It should never happen to a PR pro…

Part 1: PR Stunts

Devising, implementing and successfully pulling off a stunt that turns up the wow factor to maximum is the holy grail of many PR pros. You know deep down that making the Ten O’clock News is perhaps setting the bar a little high, but what you’re gunning for is wall-to-wall coverage and a social hit.

Trouble is, the bigger, grander and more ground-breaking the idea, the higher the risk that your epic dream stunt will crash and burn. Whilst PRs know that not all stunts can work, here are a few insider tips to ensure you give yourself the best chance of getting seen in the right places for all the right reasons.

PLAYMOBIL castle job advert 2

#1 Plan, timeline, action

The nearer you get to the big day, the faster things will move so meticulous pre-planning and pre-seeding are of the essence. The bigger the stunt, the better your project management skills need to be to work your assets as hard as possible. That way, you can focus on building the biggest bang in the run up to the big S-Day.

#2 Great idea!

The visual leads. Keep it simple and relevant to the audience. Sticking with PR sure-fires is a good start. Think biggest, smallest, cutest, funniest, wackiest, most shocking…  Make it topical, let it have built-in conversation and engagement opportunities. Hats off to Paddy Power at this year’s Brits for its stunning, topical headliner.

#3 Not such a great idea

Make sure you’re being practical. Many a brainstorm idea hits the deck on the reality check. For example, yes, you may want to amass a crowd of excited consumers, but not if your campaign is hot enough to instigate a stampede. This summer, the Jet2Holidays horror show provided a sobering case in point.  Hundreds of people in Derby turned up to chase their staff, dressed in red morph suits, around the city centre for the chance to win free plane tickets. Many were injured and many more took to social media to vent their anger.

#4 Risk assess it

Do a dry run and check against a list of things that could go wrong to make sure you’ve got it covered. So what’s your plan if it rains? Need good Wi-Fi access for your stunt? Kids or animals involved? What’s your ‘money’ shot? ‘What can go wrong, will go wrong’ is a PR mantra that must be front of mind when thinking about stunts.

#5 Bake in social

Front and centre. #BandAid30 had three of our British superstar vloggers as part of the band. None of them known for singing… We don’t all have the budgets for headliners, but we can all know how we are going to activate our plans through earned, owned and paid social.

#6 Bake in your brand

Two great ways to do this – make your brand a key part of the stunt, like we did for Playmobil’s 40th anniversary or make it a fundamental part of finding out the answer to the ‘who’ or ‘why’ question like Betfair’s Octopus stunt. Omit this key agenda and you’ll risk your brand ending up, metaphorically speaking, in too many sub-editors’ bins.

#7 Cold start = hard start

You need an existing fan base that loves your brand and an active media/social following that wants to talk about your brand – they can be readily engaged as they are already familiar with it. You dramatically increase the risk of #StuntFailure if you are a relatively unknown or highly niche brand. Period.

#8 Have a budget

Stunts cost money. It’s an all too often occurrence that the ones that win awards have budgets out of reach of smaller brands. Stunts designed to win hearts and minds  for a charity or a really great cause can be an exception to the rule. For the rest of us, scale your expectations to your budget levels and then be ecstatic if you pull off the seemingly impossible. Or, be risk adverse and tee up multiple stunts – most brands known for stunts as a strategy have failures too.  You just don’t get to hear about them!

#9 Consider a paid push

PRs like to showcase their earned work, but behind the scenes many ‘viral’ stories these days start off with or run alongside a paid strategy. Don’t be too proud.

#10 Enjoy the moment

It’s too easy in our profession to work super-hard getting it all together, only for the big day to go by in a flash. So, when the moment comes, don’t forget to take a break, take in what is happening and celebrate how great all your hard work is turning out.

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onechocolate loves

Our weekly round-up of the most inspiring PR and digital marketing campaigns, smart new apps, cool events, ventures and happenings that have caught our eye… 

#1 #VaginaDialogues


This week we spotted a great example of raising awareness for a worthy cause, with an attention-grabbing headline and shocking stats.  If you missed it, the main headline grabber was that a staggering number of women aged 26-35 couldn’t pinpoint where (on a diagram) their vagina is (yes, we said it). The shocking statement got wide coverage and, although there has been some backlash about the way the media portrayed the research, we take our hats off to The Eve Appeal for being straight talking about a taboo issue. The research is part of Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month to raise awareness of the lack of knowledge of gynaecological cancer symptoms among UK women, accompanied by the hashtag #VaginaDialogues.

