Table of contents
Creating a successful PR campaign is no small feat, so why not learn from the best? Discover top-notch PR campaigns and their key takeaways. Don’t hang up yet!
Public relations campaigns serve as a potent tool for shaping public perception, building brand recognition, and achieving various business objectives. They come in many forms, from charitable initiatives to new product launches, and can leave a lasting impression on their target audience.
In the following sections, you’ll find an exploration of standout campaigns, ranging from Apple’s “Think Different” to the ALS Association’s “Ice Bucket Challenge.” We’ll delve into the strategies and tactics that set these initiatives apart.
Whether you’re a PR professional looking for inspiration or a business owner who wants to understand the power of effective PR, this article will provide insights and takeaways that you can apply to your own PR efforts.
Table of contents:
- What’s the purpose of PR campaigns?
- 5 amazing PR campaign examples
- Why should campaigns be a part of your PR strategy?
- How to measure the result of a PR campaign
- 5 Best PR tools
What’s the purpose of PR campaigns?
There are several arguments for launching a public relations campaign.
The main reason is to shape public perceptions and build positive relationships between an organization or brand and its various stakeholders, including customers, employees, investors, and the general public.
PR campaigns can be launched to achieve goals such as:
- Building brand identity and awareness: a successful PR campaign will introduce the company to a broader audience and raise awareness about the brand.
- Brand reputation management: if your brand’s reputation needs improvement, it’s a good idea to launch a PR campaign to shift the sentiment.
- Positioning: PR campaigns can be used to position an organization or brand as an industry leader or to differentiate it from its competitors.
- Crisis management: PR professionals use campaigns when the company’s good image is threatened.
- Influencing: public policies can be influenced by creating awareness and encouraging public support for a particular issue.
Ultimately, the purpose of a PR campaign is to communicate effectively with key audiences in order to achieve desired outcomes, whether it be increasing sales, improving reputation, or advancing policy goals.
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Let’s check out the all-time best PR campaigns.
5 amazing PR campaign examples
The best public relations examples include big brands like Apple, Always, or Red Bull, but they are also associated with NGOs and other non-profit institutions.
Here are the 5 best PR campaigns and what you can learn from them.
01 “Think Different” by Apple
The “Think Different” campaign by Apple was a marketing campaign launched in 1997 after the return of Steve Jobs to the company as CEO. The campaign was designed to promote Apple’s renewed focus on innovation and creativity and to position the company as a leader in the personal computer and technology industry.
The campaign featured a series of powerful and inspirational TV commercials and print ads that celebrated innovation and creativity. The commercials featured a montage of historical figures such as Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr, and John Lennon, along with the tagline “Think Different”. The accompanying print ads featured the same tagline along with a picture of the person and a short text that celebrated their ability to think differently. The ads were directed at the creative community, and the message was clear that by using an Apple product, you are part of that community of innovators and thinkers.
The campaign was highly successful and helped to re-establish Apple as a leading player in the technology industry. The “Think Different” slogan and imagery also helped to create a strong emotional connection with consumers, and it was widely praised for its creativity and effectiveness. The campaign was so successful that it became a permanent part of Apple’s marketing strategy and was used for several years.
The “Think Different” campaign played a big role in the resurgence of Apple, and helped the company to re-establish itself as a leader in the personal computer and technology industry. It helped to create a strong emotional connection with consumers, and it was widely praised for its creativity and effectiveness. The campaign helped to create a halo effect for the entire brand and all its products, as it communicated that by using an Apple product, you are part of a community of innovators and thinkers.
- Emotional connection with consumers through iconic figures
- Targeted messaging for the creative community
- Played a key role in Apple’s brand resurgence
- Created a halo effect for all Apple products
- “Think Different” became a memorable, enduring tagline
- Harmonious blend of visual and textual elements in ads
- Long-term inclusion in Apple’s marketing strategy due to success
02 “Like a Girl” by Always
The “Like a Girl” campaign by Always was a social marketing campaign launched in 2014 aimed at changing the meaning of the phrase “like a girl” from a negative to a positive. The campaign was designed to empower girls and women and challenge the negative stereotypes and social norms that limit their potential.
The PR campaign kicked off with a viral video, which featured a social experiment where people were asked to act out the phrase “like a girl,” and the results showed that when people, both men, and women, were asked to act like a girl, they would perform the task in a weaker and demeaning way, showing the negative association with the phrase. In contrast, young girls who were asked to perform the task would do it confidently and with strength, showing that the negative association with the phrase was learned and not innate.
