Public Relations


Top 10 digital campaigns

October 2021

Reading time: 4 minute(s).

Creating a PR campaign that people remember can be a vital aspect of an effective business strategy. It can increase the visibility of a brand, improve a brand’s reputation, and create a relationship with media channels.

Usually, a PR campaign starts with a specific objective, whether that be a particular message a brand wants to convey or to drive sales.

Campaigns throughout 2021 have largely surrounded togetherness, which has been welcome during the trying times of the last two years. Recognising this, other brands have chosen to create fun digital campaigns aiming to cheer people up and provide some escapism.

1. Footballers unite to put a stop to online racial abuse

Earlier this year, Manchester United reported that their players had received 350 per cent more abuse after the club undertook their own survey over a 17-month period monitoring abusive messages sent to players.

To combat this, many well-known players and their clubs decided to stand up to racism by boycotting social media for four days.

The campaign objective was to reveal how prominent footballers are on social media, and how the platforms would suffer without them. They hoped to make social media platforms acknowledge the issue and work to combat and prevent the abuse received online.

Athletes from across the sporting world came out to support the footballers by partaking in the social media boycott, a sign that this issue is by no means limited to the so-called beautiful game.

At the end of April, Manchester City FC and England footballer Raheem Sterling took to Twitter to share the following message as part of the campaign: “We are switching off our social media channels from 3pm on Friday 30 April, until 23:59pm on Monday 3 May, in response to sustained and ongoing online abuse.”

2. Tesco shows support for local pubs

Togetherness was a key message in Tesco’s digital campaign to encourage their customers to support local pubs, rather than the supermarket, when lockdown rules were eased earlier this year.

This Tesco campaign displayed their compassion for the hospitality industry, which hugely suffered when they were forced to close during the lockdown. They used their famous slogan “every little helps” across various media platforms asking people to spend at pubs and restaurants, rather than in store.

Taking to Twitter, Tesco posted: “Pubs have had it tough this year. So, as good as our deals are, this week we’d rather you support your local pub (as long as you feel safe to do so). Because right now, #EveryLittleHelps.”

3. Celebs help the NHS to encourage the over 70s to get vaccinated

In February this year, an advert to support the NHS was aired starring Elton John and Michael Caine in hope of encouraging the over 70s to get a COVID-19 vaccination. 

The celebrities, aged 74 and 88, were shown in an ‘audition tape’ talking about the vaccines. To deliver the serious message, the advert was made light-hearted using comedy, with moments including Elton stating that he was “still standing, yeah, yeah, yeah” after his vaccination. 

4. Weetabix and Beanz for breakfast

Another campaign offering a form of escapism in the pandemic was Weetabix suggesting that “Beanz on bix” is as an acceptable breakfast option “with a twist”.

In no time, the tweet went viral, with countless other brands offering their opinion on the bizarre meal combination. The NHS retweeted advising their followers that the tweet “should come with a health warning”.

The talkability of the clever campaign expanded the visibility of both Weetabix and Heinz Baked Beanz whilst providing a much-needed amusing online debate.

5. Wimbledon Doritos

A well-timed stunt from Doritos left people intrigued and disgusted by their new crisp flavour of strawberries and cream. 

To concur with the Wimbledon tournament, Doritos posted an image of their strawberries and cream crisps on their Instagram and almost instantly, it caused uproar amongst its followers. 

Although the crisps never appeared on supermarket shelves, it certainly caused an entertaining stir online, once again offering some comic relief at a time when it was greatly needed. 

6. The Best Men Can Be

Gillette released the advert “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be” to combat the issues of perceived ‘toxic masculinity’, whilst accepting the part they have played by using the slogan “The Best A Man Can Get” for 30 years.

The inspiring and moving advert showed the effect that toxic masculinity can have on young boys, discussing the theme of sexual allegations and sexual misconduct.

Gillette used “#TheBestMenCanBe” on their social media platforms as part of the campaign and posted stories relating to the issue on their website. They have pledged $1m a year for three years to non-profit organisations that offer support to young men.

The moving campaign received more than 36 million views and their campaign received thousands of impressions on Twitter.

7. Rebuild the World with Lego

For their first marketing campaign in 30 years, Lego released a feel-good advert which followed a man chasing a white rabbit through numerous surroundings with nods to their toys continuously featuring throughout. 

At first glance the advert looks like a fun film displaying a scenario a child may create using their Lego toys. However, a closer look allows some viewers to recognise that the changes made throughout the interview are ones made to have a positive impact, hinting how viewers can improve themselves by making changes. 

Lego used the advert to appeal to both young and old audiences and amassed over 11 million views online. 

8. Drama vs Reality

ITV brought some of our favourite TV stars together for adverts to display the broad range of shows on offer via the ITV Hub.

They capture the viewers’ attention by using recognisable faces to act out fun scenarios, providing some laughter during the ad-breaks.

The memorable adverts feature some of our favourite stars who would never usually act together. Drama actors and reality TV stars face off in battles, fighting for the audience’s attention.

Stars include Jason Watkins, Katherine Kelly, Ferne McCann, and Pete Wicks.

9. WatchMeMove

Deodorant company Sure, used their digital PR campaign, “Watch Me Move”, to combat the fear of being judged based on how you look stopping you from becoming more active 

The main objective of the inspiring campaign was to “turn that fear on its head by empowering those who feel self-conscious to overcome their doubts and move how you want to, no matter who’s watching.” 

The content creators and athletes who starred in the advert challenge society’s unrealistic image of how people should look. Throughout the video, they ignore other people’s stares and judgement to exercise and move. 

Society’s image of how athletes and people should look is often reinforced by the media, but Sure used their campaign to set the record straight by challenging and destroying this unrealistic preconceived image. 

10. Burger King: 3am Apparitions

To complete the list, we have included a recent Halloween-themed digital campaign from Burger King. 

To celebrate Halloween, Burger King have released a spooky horror film themed advert “3am Apparitions” to announce that they were giving away a free meal via their app. 

During the week running up to Halloween, customers can order free food from the fast-food chain every night between 3am and 4am, the time when most paranormal activity is said to take place.  

October 2021 | Adam Mclaughlan