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Best Pr Case Study

The year is quickly coming to a close… The Samsung Galaxy selfie at the Oscar’s ceremony stole the show with the “most retweeted image of all time,” highlighting the unstoppable momentum of “real time” in communication. Ways of communicating with audiences have changed a lot this year. Companies are seeking to collaborate with influencers more in an effort to produce high-quality video content, developing heart-wrenching emotional marketing campaigns to deeply connect with consumers. Another year has gone by and once again (like in 2013) we’ve made a list of the top 10 communication campaign examples. In this post, you will see examples of charity campaigns, experiential marketing actions and more! Take a look at them, and let us know if you’d like to add any others to our list.

AirBnb new logo campaign: the Bélo story

Launching a new logo is always a risky business for any brand. And (if you are world renowned) the initial “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” reaction can be particularly significant. This is what happened to AirBnb when they decided to launch “the Bélo,” a new concept for their logo with an interesting story behind it… The new logo represents the essence of connection and a sense of belonging to an ever expanding global environment. AirBnb produced a video for this occasion explaining the reason of this new branding approach. They also created their own “custom experience” platform where every AirBnb user could personalize their own Bélo using a variety of colors, lines and backgrounds. But, what about those millions of users who already knew about the brand and were very active with their services? Brian Chesky, corporate CEO, sent them an invitation to an exclusive webinar where he himself explained the reason underlying this major change.

But, as I mentioned before: when you’re already very well known, it can be quite difficult to get worldwide approval, even though your communication campaign has been meticulously planned! Scathing reviews came out instantaneously… The Bélo was compared to animals, very specific body parts, foods, transportation, etc. However, despite all the judgment, the brand knew how to deal the criticism by creating this sarcastic infographic of the results.

Google fights against Ebola

While governments around the world were unsuccessfully trying to make up their minds about the best approach, sitting around and debating and discussing the best ways to combat Ebola…Google stepped up to the plate. In November, its CEO announced it would pledge $2 for every dollar donated through its website. They set up a specific URL to explain this original social action and invite people across the globe to contribute to this worthwhile, timely cause. When you type “Google Ebola campaign” into a search engine, you’ll get over 22 million results with posts, news, articles and mentions of this initiative which made governments from all over the world feel ashamed as a result of their indecisiveness about how to best face this challenge. CSR campaigns are always a great initiative that aim to better society, but if they are launched at the perfect moment and in the best circumstances — as was the case for Google — they will become a huge boost to your brand reputation and image.

Summer of sharing: share a coke

This is a campaign that only a brand like Coca-Cola would ever think about doing… It was globally applauded and everyone was talking about it. There was a real feeling of excitement amongst soft drink consumers (mainly Coke folks) about getting a bottle with their name on it. (Or the name of a loved one!)

This summer, Coke is swapping out three of its iconic logos on 20-oz. bottles for the 250 most popular first names among American teens and Millennials.

With this viral initiative, Coca-Cola shared a personalized brand experience with their consumers in one of the greatest global communication campaigns ever to be launched, reaching people from all parts of the globe. They got PR hits worldwide, millions of mentions and pictures shared on social media. Hey, did you get your own bottle too? (I most certainly did, and I still have it on top of my fireplace!)

Burger King Proud Whopper “New” Product Launch

“We are all the same inside” was Burger King’s message during San Francisco’s Gay Pride Week this year. This “experience marketing” action, held in one of the main Bay Area Burger Kings, invited people to try a “new product,” launched for a limited time only called the “Proud Whopper.”

“What’s that?” many Burger King goers asked… Well, (after ordering the burger) when customers opened the rainbow colored wrapper a message appeared on the back side of the paper: “We are all the same inside.” In reality, the burger was not a newly launched product, but the same whopper as always in different packaging.

Due to its controversial message at a controversial point in time in the United States, this communication campaign ended up generating 1.1 million media impacts and became the #1 trending topic on Twitter and Facebook after only a week. The results of the campaign were far greater than imagined: achieving a better reputation for the company as a progressive, forward-thinking brand.

Apple: the power of having an iPhone

If you are using your iPhone just for calls, text messages now and again and to check the weather forecast, you may not be experiencing what an iPhone really is… This is what Apple tried to communicate through a series of TV and Internet advertisements throughout 2014 in promoting the launch of the 5s product. iPhones have so many practical uses that many people have just not tapped into. “You’re more powerful than you think” is the slogan that makes you start imagining how iPhone could transform your life. It’s especially cool to see how Apple is able to connect their brand with people’s “day-to-day” experiences – I mean, not just digital and online – but rather how an iPhone is a practical solution to meet people’s daily needs.

Don’t miss this video about how modern moms and dads can take full advantage of all the benefits that iPhone provides during early parenthood. Crazy funny!


