Showcase #1: public relations 2.0

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Guerilla marketing David Beckham for Nando’s

TBWA\PR loves the new media

See also: Creative Showcase is an advertising supplement created by Idealog. For information on upcoming Creative Showcases, call Ben Gibb on 09 966–0997 or email

Today’s Web 2.0 is fast changing the way the world interacts with media. Are any PR agencies adapting to the new world of communication?

Yes. One agency that’s leading the way is TBWA\PR. Established in 2006, it has swiftly emerged as one of the fastest-growing PR consultancies in the country because it understands this change.

“As mainstream media becomes an ever-smaller part of our information input, organisations need to understand and get involved with the important influencer networks that really form purchasing decisions,” says Kelly Bennett, managing partner at TBWA\PR.

Flossie’s men

It’s in the online space that these networks present the most exciting opportunities for PR. It’s not every day an agency gets to work with Movac, backers of the incredibly successful Trade Me website, and help launch a new online venture. But that’s exactly what happened when TBWA\PR commenced work on promoting women’s website network,

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Need a new man? The Man Vending Machine for

To illustrate that has something for every woman, the wider TBWA\TEQUILA agency devised the strapline “Whatever you need, it’s on us” and created the world’s first-ever Man Vending Machine.

TBWA\PR led the charge in terms of making this concept come to light: a real, working vending machine was adapted to dispense real live single men on a busy Auckland inner city street. The Man Vending Machine satisfied over 200 women, drew big crowds, got national news coverage across multiple media, and both the story and video footage were picked up on websites and blogs around the world. And a viral clip of the man vending stunt has clocked up nearly 25,000 hits on YouTube. The result? smashed its 12-month traffic targets in just two months and is now the number-one ranked network for females in New Zealand.

Despite the increasing fragmentation of traditional communications channels, however, mass media will never disappear. Societies are always going to be bound together by having a common reference point to discuss and engage with—and it’s often the mainstream network news.

Nando’s bends it

When David Beckham and the LA Galaxy football team arrived for the second time in New Zealand late last year, Nando’s immediately recognised an opportunity to align itself closely with sport’s biggest global superstar.

And while his visit is now remembered for all the wrong reasons (the ARC’s over-enthusiasm and mismanagement notwithstanding), TBWA\PR’s campaign activity ensured Nando’s ‘owned’ the event, despite the fact they were only a third-tier sponsor.

To ensure this happened, TBWA\PR consultants donned sassy cheerleading outfits, set off at the crack of dawn for the airport and positioned themselves with a brand banner proclaiming “David’s Hot—But We’re Hotter”.

This cheeky word play on the hot Peri-Peri sauce (an integral part of Nando’s culinary proposition) worked a treat. The stunt launched ‘Nando’s Cheerleaders’, as the media referred to them, on to TV3, TVNZ, Prime News and C4, generating massive word of mouth.

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PlayStation games
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Generating a return on investment of 113 to one for PlayStation’s Resistance 2

When the sequel to PlayStation’s Resistance: Fall of Man, Resistance 2, was announced, TBWA\PR had to look at new ways to engage gamers and build excitement.

With some fantastic new media content available and an established community of Resistance fans, it set about building hype and expectation for the impending arrival of Resistance 2.

The first port of call was to establish a substantial online hub in conjunction with New Zealand’s most trusted source of gaming information. From there TBWA\PR drip-fed a managed stream of exclusive trailers, interviews, updates on the game, previews and reviews. In addition, it used exclusive offers including a downloadable beta trial version of the game, where winners had a first hand preview of the game before anyone else.

The hub rapidly became the place where gamers from around the country and even overseas headed for Resistance 2 news. It was so popular that during the Resistance 2 beta trial, TBWA\PR’s media partner’s servers crashed. Coupled with the concerted online effort, substantive feature articles were secured within the mainstream media.

Altogether, TBWA\PR generated a phenomenal return on investment of 113 to one, and the title delivered exceptional sales in the key Christmas retail period, standing out in a cluttered and competitive retail market.


This kind of work is a long road from bashing out a well-worded release to the press, says Bennett, but it’s also a whole lot more fun.

“We’re pleased to be part of the new wave of PR practitioners who have the confidence and competence to play in entirely new fields of media and communication,” he says. “It’s great that we’re getting under people’s skin, and being a part of people’s lives but we don’t have to annoy them or interrupt them to make ourselves heard. We’re just trying to have fun and make things interesting.”

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