#2 Into The Storm

Some of you may have already seen the thrilling blockbuster ‘Into The Storm’ but for the folks in Australia, where the film has been released this week, the movie promoters came up with a unique way to promote it. They cleverly used augmented reality on a bus stop advert by giving passersby the chance to see what it would be like if a storm swept through the street. Check out the video to see the reactions of the unknowing public when slowly, lightning bolts and tornadoes start forming right in front of their eyes! We love this creative, interactive way to engage an audience, which gives them an experience to remember.

#3 Dress normal

We love Gap’s new series of four shorts, all shot in black and white, to support its celebrity-filled ‘dress normal’ campaign, featuring the likes of Anjelica Huston, Elisabeth Moss and Luke Grimes, amongst others, all clad in black denim. Gap enlisted David Fincher – famous for The Social Network, Fight Club and, most recently, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – to direct the adverts. Gap’s CMO tells Mashable that the campaign was designed to “sort of jump into the middle of the story, skipping the beginning and leaving out the end.” Fincher’s uniquely dark style translates into these ads and adds a chic edginess to the campaign.

#4 SS15 Designer Catwalk Shows


Everyone who is anyone in fashion knows this is ‘the’ time of year for finding out what is new and hot in the world of fashion. Not only do trends get defined, but they influence so many parts of our consumer marketplace; whether it’s product design, trending colours or styles. This is just one of the reasons why we’re excited to see what the September SS15 fashion shows have to offer us this season. Kicking off this week is New York Fashion Week (4th–11th Sept), London Fashion Week (12th–16th Sept), Milan (17th–23rd Sept) and of course, the home of haute-couture, Paris Fashion Week (23rd Sept–1st Oct).

#5 Ansa


Most of us can safely say we’ve sent a text we’ve regretted. Whether it’s an inappropriate text accidentally sent to your boss, or discovering toe-curling messages after a heavy night out. So we’re rejoicing at the launch of the nifty messaging app, Ansa, which lets you delete your sent messages off other people’s devices! Created by 23-year-old Natalie Bryla, the app also has an ‘off the record’ feature, where messages are automatically deleted after 60 seconds. The app bills itself as ‘the safest place to let go and be yourself with friends’ and is available now on iOS and Android. Could this finally be the ‘Ansa’ (sorry) to those awkward text worries!?

#6 HippopoThames!


Did you know that hippos used to inhabit the Thames in prehistoric times? Neither did we! To celebrate our beloved city’s history, artist, Florentijn Hofman, has built a wooden sculpture of a friendly-looking, 21 metre-long hippo, named HippopoThames. The sculpture arrived at Riverside Gardens near Vauxhall this week, with the full fanfare of food, drinks and activities for the public. The arrival of HippopoThames will begin the Totally Thames festival, a 30-day programme of events that celebrates the arts, music and community festivals across the capital.

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Behind the Headlines with Jill Coomber

Jill Coomber, co-founder and director at onechocolate communications, on launching her first agency aged 27, wanting the inside goss from Paxman and why measurement is the lifeblood of any campaign…

Jill Coomber

When not in the office you’ll mostly find me…
Being a single mum, taking a stroll in the sunshine or digging my new allotment and enjoying the wonderfully colourful community we’ve discovered there.

Working in PR is…
The best career decision I ever made. It gave me the opportunity to open my first agency when I was 27 and I’ve not looked back since.

Which social media platform has changed your life?
None, it’s been a massive game changer for the industry but only people and experiences change lives.

If I could breathe new life into a brand, it would be…
British Airways. Its consumer footprint is still very disjointed.

The most important lesson PR has taught me…
Never give up and never give in.

You’ll find….on my bookshelf
Right now? Jennifer Saunders’ autobiography and A Girl is a Half Formed Thing by Eimear McBride.

The journo I’d most like to have a drink with is…
Jeremy Paxman so I could get all the inside goss now he’s ‘retired’; Charles Arthur to see if he’s chilled out after all these years working with PRs; Jo Whiley as she’s one cool mama and… oh, this is turning into a party.

If I could change one thing about myself, it would be…
I’d tell my younger self to tone down my passion about work projects and ideas. It could, on occasion, be an ‘overdone strength’!

PR measurement. Discuss.
Measurement is the lifeblood proof of any campaign. The latest tools provide us with invaluable insights but the challenge is to provide the transparency and clarity we all really want at a budget most clients can afford.

The thing I catch myself saying the most is…
’But does this move the needle enough?’

My guiltiest pleasure is…
These days chocolate – so good we named the company after it.

If I could turn back time I would...
Have even more fun along the way.

