There are two brands I can’t help but get excited about when it comes to their PR: Barbie and LEGO. But how is it that the toy companies are the ones producing some of the best PR stunts and stories out there? Shouldn’t it be the disruptor brands and start-ups that pull my attention?
It could be that I enjoy the toy brands’ PR so much because the basis of their business is play. They’re not afraid to push boundaries or do something to make people genuinely smile. Corporations can be guilty of over thinking things so going ‘back to basics’ and focusing on what’s genuinely fun and entertaining is a great place to start.
And if all else fails, there’s always childhood nostalgia to fall back on.
Here are a couple of recent examples:
LEGO’s Royal Wedding
Capitalising on a national event like a Royal Wedding is harder than it seems. With so many brands trying to ‘cash in’, finding a unique angle can be a huge challenge.
But, as usual, LEGO didn’t over think it and simply did what they do best: building incredible scenes out of their iconic bricks. This is something they’ve done time and time again and it never fails to generate headlines.
This time, they’ve unveiled a miniature “LEGO Royal Wedding & Windsor Castle” at their Legoland Windsor Resort, playing on its proximity to the big event and astounding people with the detail of the design.
Not only has it generated a huge amount of press for the brand, I’m sure it’s translated directly into ticket sales for the Windsor theme park, too.
Barbie on the cover of CIPR’s Influence Magazine
When Barbie manufacturer Mattel announced it was giving its iconic doll the opportunity to wear flat shoes in 2015, it felt like a real turning point for the brand. They went all-out to generate headlines about Barbie moving with the times and shrugging off her “airhead” image, generating big pieces of PR in fashion magazines and newspapers alike.
The following year, they introduced three new body shapes for Barbie, firmly reinforcing the notion that they’ve listened to and understood the current market – and that they’re here to stay.
With 98% brand recognition globally, this is a powerful brand, regardless of whether you think there’s much more work to be done to shrug off the negative associations of Barbie’s past.
In this month’s CIPR magazine, the cover and five whole pages are dedicated to “Barbie the feminist and her PR breakthrough”. Certainly one to keep watching if you ask me.