Best PR Campaigns During Lockdown

Published on 8 December 2021

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It’s been a while since we’d first heard of a coronavirus-induced lockdown. However, it somehow feels as if it was just yesterday, yet something we’ve lived with forever.

Anyway, we wanted to look back on this strange period for all businesses and shift the focus from the takeover of the virus to the takeover of the marketing industry with some of the most genius, reactive PR stunts that took place during lockdown. 

The advertising industry’s hand was forced, causing many to change their practises, update their strategies, and reconsider the messages being sent out. When people needed it the most, brands came up with clever ideas to help consumers in uncertain times.

Here’s a few examples showing some of the best PR campaigns from lockdown… 

Oral-B – iO Drone Deliveries

We were appointed by Saatchi & Saatchi to design and execute a PR stunt for the release of Oral-B’s brand-new, high-tech Oral-B iO toothbrush. We came up with the idea of sending out a fleet of Oral-B’s very own delivery drones and robots to deliver the product to press & influencers.

As the global pandemic crisis continued, we needed to ensure that the Oral-B iO toothbrushes were delivered to recipients with absolutely zero human contact, in order to maintain the social distancing guidelines initiated by the government.

Read more about the project in our case study here

Netflix – Enola Holmes

On the 23rd of September 2020, Netflix released a Netflix Original film ‘Enola Holmes’ on their streaming platform. The film tells the story of Enola, sister of ‘The World’s Greatest Detective’ Sherlock Holmes, and her own investigative prowess. The idea behind this promotional campaign was to shed light on the equally talented and influential sisters of historically celebrated figures.

The 5 sculptures of the sisters we built, transported and installed were placed next to the statues of their famous brothers in five locations: London, Birmingham, Bath, Portsmouth and Dorchester and the pop-ups were safely accessible for the public.

Read more about the project in our case study here

Burger King – Order From McDonald’s

During the first lockdown, the hospitality sector in the UK was one of the hardest hit, with restaurants, cafes, and bars forced to close altogether and employees forced to go on furlough for months. Just as England was about to enter its second lockdown, Burger King began its Order From McDonald’s campaign on social media to raise awareness of the hospitality industry’s difficulties during the first wave of Covid-19.

Burger King had a reputation for criticising its competitors in marketing campaigns, but the positive message they sent out was intended to encourage the public to help and support the industry as a whole by ordering from their competitors. This simple but effective PR stunt received nearly 40,000 retweets on Twitter and 80,600 likes on Instagram.

Netflix Spoilers On Digital Billboards – The Fake Campaign

During the first wave of Covid-19, it was vital for people to follow the government’s guidelines and practice social distancing by staying home to battle and stop the spreading of the virus. 

As countries were entering lockdowns worldwide and people had been asked to stay inside, activities like online streaming have grown exponentially. Recognising this as an opportunity to keep people inside with a creative twist, Seine Kongruangkit and Matithorn Prachuabmoh Chaimoungkal (known as Brave), two ad school students from Thailand had created an out-of-home PR stunt that successfully went viral. Mock-ups of spoilers from Netflix’s most popular series at the time, along with the hashtag #Staythe****home, had appeared on public billboards – but they weren’t real. Netflix actually wasn’t involved in the creation of this campaign and the billboards were all digital – with real spoilers going viral.

Seine and Brave planned this clever stunt in response to their own government’s failure to enforce lockdown restrictions. 

Earl of East – Scents of normality

Earl of East came up with the creative concept of launching a limited edition candle collection (Scents of Normality) with odd scents that matched the nation’s favourite outdoor spots: The Pub, The Cinema, and The Festival. The strange but successful campaign had aimed to give back tiny normality into people’s lives during the lockdown as national restrictions on travelling and social gatherings were still in place for long months.

Earl of East had offered all their proceeds to go to Hospitality Action to help and support industry workers during the unprecedented times. 

We hope that this list gives you an inspiring boost to think outside of the box, even when your audience is not available to directly interact with your message. For further inspiration, check out some of the other projects we’ve done recently.