Everyone loves a bit of retail therapy – and the past year has seen the huge rise of a new phenomenon known as ‘doom shopping’. On average, Brits spend £200 a month on shopping – not counting essentials – which is three times higher than the global average.
Digital PR masters Money.co.uk wanted to know which online purchases bring us the most joy, so they did what any of us would do and conducted a Brief Mood Intensity Scale (BMIS) survey on 2,560 shoppers.
Asking respondents to score their emotions before and after making purchases, they revealed that the most joyful thing you can buy when you need a boost is a humble houseplant.
Houseplants received a positive emotion score of 478/500, with moods improving by 67% after making the purchase.
Gaming consoles were a close second with a score of 475/500. Trainers came in third place, with home gym equipment at fifth and exercise clothing at ninth – but there’s no confirmation of whether the true happiness comes from using the items or just ordering them and feeling good about yourself.
One campaign that gained a huge amount of traction this month came from Seabrook crisps, who hopped on a trend that’s been brewing for some months.
Following the success of Cadbury and Goose Island’s Creme Egg beer, the legendary crisp brand swept the nation with its own innovative tipple.
Teaming with Leeds-based Northern Monk brewery, Seabrook crafted beer inspired by two of their classic crisp flavours; a cheese & onion lager and a prawn cocktail gose.
People like beer, people like crisps; what could go wrong? In terms of digital PR, not much.
It might not sound super tasty, but sometimes in digital PR, repulsion is just as satiating as attraction, if not more.
Speaking about the collab, Northern Monk founder Russell Bisset said, “After one of the most challenging periods in recent history, we decided to take this quest into uncharted territory, creating an experience that would make people laugh – or grimace actually – as lockdown lifts.”
I’m sure there are plenty of people who would love a can of cheese & onion lager, and I’m not here to judge, but it’s safe to assume this campaign is less concerned with getting you buzzed and far more focused on creating a bit of buzz online, which it certainly did.
This wasn’t Northern Monk’s first foray in the beer stunt world – they’ve previously released a roast dinner beer with Aunt Bessie’s and a Bloody Mary porter with Henderson’s Relish. These guys know what they’re up to.
While the Elon Musk tries his luck at comedy this weekend on Saturday Night Live, the rest of us can try our luck at spending his fortune thanks to a brilliant piece of digital PR from LeasingOptions.co.uk.
The car leasing brand launched a new, ever-so-slightly addictive online game, ‘Spending Elon’s Money’; proving that digital PR can indeed be delightful and soul-crushing at the same time.
The game is simple: see how much of the Tesla founder’s incomprehensible $166 billion net worth you can spend in 30 seconds.
You’re given a selection of items you can add to your bill, ranging from a Big Mac, Netflix subscription, and a PS5, all the way up to a private jet and, at the top of the totem, a Falcon 9 rocket launch.
To help us on our quest to bankrupt a billionaire, we’re given the option to purchase 10 or 15 of each item per click. I managed to purchase 2,220 Falcon 9 launches (at $50 million a pop) in 30 seconds, and still had a cosy $55 billion left in the bank. Marvellous.
Interactive games can be a risky business in the digital PR world. These days it can be hard to hold people’s attention for more than a few seconds, which is why many find it easier to go for a static but striking approach.
The team at LeasingOptions could’ve just gotten away with a pretty infographic highlighting Musk’s absurd wealth, but they chose to go the extra mile, and it certainly paid off.
The campaign works because it appeals to the cynic and the wishful daydreamer in equal measures: it’s the Keeping Up with the Kardashians of interactive digital PR campaigns.
While I’m on the topic of disheartening levels of wealth, let’s take a look at an insightful campaign from Mackeeper.com, which this month explored how large tech companies would be if they were countries.
Comparing the net worth of tech giants like Apple, Microsoft and Amazon with the GDP of countries around the world, MacKeeper unveiled some startling results.
They found that Apple, with a net worth of $2.2 trillion, would be the 8th richest country in the world, more valuable than the likes of Italy, Russia, South Korea, and Australia.
Oil giants Saudi Aramco would be the 10th richest country, Microsoft the 12th, Amazon the 15th, and Alphabet (Google) rounding off the top 20.
They’ve all still got a way to go if they want to contend with the richest countries in the world – the US takes the top spot with a GDP of $21.4 trillion – but it’s eye-opening to see just how big these companies really are.
This is the approach LeasingOptions could’ve taken with their Elon Musk piece – and MacKeeper shows here that simple infographics do indeed work if the info itself is engaging.
This is an incredible, perfectly executed piece that tells an eye-opening story.
Online publication Quartz wanted to measure how the diversity of models on beauty brands’ Instagram accounts looked before the murder of George Floyd, and how it has shifted in the wake.
The events of May 2020 led to businesses and brands around the world speaking out in support of Black Lives Matter, heightening a worldwide conversation about systematic racism in every facet of life.
Many major fashion and beauty brands declared their commitment to fostering a diverse, inclusive environment for everyone – but how many of them actually walked the walk and practised what they preached?
Quartz’s study analysed 27,000 posts across 34 brands’ Insta feeds, measuring diversity based on skin tone as opposed to racial classification.
They presented the data across a set of captivating interactive infographics. Quartz themselves admit that there is no one correct way to measure diversity – but the data certainly speaks volumes nonetheless.
Each graphic for each different brand or industry segment tells you the whole story from just a glance – this is a super effective and engaging way to present stats, and oftentimes that’s what sets apart a dreary data-driven campaign from an outstanding one.
In what may end up being the biggest news story of the year, April saw Marks & Spencer commence an iconic legal battle, suing Aldi over Cuthbert the Caterpillar’s striking resemblance to their own Colin.
We don’t know why Aldi had to take the hit, considering every supermarket seems to have its own rendition, like Asda’s Clyde and Waitrose’s Cecil, but Cuthbert is the one who triggered M&S enough that they felt the need to remind us that caterpillar cake is not just food, it’s M&S food, exclusively.
So, where does digital PR fit into this? A couple of places actually. For the first, I’ll need you all to put your tin hats on.
Now, here me out… I don’t think it’s too out of line to suggest that M&S might have just served us the very first digital PR lawsuit… and I’m being mildly serious.
LM&S knew that if there’s one way to cause a bit of a ruckus and get some eyes back on Colin, they had to go after Cuthbert.
From my non-Brit perspective, people in the UK sure seem to be vehemently passionate about which corporation’s caterpillar they celebrate their birth with, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Mark and/or Spencer was a little bit bored, keen for some attention, and thought ‘well, I guess it’s time to sue Aldi’. That’s my theory.
But conspiracies aside – a more verifiable digital PR take on this story came from a new brand that clearly knows how to grab attention.
HomeHow, an advice website for homeowners, managed to gain some national press within months of launching, with one clever bit of digital PR; a simple, timely and timeless recipe.
With caterpillar cakes fresh on our minds, HomeHow saw an opportunity for a bit of ‘newsjacking’ by throwing their spin on the iconic desert into the mix. That’s right; digital PR can literally be sending out a recipe to a bunch of journalists.
Newsjacking is when you piggyback off a top story to gain some press of your own – but to do it successfully, you need to pick the right story and get the piece out there while it’s still a trending topic.
HomeHow did just that. The recipe got picked up by Metro, Express and a bunch of local papers. Chances are, the same recipe has probably existed online, one Google search away, for years – but HomeHow showed how timing can be everything.
Also, shout out to Lidl for weighing in with this masterpiece: