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PR campaigns to learn from

Published: 6 November 2012

When PR agencies are considering new campaigns, the needs of the public should be one of the most important things to keep in mind. After all, the public has to care enough to want to support your campaign. Therefore, highlighting campaigns that have mastered this in the past may be the smart thing to do when thinking about conceptualising your own.

PR campaigns to learn from
By Cortney Wright

There have been many great PR campaign in South Africa in the past. If you are a follower of the PRISMs, I am sure you will agree. Likewise the 2012 PRISM Awards celebrated some great PR campaigns that not only produced positive results but managed to keep the interests of the public at heart. The Overall Gold winner for 2012 was Splash PR and Media Consultants for their ‘Vote for Table Mountain’ campaign.

This memorable campaign was aimed at ensuring that Table Mountain become one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. To do that, South Africans were encouraged to vote for Table Mountain. Splash PR, the Table Mountain supporters committee, the Springbok rugby team and South African radio DJ’s among others worked together to get this message out. “Following incredible media support and an astounding 1,967 editorials, Table Mountain was named one of the New 7 Wonders (N7W) of Nature on 11 November 2011,” states a CVLC press release on the PRISM website. Table Mountain surprisingly even beat the Grand Canyon to be crowned one of the seven.

Taking a look at some of the ‘behind the scene’ aspects of this campaign illustrates why it did so well. The campaign had its own logo, website and social media account. By covering these various angles, the campaign ended up being one that was memorable for everyone. The campaign even had a ‘vote for Table Mountain Thursday’ which proved to be very popular on Twitter. Every Thursday the members of the campaign would put in extra effort to promote the cause. In other words, a campaign ran within the campaign itself, ensuring that it was interactive rather than a simple plea for the public to vote.

As stated earlier, the campaign made use of celebrities, a strategy deemed to be very successful in the past. From Desmond Tutu to local band Freshly Ground and Western Cape MEC Alan Winde, a number of well known people spoke up for this unique landmark of South Africa. And so, having respected celebrities support your campaign can influence the public to support it too.

Another great campaign to pinpoint is for the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS). The campaign is called 'I Play Fair. Say No! To Doping' and was conceptualised by Tin Can PR. Kisha van Vuuren, group account director and co-owner of the PR agency states, “We needed to launch the campaign on a national level, with maximum exposure involving both athletes and fans. We did this by developing a strong campaign message and identified an annual awareness day, which is now officially recognised by government and involved participation by getting athletes and fans to take the ‘I Play Fair’ pledge personally."

The use of celebrities was also implemented in this campaign to get the message across and help the public support what Tin Can was trying to do. Two formidable political opponents in Fikile Mbalula, minister of sport and recreation, and Helen Zille, premier of the Western Cape, cycled along with celebrities and public figures in the ‘I Play Fair’ branded team during the 2012 Cape Argus Cycle Tour. This in turn received front page and primetime TV media coverage, says Tin Can PR CEO, Debbie Reader.

And the good news doesn’t end there for Tin Can. The 'I Play Fair. Say No! To Doping’ campaign was also recently shortlisted for the 2013 Virgin Active Sports Industry Awards, an annual opportunity for the rapidly evolving South African sports market to be recognised for its work.

So, when taking elements out from these two PR campaigns, it is clear that there are a number of important elements. Determine who your public is and get them to support you; use celebrities that are well respected and that have had a positive influence in the past to help promote your message and interact with your public; and make them feel as though you don’t just need them but also care about them.

These are of course only two examples of PR campaigns that produced great results. Do you know of any others? Tell us below.

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