Welcome to Will It Stick? podcast, where hosts Melissa and Alexis cover creative advertising campaigns, PR stunts, and marketing activations that brands of all shapes and sizes pull, and dive into the research and data to understand if it worked and of course … Will It Stick?

Dole asks the Pope to exonerate “forbidden fruit”

Dole Sunshine Company, the juice and fruit company, pulled off a risky as hell stunt that has garnered a ton of media attention. 

In early July, the company wrote an open letter directly to Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church, to make the “forbidden fruit” no longer forbidden claiming that NO FRUIT should be forbidden. 

Dole: #Unforbidden Fruit

The letter seeks to exonerate Adam for getting in major trouble for biting the apple some 4,000 years ago, and this campaign hopes to remove the association of the original sin with the “original snack”. The appeal asks the Pope to reverse what it called “the biggest PR disaster fruit has ever faced” and it even makes edits to the bible, replacing the word fruit with sins that are much worse for you  – like alcohol and tobacco. 

This is all an attempt for Dole to further its message.., to start a new global narrative that focuses on its benefits, and creates new, healthier eating habits that are consistent with our purpose to bring good nutrition to all.” The open letter said that if the Pope wouldn’t agree to rewrite the religious text, they would accept a message of support about the absolution of the fruit from the Vatican. 

This is hilarious and really a great stunt. 

Subway Free Sandwiches For Life

Subway is back in the spotlight with a little PR stunt of its own. On July 21, Subway announced a new contest where nine super Subway fans can get a Subway tattoo in order to get free sandwiches for life. Interesting, right? There are a few rules… this stunt is part of a block party Subway is throwing at Las Vegas parlor Bad Apple Tattoo to celebrate the chain’s new menu. During the event, nine super fans can opt to get a real tattoo Subway has designed from tattoo article DJ Tambe…apparently he’s a big deal in the tattoo world. These fans can’t get any tattoo that symbolizes Subway – no 6ft foot-longs allowed. Instead, they have to get this specific baseball jersey themed Subway Series logo tattooed on them. The size and the placement of each person’s tattoo will dictate how long the term is for them to get free sandwiches. 

Basically: A 2-inch square tattoo gets you free subs for a month, and a 3-inch square tattoo on a person’s shoulder blade, forearm or calf nets them free subs for a year. In order to get subs for life, participants must get a tattoo Subway calls “The Footlong,” a 12- by 12-inch tattoo to be permanently inked onto their sternum or back. 

Subway will offer nine tattoos during the six-hour event while supplies last and said it’ll only give away one Footlong tattoo to the first brave soul who agrees to get it. Subway also said that eligible adults who are 21 or over can claim the remaining eight tattoos on a first-come, first-served and walk-in only basis. 

Way too many weird details and strings – I got hooked with the headline but then the fact that you can only get the tattoo at this one party in Las Vegas that’s at a Tattoo Parlor? I’m super confused. It did get a ton of press though. 

Leafly jumps on Stranger Things week brand placement with stunt: 

We all know that Stranger Things is EVERYWHERE these days. The Netflix show has taken over pop culture in a big way. And one thing that fans are loving is the 80s nostalgia of all the iconic brands that have been planted in the show…. They have shown things like Eggo Waffles, Polaroid Cameras, Wall Phones, KFC, LazyBoy Recliners, Reeses Peices & 3 Muskateers and more. But fans saw something new in this season….a cannabis brand called Purple Palm Tree Delight. And of course, this show is all the rage so fans were curious about this brand and if it really existed and how they could get it. 

Leafly & Stranger Things: Purple Palm Tree Delight

This brand: Purple Palm Tree Delight, is credited in this seasons with calming a few key characters during some particularly stressful situations, has had some significant face time in the fourth and latest season.

And Leafly, the leading destination to learn about, find, and order cannabis, jumped in and created an entire fake product and product origin story on its platform within 48 hours of the episode airing. Leafly has no formal partnership or connection to the show, but it saw this opportunity and jumped on it fast. They looked at analytics of their site and saw that people were searching the Leafly database for Purple Palm Tree Delight and nothing was coming up in searches. So, Leafly created a strain out of thin air. The made up story about the made up product The indica-dominant hybrid, which lives only via this project, now has a Soviet-tinged backstory with references to CIA mind manipulation. Check out this graphic lex.

The description on Leafly, as well as posts on its social media channels, is full of Stranger Things related Easter eggs, which is super fun for fans of course and gets people talking and sharing all over social media. Execs say they were super careful with this, avoiding all of the show’s branding to ensure they didn’t cross any lines with trademarks. They also said this campaign was so fun because so many Leafly employees are huge Stranger Things fans, so it was great for internal morale. 

Leafly was SO SMART HERE. They got a ton of attention around this and really created something fun for Leafly users and Stranger Things fans. Leafly built out a full landing page for the fictional product and while it clearly states that it is fake, it does make some recommendations of REAL strains that could be similar. Leafly says it has a big goal to help push the $30 billion cannabis industry further into the mainstream and hopes to continue to destigmatize and normalize cannais use. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. 

OK this next one technically occurred in June 2022 but to be fair I JUST saw it, so we’re calling it July:

Heineken: The Closer

Heineken pulled a stunt that helped with those of us struggling with the work-life blur that had occurred during the pandemic. Many of us work from home at least partially, and that really makes it tough to “turn off” work mode when it’s time for family/personal time. Obviously this is critical for self-care and just to be your best self – you can’t work ALL THE TIME. There are lots of pain points with this new normal. And Heineken has created a solution to (some) of our problems.