The video was widely shared on social media and received much positive attention. It was followed by a series of commercials and print ads that used the tagline “Like a Girl” and featured real girls and women performing various tasks and activities with confidence and strength. The commercials and print ads were directed at girls and women of all ages, and the message was clear that girls and women can do anything they set their minds to, regardless of societal expectations and stereotypes.
The campaign was hugely successful and widely praised for its creativity and effectiveness. It was recognized with several awards, such as a Cannes Lion, an Effie award, and a Clio award. It ran in over 50 countries and generated over 1 billion media impressions. The campaign was so successful that Always extended it to other countries and eventually to other aspects of girls’ development, like puberty education and sport participation. It also helped to change the meaning of the phrase “like a girl” and made it a positive and empowering term.
- Viral video effectively highlighted societal bias
- Used real girls and women to challenge stereotypes
- Wide social media sharing boosted campaign reach
- Won multiple prestigious awards for creativity and impact
- Expanded to over 50 countries due to success
- Generated over 1 billion media impressions
- Extended to other aspects like puberty education and sports
- Successfully changed the meaning of “like a girl” to a positive term
03 Red Bull Stratos
The “Red Bull Stratos” campaign by Red Bull was a high-altitude skydiving project that aimed to set several world records and advance the field of aerospace. The PR campaign was led by Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner and aimed to have him jump from a helium balloon in the stratosphere from a height of over 35+ km, breaking the sound barrier in the process.
The campaign began in 2010 and was developed in partnership with a team of scientists, engineers, and other experts, and it took two years of preparation. The jump was originally scheduled for 2011 but was delayed several times due to weather and technical difficulties. In 2012, Baumgartner finally made the jump, and the event was broadcast live on YouTube and other platforms, with over 50 million people tuning in to watch.
The jump was a success, and Baumgartner broke several world records, including the highest altitude jump and the fastest freefall speed. The campaign was widely covered by the media, and it generated a lot of buzz and attention for Red Bull. It was praised for its creativity, technical expertise, and for pushing the boundaries of human achievement.
The PR campaign was a major success for Red Bull, not only for the broken records but also for the branding and the awareness it generated for the company. The event was watched by millions of people, which generated a lot of buzz and attention for Red Bull and positioned the company as a leader in adventure sports and a brand that supports pushing the boundaries of human achievement. The campaign was widely recognized with awards, including several Clio Awards, a Cannes Lion, and an Emmy.
- Live broadcast attracted over 50 million viewers
- Broke multiple world records, including highest altitude jump
- Generated massive media coverage
- Elevated Red Bull as a leader in adventure sports
- Took two years of scientific and technical preparation
- Won several awards including Clio Awards and an Emmy
- Positioned Red Bull as a brand that pushes human limits
- Created buzz and awareness for the company on a global scale
04 Ice Bucket Challenge
The Ice Bucket Challenge, also known as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, was a social media campaign that went viral in the summer of 2014. It was created to raise awareness and funds for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
The PR campaign was simple and effective – participants would film themselves having a bucket of ice water dumped over their heads, then nominate others to do the same within 24 hours or donate to the ALS Association, then upload the video to social media platforms. The campaign quickly went viral, and many celebrities, athletes, and public figures participated, including Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Bill Gates, among others.
The campaign was widely praised for its creativity and effectiveness, and it generated a significant amount of awareness and funds for the ALS Association. According to the ALS Association, the campaign raised over $115 million in the US alone, compared to $2.8 million during the same period the previous year. The funds raised were used to support research and patient care for people living with ALS. The campaign also helped to raise awareness about the disease and made it more visible to the public.
The Ice Bucket Challenge was a great example of how a viral campaign can be used to generate a lot of awareness and funds for a good cause. It is widely acknowledged as one of the most successful viral campaigns in history for its ability to engage a wide range of people and its ability to raise significant funds for a charity. It also showcased the power of social media to spread a message and create a movement.
- Quickly went viral, engaging celebrities and public figures
- Raised over $115 million in the US for ALS research
- Simple, effective format easy for anyone to participate
- Generated significant awareness for ALS
- Showcased the power of social media for charitable causes
- Compared to $2.8 million raised the previous year, a huge leap
- Funds used for both research and patient care
- Acknowledged as one of history’s most successful viral campaigns
05 “Keep America Beautiful” by Ad Council
The “Keep America Beautiful” campaign is a public service advertising campaign launched by the Ad Council in the 1970s. The campaign was created to promote environmental responsibility and, reduce litter, pollution and improve the overall appearance of the country. The campaign was developed in partnership with Keep America Beautiful (KAB), a non-profit organization that aims to inspire and educate people to take action to keep the country clean and beautiful.