Maybe just a few months ago you didn’t have the slightest idea what ALS was… but if you haven’t heard about the #IceBucketchallenge that means your internet consumption is really low… Are you living on the dark side of the moon? Because this is one of the most successful campaigns of the year and (for sure) one of the most profitable. Just to give you a comparison: In 2013 the ALS association’s campaign only raised about $2.8 million in donations, but this year (with this campaign) they received more than $100 million.

It was extremely viral. Several celebrities (including Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, where this campaign was most popular), bloggers, and a lot of social network users spontaneously participated in this action to raise awareness. Here you can see a Youtube playlist of the most viewed Ice Bucket challenges.

Very few people actually know how this campaign came about, so we’ve posted a video with the creator talking about why she started it:

World’s toughest job

In 2012, we were witnesses to one of the most beautiful and touching campaigns of all time: The Best Job, a Procter & Gamble creation. The campaign combined two elements: the London Olympic Games and a mother’s unwavering support, two fundamentals that lead many athletes to victory. This campaign was created to thank the mothers from all over the world for their contributions to the success in their children’s lives.

They repeated a similar action this year with their video named: Thank you, mom. This time it was American Greetings who wanted to highlight the importance of mothers’ jobs in our lives. 24 people applied for a very unattractive job ad which consisted of a never-ending list of requirements, insane hours and being available for calls at any time by your “associate” (even on nights and weekends). In the end, the interviewer unveils that what was supposed to be a “Director of Operations” position, is in fact motherhood. In a mere two days, the video was viewed over 2.8 million times!

If London were Syria

Sometimes, when we ourselves don’t experience a problem firsthand, we tend to forget it really exists for someone else. With this in mind, Save the Children developed this campaign and decided to launch a digital and global video in order to present this idea: what would happen if London were Syria. In the video, we can see how the life of a girl is destroyed in just one year because of the ongoing war. The most interesting part of this campaign was that one of its goals was to get people’s attention from many different countries and not just UK. There were more than 24 million views of the video in just one week.

The campaign was launched on 5th March to coincide with the anniversary of the start of the Syrian crisis.

Monty the Penguin

John Lewis has managed to make us all remember our childhood with “Monty the Penguin.” This campaign is not just a cute video of a kid playing with his best friend, it also has a wide range of elements that were combined to make it both successful and viral. The campaign has calls to action laced throughout the entire video and website content. After viewing the video on the website, you can buy the music from the advertisement to help the WWF protect the home of 1,000 Adélie penguins, you can buy the book telling the story of Monty and Sam, you can enjoy a 360º view of both friends’ life along with several other actions linked to this campaign. Each holiday season, the John Lewis company creates a particular web page for the designated holiday campaign of the year.

Monty even has his own Twitter account with over 35,400 followers…not bad for a Penguin, I’d say!

Monster mirror

In today’s communication, technology plays a major role in companies’ PR actions. This is the most noteworthy example I found from this year. Pepsi created this campaign in which they used augmented reality mixed with facial tracking technology for Halloween. When people went to the restroom in a cinema, they were surprised (and sometimes scared) to see their own faces being morphed into horrifying clowns. The video has been seen over 1.6 million times on Youtube alone. And this is not the first time the brand has played with augmented reality technology either, this year they also launched the “Unbelievable bus shelter!

Can you think of any other relevant communication campaign examples over the last year that we may have missed? If so, give us your feedback! We’d love to hear your thoughts!

You can’t be the best if you’re not willing to learn from the best. TopLine founder Heather Baker lists five of the most inspirational – and envy-inducing – PR campaigns of the modern age!

These days at TopLine, PR is just one part of the agency’s massive, hulking, integrated comms Voltron. While we started off with a specific focus on getting clients excellent coverage in target media outlets – and FYI we were, are, and always will be very, very good at it – we soon realised that it didn’t always work for every client. Sometimes they’re better served by inbound marketing; sometimes only SEO will do the trick; and sometimes a video-led strategy will vastly outperform anything else you attempt.

But, like a perfectly executed free kick, when a PR campaign does come off, it’s a thing of beauty. It’s a little awkward when your competitors do something incredible, but sometimes you have to put professional envy to one side, admit your begrudging admiration, and surreptitiously work out what you might be able to steal/learn from it. These five PR case studies (listed in order of whim, rather than quality) in particular provide some excellent learning material for those starting out in the industry – and a necessary shock to the system for well-established agencies looking to stay on top.


Bathrooms and food are two closely associated things that should nonetheless never be thought about in the same sentence. Everybody knows about their specific relationship, and it’s usually best not to dwell on it. Sometimes, however, those things we’ve all politely agreed to never speak of publicly need to be dragged screaming into the light.

This was, I presume, the logic behind – as much an exercise in avant-garde art as PR. Conducted for and ostensibly originating in a fairly lame pun (“sweets” = “suites”, geddit?), it calls to mind the work of both Marcel Duchamp and John Cadbury, and serves as an excellent example of how to sustain momentum over the course of a multi-phase campaign.

