Musings on PR and the New Year

Seems like what’s old is new again. Used to be that stunts were a mainstay of PR. Then they were considered passé…old fashioned. But, with the explosion of social media, smart PR practitioners are realizing they can extend the life of a one-off stunt via online channels and the viral nature of social media. P&G’s Charmin Times Square portable potties are a great example. They’ve become iconic in the digital age and have generated ongoing traditional and social media buzz year after year.

With celebrity endorsements getting harder to come by and more expensive, and traditional media difficult for established brands to secure, smart marketers are maximizing existing content, events and traditional fodder online.

But, many of the newbies doing this work came up in a social media world; they aren’t often grounded in the need for a long term strategy that fits their client brands’ personality and heritage. It’s important to make sure that a stunt – as cool and viral as it seems – is based on the clients’ core business objectives. And , it needs to be integrated into the full marketing campaign to give it a longer shelf life.

A recent Wall Street Journal story, “PR Stunts in a Digital Era,” features a young PR firm that promoted a retail account by wearing prom dresses around New York City for a month…culminating with a fake prom at a hip NYC hotel. Very clever. Wouldn’t it be cool to keep the momentum going with ongoing contests to find the coolest holiday dress, best nightclub dress, most romantic Valentine’s Day outfit…you get the idea. That way, the retailer’s name stays current and top-of-mind with its target audience all year long.

Snapple has done it right. Its stunts always reflect its hip, young and offbeat personality…they’re true to the brand. And the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island has become a classic PR stunt that has actually morphed into a long term brand campaign.

As we approach 2012, its’ a very exciting time to be in PR. We can and should learn from the great marketers and PR folks of yore. But, the question we need to ask ourselves as we brainstorm for the next big thing in Times Square or Grand Central Station is, “How do we make this one-off stunt work hard for the brand all year long?”

We’ll be initiating a very cool campaign for our Purdue Products laxative client in 2012…one that’s sure to help bring the constipation conversation out into the open and online. But, you can be sure it will make sense for the brand and its overall digestive health story. You’ll just have to come back to the site to check it out!

Ready To Work With Us?



If you're looking for a PR partner who shares your vision and passion for health, wellness, and nutrition, we'd love to work with you.