The rainy month of May has finally come to a close, which means it’s time for our digital PR roundup!

In this edition, we take a deep dive into a number of weirdly-flavoured things, we learn how to spot an old person, we discover important stats about social media and waistcoats, and we take a look at a campaign of our own.

5. Everything-Flavoured Everything (Everyone)

If I were asked to describe the state of digital PR in 2021 in a single headline, it would unquestionably be: “[So and so] launches [such and such]-flavoured [somethings]”.

These campaigns just keep working. The weirder the combination the better, and May brought us a few doozies. With that in mind, I couldn’t just pick one, so let’s explore a few of the best:

Savoury Sweets (National Express)

First, there’s National Express. Celebrating our return to travel, the coach company released their first-ever line of travel sweets, with a classic digital PR twist.

Described as a ‘tastebud tour of Britain’, the ‘Tastes of Normal’ sweets are inspired by favourite local dishes across the country, which include fish and chips, pork pie, Cornish pasty and curry.

Just what everyone wants from sweets.

Baby Candles (PoundToy)

There’s an age-old adage in digital PR that goes, ‘for every oddly flavoured snack, there’s an oddly scented candle”.

This was confirmed this month by online toy store PoundToy, who released the Newborn Baby Candle, a candle that smells like – you guessed it – a newborn baby.

Now, I’ll be honest, the only times I’ve ever noticed the scent of a baby were admittedly unpleasant, but I'm not quite the target audience for this one.

PoundToy explains that the candle is geared towards parents of... ex-babies, noting that with their new product, you can breathe in the scent of a newborn baby long after your bundle of joy is out of nappies’.

Ice Cream for Dogs (Ben & Jerry’s)

The third oddly-flavoured item on our roundup within a roundup comes from Ben & Jerry’s, although its level of weirdness depends on who’s eating it.

Much like crazy flavoured food, dogs are also an easy attention-grabber in digital PR, so Ben & Jerry’s combined the two by creating their Doggie Desserts line, a pair of ice creams made for pups!

Pontch’s Mix is made from peanut butter and pretzels while Rosie’s Batch has pumpkin and mini cookies, and both are made with a sunflower base instead of dairy.

Cocktail Sorbet (Häagen-Dazs)

Ben & Jerry’s weren’t the only ice cream legends playing with some new flavours this month.

As we settle into this glorious heatwave, Häagen-Dazs put out some fresh new flavours that are a little less weird and a little more genius. Is it digital PR or simply a new avenue of business? Sometimes, it can be both.

And many more…

It doesn’t end there. May also saw Pimm’s and Waitrose introduce Pimm’s ice lollies, Morrison’s making bubblegum gin, B&M going head-to-head with Häagen-Dazs with their own gin and tonic sorbet, a cheeseburger cheesecake from Pleesecakes, and a doughnut-muffin hybrid from Lotus Biscoff, among many many more.

So, the weird flavour thing does wonders in digital PR.

4. New Traits for Old People (Perspectus Global)

I’ve included this one because it was successful and it is somewhat insightful but I must say, those successful insights are somewhat alarming.

Perspectus Global surveyed 2000 Gen Z’ers in the UK, asking them what the surefire signs are that someone is old. ‘Asking teenagers to take a survey’ didn’t make the list, but that’s not the only surprising result.

According to the youth, the number one most telling sign that you are no longer young is… ordering a cappuccino. 52% of those surveyed agree. #CappuccinoIsOverParty

(I hope I used that hashtag correctly because 13% of Gen Z’ers say that using hashtags wrong is another sign of old age).

At 36%, the second biggest sign that you’ve aged is wearing underwear from M&S, followed by watching Countryfile for the weather forecast and asking for milk and two sugars in your tea, both at 30%. Still having a DVD collection takes fifth place at 29%.

Other signs in the top 25 include making noises when you sit down, not recognising any Love Island contestants, using gas BBQs, still being on Facebook, and wearing comfortable shoes.

3. Line of Duty and Waistcoats (SalesFire UK)

A successful digital PR campaign can sometimes just mean making a single, timely search on Google Trends.

The latest season of Line of Duty ended in May, and SalesFire UK was quick to capitalise on the show’s massive popularity. As a matter of fact, the popularity of the series was the very premise of the campaign itself.

The eCommerce company wanted to see just how influential the series is, or at least one particular aspect of the series: Steve Arnott’s waistcoats. They hopped on Google Trends and found that searches for ‘waistcoat’ rose by 22% between February and March, after the premiere of the sixth season.

That’s it. That’s the whole campaign.

Absolutely anyone can search for trend data on Google, but we didn’t and they did, and that’s all that really matters in the world of link building.

It doesn’t have to be packed with bells and whistles; sometimes you can just send a simple stat to a bunch of journalists, so long as it’s a stat worth sharing.

On top of that, it was a great way for SalesFire UK to build a bit of buzz around their AI-powered Visually Similar Search tool, which they used to find the best Steve Arnott-inspired waistcoats to buy in the UK.

2. The I’ll Be There For You Hamper (Regency Hampers)

While we’re on the topic of timely TV-inspired PR campaigns, we’d be remiss not to mention some work of our own!

The list of Friends-themed digital PR campaigns this month would probably be longer than the list of silly flavour combos.

Everyone wanted to capitalise on the arrival of the highly-anticipated reunion, but with just two weeks between the announcement and the premiere, the digital PR world had to think fast and act faster to get something out while the hype was still rising.

Our friends at Regency Hampers sell gift hampers. The Friends on TV gave a lot of gifts. It was a match made in digital PR heaven. And so, the I’ll Be There For You gift hamper was born.

In a matter of days, we put together the ultimate Friends hamper, featuring iconic gifts given throughout the series’ decade-long run, from replica Hootie & the Blowfish tickets, to toilet seat covers, to the legendary dog statue (sculpted by yours truly)!

The result may be the weirdest hamper ever created, but in the world of digital PR, weird always works.

It was a great opportunity to get creative and hands-on – and this DIY approach is becoming increasingly popular for quick wins in digital PR.

Plus, with Friends co-creator Martha Kaufmann revealing during the reunion that they had to send David Schwimmer gift baskets to convince him to play Ross - (in Chandler's voice:) could this campaign BE any more relevant? 

I’m keeping Hugsie forever.

1. Thumb Run (ilk agency)

    Lastly, ilk agency turned to another classic digital PR approach: make people have fun while feeling a little bad about themselves at the same time.

    For some of us it’s Instagram, for others it’s Reddit, for definitely-not-Gen-Z-people it’s Facebook, but we all have a tendency to spend too much time scrolling. If you don’t believe it, try the Thumb Run.

    This distressingly delightful and delightfully distressing campaign from ilk agency takes eye-opening stats and illustrates them through a stupidly addictive ‘game’. The headline alone is sure to turn heads: according to ilk’s calculations, the average thumb travels the equivalent of two marathons a year by scrolling through social media.

    The premise of the Thumb Run is simple: just keep scrolling and see how far you can get.

    While you scroll, you’ll be treated to a number of concerning-yet-interesting stats about our social media use, revealing which apps get the most scroll time, how long we spend scrolling social media per day, and more. You’ll also be treated to an 8-bit rendition of Chariots of Fire as a soundtrack.

    If this was a news article, I’d probably scroll past it. And yet, by turning maths and stats into a colourful retro-style game, the Thumb Run got me to willingly learn a lesson about my bad habits.

    I love it and I hate it, and that’s what digital PR is all about.