Everyone online is fighting to grab your attention. I am right now. So if you’re in the game of marketing or public relations, how do you stop your audience from switching off, swiping out of or even walking away from the message you’re trying to deliver? If you’re asking me, you do it by embracing the unconventional, the unexpected and honestly, the downright weird. So, let’s look at some creative PR.
If the thought of being a weirdo in a corporate setting sent shivers down your spine, I’m urging you to stay with me. Getting weird can literally tick all the boxes from those posts you see on LinkedIn – being bold and taking risks, pushing boundaries and daring to be different. Can you get any more ‘LinkedIn-post-corporate’ than that?
Not only will it win the approval of all of those connections, but it’ll also win the attention of your customers – both current and prospective.
Big brands, creative PR
Remember when KFC launched a free dating simulation game where you could date Colonel Sanders as a hot anime guy? Well maybe you don’t, but I do (it was quite fun actually!)
It was a bit of a weird move on the surface but dig a little deeper and you’ll see that it coincided with KFC’s gaming console announcement (I’m not lying!) as well as other strange, gaming-related stunts and campaigns – all to promote their eSports programming.
Weird? Yes. Did it create a buzz? Yes. Visual novel fans LOVED it and KFC fans LOVED it.
Even the tourism board of Iceland has gotten in on it with its 2022 ‘OutHorse Your Email’ campaign. The team trained horses to walk along giant functional keyboards, so those in need of an (Icelandic) getaway could outsource their corporate communications to them.
This was a great campaign that featured some fantastic video content, as well as being a genius way to collect email addresses for marketing. Certainly not a load of old pony.
These campaigns, along with countless others, didn’t play it safe. They embraced creativity, and despite their uniqueness, it paid off in media attention, social media buzz, and brand loyalty.
Brands like PaddyPower are also known to push the boundaries, knowing full well that their loyal fans will love their campaigns and those who are outraged are highly unlikely to be their target audience anyway.
But why go weird with your creative PR? Here are just a few reasons:
- It cuts through the clutter. In a box of muffins, be a cupcake. People are naturally drawn to the unusual, and that curiosity often translates into engagement
- It sparks conversation. Weird campaigns become talking points and shared experiences that create a sense of community around your brand. People love to discuss and debate. Those conversations will keep your brand front of mind
- It shows personality. Showing some quirk ‘on main’ allows you to shed the corporate stiffness and showcase true character. It makes your brand relatable, approachable, and more human
- It builds emotional connections. The right kind of weirdness can tap into people’s emotions, making them laugh, cry, or simply feel something. These emotional connections are powerful drivers of brand loyalty and advocacy
Creative, not cringe
Of course, going weird doesn’t mean throwing caution to the wind. There’s a fine line between creative PR and cringeworthy PR.
Here are some tips for getting weird the right way:
- Know your audience. What will resonate with them? What might they find offensive or off-putting?
- Stay true to your brand. Your weirdness should still be aligned with your brand’s core values and identity
- Focus on the message. Don’t get so caught up in being weird that you forget what you’re trying to communicate
- Be prepared for backlash. Not everyone will appreciate your weirdness. Have a plan to deal with negative feedback (even if it’s just taking the PaddyPower approach… but I personally wouldn’t recommend that unless you’ve got some big clout!)
Remember, the goal isn’t to be odd for odd’s sake, but to be strategic about it. Use it to tell a story, make a point, or leave a lasting impression.
So, are you ready to embrace your inner oddball? It’s time to ditch the boring and unleash the bizarre. Let’s get weird, and let’s make some headlines along the way.