'Sorry Piers, for me it’s a miss' – Creative Hits & Misses of the Week

Adrian Chitty, partner at Hope&Glory PR, takes a critical look at the week's creative launches.


Times Square Alliance, 'The Plastic Bag Store'

I really liked this installation, which opened in New York’s Times Square this week to coincide with New York State’s ban on plastic bags being enforced [the ban came into effect in March but enforcement had been stalled by a bag manufacturer's lawsuit and the pandemic]. There have been lots of creative anti-plastic campaigns before, such as the impactful Corona and Parley for the Oceans’ ‘Wave’, but this takes it further and in a new direction.

It’s not tied to a brand, so arguably it has more creative freedom to get its message across. But what I particularly liked was the use of humour in the store (putting a fresh critical lens on such an important issue), not to mention the amazing detail.

It has 10,000 beautifully created items stocked in the store – from vegetables to cereal boxes – all made from or containing plastic bags. It has also films, hidden rooms and even puppets. Yes, puppets! It’s fun, tactile, immersive and overall memorable. A hit.

Turning Tides, rubbish pet portraits

This week archaeologists unveiled a frankly rubbish image of a cat created 2,000 years ago in Peru’s Nazca Desert. But unbelievably, it wasn’t my favourite story featuring crappy animal artwork this week. This goes to Turning Tides, with a fundraising campaign that caught my eye (and the attention of BBC News) on Tuesday.

It started when Worthing-based “Hercule Van Wolfwinkle" (real name Phil) doodled a knowingly rubbish picture of his pet dog while drawing with his son. He shared it on Facebook and invited commissions as a joke.

But people loved it, and he’s now churning out 150 drawings a week of other people’s pets, with all money raised going to the homeless charity. To date his homegrown campaign and creativity has raised more than £14,000.

It’s a cute, simple campaign that reminded me a bit of Mr Bingo and his Hate Mail campaign from a while back. In that he offered a service where he would send insulting postcards personalised to whomever you wish to send them to, which was equally fun, shareable and bespoke. But this has warmth, and all for a good cause too. Lovely.


Piers Morgan, 'Wake Up' book launch

Piers Morgan took to Twitter on Monday to share the news that he’d heroically projected the words “Wake Up” onto the Houses of Parliament. Apparently, it was a protest against the Government’s boycott of appearing on Good Morning Britain. But the reality, of course, was that it was a thinly disguised stunt to promote his latest book of the same name.

Don’t get me wrong; it got the coverage and attention he was after. And, as someone who has worked on the launch of a Christmas book (not my own, I hasten to add), I know just how competitive and challenging it is to cut through the noise of everyone else’s book promotion campaigns this time of the year.

But guerrilla projections like this give you the freedom to communicate whatever you want on whatever you want. So, to just go with the name of his book onto the Houses of Parliament seemed tired. And if you’re adamant about projecting onto the Houses of Parliament (which, since the infamous Gail Porter projection by FHM back in 1999, has become more than a PR cliché), then it doesn’t stop you being creative with either your message or your visual to start a conversation – especially if you are, as he says he was, trying to send a strong message to the Government about its boycott. So sorry Piers, for me it’s a miss.

Robin Hood, Giving Back

This one raised my eyebrows. Earlier this week the cyber hacking group Robin Hood made an unorthodox play at creating some brand warmth for its organisation. It donated $10,000 in bitcoin to charities, which it was illegal for it to keep, yet impossible to return.

It raises so many questions (although I guess the group is being true to its name). But as the group has strongly warned about naming any of the charities involved – and frankly, I don’t want to upset an international hacking group – I’m just going to leave this here for you to make up your own mind. For me it was a miss. Sorry, I mean a hit! A big, big hit!

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