PR Review: 2015

Media agencies spend thousands of pounds crafting the perfect message for its clients. But in 2015, cheap controversy helped the likes of Merseyside Police, Protein World and Penguin Books achieve success all on their own. Not necessarily the right kind, but success nonetheless.  

If inappropriate and mis-timed slogans and status updates weren’t shocking enough, this year we’ve also seen a rise in emoji campaigns. With brand advocates such as Chevrolet, Durex and Dogs’ Trust, we can expect to see this trend continue into 2016 as digital teams take their pick of emoticons to add personality to their comms. 

We’ve also seen ‘so-mopreneurs’ (social media entrepreneurs) encourage people to make plans for their digital estate after they die. Whether that’s asking someone to shut down your profile, or donating Twitter followers to charity, there’s plenty of options in the after-life.

But, while we’re still here, let’s take a look at the companies which have got our pulse racing at the annual Prime Time PR Awards

How did they do that? 
Winner: Back to the Future’s Pepsi Perfect

We couldn’t get enough of Back to the Future (BTTF) Day in October. No hoaxes – just a genuine celebration of Marty McFly and co. Lots of brands made an effort to cash in on the marketing madness, including Pepsi. Featured in the original film, it manufactured the futuristic Pepsi Perfect and charged $20 for the privilege. An absolute rip-off for normal Pepsi in different packaging – but a collector’s item nonetheless. We’re still waiting on the promise that the UK will be able to buy a bottle. Watch this space. 

 Pepsi Perfect becomes a reality 

Prime Time view: We loved the simplicity of this campaign. The BTTF franchise comes complete with a captive audience, and Pepsi delivered exactly what its fans wanted – a nod to their favourite film. 

Toyota reveals Marty McFly’s dream car

Anya Hindmarch’s service station

Better luck next time
Winner: Penguin Books’ #YourMum campaign

Penguin offered to help children everywhere find the perfect gift for their mums on Mother’s Day – adopting the ‘playground humour’ hashtag on social media. Not surprisingly, much of the brand’s interaction had little to do with literature. In the end, Penguin was forced to throw in the towel and admit it had made a complete hash of the hashtag. 

 Penguin makes a social media mistake 

Prime Time view: This example just highlights one of the many pitfalls brands can jump into when they fail to sensecheck their work. That’s not to say Penguin shouldn’t have run with it – but it should’ve been prepared for negative repurcussions – so it could handle the situation more efficiently.  


1) BBC’s mobile website fail

2) Nando’s flirtatious tweets

Worth every penny 
Winner: Carlsberg’s ‘Probably the best poster in the world’ billboard

Carlsberg decided to set up shop in Brick Lane with a welcoming billboard. Inviting people to queue up to serve themselves a drink, from underneath the cheeky poster’s slogan, this advert not only caught people’s attention; it quenched their thirst. 

 Probably the best advert of the year 

Prime Time view: When you have an advertising concept, re-purpose it to connect with new and existing audiences. The best brands don’t bother re-inventing the wheel, they simply add a fresh dimension to ideas they know work.

Clean and Clear’s ‘See the Real Me’ campaign

McVitie’s Cuddle Café

On a shoestring
Winner: Surfers Against Sewage

As part of the charity’s mission to reduce litter on beaches by 50% by 2020, SAS teamed up with a tattooist to create unique designs – which were leveraged across social media – to raise awareness that rubbish spoils the coastlines.  

 Tattoos with a 'rubbish' message 

Prime Time view:  This is a classy campaign that doesn’t beat around the bush. It clearly presents a problem and its mission – and attempts to bridge the gap using credible statistics, creative and a robust charitable angle.

KitKat’s blank space

GCHQ’s spy puzzle competition

So, there you have it. The big 2015/16 review. Share the love Prime Timers, have a happy New Year and I’ll see you in January.

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