Creativity in Public Relations » taco bell 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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Year of Free Continues As Arby’s Serves Up “Upset Burgers” Wed, 18 Mar 2009 10:21:17 +0000 Ryan Peal What is happening in the world this year?  The economy is on the ropes, companies are going out of business and yet, another company announces that it may be giving away free burgers to every American.  Having 2009 be known as the “year of free” as I noted a few weeks back with Quiznos giving away 1 million free subs continues to be in the cards as Arby’s announces it will be giving away free Arby’s Roastburgers if a sports miracle happens this week as part of the US college basketball championships.  If a bottom of the list team pulls an upset and beats a top of the list team in the opening round of the basketball playoffs then Arby’s will join the growing number of companies using “free” as a marketing strategy for success in 2009.

Denny’s, a nationwide fast food chain in the US, gave away more than 2 million “Grand Slam” breakfasts for free after the Super Bowl.  Last year Taco Bell, another nationwide fast food chain in the US, continued its multiple year tradition of giving away free tacos to the country related to a specific event happening in the baseball World Series.  And as mentioned above, Quiznos gave away 1 million free subs last month too.  And my colleague Meghan, a youth marketing guru, also recently highlighted other free offers popping up across multiple categories.

So, is free a smart business strategy?  For companies with products that they can easily give away, its probably not a bad option. Many of these companies would normally give out coupons for similar offers, but have smartly realised they could package up the offer in something more fun that engages and entertains people and gets people talking.  So buzz generation for low-cost items definitely would seem worth it for some companies. And if you connect the free offer to a once-in-a-million chance (like Arbys) then you may even get the publicity without having to give the goods.

But what if you don’t have products that are inexpensive enough to give away for free?  This is where some added creative thinking is needed.  As I referenced recently when talking about No Doubt’s free music catalog promotion for people who buy a concert ticket, if you look around you probably can find some content that may seem boring or normal to you but if packaged up right, could be something your consumer fans would love to get, and get for free.  Once you start looking for it you’ll be surprised at what you can find that can be offered to build some added brand loyalty with fans who should appreciate it, and think its even better because its free.

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