As we all know, 2020 has been a challenging year. The coronavirus pandemic which started at the beginning of the year turned our world upside down. It changed our lives in many ways. From the way we communicate, socialize, and travel to the way we work and do business.
Businesses had to quickly adapt to the pandemic and the new rules and ways of living and working it demanded. The main goal was simple for all businesses – to keep their business running.
To do so, brands had to reach out to their customers. Whether to offer them discounts, to encourage their customers to stay with them, to send out motivating messages or simply to thank their customers for their patience while their services are on hold.
Some managed it well, others… not so much. We’ve already covered the topic of brands’ coronavirus responses in our blog Do’s and don’ts of brands’ coronavirus responses. In this blog, we wanted to focus on the examples of brands and organizations who, despite the turmoils 2020 gave us, managed to get their message out to the world in a praiseworthy way. That’s why on the next few pages we bring you a list of top PR campaigns of 2020.
#1 Uber – Thank You For Not Riding
At the beginning of worldwide lockdowns, Uber decided to join many companies urging people to stay home. In their Thank You For Not Riding campaign, Uber thanked their customers for not using their services unnecessarily at the moment with a simple message: “ Stay home for everyone who can’t. “
Along with the campaign, Uber committed to providing 10 million free rides and food deliveries to healthcare workers, senior citizens, and all those in need in these challenging times.
#2 Carlsberg – Adopt a Keg
Carlsberg decided to urge beer lovers in Denmark to stay home in the best way possible – by mixing safety with pleasure. As bars and restaurants closed during lockdown, Carlsberg’s Adopt a Keg campaign allowed people to scan beer cans they bought in stores. Once four cans have been scanned, the virtual keg was full and could be redeemed for two beers when bars and restaurants opened again. Definitely one of the best PR campaigns of the year.
#3 Ikea – Stay Home
Ikea, a Swedish conglomerate that designs and sells furniture, was also among many companies motivating people to stay home. Ikea did it the way they know best. By reminding people of how cozy their home can be to ease the thought of having to spend several weeks “locked” in it.
#4 UN – Pause
United Nations joined the talk about the coronavirus from a different, but also important aspect and got themselves a place among best PR campaigns of the year. UN’s Pause campaign came with a simple message: #TakeCareBeforeYouShare. With the campaign, the UN focused on tackling misinformation regarding COVID-19 pandemic. They urged people to fact-check everything they read online in order to stop the spread of misinformation, fake news and conspiracy theories about the virus.
#5 Ohio Department of Health – #InThisTogetherOhio
Many world organizations joined UN in the fight against the spread of misinformation around COVID-19 pandemic. All with the same goal – to inform the public about the virus and the way it spreads.
For the same reason, Ohio Department of Health came up with a simple, yet clear message in their educational campaign. The campaign, called #InThisTogetherOhio worked on educating the public through various videos on different topics. From explaining the dangers of the virus to encouraging people to wear masks. Their effort didn’t go unnoticed, as the main video of the campaign reached 1.1 million views on YouTube.
#6 Zara – Shot-from-home
Zara, the Spanish high-street retailer, proved that you can do a lot at home, even fashion photoshoots. During the Shot-from-home campaign, Zara sent their product samples to home addresses of their models. The models did a self-shoot of the new collection, which resulted in many interesting selfies/self-photo shoots.
#7 Visit Victoria and Andrew Cotter
As sports events were put on hold all over the globe, BBC’s sports commentator Andrew Cotter teamed up with Visit Victoria, the primary tourism and events company for the State of Victoria in Australia. In a funny collaboration, Cotter narrated the nightly walk of penguins from Victoria as a high-stakes, long-distance race. That way, Visit Victoria did a great job of promoting their tourism, and sports fans had the opportunity to hear their favorite voice again.
#8 Brave – Spoiling Netflix shows
What best way to urge people to stay home than putting spoilers of their favorite Netflix shows all over the streets?
That question popped up in the heads of Seine Kongruangkit and Matithorn Prachuabmoh Chaimoungkalo, known as Brave. The two authors decided to do a fake campaign in which they filled billboards in gathering places with spoilers of Netflix’s most popular shows. At first, people thought it was Netflix’s campaign, but the streaming service quickly distanced itself from it. Nevertheless, Netflix didn’t mind. Brave’s spoiler campaign not only encouraged people to stay home, but it also reminded them to watch Netflix. A win-win situation, one could say.
#9 Getty museum – #GettyMuseumChallenge
A little less extreme way of urging people to stay in is to give them something fun to occupy themselves with when staying home, other than watching TV. Getty museum, a Los Angeles based art museum, saw the chance, took it, and created one of the best PR campaigns of the year.
They started a global project called #GettyMuseumChallenge. It had one rule: use everyday items from your home to recreate famous artworks. Many people joined in and created amazing online content. In fact, it seems that people found the challenge so fun that some are still uploading their recreations these days. (Of course, it would be a lot more fun if the pandemic has ended since the challenge first started in March so people could go see the artworks in the museum directly, but oh, well – that’s the stake of living in interesting times.)
#10 Billie – Video Calls
As our whole world turned upside down and went into online mode, the constant of our lives – social pressures – stayed.
Billie, a female-first beauty brand decided to tackle our (especially women’s) shame for the way we look on webcams during our many online meetings. The brand started a great PR campaign that celebrated natural beauty and encouraged us to stop apologizing for looking like ourselves when at home.