August 22, 2019

Public Relations Hits & Misses

We’re introducing a new feature to our blog that we call Hits & Misses, which looks at some recent PR efforts – some successful, some not. There are lessons to be learned from every campaign to determine why something worked or didn’t work. Our team analyzes our own campaigns, as well campaigns run by competitors and other businesses, constantly refining the strategies and tactics we use on behalf of our clients.

Here are a few Hits & Misses we’ve seen lately.


  • What’s better than some ice cream while watching your favorite TV show? Maybe nothing. That’s why Baskin-Robbins and Stranger Things partnered to turn a Baskin-Robbins store in LA into Scoops Ahoy, the nautical-themed ice cream shop featured in season three of the show. The immersive experience packed in fans (and pints) for 12 days and earned a tremendous number of media impressions.
  • Oklahoma City Animal Welfare created an out-of-this-world PR campaign to highlight some of their animals in need of a good home. The shelter capitalized on an online movement trying to organize a march on Area 51 by having dogs don tinfoil hats ready to protect people from Area 51 aliens. They gave it a great hashtag – #Stormtheshelter – and posted some irresistibly cute photos to Facebook. The result? Thousands of shares on social media, millions of impressions from media outlets like Huffington Post, USA Today and CNN. They also tied in an online fundraiser to raise $2,800 to help the pets. Most importantly, a lot of animals found forever homes. The takeaway here is that this campaign cost exactly zero dollars to execute. More often than not, the best ideas don’t need a budget behind them.


  • Clothing store Forever 21 sometimes sends free test products in their customers’ online orders. The company recently included low-carb bars from Atkins as a perk, which many customers took offense to and shared their opinions on social media. The company apologized to customers and explained what the intent of the offer really was.
  • Macy’s missed the mark for selling some dinner plates with portion outlines labeled as “mom jeans,” “favorite jeans” and “skinny jeans.” People took to Twitter to point out why the messaging is so offensive. The plates were quickly pulled from shelves and the company apologized to its customers. It’s another lesson on why it’s important to critically review all messaging and get feedback from a diverse focus group before launching a campaign.

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