My 12th spotlight ‘creative campaign’ of the year may be a controversial one.
Because, in all honesty, I didn’t originally intend for this blog post to be a creative campaign centred on. Instead, I wanted to discuss current affairs and whether jumping on a contentious political trend was dirty, or clever PR. But, as I think more about the matter, for better or for worse this campaign has stuck in my mind. (That’s what they’re meant to do, right?)
Meaning that no matter what my personal views on the morality of this stunt are, it’s still a bloody good comms effort. I can’t dispute that.
The campaign I’m talking about of course is the quick-react stunt pulled off by the brand Plenish, who’s brand is centred around selling replenishing juices and plant-based milk. Amid trending news stories that several members of the Brexit party, including their leader Nigel Farage, were being doused in milkshake during the campaigning period – the brand came up with a speedy and innovative way to market their product and brand.
Geared up with so-called ‘m*lkshakes’, they headed to a polling station in South East England constituency in Kent – where Farage was running for MEP – with the plan to offer out the shakes for free. All on perhaps the most important day of campaigning – the day of the EU elections.
According to Kent Live, Founder of Plenish Kara Rosen said:
“There’s been a lot of talk around milkshakes in politics recently, so we thought we’d offer Nigel one he can actually enjoy – unless he’d prefer it served over his suit.
“Our dairy-free milks have half the sugar, and 30 per cent fewer calories than a regular shake, so they’re ‘milkshakes without the nastiness’. Even if Nigel is drinking one.”
I respect a company leader who isn’t apologetic and who airs their views. You can’t make everybody happy, so you might as well show passion for what you care about. And although I repeatedly reinforce that I don’t think this newbie trend of ‘milkshaking’ (is that a verb I can use?) is acceptable or worth my endorsement, I respect Kara for being explicit in her views.
Clever, Dirty – Or Both?
Again, politics aside, I really do not endorse this recent trend of making a political statement. I’m not saying that to please people, I’m saying it because I sincerely believe that the UK’s recent trend for tackling the opposition is the perfect analogy of how ridiculous our political landscape has become. And despite Farage allegedly hiding on a bus (thanks to Plenish!) on Election Day, I understand that in the grander scheme of things, milkshakes are fairly harmless. However, there’s nobody to say that things can’t and won’t escalate – we ought to be mindful of that.
Anyway, I digress.
Does all of this mean that Plenish’s perceptive and observant marketing efforts were in bad taste? Or, was it a simply really clever gag that did what it aimed to do – get people (quite like I am now) talking?
To be honest (and this is my personal opinion, and I welcome you to challenge it), I can’t argue that Plenish’s quick-on-the-uptake PR efforts were anything less than brilliant.
Their bright thinking landed them coverage and exposure all over the UK – both in news and on broadcast – and their quirky behaviour certainly made a statement. We’re all talking about it.
Whether you’re agreeing with the stunt or disagreeing, the brand name is still in your mouth and the conversation is still there. And while admittedly not all publicity is good publicity, in this instance I think the spread of the brand has helped promote a company which otherwise was arguably not that well known. I for one have since searched and engaged with Plenish as a brand, had they not have pulled off this gag – I probably would have continued not knowing about them.
But don’t just take my word for that anyway, take Google Search trends’.
Just in case you’re wondering, that spike at the end for the term “Plenish” peaks at the timeframe between 19th May – 25th May. Interestingly, related trends show that searches of the term “Plenish drinks” have recently increased by 300%, and “Nigel Farage milkshake” has grown by over 500%.
One thing that you can’t attest is that. Plenish came to do a job, and they did it.
What do you think of this stunt? Does it warrant a creative campaign position? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter.