At the start of any new year, we like to take a look back at some of our favourite PR and marketing campaigns from the previous year and it is safe to say, 2020 has been like no other.
Whilst Covid-19 has devastated businesses across the board and has seen many companies halt their PR and marketing activities altogether, we have also seen many brands revise their marketing activity to show support for their communities, to shine a light on the true heroes of the pandemic and to help people through the incredibly difficult, turbulent and lonely times of 2020.
Whilst we usually look at campaigns from around the world in our annual review, this year we have decided to focus solely on Scottish businesses. On those companies on our very doorstep that have focused on making a difference this year.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
One of the saddest moments of 2020 came with the cancellation of the world-famous Edinburgh Fringe. But that didn’t stop the organisers from running a whole host of online events, programmes, platforms and initiatives which kept the spirit of the festival alive during the pandemic.
With over 300 shows running, we were able to enjoy everything from throwback shows to brand new lockdown-inspired creations including a virtual disco for babies, an improvised musical and an online dance-a-thon and much much more.
The Edinburgh Fringe team also ran a fundraising campaign to the tune of £250,000 in order support artists and venues through the crisis. And if that wasn’t enough, they also created Fringe Central, a virtual hub for artists and industry professionals to attend events, collaborate and network with eachother. All 50 events were totally free and were attended by over 1300 participants.
As Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, put it: “This has been a Fringe like no other, and one we will certainly never forget. The Fringe may be over for another year, but this crisis facing us all is not. As we look back at all that’s been achieved in this extraordinary time, it’s clear that the resilient spirit is strong. Now, we’ll keep working to make sure creatives get the support they need to continue. Here’s to our Fringe heroes for 2020 and beyond.”
When additional restrictions hit Scottish hospitality businesses in the autumn, our resident Bagel empire, Bross Bagels, was quick to offer its support to fellow hospitality businesses that were forced to close. Because it did not serve alcohol, Bross Bagels could stay open so it decided to partner with local Edinburgh chefs by offering pop up slots at its bagel shops throughout Edinburgh.
The first Bross Bagels collaboration saw Roberta Hall McCarron from The Little Chartroom take over the kitchen for the day where she was able to showcase and sell her specially designed bagel comprising of braised beef cheek. This was followed by chefs from Elliott’s Edinburgh, Copper Blossom, Solti, Harajuku Kitchen, Ondine, Aurora and Chop Steak House who were all able to showcase their skills and sell their produce thanks to Bross Bagels.
Owner of Bross Bagels, Larah Bross, explained: “The hospitality industry is in a dark place right now and we wanted to bring something fun and exciting to the table. We stand in solidarity with our fellow chefs and want to support in any way possible.”
Our favourite pizza restaurant, Civerinos, launched its #payitforward pizza campaign at the beginning of the first lockdown.
Here’s what they did: “We have spent the last week focussing on how we are going to feed as many people for as long as safely possible. Part of this is to prioritise our city’s key workers and help them stay strong.
“We want to alleviate any burden from them we can. These guys are heroes. They haven’t got time to think about shopping, cooking, cleaning or any of the simple things we all used to take for granted.
“We are launching the pay it forward pizza initiative where you can buy a half price pizza and have it sent to your local NHS staff with your message of support inside the box. These messages of support are just as important as the hot food inside the box. Empower the people holding our country together.”
We loved this campaign.
Scotland’s favourite craft beer creator, BrewDog, took a proactive approach to the pandemic by using its resources to make its very own Punk Sanitiser.
Realising that hand sanitizer was becoming in short supply, the team at BrewDog set about making large batches and sending them to frontline services in the UK for free.
And more recently it offered up its premises as vaccination centres.
As BrewDog’s founder James Wyatt, said: “We are determined to do everything we can to try and help as many people as possible to stay safe.”
While all different companies, targeting different audiences, our four favourite campaigns had several things in common – they each added value to their community, they included a strong call to action, they were not pushing sales messages and they were looking to alleviate people’s pain points by demonstrating how they can solve problems and improve lives. We hope that as we emerge from the crisis of 2020, we see many more campaigns that share these traits in our future listings.
Something missing from the list? Get in touch and tell us about your favourite campaign of 2020.