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The Fame Game: Steinlager, Emirates and August’s other influential PR activations

Introducing The Fame Game, a new monthly column from StopPress that celebrates the best PR, influence, and activation work from New Zealand and abroad. Special PR’s Head of PR & Influence, Kelly Grindle, selects five of the most attention-grabbing campaigns that made a difference. 

The Steinlager Alt Blacks

If you’re a sport-phobic PR like me who is terrified of catching a ball let alone tackling a 130kg beast from the All Blacks, perhaps your prayers have been answered. 

Steinlager have democratised our national game and invited everyday Kiwis to don the famous Black Jersey – albeit virtually.

They’ve teamed up with Sir Graham Henry to select the “Alt Blacks” – a virtual line-up of regular Kiwis who will be immortalised in digital form, taking on South Africa in a live-streamed eSports test.

It’s no surprise that this idea has lit-up our social feeds. It’s incorporated all the right ingredients for success, and it’s disrupted the standard approach to sports sponsorship.

Bonus points need to be awarded for campaign content – slick, modern, and with the right dash of humour and energy.

Anyone bored in lockdown should visit steinlageraltblacks.co.nz to create a submission, and more importantly reach for a Steinlager in the supermarket isle. 

It’s suddenly feeling a lot more contemporary and modern than your standard Heineken.

Emirates: Highest ad in the world

The United Arab Emirates moved from the UK’s red list to amber. So, what do you do? Issue a bland press announcement as part of your standard PR strategy? No. You execute a stunt that generates thousands of headlines all over the world, even 14,000km away in New Zealand.

In an audacious viral clip, that led many to speculate it was faked, Emirates placed an air hostess on top of the 828m high Burj Khalifa.

In a playful hint to British culture, she tells the story of new travel possibilities through cards written in Love Actually style – finishing with “Fly Emirates, Fly Better.”

This is PR gold dust: a piece of shareable content that tells the story itself, racking up millions of online views and hitting headlines from Mail Online, to Esquire, to Newsweek.

While it’s invigorating to see creativity return to an industry that has been battered by the Covid-19 pandemic, this is not creativity for creativity’s sake: everyone now knows about the relaxed travel rules between the UAE and the UK.

A bold initiative from Veuve Clicquot

‘Bold Conversations’ is a global Veuve Clicquot platform brought to life in New Zealand for the very first time. 

Veuve Clicquot created an event that focused on female entrepreneurship in Aotearoa – contributing to a global conversation about the state of female entrepreneurs and how to overcome common prejudices.

Crucially, this event broke the standard influencer mould. For once, influencers were being used to say something, contributing to meaningful conversations that impact the world we live in.

For too long our industry has used the same influencers, to create the same oversaturated content, to achieve meaningless reach figures: but this was different.

Truly influential tastemakers such as trail-blazing journalist Carol Hirschfield, fashion darling Maggie Hewitt and artist Grace Wright underpinned a superbly well integrated campaign that included experiential, media partnerships, PR and social content.

Wildly creative? Probably not. Flawlessly executed? Definitely. And for a brand of Veuve Clicquot’s standing, that’s what matters.

IKEA’s Shoppable Tribute

Is there anything IKEA does that misses the mark?

The mega retailer has turned living spaces from some of our most beloved pop-culture shows into a cutting-edge e-commerce catalogue.

TV addicts can re-create the look of well-worn sets from the likes of Friends, The Simpsons, and my personal favourite Stranger Things.

In a nod to the sheer volume of products available at the retailer you can now buy lookalike paintings from The Simpsons, festive lights from Stranger Things and even Monica’s couch from Friends.

Brilliantly simple, and executed as a digital-first initiative, this is one of many campaigns that proves IKEA is a brand embedded at the centre of culture.

With rumours abounding of IKEA’s imminent arrival in New Zealand, whoever they appoint as a local agency is going to suffer a blessing and a curse.  For some brands “good” just doesn’t cut it, and IKEA is one of them.

Slingshot supports frontline workers

Recognising the essential contribution made by frontline workers, internet services provider Slingshot is offering no-obligations, unlimited free broadband to frontline workers for six months.

Police, nurses, teachers, defence force, midwives and others will benefit from the scheme, in a significant act of generosity to some of the most deserving Kiwis.

While the campaign may not have landed the emotional punch you’d expect from an act like this, from a PR perspective it’s certainly hit all the right marks. 

As an everyday consumer I found it on Newshub, in the Herald, and lighting up radio stations (even whilst jumping channels), which indicated it balanced cultural insight and impact to dominate New Zealand news.

Crucially, and perhaps fortuitously, this was launched before the latest Covid-19 lockdown proving it isn’t an opportunistic reaction to our current misfortune, it’s a genuine act of kindness.

I certainly hope all those schoolteachers stuck at home are making the most of Zoom lessons with unlimited data.

Submissions for September’s column are welcome – PR, influence and activation case studies can be sent to: [email protected]

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