The Fame Game: Refuge for Ukraine refugees, Adidas gets a bit of backlash and Fullers360 tackles period poverty

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

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

This campaign from Adidas is ‘breast’ in class

Adidas has boldly ignored UK nudity and censorship guidelines with a provocative campaign that features 25 pairs of breasts.

The athleisure brand has announced it is redesigning 100 percent of its sports bras to provide the perfect fit for all women. They’ve unveiled out-of-home, social and influencer content, and a brave PR campaign to represent all differences in body size and shape.

In a statement, Adidas says: “We believe women’s breasts in all shapes and sizes deserve support and comfort. Which is why our new sports bra range continues 43 styles, so everyone can find the right fit for them.”

This is product marketing that relates to a real customer issue. As part of the campaign, Adidas shared images highlighting indents on the body caused by wearing an ill-fitting bra, justifying their 43 new styles that are better designed for all bodies.

I love a campaign that gets a bit of backlash, and understandably, a few people were concerned about the effect the advertisement.

But at the end of the day, these breasts aren’t being sexualised, and the brand isn’t being provocative for the sake of scoring a quick headline. It speaks to the company’s vision to progress the issue, fight to normalise the human body and offer a better solution to its customers.

Clear customer insight, a real societal issue, eye-catching visuals, and a strong media narrative: this is a PR winner.

Who doesn’t love Moët & Chandon?

I can’t quite believe I am writing about an influencer mailer as the best example of PR in the last month – but bear with me.

If you’re going to do a press and influencer mailer, you need to do it right, and Moët & Chandon have delivered a masterclass.

Too often, our industry is pressured to do these with a few quid in our back pocket and a spray-and-pray attitude to garner a few influencer posts. But really, this should be a communication touchpoint that’s such as visually important as brand assets.

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, Moët & Chandon offered personalised bottles with messages of “With Love” in gold calligraphy on the bottle. A customisable PR product is always a winner, but the art direction and styling took the idea to the next level.

Impeccably delivered mailers, with the added theatre of a suited and booted concierge making personal deliveries, helped elevate this to a worthy inclusion. From supporting social content and PR imagery, the campaign was executed flawlessly – jumping out from the Instagram Grid and flooding my timeline.

The budget to execute this would have been far higher than the industry standard, but it’s a level we should collectively push to achieve, particularly for those premium and luxury brands.

Finesse, style, and craft can be just as important in PR as in advertising; and Moët & Chandon have shown how it can be done.

Airbnb stands with Ukraine

Airbnb has received more recognition in this column than any other brand, but this isn’t sponsored content, and (unfortunately) they’re not a client.

They have hit a global homerun once again for their goodwill, generosity, and reactivity to the Ukraine crisis.

The accommodation provider has announced it is offering housing of up to 14 days for 100,000 refugees fleeing Ukraine. Airbnb is working with non-profits on the ground in Germany, Hungary, Poland and Romania to book and coordinate stays for refugees, who will also receive a range of other support in their lives.

Set against a backdrop of one million refugees already fleeing the country, which is predicted to spike to four million by the end of the month, Airbnb has once again proven that businesses can be a force for good.

This is notable for two key reasons. Firstly, the sheer speed and reactivity with which Airbnb moved meant it was one of the first brands to offer support to the crisis – with an offer that will certainly have logistical and operational challenges for them.

Secondly, and more importantly, is that despite this being a gesture of goodwill it continues to build towards their brand platform of “Belong Anywhere”. 

Airbnb flexes that platform in so many different directions: from “belonging” in unusual locations through attention-grabbing stunts, to “belonging” for LGBT+ travellers with their activations around Pride, to “belonging” in new countries in the face of a refugee crisis.

This is not only the right thing to do from a humanitarian perspective, it’s the right thing to do for the Airbnb brand.

BYO booze with Leftfield Wines

New Zealand has an incredible hospitality scene; but a lot of the time its PR comes with highly curated, upmarket promotion.

Metro Restaurant of the Year, Dining Out in Viva, highly saturated Instagram posts from Soul Bar.

But there’s a tonne of overlooked hospitality hotspots – and in a lot of them, you get the added benefit of tucking into a cheeky BYO bottle of wine (or in my case, two bottles).

Leftfield Wines partnered with food curators and publishers Lazy Susan to shine a light on the best BYO Auckland has to offer.  From the usual faves to the new kids on the block, it celebrates eateries where taking along wine isn’t just fine – it’s encouraged.

Auckland residents submitted their suggestions with an expert panel whittling down the suggestions to a shortlist of twelve – before a final winner is selected for a small business grant (and some hefty bragging rights).

This is simple – but it hits the mark.

Consumer engagement, media partnership, a judging panel, partnership amplification across participating restaurants, a tonne of PR; and it is done against a cultural backdrop of a struggling hospitality industry for added some news appeal.

A shortlist of restaurants isn’t new by any stretch of the imagination, but this approach and execution feel different.  From the visual direction of the campaign to the selection of (largely underutilised) talent on the judging panel, it speaks to a demographic and hospitality category that tends to be overlooked.

Just another reason to enjoy a drink this weekend, hey?

Got your period? Fullers360 has got you

As a man, I have to admit my knowledge of period products is somewhat limited: but I do know that period poverty is a growing concern, not just here in New Zealand but around the world.

Period poverty is the inability to access period products – the key barrier of which is financial, with a $6 packet of pads being a significant cost if you’re living on $10 a day.

Fullers360 ferries have helped address the problem, by offering free tampons and pads to all passengers and staff in Auckland.

It is the first tourism and public transport provider in New Zealand to do this and has partnered with Dignity, an organisation that provides access to period products.

This is a fairly straightforward initiative that works for a variety of reasons:  it is tied to a societal issue for strong news appeal, it improves the customer experience for travellers on board their vessels, the inclusion of staff is a nice touch for internal engagement, and it’s another example of modern businesses stepping beyond their remit to be good corporate citizens.

The fact that more businesses in New Zealand – such as hotels, airlines or even restaurants – aren’t doing the same thing is a bloody disgrace.

Hats off to Fullers360 and Dignity.

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

About Author

Kelly Grindle is Head of PR & Influence at Special PR.

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