Heineken launched a campaign around a new product it called The Closer. Here’s a pic:

The Closer is a Bluetooth-enabled device that closes work applications when users crack open a beer. Beyond the device itself — which you could only snag during a one-hour window — the campaign included a a short, hilarious film with comedian Billy Eichner.  The video goes through all these scenarios where people ar caught working late and missing fun, or at the bar with their computer trying to multitask with a fake virtual background while getting yelled at by their boss. The open a Heinken with the closer and their wifi goes out, their apps shut down, automatically. 

AND they have a whole interactive website around this that is so much fun to interact with, and they have a contest where you schedule a meeting and invite up to 3 friends. Once you schedule your meeting, you’ll be entered into the grand prize drawing for a Closer Device and a lifetime supply of free Heineken. 

This is a great stunt. It shows that Heineken gets their white-collar working customer base and the problems they are currently facing. It’s cute, but it also feels relatively high end. And, they got a TON of media play around this not to mention the social media interaction. 

Plant-based meat brand offers customers chance to ‘grow’ their own sausages

Swedish based Plant-based meat brand, Peas of Heaven, is asking people to exchange their homegrown peas for sausages. Stay with me. Their new campaign asks people to buy pea seeds from its online shop and then plant them. Once they’ve grown, people are urged to send these peas to Peas of Heaven in return for a homegrown sausage.

The grow-your-own-sausage kit consists of pea seeds, instructions and a bag for customers to send back their peas in. Customers can choose between chorizo, barbecue sausage or cabanossy varieties of sausage.

The campaign is running on social media. The company says they want to change people’s view on everyday food, what is consists of and how it’s produced. They say that great sausages can be made from peas, not meat, and that when customers grow their own peas (a process that takes about 50 days), they will get a better understanding and respect for the process behind plant based food. 

This one, I’m not so sure about Lex. I think it’d a stretch. I LOVED the headline because I was like what…grow my own sausage?! But then it gets confusing, I’m actually buying a kit to grow my own peas, then I send those to you for a plant based sausage? I think they could have done something better. And in looking at their Instagram, a post from over 2 weeks ago about this kit and the promo only has 88 likes and 3 comments – and one of them is from US. The first post about the promo from just over 3 weeks ago had 142 likes and has 9 comments…. lol. For a brand that has 17.2K followers…LAME. 

Pizza Pizza has a unique offer for customers who are sick of inflation and just want a good deal. 

They are offering a “fixed-rate pizza,” giving consumers the opportunity to lock in an XL four-topping pizza at $16.99 for up to a year, with no price increases. INTERESTING. We all know that brands are struggling to deal with raising inflation at at finding a way to balance still running a profitable business without raising prices too much for customers. This is a super creative solution. 

Pizza Pizza: Fixed Rate Pizza

This campaign offers Canadians the opportunity to lock in this deal via a special website. Customers who are interested just hav to fill out a short questionnaire on the website—with questions like “Do you like pizza?” and “Do you dislike inflation?”—for pre-approval. 

The effort is an extension of another campaign that  Pizza Pizza has going on, called the “Everyone Deserves Pizza” campaign, which plays into the notion that everyone has the right to delicious pizzas that suit their tastes, price point, delivery method and location. The brand’s VP of marketing said that Fixed-Rate Pizza is the perfect demonstration of our willingness to ensure everyone can have pizza, while staying true to our fun and accessible brand personality.”

Pabst: There are economy packs, and then there is what Pabst is marketing—an 1,844-pack. 

Pabst Blue Ribbon is always doing something a little crazy. In July, they launched a 1,844 can pack of beer that you could buy in stores – but there were only 250 packs available in total at $849.99 per pack…that’s $2.17 per can. The reason for 1844 cans? 1844 is the year of Pabst’s founding. On top of selling more cans of Pabst than one should ever consume, the brand was also giving away $1,844 every day in July to “help households that are feeling the pressure from cost of living increases” and it is giving away 1,844 gallons of gas 2 times – once in July and once in August. Those contests for the cash and gas can be entered online or by scanning a QR code at stores that carry PBR. To buy the giant case – good luck! Pabst is not super clear on where exactly the limited edition packs are and they recommend that you can tell your local store you want to see one of the packs in their store, suggesting that not all the boxes have a home at the time of the release. 

This is interesting, but not unique enough. Pabst has done this a lot before. They produced 99-packs of PBR, and then they promoted truck bed sized packs of 1,776 beers. It’s not super original and that just makes it kind of boring. 

But to be fair, the Instagram post about this campaign from about a month ago has generated 50,618 likes and 1,353 comments when I last checked. So, it’s getting attention.

OK last one: 

‘World’s Biggest Coconut’ Stunt Brings Giant Inflatable Fruit and Icy Drinks to Parched Texans

Vita Coco always pulls off some creative stunts, and the one from July is pretty BIG. Literally. Vita Coco launched a “colossal coconut pop up” stocked with icy cold beverages in the middle of a triple-digital Texas heat wave. Perfect timing. This stunt features a 3-story tall, inflatable coconut, and they are calling it the world’s biggest. This stunt kicked off on Friday, July 22 and ran through that weekend. And it works well in Texas because we all know, EVERYTHING is bigger in Texas, right? It also brings some nostalgia in, playing off our love for those weird and wacky American roadsdie attractions. You wouldn’t be surprised to see a billboard for the world’s largest coconut somewhere in remote Texas, would you?

Vita Coco World’s Largest Coconut

The main purpose of the stunt is to debut the brand’s first entrance into the juice category. In addition to the giant coconut balloon, the weekend program features local food vendors, family-friendly games, photo ops, merchandise giveaways and plenty of well-chilled Vita Coco drinks. They got a local Dallas TV personalityand fitness enthusiast involved, and they also partnered with creators Daisy Marquez and Keauno Perez.

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