18 Successful PR Campaigns from Innovative Companies


examples of successful pr campaigns

Successful PR campaigns come in as many different forms as there are brands. What could be innovative and on-point for one company may be totally off-key for another.

Despite that, looking at other companies’ PR successes can still be helpful when developing a comprehensive PR campaign for your brand. So let’s look at 11 major PR successes from companies across various industries and key takeaways to strengthen the impact of your next PR campaign.

18 Killer Public Relations Examples to Inspire Your Next PR Campaign

1. Lego Rebuild the World 

Their first global PR campaign in decades, Lego’s Rebuild the World was focused on inspiring creative thinking in kids—but also adults. As part of the public relations campaign, Lego asked customers to submit pictures of their creations, aggregated onto a 3D globe on the brand’s website. Users can move and spin the globe to see what people worldwide have created. 

The best part is that Rebuild the World struck the perfect balance between inspirational and playful—an exact fit for Lego’s overall brand personality.

2. Ikea #StayHome 

During the pandemic, we saw all kinds of “stay home”-related digital marketing and PR campaigns, from Uber’s “Thank You for Not Riding” spots to Burger King’s “Stay Home of the Whopper.” 

Admittedly, Ikea had a bit of an advantage here as one of the world’s largest retailers of home goods, but their #StayHome PR campaign was still impressive—poignant, reassuring, and hopeful.

3. Kamua’s Product Launch campaign

Our client Kamua, an AI-powered video editing platform, wanted to establish itself as an authoritative voice in the video editing industry and rapidly expand its base of dedicated users. 

We worked with them to create a comprehensive, strategic public relations strategy that included bylined articles by Kamua founder and CEO Paul Robert Cary; multiple monthly mentions including in tier-one publications; and, most importantly, a Product Hunt launch campaign that would get Kamua’s name and product in front of thousands of tech-savvy users and influencers. 

Kamua became one of the top three most-hunted products on Product Hunt, was featured in Product Hunt’s email newsletter, and was named Best Product of the Week by Product Hunt the week of its campaign. Just one outcome of this PR campaign? The platform gained 400 new users literally overnight.

Related read: Product Launch Marketing: Strategy, Plan, and Execute

4. Dove’s #TheSelfieTalk Campaign

A decade after the women’s skincare brand launched its Real Beauty campaign, it’s still going strong. 

Why? Because they’ve involved real women (and girls) every step of the way. Their latest campaign is a commentary on how social media affects girls’ self-esteem. Their #TheSelfieTalkCampaign shows a young girl editing a photo of herself to post online. To make their point, Dove shows this process in reverse. The advertisement ends by showing the girl’s natural face without makeup or filters. 

From honest conversations on beauty standards to what it means to “throw like a girl,” Dove’s public relations campaigns have evolved and adapted to the times by staying sincerely in touch with what its customers are experiencing in their daily lives.

5. Faroe Islands Closed for Maintenance

In 2019, the Danish-overseen Faroe Islands announced a bold public relations campaign devised by the tourism board: they’d close the islands to tourists but open them to any “voluntourists” who wanted to help maintain and clean up the islands for the last weekend in April. 

The PR campaign was a huge success, with more than 3,000 people signing up in a matter of days (not all were allowed to volunteer). Volunteers worked at 11 tourist sites during the weekend to perform trail maintenance and clean-ups and restore the islands’ natural environment. The results for the islands’ ecosystem and tourism were incredibly positive, generating 500 earned media articles and a more than 3 billion readership—all with a $0 media budget. 

6. BBC’s Peaky Blinders fan art campaign

Fan art is a world unto itself—but surprisingly few brands embrace this “unofficial” view, even though it’s probably the best possible source of user-generated content a brand could ever ask for. 

An exception to this was the show Peaky Blinders, which issued a call to fans to create art for their new season’s imagery in 2019. Not only did this generate interest among casual viewers and those who were not yet fans, but it also strengthened the relationship between the show’s creators and the viewers who love it—a win-win. 

Related read: How to Take Your User-Generated Content from Good to Great

7. American Heart Association Go Red for Women 

The American Heart Association’s heart disease awareness campaign, Go Red for Women, asked celebrities to wear red to call attention to the prevalence of heart attacks and other cardiac issues among women. 

The public relations campaign educated millions of Americans on just how common heart disease is among women, while also generating millions in donations. 

8. American Express Small Business Saturday

If you’ve ever taken part in Small Business Saturday as either a shopper or a business, you may not even know it was started by American Express. 

That’s part of the beauty of Small Business Saturday: it’s such a sincere effort to get people to shop small during the holiday season, and because of that, when people do learn that AmEx created it they’re more liable to have warm feelings toward the brand. 

Related read: Here’s How to Build Trust In Your Brand in 2022

9. State Street Global Advisors Fearless Girl 

The Fearless Girl statue that the Wall Street firm State Street Global Advisors firm placed to face down the famous Wall Street bull became a symbol of the financial sector’s lack of gender diversity, and the women who have been at the forefront of trying to change that. 

But in addition to its symbolic importance, it’s also a carefully crafted advertisement—one for the firm’s exchange-traded Gender Diversity Index SHE fund. 

The firm has faced some criticism over the years since putting up the statue, as it hasn’t always been clear whether State Street Global Advisors is making gender diversity a true priority. 

And this brings up another important point when it comes to creating successful PR campaigns: Your brand needs to put its money where its mouth is. If you say diversity, or sustainability, or another issue is important to you, make sure you’re backing that up with real action. 

