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Three PR Ideas That Worked, and One That Didn't
By: Jeannine Wheeler
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You never know what is going to stick, but many of us pretty much know what is a truly bad idea. Here are three that really worked and one that will surely resonate for quite some time.
 
THE GOOD GUYS
 
You can’t have just one million
There are several ways to make a million dollars, but who knew one of them was winning a Lay’s Potato Chip contest? That’s just what happened to lucky Meneko Spigner McBeth, a 35-year-old Philadelphia nurse who is the proud inventor of the new Lay’s Wasabi Ginger flavor. The brand’s "Do Us a Flavor” contest pitted finalists against each other in a nationwide contest that began this summer, with consumers choosing between Wasabi Ginger, Mango Salsa, Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese, and Cappuccino. McBeth gets to take home either $1 million or a percentage of one year of the new chip’s sales, whichever is more.
 
LIdl did they know!
Pronounced "Liddle," the cut-rate German supermarket chain made a big point with the British press when it treated them to a three-course spread at the Victoria & Albert Museum — for only £10 a head (approximately $16.) Lidl made the point by presenting the event’s 185 journalists and guests with a receipt upon departure showing that each of the ingredients had been purchased from Lidl, and at very little cost.
 
Tweeted Daily Telegraph features writer Harry Wallop: “Clever. At end of swanky @LidlUK dinner at V&A last night, guests given receipt showing cost of all Lidl ingredients.”
 
Jack is never a dull boy
To promote the new Jack Bauer Live Another Day Blu-ray and DVD release, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment commissioned artist Quentin Devine to create a 24-metre square canvas of actor Kiefer Sutherland — in just 24 hours, of course. The exhibit comprised of 1,485 postcards and was erected at one of London’s iconic locations, the city’s Borough Market. This time-lapse video shows the campaign.
 
AND THE BAD GUY
 
An Uber bad idea
In an exchange that he thought was private, Uber senior vice president Emil Michael proposed a detailed plan to "hire four top opposition researchers and four journalists’ to act defensively against recent negative press," according to BuzzFeed News. He reportedly mentioned Sarah Lacy, who runs the technology site Pando. Word leaked out and Michael has been on the hot seat ever since, even earning the public rebuke of Uber CEO Travis Kalanik, who said in three separate tweets:
  1. Emil's comments at the recent dinner party were terrible and do not represent the company;
  2. His remarks showed a lack of leadership, a lack of humanity, and a departure from our values and ideals; and
  3. His duties here at Uber do not involve communications strategy or plans and are not representative in any way of the company approach


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About the Author
Jeannine Wheeler is a PR Director who has worked in three countries, including Russia, the US and the UK. She is currently Sr. Vice President of Pure Energy PR, a full-service boutique communications firm with a focus on the energy, healthcare, technology, construction, real estate & land development, tourism & hospitality and food & beverage industries. Jeannine is in the firm's Austin, Texas office.
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