Case Study: From Kanye to urinals, how a PR campaign for a small-town pub went global

Owner became an internet sensation as crowdfunding project allowed people to name toilets, the car park and pool cues.

Hotel owner "Bugs” Ryan was the face of the campaign
Hotel owner "Bugs” Ryan was the face of the campaign

Campaign: The Tatura Hotel

Agency: Taboo, PR and media by MKT. Communications

The Brief

To create an engaging and creative campaign that increased awareness and custom to an Australian pub in  Tatura, regional Victoria, population 3,533, to inspire donations to fund the last stage of the pub’s renovation.

The Strategy

Using owner "Bugs" Ryan as the face of the campaign through videos and PR, the public was invited to contribute funds to the Tatura Hotel and in return, Bugs would name parts of his pub in their honour. The greater the contribution, the greater the honour.

The campaign allowed people to name things such as the Chicken Parma, a barstool, the men’s urinal, a car park and a pool cue, or have their name on the Board of Tatura. Supporters could even ‘buy a local a beer’ for the entry price of $6.

The challenges

The main challenge was to have the campaign and the accompanying videos go beyond pure entertainment to engage in a way that would drive enough of a connection that would translate into dollar donations.

The results

The campaign launch video received 200,000 views in the first 24 hours and featured on the front page of Reddit, as well on The Project, two segments on Weekend Today and in publications such The London Times, Herald Sun, Woman’s Weekly, Daily Mail, Herald Sun, news.com.au and The UK Mirror, plus many more—well over 160 pieces of media coverage in total. Melbourne radio station Triple M did a live broadcast from the pub to unveil the men’s urinal, which had been sponsored by co-host of the rush-hour program and ex-AFL footballer Billy Brownless. The campaign raised $32,000 over five weeks and put Tatura Hotel and the town of Tatura on the map.

With only a few days left in the campaign, the group launched a second video, calling on none other than Kanye West to provide some live entertainment if the pub hit its fundraising target. While this received a lot of media attention, they are still waiting to hear from Kanye to confirm the details of the performance.

What’s next?

Bugs and his wife Sue have started putting up the donators' names around the pub. Bugs has promised all contributors that he will send them a selfie with each item that has been named. Then, the renovations will begin.

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