How Small Business Can Replicate Successful PR Campaigns From This Year

Earlier this year, I wrote a post about creating your PR plan for 2014. We’ve now entered the latter half of 2014 – how are you doing with the goals you’ve set?

Whether you’re on target or have yet to hit the ground running, here are 3 successful PR campaigns that occurred this year and what you can learn from each of them.

The #selfie That Crashed Twitter


With over 3.4 million retweets, 2 million favourites and counting, Ellen DeGeneres’s A-list celebrity-packed, Twitter-crashing #selfie, shot with a Samsung S5 Smartphone, was a completely successful… coincidence. Samsung garnered over 40,000 social mentions throughout the Oscars (, even though Ellen used an iPhone backstage. I actually could not find anything online about Samsung’s original Oscars campaign, so it goes to show you how the greatest stunts sometimes can’t be planned.


  • Plan for the worst but also BEST case scenario. Especially when celebrity spokespeople are involved, you never know what can happen.
  • Can you connect your business to a bigger company, event, or cause to get attention? If you run a social enterprise or non-profit organization, can you become a resource that other companies or events can support?

An April Fool’s Time Joke

Known for injecting humor into the customer service experience, WestJet hit the mark in my opinion with their April Fool’s Day metric time conversion video. They even created a splash page for it. I enjoyed how WestJet used brand elements that they’re already known for to celebrate the one day in the year when it’s acceptable to joke around.


  • What is the one thing that makes your SME stand out from the others? Can you take that one niche and multiply it into something big to create a campaign out of it?
  • What resources are at your disposal that can you use that don’t require a lot of money? A splash page? A YouTube channel? A physical location? A holiday? Big companies often don’t get their CEOs and top executives involved in PR. As SME owners, YOU can be directly involved in doing something fun and building your brand reputation.

What’s #LikeaGirl?

This Always video went viral on the social sphere among women’s networks. It took me a while to figure out the connection between the campaign and the brand, but Always made a mark by working with a documentary filmmaker and real people, exploring the meaning behind the phrase “Like a Girl.” I may not have been converted to using their products, but they made me think, and I respect what they were trying to do. Their brand message and link to the campaign website – which fosters puberty education among girls globally – was buried 5 paragraphs below in the description, so make sure your Call to Action pieces are visible.


  • Can you tie emotions into your business? (You should always be able to!) Can you stretch those emotions out into a campaign that will relate back to what you sell?
  • Can you make people think differently about a controversial issue, using media you haven’t tried, like video?

There were many other campaigns this year that caught eyeballs, whether through word-of-mouth, on TV, or on social. On days like the Super Bowl, pay attention to what messages top tier companies spend their money on, and see if you can take away ideas for your own business. Happy PR planning!