We had to, didn’t we? Hype for John Lewis’ annual festive offering is always off the scale, but this year, the retailer really didn’t disappoint. The moving story of a middle-aged man struggling to master skateboarding in preparation for the arrival of a teenager, for whom he will be caring, struck a chord. The move away from fantasy and glamour towards real-world issues felt appropriate in these difficult times. And the ‘purpose’ element seemed genuine – John Lewis made a long-term commitment to help young people with experience in the care system. The earned-media element was significant as the campaign garnered huge coverage and stimulated a national conversation. Adam & Eve/DDB is behind the campaign, with input from partner charities Action for Children and Who Cares? Scotland.
2. Celebrations, ‘Banish the Bounty’
The second Christmas campaign on our list is this masterpiece of earned-media creativity. The move to take Bounties out of boxes of Celebrations in some stores on a trial basis became a major talking point, as celebs and TV presenters from Lorraine Kelly to Piers Morgan (of course) chipped in. It was a classic PR stunt – tapping into a topic of national debate and giving the media something fun to focus on away from the gloom of current events. Kudos to Taylor Herring, the agency behind the campaign.
3. Joe Lycett money-shredding stunt
Who saw this World Cup campaign coming? We should know to expect the unexpected from Lycett, the comedian/campaigner notorious for doing surprising things to make a point. But his threat to destroy £10,000 in cash if David Beckham didn't step down as a Qatar World Cup ambassador, over the country’s treatment of LGBT+ people, became front-page news on the eve of the tournament. The ‘twist, reveal’ element – when he posted a video to social media saying the money had not been shredded, but instead donated to LGBT+ charities – generated a further round of publicity.
Our second World Cup campaign uses a twist on the famous refrain from Three Lions to make a powerful point about how cases of domestic violence rise during football tournaments. The chilling film for the charity highlights the fear and isolation many women will experience throughout the current World Cup.
5. KFC pub
Quirky pop-ups may be as obvious a campaign idea as they come, but KFC pulled off a gem with the opening of its first pub, The Colonel’s Arms in Hammersmith, London – by giving an existing boozer, the Old Suffolk, a branded make-over. Customers were able to order KFC to their table via a KFC delivery bell, and drink Colonel-approved beer while supporting their favourite football team during the World Cup. Ex-footballer and Soccer AM host Jimmy Bullard was there as the ‘landlord’ on the first night. Freuds and Proud Robinson + Partners worked on the campaign, which was covered across the media.