The twisted appeal of this PR case study can be explained in a single sentence: bathroom stuff, but made of chocolate. Chocolate bidets (shudder). Chocolate toilets (“not for the practical person”). Chocolate basins. It’s a fairly perverted kind of genius – and irresistible to all kinds of media outlets. Dynamo, the agency behind the campaign, anticipated a quick flurry of interest from major publications and websites looking for a quirky news item in the wake of their launch activities.

They certainly got it: it was covered by MSN, The Daily Express, and, amongst others. Crucially, however, they made sure to turn this early buzz into engagement in trade and luxury media (it was covered in Good Housekeeping and HouseBeautiful, amongst others), international media (including The LA Times and ABC News in the US) and social outreach – before looping back to mainstream newspapers to pick up stragglers like The Independent and The Daily Mail.

2.    WeBuyAnyCar

Many PR dramas are much like natural disasters or unexpected pregnancies (but I repeat myself). They tend to come out of left field, and it’s hard to know exactly how to handle the situation.

In September 2013, mischief-maker Jamie Jones presented WeBuyAnyCar with a PR case study for the ages. Tweeting a picture of a toy car with a long, detailed, and entirely fake rejection letter from the company, he gained tens of thousands of likes and shares – resulting in a broadly unsympathetic portrayal of the company among the platform’s users.

This was as touchy as it was completely ridiculous: while the natural impulse may be to react with denials and threats of litigation, in this situation it would only make the company look more self-serious than it did in the first place. Democracy – its PR agency – took a different tack. WeBuyAnyCar not only came out saying it found the letter hilarious, but opened and pledged to donate £1000 to charity for every toy car presented to them in-store. The counter-campaign got 1700+ retweets, and several thousand likes. 

In one stroke, the company clarified the veracity of the letter, confirmed its sense of humour, and came out smelling of the proverbial roses – a much better (and cheaper) tactic than getting litigious!

3.    Concateno

Concateno, a company that supplies drugs test, is the sort of client that it’s especially tricky to do good PR for. Substance abuse is a delicate issue, and any company that effectively makes a living off it should be seen to treat it with the sensitivity and seriousness that it deserves.

Chameleon PR had a good amount of work ahead of it if it was to position Concateno as an industry leader and expert commentator. The agency’s strategy was simple: let the facts speak for themselves – as long as Concateno representatives are the ones speaking the facts. It conducted a report entitled “High Society”, which found that, over 5 years (and 1.6 million workplace drugs tests), one in thirty UK employees tested positive for cannabis, cocaine, or opiates – and that the trend was moving upwards.

If there’s anything UK media enjoys, it’s a ‘moral panic’ story. Concateno’s report was featured in The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Daily Star, and (of course), The Daily Mail, and employees conducted over 15 radio interviews. It also featured on ITV’s DayBreak and the BBC World News website.

Of course, while coverage is nice, money is better – and it was helpful in this regard too. As a direct result of the campaign, Concateno reported that they received over one hundred new business leads. 

4.    Snickers

Google is, as a rule, pretty hard to manipulate (we’ve covered this before). You either have to spend time finding keywords with low competition and high search volume, or you spend money ranking for keywords with high competition and high search volume.  It can’t really be gamed reliably, and those few who do manage to trick it tend to get screwed in the next algorithm update anyway.

That said, while Google may be hard to break properly, you can always get one over on human beings. In particular, you can rely on them to spell stuff incorrectly. Snickers’ agency, AMV BBDO, was savvy enough to recognise this, and compiled a list of 25,000 common misspellings. With those in hand, it used Google’s Adwords platform to target ads at these search terms with simple, hilarious messages: “Yu cant spel properlie wen hungrie” and “Grab yourself a Snikkers”.

The whole thing allowed them to target tens of thousands of customers – and best of all, cost only £5000. This PR case study proves that a creative, money-spinning campaign doesn’t always have to be expensive!

5.    Confused, the price comparison company, needed a campaign that would generate awareness of their car insurance offering. They also wanted to do this without spending a bunch of time and money doing so, which is a bit of a tougher ask. Still, a sufficiently determined agency isn’t about to let that get in the way.

Cake, being a sufficiently determined agency, used’s existing data to locate the most accident-prone street in the UK. They then…covered it in bubblewrap and changed the name to Accident Avenue, which they also hashtagged, because these days they #hashtag #everything.

They then proceeded to post images on various social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and more – to stimulate conversation (and likes/shares/thumbs ups/etc. etc.), and that it did: interest spilled over into the offline, sensory world, where people are made of meat instead of pixels and you can touch stuff (within reason), to the point that when Cake approached news editors at national publications, they had already heard about (and ran) the story. Alongside featuring in The Mail and The Sun, it appeared in the BBC’s famous caption competition – and reached 125 million people.

Insurance isn’t typically the type of thing that gets the blood pumping, but if this PR case study proves anything, it’s that a good dose of ingenuity can make anything fascinating.

Want a B2B PR campaign to make your target audience all a-quiver? Contact TopLine founder Heather Baker today!