Top 10 PR Stunts of 2021

Published on 10 January 2022

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As we step into 2022 I think it’s safe to say that we all had high hopes for 2021 this time last year and, frustratingly, ended up with more of the same from 2020. Coronavirus went nowhere and restrictions persisted periodically. With all the noise surrounding the global pandemic, it became difficult for anything else to cut through and grab media and public attention…

This was a challenge for the marketing industry that was met with great determination and innovation. 2021 was a year full of stand-out PR stunts and promotional campaigns that commanded attention and interest. So, here are 10 examples of, what we think are, the very best PR stunts and brand campaigns of last year… and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for this coming year too!

Mount Recyclemore

With the intention of sending out a message to the G7 leaders about the pressing environmental damage caused by e-waste, a giant Mount Rushmore-style sculpture of the G7 leaders’ heads, made entirely of discarded electronics, was installed above a beach near to Carbis Bay. The sculpture, named Mount Recyclemore, aims to highlight the growing threat of e-waste on the planet as leaders of the world’s most advanced economies prepare to discuss how to tackle climate change and build a greener future.

The sculpture depicts world leaders including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, American President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

This stunt won numerous awards, including; Best PR Stunt (The Drum Awards), Social Purpose Stunt of the Year (Creative Moment Awards), Campaign of the Year (ICCO Global Awards) and many more… !

Corona | Natural Bar

Corona wanted to celebrate the launch of their new beer recipe that uses only natural ingredients by creating a bar, serving their new product, that was also completely made from natural materials.

The key building materials used for this build were sand, cob and clay. All were used to fabricate 6 seating areas – including the furniture, a branded back wall with sand art murals and a fully-functioning bar to serve the Corona product from!

Once installed, the bar ran for 5 live days and was managed by a team of hosts and waiting staff who ensured that the pop-up bar ran smoothly and adhered to all COVID regulations. There was even an online booking system for locals and tourists alike to reserve their spot to enjoy the experience and share it with friends and family.

PerfectDraft | Oktoberfest

PerfectDraft wanted to encourage people around the world that the beers of Oktoberfest can still be enjoyed, wherever you are, even though the official Bavarian tradition had been cancelled. Sketch produced and installed a miniature Oktoberfest in the town of Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales for the locals to enjoy.

The unofficial Oktoberfest celebrations took place from morning through ‘til evening and engaged residents with a plethora of iconic Bavarian traditions – from Bratwurst BBQ’s and soft dough pretzels to beer keg lifting competitions (where locals could win themselves some amazing PerfectDraft prizes) and there was even a procession that circled the whole town… in less than 20 minutes!

Bombay Sapphire | Design Supermarket

Bombay Sapphire launched a pop-up Pop Art supermarket at the Design Museum where they displayed and sold limited edition products with custom packaging designed by 10 artists. Artist Camille Walala was drafted in to curate the design of the store and executed in her instantly recognisable style. 

Essentially, the museum was transformed into a supermarket during the nationwide lockdown measures, by stocking its shelves with ‘essential’ items, enabling visitors to return to the museum once again.

Bud Light | Boxheads

The European Championships gripped the nation, as a welcome distraction from everything else going on in 2021. The England team were everywhere. Deservedly getting themselves all the way to a penalty shootout in the final of the tournament!

Bud Light very intelligently rode the wave of immense support for the team and produced a new range packaging with the face of some of England’s most recognisable stars printed on them… the tagline: ‘Beer you can drink. Box you can wear.’

Magnum | Pleasure Sensorium 

The Magnum Pleasure Sensorium was a multi-dimensional, sensory pop-up experience that enabled pleasure seekers to taste, touch, see, hear and smell each individual layer of the Magnum Double Gold Caramel Billionaire. 

Further amplifying the interactive nature of this activation, the Sensorium was able to uncover visitors’ Pleasure Profile – a personal profiling system that reveals how the senses influence your unique experience of pleasure.

To complete the experience guests must travel through themed rooms, each representing a layer of the ice cream and carry out the sensory activity that awaits them. 

“We Are Sinking”

Tuvalu’s foreign minister (Simon Kofe) delivered his COP26 speech, about rising sea levels, stood knee-deep in the sea. This was a powerful reminder of the current climate crisis we face and encouragement for all of us to take the necessary steps to ensure we are all doing our bit.

Listen to Mr. Kofe’s speech by clicking the video below…

BBC Planet Earth | Burning Billboard

In the finale of ‘A Perfect Planet’ that aired in Feb 2021, Sir David Attenborough served a stark warning about the future of our planet, naming humans as its most destructive force.

This was a serious message that the BBC wished to echo on a large scale, to really drive home the idea that we as people must take the necessary steps and make the required changes if we are to save the planet we live on.

A range of billboards, promoting the show, were installed across the UK. However, one in particular stood out from the rest as it had been designed a produced to look as it were aflame and smoking, just like much of the forest in more equatorial parts of the world are…

Iceland | Emergency Turkey

If 2021 was the year of anything, it was the year of not being able to get your weekly online supermarket shopping delivery slot. The pandemic contributed heavily to this, but throw the Christmas rush into the mix and things really got messy…

A lot of big supermarket chains were out of slots long before Christmas and Iceland touched on this in a very tongue-in-cheek way. They began calling out their competitors, such as Asda, Sainsbury, Tesco etc. and letting everyone know just how many delivery slots they had available over the xmas period!

Burger King | Keep It Real Meal

Set on producing and selling real food to its loyal consumers, Burger King celebrates permanently banning 120 artificial ingredients from its food menu in the US. The focus on only using quality ingredients, and calling it for what it is, was a huge step for the chain and fast food industry as a whole.

Burger King tapped into celebrity personalities Nelly, Anitta and Lil Huddy, naming the Keep It Real Meals after the stars’ government names, rather than their better known aliases. Each also starring in a TV commercial to promote the campaign!