Exceptional and experiential storytelling: Brand campaigns that worked

Highlighting past winners of PRDaily’s Media Relations Awards.

Even the most innovative, fantastic campaign won’t land without a targeted media relation strategy. A targeted, well-researched campaign can earn the eyes and ears of new audiences and demographics.

We’ve highlighted some notable winners from last year’s PR Daily Media Relations Awards to analyze their successful strategies. Be sure to apply for this year’s edition of the awards before the August 16 deadline.

Traditional and New Media Integration: Medius, “Accounts Deceivable”

The background: White-collar crime is a serious issue, but it’s sometimes difficult to get people to take it seriously if it doesn’t directly affect them. With this challenge in mind, anti-fraud software provider Medius and comms agency Fight or Flight created a true-crime style podcast, “Accounts Deceivable” to explore the true cost and wide-ranging impacts of financial crimes. Fight or Flight pitched the podcast to national publications, highlighting concerns of employees featured on the show about lax law enforcement of white-collar crime.

The push was a major success. Accounts Deceivable cracked the top 150 on Apple Podcasts’ Business section, earning over 10,000 downloads and 91% average episode consumption. The campaign reached an audience of 1.15 billion people (with a b!) and earned top-level media placements in The Sun and The Independent.

The takeaway: As a modern analog to long-form journalism, podcasts can generate enough narrative fodder to engage multiple stakeholders—including employees and target publications alike.

Press Event of Media Tour: “NASCAR 75 Media Tour”

The background: For its 75 anniversary in 2023, NASCAR wanted to pull out all the stops. How better to drum up excitement for a monumental anniversary by showcasing NASCAR stars of past and present? The stock car racing circuit kicked off the festivities by gathering icons of the sport in New York City to kick off the major press effort.

Press events included ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, an appearance by NASCAR president Steve Phelps and legendary driver Jeff Gordon on CNBC’s Mad Money, and interviews with media outlets including ESPN and Forbes. The initial push was capped off with an appearance by Gordon on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

The campaign was a major success, resulting in over a thousand media placements and hundreds of millions of impressions on social. The majority of the messaging also included specific points about NASCAR’s growth both on and off the track over the decades.

The takeaway: Calling back to your history with those who define your present makes your legacy a living, breathing thing that educates audiences and engages them with your brand in the process.

Use of Celebrity or Personality: Edelman, “Knorr x Cardi B Taste Combos”

The background: Getting a celebrity on board can help boost sales and awareness, especially if they’re prolific on social media. Rapper Cardi B ticks those boxes. With this in mind, Edelman enlisted the music star to create the “Knorr Taste Combos” campaign, which touted affordable and nutritious meals that people could make at home in under 30 minutes.

The campaign generated over 2.6 billion impressions across social media, a testament to the combination of the content and Cardi B’s celebrity. It also created a tangible shift in consumer habits — the Cardi B Taste Combo kit sold out within 24 hours in New York City and Chicago. There were also positive business impacts, with a 28% boost in traffic to Knorr’s website during the campaign and a 3.6% increase in dollar sales for Knorr’s sides.

The takeaway: The promise of exclusive merch does wonders for a consumer campaign while putting a celebrity spokesperson behind it invites their fanbase to become fans of your brand, too. 

Sean Devlin is an editor at Ragan Communications. In his spare time he enjoys Philly sports and hosting trivia.


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