3 Publicity Campaigns We’re In Love With This Valentine’s Day

Note: This post originally appeared on LaunchSquad’s blog on February 13, 2015.
ovechkin with ann

If you work in PR, what better Valentine is there than the perfect (or nearly perfect) publicity campaign? At LaunchSquad, we’re a little nuts about good PR—here are three publicity campaigns that have won our hearts so far this year.

#BestBuds

Budweiser has made a habit of leaking its animal-centric Super Bowl commercials in advance of the big game—in 2014 the hashtag and related video exploded over the Internet. This year, with the bar set high, Budweiser released a preview of its 2015 commercial several days before the Super Bowl—the first strategic move in a campaign that appealed to basic human pathos, and to, well, everyone who loves puppies. Sure, puppies have nothing to do with beer, but here’s why it worked:

  • The pathos. I challenge you to find three people who dislike golden retriever puppies, and whose hearts don’t dissolve at the thought of one lost—and then found.
  • The relevant, heart-warming theme. Nothing puts you in a cozy, feel good mood like animal friendship, especially while you’re watching the game with friends and family.
  • The cleverness. We can all appreciate hashtag alliteration, and the wordplay on “Buds.”
  • The buzz. Budweiser’s decision to release their ad before the Super Bowl drove word-of-mouth publicity and excitement for the feature commercial during the game.


Tinder Matches Dogs and Owners

For love-hungry singles, Tinder has a huge network. Dogs, on the other hand, don’t typically get to enjoy the benefits of online networks (romantic or otherwise). To fix this, Tinder combined its matchmaking prowess with Social Tees, an animal rescue network in NYC, to save the puppies and the humans. First, Social Tees posted profiles on Tinder of its rescue dogs that needed homes, listing typically human characteristics alongside puppy profile pics. Tinder then paired the dogs with its regular users who would be compatible matches with the dogs’ fictitious, humanlike profiles. In less than 24 hours, the project received over 1,500 doggie/human matches. This was a campaign that was oriented for Social Tees, but drove goodwill for Tinder as well. Here’s why it worked:

  • The puppies. I said it above, and I’ll say it again—whose heart doesn’t melt from a pup in need? And don’t you think of Tinder in a slightly kinder, fuzzier light now? Maybe?
  • The convenience. The program brought information directly to the people. The dogs came to the app’s users; users didn’t need to seek them out.
  • The playfulness. The dogs were given real, human profiles, but with canine photos. That’s a way to win a smile—and in addition to raising awareness and making users laugh, at least one puppy found a new home as a result!


The Multi-Millionaire’s Desperation for a $22K Car

alex ovechkin honda

Image c/o Yahoo Sports

At the January 25 NHL All-Star game, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin campaigned incessantly for one of the two Honda Accords that were to be given out that day: one to the MVP of the game, and one to the player picked last for the teams.

Even after Ovechkin’s chances to win the car dropped by 50 percent when he wasn’t picked last, and when his chances dropped to zero when he wasn’t selected as MVP, Honda presented him with a car anyway.

To the pleasant surprise of fans and NHL fans, it turned out Oveckin wasn’t campaigning for himself –he wanted the car in honor of ten-year-old Anne Schaub, a girl with Down Syndrome. In October, Anne had approached Ovechkin and asked him on a date, and Ovi wanted to do something for her again in January.

Once Ovi won the car in honor of Anne, he donated it to the Washington Ice Dogs Hockey program, an organization that gives children and young adults with disabilities the opportunity to play hockey. It’s true that in many ways this isn’t a traditional publicity campaign, but here’s why it hit home for Honda:

  • Charitable giving. Honda was already the sponsor of the event, but it was the extra tie-in to goodwill and human kindness that gave a human face to the car maker.
  • Valuable impressions. Ovechkin has 1 million followers on Twitter who saw his tweets engaging with the Honda brand, making Ovi’s efforts—and Honda’s response—that much more visible.
  • Organic spread. Honda laid low. The company only decided to give the gift once they heard Ovechkin’s story, and they didn’t promote it on social media or pitch the story. The potential risk of being perceived as opportunistic in this circumstance was high, but Honda handled it like a pro—and still generated loads of coverage.

These three are only a few of the great campaigns we’ve seen and loved over the past year. Do you have a favorite this Valentine’s Day? Drop us a note in the comments!

Featured image c/o
Russian Machine Never Breaks

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