2018 demonstrated how important public relations is to the values of a company. This year, many campaigns were launched but only a few managed to make a lasting impact. #Alpha18 has chosen 5 PR campaigns that best represent the dynamic field of public relations. Read about the top public relations campaigns of 2018 below!

Nike’s Kaepernick Campaign

Nike and Kaepernick shocked the world when they released their social justice campaign in September. The response from the campaign received mixed reviews and even caused some people to boycott Nike products. However, the campaign is undoubtedly one of the most successful of 2018 since Nike took a stand for social justice at a time when American politics are as divisive as ever. The campaign not only increased Nike’s stock to their highest prices yet, but it allowed for Nike to better identify their target audience and learn what their consumers valued.

McDonald’s’ International Women’s Day Campaign

McDonald’s, a brand most easily recognized by its iconic golden arches, flipped its “M” upside down to turn it into a “W” in celebration of International Women’s Day in March. According to the company, the campaign was to honor the hard work, dedication and accomplishments of women around the world.

The new sign was first placed outside of the McDonald’s location in Lynwood, California. The brand also updated its packaging and uniforms across 100 U.S. locations, and the temporary logo was used across all of McDonald’s’ digital and social media platforms. On International Women’s Day, this bold campaign was the No. 1 brand query on Google with approximately 1.6 billion impressions.

“In celebration of women everywhere, and for the first time in our brand history, we flipped our iconic arches for International Women’s Day in honor of the extraordinary accomplishments of women everywhere and especially in our restaurants.”

– Wendy Lewis, McDonald’s Chief Diversity Officer

This campaign was one of several in recent years that used International Women’s Day as an opportunity to contribute to the conversation surrounding gender equality. The campaign allowed McDonald’s to enhance its brand perception by sharing a commitment to empowering women both in the workplace and beyond.

The “W” sparked attention across social media with many customers praising McDonald’s for its clever marketing. Even José Luis Solache, mayor of Lynwood, took to Instagram to share his personal connection to the brand’s statement.

Diesel’s Hate Couture

Diesel surprised everyone when it cleverly launched a Hate Couture (a play on the phrase haute couture) fashion line to combat online bullying. The campaign involved major celebrities such as Nicki Minaj, Tommy Dorfman and Bella Thorne all sporting hate phrases used against them on luxury clothing. What makes this campaign so great is the fact that Diesel managed to disempower those who use hate while empowering others who have been victims of online bullying.

Lyft & Netflix: Strange Mode

Lyft and Netflix turned things “upside down” with the Strange Mode prank campaign in October. The two companies partnered to build up the premiere of Stranger Things Season 2 on Oct. 27 by creating an immersive experience for Lyft customers and fans of the hit Netflix original.

Passengers in select cities were able to take a ride in an environment that was “terrifyingly strange and eerily similar to Hawkins, Indiana.” The rides incorporated paranormal elements from the show through the use of lighting effects and props.

This campaign demonstrates the importance of paying attention to what your consumers and stakeholders are highly engaged in. With over 360,000 people binge watching Stranger Things 2 within a day of its release, the series is clearly a popular program among Lyft’s target market.

The synergistic partnership achieved additional success with its ties and timing to Halloween. It’s also a perfect example of how creating an interactive, memorable experience for your publics can make all the difference.

IHOP changes name to IHOB

IHOP shocked its pancake patrons across the country by changing its name to IHOb earlier this year. The company changed its name temporarily in an effort to advertise its new selection of “Ultimate Steakburgers.”

The brand sparked lots of conversation around the name change by switching it on their online marketing platforms before revealing what the “b” represented. Twitter users ran wild with the gimmick, all the while increasing IHOP’s brand exposure.

IHOP effectively made a bold move to introduce their exciting new product in a fun and memorable way.

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