thousands of business cards (that look a lot like the sinister invitation from the show) under car windscreen wipers across America.

The message on the back is clear: “There’s a better way to get out of debt.”

Simple. Affordable. Easy. Truth once again that good PR needs to be fast, culturally connected, and relevant.

No need to play Red Light, Green Light.

Gucci’s masterclass in experiential

This is an honourable mention to Gucci, just for the sheer millions of pounds they must have spent to make this activation work properly.

The luxury fashion house has overtaken an iconic building in the trendy suburb of Shoreditch in London, covered the exterior in its iconic monogram and sapphire print, and flung open its doors as a café and working space for London’s creative communities.

The finish and thought in this activation is breathtaking: Gucci interior design from floor to ceiling, songs you can select from a vintage duke box, an exhibition space to celebrate 100 years of the brand, a darkened library curated by cult publisher Idea, and a stylish workplace and café.

They’ve leveraged iconic names including Billie Eilish, Elton John, Florence Welch, Arlo Parks, Connie Constance, and Kam-Bu to curate and launch the space; and have months of programmable events, seminars, and parties.

Pure. Experiential. Heaven. What other brand could execute this concept to this standard, with this level of cultural connection?

Best of all? It’s located right across the road from the iconic Shoreditch House; and has convinced the creative class of London to try something new for a change.

For more from Kelly and The Fame Game, click here.

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