On the whole, we as a nation seek comfort in the familiar. And what’s more familiar than the cult classics that light up our telly box on a cold winter’s night? With that in mind, let’s take a look at how some of our favourite television characters have been chosen to lead PR campaigns for big brands over the years, and why this strategy has proved to be so successful.
Read on to find out more.
Wallace and Gromit – VisitEngland & Gromit Unleashed
Aardman Animations originally created Wallace and Gromit as a passion project, and introduced the duo to the general public in 1989, with the short film A Grand Day Out. Met with an overwhelmingly positive response, the hand-crafted characters quickly became cultural icons across Britain, and a staple watch for most households, especially around Christmastime.
Already nestled into the hearts of the nation, it’s no surprise that Wallace and his dog have been used as frontmen for several different campaigns over the years. On the small screen, they’ve appeared in several television adverts, in the middle of yet another scrape, but with the chosen brand coming in to save the day. However, looking more towards the unusual uses of the iconic characters, VisitEngland took on the duo in 2013, with both a TV ad and a dedicated website, with the intention of encouraging Brits to holiday at home, instead of abroad, that particular year. Across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the campaign also included outdoor and digital advertising, attracting a wide audience due to the familiarity of these beloved characters.
Gromit Unleashed was perhaps a more creative interpretation of the animation – man’s (or Wallace’s) best friend in particular. Statues of Gromit were placed across the town of Bristol, decorated by with outlandish designs, created by a wide range of artists. There were 80 sculptures in total, depicted on a map, so that any avid Gromit-hunters could follow the trail. When this activity stopped running, the fleet of one-of-a-kind Gromits were then auctioned off for The Grand Appeal, Bristol Children’s Hospital Charity.
Love Island – Paddy’s Island
Moving over to a sunnier scene, where romantic hopefuls look for love at your viewing pleasure, betting giants Paddy Power also tried their hands at recreating a popular television show – with their online Bingo campaign Paddy’s Island. Can you guess which cult reality TV phenomenon this engaging campaign was based on? Well, if you can’t, then you must have been living under a rock these past few years…
It was, of course, Love Island. The creative PR team over at Paddy Power pulled together a short, digital series based off the fan favourite, but with a little twist. Whilst entertaining, there was another reason to watch all six episodes of Paddy’s Island – the potential prizes!
That’s right, at the end of each bingeworthy clip, the viewers would be asked how many of a certain item were present on the screen, ranging all the way from Bingo balls to sausage rolls! To enter, players would need to go to the Paddy Power website and enter their answer – all for the chance to win a grand!
By taking on the nuances of Love Island that keep people coming back for more, year after year, Paddy Power were able to not only grab their punters’ attention, but also splash the cash to six lucky winners.
Top Cat – Halifax
Now for a blast from the past, and a nod to the childhood of those “of a certain age”. Top Cat first aired in 1962, and the episodes were repeated on the BBC throughout the ‘90s, before finally making their way onto various digital kids’ channels.
The most well-known part of this campaign is undoubtedly the television ad, which saw the main characters drawn in frame by frame and causing havoc at their local Halifax branch. However, the operation itself had several moving parts: a Top Cat mural in Old Street, London; print and online ads, as well as the aforementioned television ad. The memorable gang of felines were brought back in the media for the purpose of promoting a 1% mortgage cashback offer, that was available for first time buyers and home movers at that time. If it was good enough for the hippest cat in town, then we’re sure it was good enough for many others!
Bottom line is that introducing some of the nation’s favourite television characters and concepts into your PR campaigns is a sure-fire way of not only grabbing their attention, but keeping it! So, who will be next to be reimagined and transformed into the next big PR star?