The campaign featured a series of television and print ads that used powerful images and emotional appeals to encourage people to take personal responsibility for their actions and to keep the country clean and beautiful. The most well-known ad, which is still remembered today, is the “Crying Indian” commercial, featuring an actor playing an American Indian paddling a canoe through a dirty and littered urban landscape while a voiceover states, “Some people have a deep, abiding respect for the natural beauty that was once this country. And some people don’t.”
The campaign was widely praised for its effectiveness and its ability to change public attitudes about litter and pollution. According to KAB, the campaign helped to reduce litter by 88% on the highways and roads where it was active. It also helped to change public attitudes about litter and pollution, and encouraged people to take personal responsibility for keeping the country clean and beautiful.
The “Keep America Beautiful” campaign is widely considered one of the most successful public service campaigns in history. It has been running for over 50 years and continues to inspire people to take action to keep the country clean and beautiful. The campaign has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Arts. The campaign has also evolved over the years to include new issues such as recycling, waste reduction, and community beautification, keeping the message and the call to action relevant to the times.
- Reduced litter by 88% on targeted highways and roads
- Changed public attitudes about environmental responsibility
- Iconic “Crying Indian” ad still remembered today
- Running for over 50 years, adapting to new issues like recycling
- Won prestigious awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom
- Developed in partnership with Keep America Beautiful
- Used emotional appeals effectively to drive action
- Continues to inspire new generations to keep America clean
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Why should campaigns be a part of your PR strategy?
Creating successful PR campaigns as a part of your PR strategy ensures your brand will stay ahead of your competitors when it comes to recognition.
PR backed up with good marketing can work wonders when it comes to brand awareness and a positive reputation.
How to measure the result of a PR campaign
Measuring a successful PR campaign requires a set of goals.
Are you interested in the reach? Media coverage? Maybe an increase in social media followers?
After you decide on the KPIs, you can use one of the many recommended PR tools mentioned below.
To learn more about measuring the effects of your PR efforts, read our other article: How to measure the results of a PR campaign?
5 Best PR tools
PR tools will help you launch and manage a public relations campaign. Here are some of the best online platforms you can use to boost your PR strategy.
To measure your PR success, you can use a media monitoring such as Brand24.
Brand24 gathers all publicly available online mentions about your brand (or any selected keywords) in an organized dashboard, and provides many convenient analytics tools.
To check media coverage, Brand24 calculates social media and non-social reach. It analyzes the sentiment and context of discussion so you know if the PR campaign was successful in terms of improving brand awareness. You can also get notifications (“storm alerts”) if there’s a sudden increase in your brand mentions.
That’s not everything. Start the free 14-day trial to discover all functions of Brand24.
Brand24 is a tool that monitors online mentions about your company.
Brandwatch is a media monitoring alternative to Brand24 that’s aimed at enterprise users and companies with big budgets.
The tool is individually tailored to the needs of your PR team.
The AI-based software is now shifting to consumer intelligence and insights tools, which will come in handy if you want to run and measure successful PR campaigns.
Read also: Brandwatch alternatives
Prezly is another tool for PR professionals that will come in handy. It has a landing page builder, multimedia story builder, contact management tool, and supports e-mail campaigns. Especially the two latter will be a great help if you want to create the best PR campaign ever.
04 Muck Rack
Muck Rack will help you with outreach and other useful PR features.
The tool has a huge database of journalists and media outlets. Its advanced factors for reporting and monitoring will help with your next PR campaign.
Another great tool is Prowly – a PR and media relations platform which will help you not only to organize outreach but also allow you to manage your public relations in one place. Using the tool’s centralized dashboard, you can manage your media relations easily and access journalists from almost every sector.
If you want more, check our list of 15+ PR tools you can use to improve your campaigns.
What makes a bad PR campaign?
A bad PR campaign can be characterized by several factors such as poor planning, inappropriate messaging, lack of research, insufficient media outreach, and inadequate response to criticism or negative feedback. These can result in damaging the brand reputation and failing to achieve the intended goals.
What are the four phases of PR campaigns?
The four phases of a PR campaign are:
Research: Gathering information about the target audience, competitors, and industry trends.
Planning: Developing a strategic plan based on the research findings, including setting measurable goals and objectives.
Implementation: Executing the plan by creating content, engaging with the media, and launching the campaign.
Evaluation: Measuring the campaign’s success against the set objectives, reviewing feedback and analyzing data to make improvements.
What are the characteristics of a good PR campaign?
A good PR campaign is characterized by several key features, including a clear and concise message that resonates with the target audience, effective use of different media channels to reach the audience, well-planned and executed tactics, a strong call to action, and an ability to adapt and respond to feedback. An example of a successful PR campaign is the International Women’s Day campaign that promotes gender equality and celebrates women’s achievements globally.
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