4 New Food PR Stunts that Attracted Big Media Attention

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Share of voice has become extremely competitive within the food industry. Food marketers are going to great lengths to make their voice standout from the rest. This fierce competition has led to some of the most creative food PR campaigns to date. Here are a few noteworthy moments that captured our attention.

Emotional Support Chicken Popeyes Stunt Food Marketing Public Relations EvansHardy+YoungPopeye’s Provides their own ESA

With emotional support animals (ESA) showing up in every grocery store, airline flight, and shopping mall in America it’s no surprise they’ve been making recent headlines. According to Airlines of America, from 2016 to 2017 there was a 57% increase in passengers traveling with animals, the majority of which were reported to be emotional support animals. Utilizing this hot media topic, Popeyes created their own ESA and offered emotional support chicken. Travelers passing through Philadelphia International Airport over the holidays could pick up a 3-piece tenders combo packaged in a special carrier shaped like a chicken.

Although the campaign was carried out in only one airport for a limited number of days, it received media coverage as if it was a national promotion. The creative stunt received coverage from top-tier media outlets including USA Today, Forbes, FOX, ABC and INC., further demonstrating a successful PR campaign doesn’t always require a significant investment to be effective. But the right combination of creativity, relevancy, and timeliness can make a compelling recipe for success.

Kraft Now Pay Later PR Stunt Food Marketing EvansHardy+YoungKraft Now, Pay Later

In the midst of America’s government shutdown, Kraft launched the Kraft Now Pay Later campaign. With the focus on government employees, they opened a pop-up grocery store in Washington D.C. where shoppers could fill their bags with Kraft essentials for free. In return, the brand asked those participating to pay it forward by giving to a charity in the future.

To support the campaign, Kraft placed an ad in the Washington Post asking other CPG brands to join them and donate items to their store. H&M, Tropicana, Capri Sun, and Oscar Meyer, among others, contributed to the event. With over 800,000 Americans affected by the government shutdown, this campaign received national attention with coverage in publications including People, Thrillist, and Business Insider along with several broadcast channels.

Perhaps most importantly, Kraft did an excellent job contributing to media headlines without crossing the line of political party association and causing brand polarization.  By acknowledging a hot topic within the media, positively joining the conversation, and launching a relevant, timely, and inclusive experiential marketing campaign, Kraft received invaluable media coverage. It also strengthened their brand’s family image while gaining respect and appreciation from all who participated.

Arby’s Keeps Everyone Guessing & Fans Love it

Arby’s has never been short on out-of-the-box ideas to keep consumers on their toes and the media buzzing. In September of 2018, Arby’s partnered with tattoo artist Miguel “Uzi” Montgomery to launch the Higher Level Sandwich Commitment. Calling all die-hard Arby’s fans, the brand, via Montgomery, gave free Arby’s-themed tattoos at Port City Tattoo in Long Beach, California.

How many people actually wanted an Arby’s sandwich tattooed on their body? 104, to be exact. Even more intriguing is that participants had zero incentive from Arby’s to get a sandwich tattoo, aside from the fact that it was free. A real testament to the chain’s loyal fan base. Arby’s claimed they helped their “sandwich fans show their commitment by giving them a free sandwich for life in the form of a tattoo.” Of course, the media jumped on this story, landing Arby’s in top-tier publications across the country.

And to keep the momentum going, just a few weeks ago Arby’s launched another head-scratching campaign. A subscription box called Arby’s of the Month. What’s inside? Thrillist reported the first box was filled with an old school Arby’s serving tray, toque, bacon scarf, and temporary tattoos. After the initial announcement of the service, the subscription boxes sold out in less than 1 hour, sparking media coverage in multiple top-tier publications.

By producing a limited number of tattoos and subscription boxes, Arby’s built excitement exclusively around their brand. These PR stunts rewarded Arby’s fans for their loyalty and made them feel as if they were receiving something of great worth and exclusivity, while also earning ample press coverage and social media buzz.

KFC Baby Harland Contest

KFC’s recent Baby Harland Naming Contest awarded $11,000 to the first child born on September 9, 2018 and legally named Harland, in honor of KFC founder Colonel Harland David Sanders, born on the same date in 1890. The winner, Harland Rose, was born 12 seconds after midnight on September 9 and her face (along with KFC’s branding) has been spotted in nearly every major publication across the country including USA Today, People, Delish and the Today Show.

For an $11,000 investment, KFC captured consumer attention via social media and earned a priceless amount of media impressions and fan engagement.

What Story Will Your Food Brand Share Next?

Through creative, timely, and relevant experiential food PR campaigns amplified by social media, food marketers have the power to insert their brand into the everyday life of their consumers.  As we all know, creating and executing a successful PR event is much easier said than done. However, if executed seamlessly across platforms, these types of PR campaigns have the power to generate immeasurable earned media for your food brand.

Gather your troops and start brainstorming. Find personal (and humorous) ways you can relate to your target audience and capture their attention. If boxed chicken and sandwich tattoos can generate millions of media impressions, then no idea should be considered off limits.

Madison Serrano PR Senior Account Executive EvansHardy+Young
Madison Serrano, PR Sr Account Executive

Madison is instrumental in growing share of voice for the Idaho Potato Commission, Lamb Weston, and Martinelli’s.