The most-read-about brands of 2018

Stunts, suntans, and smart activations.

Photo credit: Getty Images

Denny’s ‘accidentally’ sends out Super Slam press release draft
June 5
PRWeek readers love stunts, at least when they’re clever, well-executed, and more stomach-filling than stomach-turning. Denny’s good natured fake press release activation from early this summer was all those things -- and yummy, too.

How an NFL star’s lifelong love of Airheads led to a sweet playoff payoff for the candy
January 10

Airheads got prime NFL playoff exposure last season when Alvin Kamara chewed the candy on the sidelines. The big question is what will the brand do for an encore this year with Kamara’s New Orleans Saints primed for a Super Bowl trip.

Video: KFC’s ‘extra crispy colonel’ George Hamilton on the time he met the real Colonel Sanders
April 25
Everyone has one big question for actor George Hamilton: why Godfather III? Or if you’d rather know how he’s maintained his legendary tan for decades, you’re in luck. He talks about that and his latest role as KFC’s "Extra Crispy Colonel" in this April video.

IHUH? 12 brands burn IHOP over name change
June 11
Let’s hop in the Delorean and travel back to early this summer. IHOP has just changed its name to IHOb. Da heck? At least a dozen brands decided it was the perfect opportunity to make IHOP/IHOb an object of fun. But how many of them made our year-end list?

FAO Schwarz selects The Door for New York return
June 4

PRWeek readers evidently cannot get enough of FAO Schwarz, the legendary toy store that closed its doors in New York due to rising rents and other economic conditions. Readers were clearly thrilled to see the retailer announce its reopening in the Big Apple and bring on a firm to help it execute a media relations strategy.

United Airlines hires Obama press secretary Josh Earnest as comms head
May 3
United Airlines did not have the best 2017, after a small crisis involving passengers’ leggings and a much larger one involving the violent removal of a passenger from a plane. So it made sense in May when it turned to a tested hand, former White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, as its next communications leader.

This Deadpool 2 character’s LinkedIn profile is a little too realistic
May 16
There’s a character in the smash anti-hero comic book film Deadpool 2 named Peter W. He’s a regular guy, just like you and me, with a LinkedIn account. Sadly, he didn’t update it to include his latest gig as a member of X-Force, Deadpool’s rag tag bunch of crime fighters.

Tide unleashes its secret weapon against the Tide Pod Challenge: Gronk
January 16
Kids these days, I tell ya. They won’t listen to things like doctors, warning labels, or parents and they take part in stuff like the Tide Pod Challenge, which isn’t very smart because, you know, poisoning. So why not try a six-foot-six-inch Super Bowl-winning tight end to break through to them?

Tone deaf? Jack in the Box brings sexual innuendo in the workplace to its latest ad
August 6

Sexual harassment in the workplace has been in the news in a bit over the past few years, and not in a "hey, this looks cool. Try it in your latest campaign" kind of way. Clearly oblivious to this, Jack in the Box went ahead with this campaign anyway and received heaps of much-deserved scorn.

Inside McDonald’s new approach to communications
April 13

Big changes at McDonald’s this year, and not just all-day breakfast. The fast-food giant reorganized both its internal communications team and its agency roster in 2018, assigning agency work for three areas of storytelling: food, experience, and people. Golin, WE Communications, and Purple Strategies each got a piece of the work. 

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