Creativity in Public Relations » google Creativity, marketing, great ideas, smart thinking, public relations, insights, inspirations, innovations and more. (Formerly known as Ryan's View) Wed, 05 Aug 2009 00:52:54 +0000 en hourly 1 My Favorite April Fool’s Classic Campaigns Tue, 31 Mar 2009 18:00:51 +0000 Ryan Peal I always loved April Fool’s Day as a kid, of course taking full advantage of the “excuse” to play tricks and do stupid things (and place my fair share of “kick me” signs.)  Now as a “grown up” I have been even more fascinated with the way companies use the unofficial holiday to entertain fans in ways they simply can’t do on normal days.  Unfortunatley the fun has sort of gone out a bit lately as some people have started to catch on, doubting any announcement or campaign that happens around the first of April.  But, luckily, just some people and not all people so companies can still think of ways to take advantage of the big day to add some personality and humor to their brands.

In honor of the big day I thought I’d highlight some of the favourites over the years, some I remember and some that came before my time but of course ones I would have loved personally if I was around.

  • Taco Bell announces in full page ads in the US that the company is buying the Liberty Bell and is going to rename it the Taco Liberty Bell (1996).  Outraged citizens flood radio stations and company headquarters and a public frenzy begins; a few hours after the announcement the company it was a joke and that they were donating money to the preservation of the Liberty Bell.
  • Burger King unveils the left-handed whopper (1998).  A full page ad announces the arrival of the “left handed whopper” designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans.  The ingredients were rotated 180 degrees for the benefit of their left handed customers.  Thousands of lefties asked for their version; some asked for the “right handed version.”
  • Copenhagen Subway (2001).  Copenhagen’s new subway system showed up above ground in town hall, looking as if it had burst through the streets.  It actually was a retired subway car but captured the imaginations of city residents for days.
  • Google Gulp (2005).  Announcing a new beverage that would optimize one’s use of the Google search engine by increasing the drinker’s intelligence.  The company is one of the best annual users of April Fools to show the fun side of the brand (and people come to love it).
  • BBC discovers flying penguins (2008).  To drive buzz for its upcoming series – Miracles of Evolution – the BBC announced that a crew had found a group of penguins in Antartica that could fly, and had captured it on video.  The video almost had people convined, and lots tuned in to check, just in case, to see if penguins could really fly.

That’s only my top 5 favourites, but if you got the April Fools bug, check out the Museum of Hoaxes that has a list of 100 amazing and fun April 1 campaigns.

Now, you probably can’t pull one off this year, but you do have one whole year (well at least 9 months) to really do some thinking for your brand to own April Fool’s Day 2010.  If you need ideas let me know, I’ve been trying for years to get a company to join in on the fun and have some brilliant ideas waiting for someone to consider and unleash on the world.  And please share some of your favourite April Fool’s Day adventures.

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Google Invites Students To Submit Homepage Logo Designs Thu, 05 Feb 2009 18:39:32 +0000 Ryan Peal This has always been one of my favorite campaigns.  It’s a simple one (which makes it even more of a favorite).  Each year Google simply invites students (from grades K – 12) to submit variations of its logo that may make their way to the Google home page – where millions of people could have a chance to see it.

Now in its 4th year the Doodle4Google campaign is a unique example of an obvious corporate campaign (you can’t hide the fact that you are designing a logo for a company) that doesn’t send red flags to teachers or parents (who normally may be a bit fearful of brands coming into schools). Google even does an incredible job of tying back the “why” of conducting this campaign, providing a historical look at the google doodle phenomenon and how it started.

I’ve seen other campaigns for brands that have a prize of someone submitting a photo that will be used in an ad campaign (yawn), or on a company brochure (double yawn) – consumers want and deserve something truly special, something they can tell their friends and they’ll say “wow.”  Normally that’s cash and some product (which is another big “wow” deliverer if the amount is right), but for Google being a student who can say their imagination dreamed up an amazing new look for Google that it was selected to greet millions of people surfing the web one day – that is awesome. And just to be safe, Google is throwing in a $15,000 college scholarship for the winner and a $10,000 cash prize for the school district who submits the most high-quality entries.

So, word to anyone putting together a consumer campaign, spend equal amount of time asking yourself “is the incentive enough for people to do what I want them to do to participate” as you do on the actual idea itself.  The prize has to be worthy of the effort.  Can your prize create a “wow, i want to win that” with your audience?  If not, keep thinking (and testing) until you get the WOW.

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