Best PR campaigns of 2016.

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In the last days of 2016, many have complained about the woes this year has brought upon us – a bunch of celebrities have died, a very mean man was elected President of the USA, and wars have raged on throughout the year. Despite its bad rep, 2016 was not all that bad. As every year, a lot of amazing PR campaigns saw the light of day, sparked controversies and got the public attention they wanted. In order to remember this past year in a better light, here are some of the best PR campaigns we got to witness in 2016.




The Coca-Cola Company was one of the official sponsors of Euro 2016 and they decided to put football fans at the center of their ad campaign. They wanted to celebrate the fans’ passion by giving away thousands of tickets to Euro 2016, along with limited edition merchandise and replica match footballs.

While the giveaway method is nothing innovative, the company says that fan giveaways are a “tried-and-tested sponsorship mechanic” that drives more purchase and brand awareness.

On top of that, Coca-Cola celebrated France as the host country by releasing a limited edition series of 11 bottles bearing the image of the players of the French Euro 2016 team. Definitely a collectable for any football fanatic!


Always’ commitment to empowering girls through puberty education dates back decades. This year this feminine care company decided to establish a relationship with the new generation of costumers. With a line of empowering, heartwarming YouTube videos, they “set out to champion the girls who were the future of the brand,” says Judy John, Chief Executive Officer/Chief Creative Officer of Leo Burnett

Canada. “Girls first come in contact with Always at puberty, a time when they are feeling awkward and unconfident – a pivotal time to show girls the brand’s purpose and champion their confidence.” Always has once again managed to support and understand young girls and the social issues they face in today’s world.




Pokémon Go, which launched on July 6, broke mobile app download records within one week of its public release. One week into its release, the game already had more daily active users than any other game on the market. On top of that, the app has been installed on 5.16% of all Android devices in the US alone.

When Pokémon Go entered the scene, a lot of brands wanted to join in on the fun. Using viral sensations like these is almost guaranteed to make an amazing PR campaign, and nobody wanted to miss this opportunity in 2016. Companies doing beverage, travel, retail apparel, technology and telecom, and even restaurants, shops and other businesses all used it to target their designated audiences.




In the beginning of 2016, a lot of people in the UK received an email from Krispy Kreme addressed to “store managers” informing them about a new Nutella-filled donut that hasn’t been launched yet. The memo which was followed by an email “recall” warned that the new donut was so tasty, in testing, some people “fainted due to the euphoria it created,” whilst others “dribbled” and “squealed”.

“Please note all of the information outlined in this memo is highly confidential and is not to be shared via any form of social media or to be discussed with guests in-store,” the email read.

Of course, recipients went straight ahead and flooded social media with the new donut information, making Krispy Kreme trending on

Twitter. Might really be a convenient coincidence, but we’re sticking with the extremely clever marketing trick.




One of the best PR campaigns of 2016 has to be the one that made Donald Trump President-elect of the United States of America.

“Whether or not you supported Donald Trump for president, there is no doubt that his use of public relations and earned media played a vital role in his victory,” said Brian Peterson, marketing and communications exec at Esri.

Throughout the primaries and the general election, he spent considerably less on traditional advertising than his opponents, yet he dominated media attention. His PR team kept the media talking about the issues Trump wanted. In a cat-and-mouse game with the media, PR was the weapon with which Trump bludgeoned the press.

Tanya Plotnikoff, chief experience officer of Viewpost added,

Trump’s tactics are nontraditional and rather distasteful. But they are also undeniably effective.

Steven Palmer, senior vice president, government affairs, at R&R Partners, rightly points to the value of Trump’s social media tactics.

Trump changed the paradigm for campaigning. His direct tweets to voters drew ire and passionate support. Few candidates have ever run a campaign with such velocity and aggressive messaging tactics.

It seems as if the public relations industry had the opportunity to learn most from Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Be bold, daring and don’t be afraid of controversy.

Tena Tuzla

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