Summer marketing, advertising and PR campaigns discussed

During our weekly Imbibe and Inspire sessions, the team looked at a number of campaigns that included guerrilla marketing stunts, traditional video advertising and social media outreach. We discussed the power of their marketing strategies, how they managed to go viral and how we might have done things differently. Here are our thoughts on the campaigns from this quarter.



Back in July, Kim Kardashian released a new line of solutionwear named, Kimono. Clearly meant to be a smart use of her name and the traditional dress, Kim received huge backlash in response to the release.

Faced with accusations of ignorance and cultural appropriation, Kim quickly decided to relaunch the brand under a new name, which she shared with fans on social. When she released the new name in August 2019, fans were quick to notice she had also replaced the faceless models with stereotypical model figures, with a wide range of body types. Kim went from being the focus in the launch picture to one in a crowd. But to what purpose did she do this? Some people believe she knew she would receive backlash for her Kimono-named range. Others believe she made a conscious effort to listen to feedback and grow. But how many other times have we seen influencers do inappropriate things online and suffer little to no consequences.

Whatever side of the fence you fall on, the new brand went down a success online – no doubt adding to the Kardashian machine.


One of the most controversial kit launches turned out to be a PR masterpiece from bookmakers, Paddy Power, Huddersfield FC and its agency partners. Revealing their sponsorship ‘sash’ across Huddersfield Town’s new shirt, Paddy Power caused an uproar on social media and throughout the football club’s fan base. The stunt was seemingly all the more believable since the FA and Huddersfield FC endorsed the ‘new kit’. After playing a match and facing huge backlash, it was revealed the new shirt was simply an elaborate ruse. Huddersfield then revealed the real kit of the season, which is actually sponsor free.

Paddy Power have since revealed that they are running a ‘save our shirt’ campaign to publicize that “football shirts aren’t billboards”. This campaign and stunt is very typical of the brand, known for their raucous marketing and social media campaigns.

The stunt produced a huge volume of media coverage with a few teams even signing up in support, but there’s still a long way to go to tackle the issue. This is a great example of how you can lead on a topic that is suitable and relevant to your business and target audience, and use it to your advantage.



Some of the nation’s favourite food products have been miniaturised into collectables, so that children can build up their own M&S Little Shop. For every £20 spent on food in-store shoppers will be given a random toy, which includes an official collectors card with facts about the product. To avoid having two of the same toy, 70 stores nationwide had been selected to host swap events in their M&S Cafés, a great way to encourage repeat visits.

However, given the current political climate and consumers becoming more environmentally conscious when purchasing, some shoppers took to social media to denounce M&S for producing needless plastic waste. Whilst the plastics are not necessarily single-use, M&S could have benefitted from using a more eco-friendly material. The retailer also faced backlash for the £20 minimum spend, which is not attainable for those on lower incomes. It also means you would need to spend at least £500 on food to collect 25 miniatures. However, the campaign was a nice idea to re-engage with their family audience, and is a great way to increase footfall to their food stores and cafes. Just note that potential backlash should also be considered pre-campaign launch and steps taken to avoid it.


Following on from the highly successful, This Girl Can, campaign which aimed to promote women into sports regardless of their shape, size, sport or fitness level, Sport England followed this up this summer with a new campaign. ‘We Are Undefeatable’, aims itself at those across the UK suffering from a health condition, whether physical or mental. The main TV advert follows the feel-good vibe felt in its previous campaign. But this campaign had more heart. All of the people featured in the video were real people with real stories, who were showcased through short documentaries; highlighting how sport has improved their life, regardless of their illness.

A great way to get across brand activism in a strong, meaningful way, Sport England had a clear objective and clear content to help carry that message across.


ASOS recently ran a competition on Twitter where customers were encouraged to share their wishlist with the hashtag #ThanksItsASOS in the hope to win a £500 voucher. A competition on social can be a great way to engage and grow your audience. In this instance however, the messaging didn’t align. The hashtag #ThanksItsASOS implies a compliment in response to an ASOS garment you’re wearing and we think it would have worked better if the brand had asked people to share photos of their best ASOS looks.

Instead, the media used in entry posts ended up being screenshots of people’s saved items, which is hardly visually appealing. Whilst the hashtag was trending in the UK, it was met with a barrage of tweets criticising the poor working conditions of staff; including unfair contracts and pay, monitored toilet breaks and pollution levels associated with the company.

This isn’t the first time ASOS has faced criticism over their marketing techniques. The onus here from us is to always ensure the messaging is watertight. Get across your message succinctly for optimum success and think about the types of entries you’re going to get in response. A little forward-thinking would have gone a long way here.




Cannabis brand ‘Ignite’, launched by poker player and Instagram star Dan Bilzerian, launched its first major UK campaign for cannabidiol (CBD) in recent months. The cannabis component, legal in the UK since last year, is an emerging market, estimated to grow to be worth £16.5bn in the next decade according to the Financial Times.

With CBD allegedly able to improve mood and coordination as a result of the non-psychoactive component of cannabis, we’re not sure Ignite’s “Life’s better in the Ignited Kingdom” campaign hit the mark.

Featuring a glamourous woman – a signature of Dan’s Instagram posts – the product, not its benefits, are clear in the advert. We discussed whether this campaign creative suits its target market, and whether Ignite has a target market beyond the Instagram star’s social media followers. This one is one we’ll have to watch to see how their sales go…



Over-the-counter pain-relief medication Nurofen created an out-of-the-box advert which features people responding to pain by swearing. Research by Dr. Richard Stephens’ in 2009 revealed swearing can increase pain tolerance. Nurofen took this concept to the test by creating an experiment where volunteers were instructed to place their hands in an ice water bath for as long as possible, whilst either saying the f-word or a control word.

The experiment concluded that there is a deep-rooted emotional connection to swear words and that could be the reason why they help us tolerate pain – reportedly increasing participant’s pain tolerance by up to 33%. Nurofen’s campaign was unique, factual and funny and is a great example of how to lead your products in through a campaign in a subtle and natural way.


These campaigns opened up the most discussion within our team, which shows how successful their ideas were.  If you are looking to get people talking about your brand, get in touch and we can help you develop a marketing, PR or communications strategy. Find out more about our services here.

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