10 PR Campaigns that Shook 2013By Josh Hansen

Organizations wrestle for our attention and create headlines every day.

2013 was no different.

There were hundreds of PR campaigns and stunts that drummed up interest from audiences.

Choosing the best PR campaigns is surely subjective, but there were certainly some standouts.

So, what were the biggest and boldest PR campaigns of 2013?

PR Campaigns: 10 that Shook 2013

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of some of the most memorable PR campaigns of 2013.

  • Pepsi Dressed as Coca-Cola
    It’s not often that one brand would mention a rival, but taking the stage at Halloween this past year was Pepsi playfully dressed up as Coca-Cola. It proved popular with audiences, and showed a great sense of humor.
  • Beyonce’s Surprise Album
    Ordinarily, a musical artist would not leave their new album announcement to the last minute, but Beyoncé did just that in the middle of a world tour. Taking time out from a busy tour schedule, she showed up unannounced to a Walmart to buy a physical copy of her new release. While she was there, she handed out $50 gift cards to lucky fans and shoppers. The record sold 200,000 copies on the first day and 892,000 by the third. Strong sales made her the best selling female artist of 2013.
  • David Beckham Launching his H&M Line
    This year saw the launch of David Beckham’s line of boxer shorts at H&M. To announce this news, he ran around Los Angeles in his boxers. The success of that stunt is still evident three months later with countless visits to the site.
  • Three’s Moonwalking Pony
    News releases are great when they reference current events. Mobile carrier Three’s dancing pony did just that. Released just after the horse meat scandal in the U.K., this ad clocked more than eight million views on YouTube, one million Facebook shares, and 28,000 retweets. Fans were treated again at Christmas with an opportunity to create their own mash up of the dancing pony.
  • Colgate and the Big Toothbrush Swap
    Not every campaign seems to run smoothly. The Colgate Big Toothbrush Swap got out of hand. Promised a new Colgate ProClinical A1500, customers were encouraged to hand in their old toothbrushes. The response was exceptional. After just two hours, the offer had to be shut down because demand was so high.
  • WeBuyAnyCar.com and the Hoax Letter
    Voted the brand with the most annoying jingle in 2011, WeBuyAnyCar.com certainly had a positive PR coup this year. A letter was shared through Twitter that looked like it was from the brand, rebuking a young child for trying to sell a toy car to the firm. The letter went viral. It was ultimately shared more than 28,000 times. WeBuyAnyCar.com jumped on the opportunity to grab some free publicity. Their rather tongue-in-cheek Twitter responses won hearts and minds as they reminded people that, no, they hadn’t really called the police.
  • Pandas Take Over Germany
    To celebrate their 50th anniversary and raise awareness, WWF toured Germany with 1,600 miniature pandas, one for every panda still remaining in the wild. The toy pandas were spread throughout Berlin’s city center, and got people talking.
  • Greenpeace Climbs the Shard
    Environmental activist group Greenpeace racked up the headlines when they scaled the iconic Shard building in London, calling attention to environmental concerns about Shell’s planned Arctic oil drilling.
  • Snickers and Google
    Snickers and Google combined efforts and reached half a million people in just three days. After figuring out the most frequently misspelled words typed into the search engine, Snickers arranged for an ad reading “You cant spel properly when you’re hungrie” and “Grab yourself a snickers fast” to appear on the search results.

Which campaigns did I miss? Any additions or substitutions? Let me know in the comments below.

Josh Hansen

Josh has written on a wide range of digital and PR topics on behalf of Electric Dialogue.

View all posts by Josh Hansen