Related read: Negative Public Perceptions and Other PR Problems: How To Change The Narrative

 "The Fearless Girl" statue facing Charging Bull in Lower Manhattan, New York City

10. Gender Pay Gap Bot Fights For Fair Wages 

As we’ve stated, many companies like to raise awareness of social issues and fight for change. The Gender Pay Gap Bot is an automated Twitter account that advocates for women’s rights to equal pay—and on International Women’s Day, the bot ran a PR campaign to hold companies accountable. 

Their slogan: “Stop posting platitudes. Start fixing the problem.” 

As companies in various industries filled users’ feeds with empowering messages, the Gender Pay Gap Bot responded with data revealing the inequities in compensation between their male and female employees. This PR strategy sheds light on these issues through transparency and neutral messaging. Today, the Twitter account has over 240,000 followers. 

11. McDonald’s ‘We Hire People’ Campaign

Companies that emphasize the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives are paving the way for a kinder, more inclusive world. Promoting these brand values through public relations strategies is a great way to show your commitment to welcoming all of your employees and customers. 

McDonald’s ‘We Hire People” Campaign does just this. The fast-food chain introduces viewers to many individuals with various cultural backgrounds, passions, and ages. The advertisement shows that McDonald’s doors are open to everyone. These messages are essential in 2023. 

12. Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ Campaign

This campaign has been one of the most successful PR campaigns of all time. The tagline “Just Do It” is simple yet powerful and has become synonymous with Nike’s brand identity. The campaign’s success is due to its inspirational message that encourages consumers to push themselves beyond their limits and achieve their goals. Nike has used the campaign to showcase its products as tools that help people achieve their athletic potential. The “Just Do It” campaign has also featured famous athletes, such as Michael Jordan and Serena Williams, who embody Nike’s brand values of determination, perseverance, and excellence.

13. Google’s Year in Search

Google’s “Year in Search” campaign is an annual PR campaign that showcases the top trending searches of the year. The campaign has been successful because it taps into people’s emotional connections to current events and showcases Google’s ability to capture the pulse of the world through search data. The campaign is also highly shareable and creates a sense of community around the shared experience of looking back at the year’s top moments. The campaign reinforces Google’s brand identity as a company that is at the forefront of technology and innovation.

14. Red Bull’s ‘Stratos’ Campaign

In 2012, Red Bull sponsored Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking jump from the edge of space called the “Red Bull Stratos.” The campaign was a massive success, generating over 52 million views on YouTube and millions of dollars in earned media coverage. The campaign was successful because it showcased Red Bull’s brand values of extreme sports and adventure while also breaking a world record. The campaign was a testament to the power of experiential marketing and how brands can leverage events to create memorable and impactful campaigns.

15. Chipotle’s ‘Food with ‘Integrity’ campaign

Chipotle’s “Food with Integrity” campaign was an innovative marketing campaign that aimed to differentiate the company from other fast-food chains by highlighting its commitment to sourcing sustainable and ethically-produced ingredients for its menu. The campaign featured a series of advertisements that showcased Chipotle’s use of fresh, locally sourced, and sustainably-raised ingredients and its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.

What made the campaign innovative was that it was not just a marketing gimmick; Chipotle really did change its sourcing practices to live up to the promises it made in the ads. The company worked directly with farmers and producers to develop sustainable farming practices, and it paid premium prices to ensure that the farmers were able to make a living wage. The success of the campaign was due to its resonance with consumers who valued healthier, more sustainable food options and appreciated Chipotle’s mission as much as its food.

16. ‘Zappos’ and Delivering Happiness

This campaign was an innovative marketing campaign that focused on customer service and satisfaction to differentiate the company from other online retailers. The campaign emphasized Zappos’ commitment to free shipping and returns, 24/7 customer service, and going above and beyond to make customers happy. What made the campaign truly innovative was that Zappos believed in the importance of customer satisfaction and made it a core value of the company, investing heavily in its customer service team and creating a fun and fulfilling work environment for employees. The campaign was a huge success, leading to high customer loyalty and repeat business.

17. Patagonia Says ‘Don’t Buy This Jacket’

Patagonia’s “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign was an innovative marketing campaign that aimed to encourage customers to buy less and reduce their environmental impact. The campaign was launched in 2011 and featured a full-page ad in The New York Times that showed one of Patagonia’s best-selling jackets with the headline “Don’t Buy This Jacket.” The ad went on to explain the environmental impact of the jacket’s production and encouraged customers to think twice before making a purchase.

What made the campaign innovative was that it went against the traditional marketing strategy of encouraging customers to buy more. Instead, Patagonia wanted to use its platform to raise awareness about the environmental impact of consumerism and to encourage customers to make more conscious choices. The campaign also reflected Patagonia’s long-standing commitment to sustainability and its belief that the company had a responsibility to minimize its environmental impact. The campaign was a success and helped to solidify Patagonia’s reputation as a leader in sustainability and environmental activism.

18. Airbnb’s ‘Belong Anywhere’ Campaign

This PR campaign was an innovative campaign that aimed to position the company as a global community that offered unique and authentic travel experiences. The campaign focused on Airbnb’s ability to connect people from different cultures and backgrounds, highlighting the role of welcoming and knowledgeable local hosts. The campaign was successful because it tapped into the growing trend of experiential travel and emphasized the community aspect of travel. It helped establish Airbnb as a disruptor in the travel industry and drove significant growth for the company.

Creating an innovative, successful PR campaign requires a team of experts who know your brand inside and out. If you’re looking for help making your next PR campaign stand out, get in touch with Zen


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