The worst thing a journalist has said to me is...
‘No’. Never mind. Because as the saying goes, ‘if you don’t ask…’

If I wasn’t in PR, I’d be…
Running a bar, a yoga teacher, an amazing singer touring the world’s festivals, an ace tennis player, a farmer….always good to keep an open mind on these things.

Read the full interview on Gorkana.


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The Tour de France is a mug’s game


The impending arrival of the Tour de France in London today was celebrated in true British style with 1000s of boxes of Yorkshire Tea (the official supporters) being handed out at Waterloo station at rush hour this morning. Yorkshire Tea’s #teaonletour is one of many marketing campaigns surrounding the race that deserve a yellow vest for true grit.

The final English leg of the Tour de France is well underway with nearly 200 cyclists racing along the 96-mile (155km) route from Cambridge to London and due to arrive at the Mall at 4pm.

Campaigns were well underway even before the tour started.  Yorkshire got off to a great start. One observer said: ‘When Gary Verity (chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire) decided to bid and bring the event to Yorkshire, he did it to put Yorkshire on the world map.’

And the event will bring fortune as well as fame to the region. The economic impact of hosting the world’s greatest cycling race has been conservatively estimated to be worth £100 million to the Yorkshire economy. The marketing campaign surrounding it has included fun digital campaigns such as the interactive Plan Your Experience tool to name just a few.

Yorkshire based, Sheffield Hallam University also used its official sponsorship of the Tour de France to flex its marketing muscles –  boasting its credentials as the third largest university in the UK and a world leader in business sports with a new Sports Park and some of the best courses available in the UK.

Haribo,with its UK base in Yorkshire, also got behind the event, taking part in the Grand Depart Caravan procession and passing out 60,000 packets of its sweets to spectators along with YorkshireTea tea bags.

VisitEngland has also jumped on the bandwagon with its cycling themed marketing campaign which is running throughout the summer, and covering England’s beauty spots north and south.

These are just a few of the campaigns that have made their mark thus far, and we look forward to seeing the next round of clever campaigns evolve during the rest of Le Tour.


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onechocolate loves…

Our weekly round-up of the most inspiring PR campaigns, smart new apps, cool events, ventures and happenings that have caught our eye…

#1 World Cup Unifies Social Platforms


With the World Cup one month away, official FIFA partner, Sony, has just launched their ‘One Stadium Live’ social network which will link social media content from Twitter, Facebook and Google+ on a single platform. Tapping into original content in six languages, the network is based on lots of clever technology and is being curated by a 32-strong editorial team. Users will be able to see and join conversations with anyone on the global network. Plus there are lots of profiles, team info and the all important schedules, stats and results. A must for all globally-oriented footie fans.

#2 Crowd Sourced Gig

Audience participation took on a new meaning as the first ever app to help audiences interact at gigs was trialled by Booka Shade and Vodafone. It’s a pretty awesome concept – leveraging a super connected audience who always have phones and allowing them to be part of the show (both musically and with the light display).

#3 Hacking Google and the online world


Buzzfeed, land of making the internet as insightful and irreverent as possible, has presented us with some light, useful entertainment in the form of 18 Cool Internet Tricks You Didn’t Know About.

Offering up some helpful advice (Ctrl+Alt+T to open up an accidentally closed tab being a lifesaver!), as well some rather more interesting tricks to try in your lunch hour (because everyone wants dinosaur and cat pop ups), this cheery slice of info on the world wide web offers readers the chance to make their online activity more efficient… as well as providing some marvellous distractions.

#4 Hitting the Headlines – Brit Style


This compilation of hilarious British headlines provides great inspiration for us as PRs and marketers as to what will make the papers and what won’t. While it’s crucial that the subject matter of our content must always be thought-provoking, interesting and new, we mustn’t forget that journalists do enjoy a good laugh when it comes to a headline. Do’s = toilet humour, animals loose in various food outlets and seagulls in general. Don’ts = any teeth visiting Malvern which don’t belong to Elvis Presley.

#5 #It’sADogsLife


A cool new invention called the #SnackBall uses beacons to create an automated outdoor game for dogs, where they fetch a ball and bring it back to the throwing machine in exchange for a nutritious, dog-friendly snack. Check out the video of the machine in action at a dog park here.

#6  London Street Food


Street food vendors are revolutionising the capital’s dining scene. We love this insider’s list of the top spots to grab a quick bite in London! Proud to say I’ve snacked at the ‘Big Apple Hot Dogs’ and it lives up to its reputation, as well as seeing one of our neighbours on the list (Pizza Pilgrim). This list will give you the best of London’s food markets, from burgers and pizzas to yummy dishes from across the globe. We’re now looking forward to ticking off the rest of the list!

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