Our five stand-out campaigns of 2020

By Sam Postlethwaite

Thursday 24th December

For better or worse (mainly worse), 2020 will live long in the memory. If 2019 was “bumpy” – as described in our blog this time last year – then 2020 was a Gumball Rally across the Pyrenees.

In a year that saw us clap for carers, kneel for George and battle with Barnier, here are five communications campaigns which stood out for the Pagefield team.

Pret a Manger

At the very beginning of the pandemic Pret launched a campaign to give 50% off food and hot drinks to NHS staff. They were the first out of the gate on supporting frontline health workers as brands across the country rapidly followed suit.

Pagefield Partner David Leslie comments: “They used really simple copy, in their recognisable brand style, and captured the mood of the country. Pret deservedly achieved wall to wall positive coverage for this initiative before anyone else.”

The Royal Family

Given their high-profile troubles last year, the Royal Family has bounced back quite magnificently with a PR campaign designed to underline the monarchy’s consistency and relevance.

Pagefield Senior Advisor Martin Townsend comments: “The Queen proved the nation’s comforter with her ‘we’ll meet again’ message (an area where the Church fell short); the Cambridges ramped up their campaigning on a number of very relevant issues – from mental health and social isolation to helping kids to stay active and protecting them from cyber-bullying – and Prince Charles and Camilla increased their patronages across the charity sector, and toured tirelessly.”

Marcus Rashford

It would have been remiss to publish an article about the year’s top campaigns without mentioning Manchester United’s number 10. The young footballer has had an incredible impact with his campaign to provide free school meals to families in need – galvanising support from across the political divide.

Pagefield Senior Executive Olivia Crawford comments: “Rashford’s campaign proves that there is little a popular social cause amplified through widely read media outlets and backed by high profile ambassadors cannot achieve. It might be a way off still, but when Marcus Rashford’s playing days are over there is a spot open for him on Pagefield’s Senior Advisory Board.”

Extinction Rebellion

The global environmental movement Extinction Rebellion has achieved unprecedented levels of coverage over the last three years with a series of high profile stunts and campaigns. With the Government continuing to pass a slew of carbon conscious legislation – from electric vehicles to sustainable housing – few can argue against the long-term impact the group has made on our collective attitude towards protecting the environment. In 2020, however, the group came in for cross-party criticism for two particularly divisive stunts: one at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day and another which stopped the printing press for a day.

Pagefield Partner Josh Lambkin comments: “Was 2020 the year that XR went too far? Another year of ill-judged stunts, most notably around Remembrance Day, will have turned off more potential supporters. With COP-26 on the horizon, the group has a golden opportunity to make a lasting impact on environmental policy, but they will need to avoid the allure of gimmicky campaign tactics if they want to be taken seriously.”

Burger King

As the hospitality sector continues to face huge challenges in the face of tightening coronavirus restrictions, Burger King encouraged its customers to order from independent businesses via its #WhopperandFriends campaign. The fast food chain offered up its Instagram page (with over 35k followers) to local restaurants to advertise their own food and signature dishes – reminding Burger King’s followers that “there’s more to life than The Whopper”.

Pagefield Consultant Alice Hawken comments: “A nice touch from the company who also encouraged customers to order from McDonald’s and other rivals last month, so that restaurant staff were supported during the pandemic.”

 

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