Biggest PR news stories of the year so far

Digital News, PR, Social Media
February 15, 2019
by Laura McCormack

As anyone in the industry knows, the world of PR moves fast. We’re only halfway through February and already 2019 has seen a series of remarkable PR stories become global news.

So far this year, we’ve seen controversy-stoking ads, guerilla brand awareness tactics, and even a record-breaking egg. So, let’s have a look at the biggest PR moments of 2019 so far.

Fiji Water Girl

The Golden Globes cause a media stir each year,this year, however, one of the biggest stories to emerge from the night came as a result of one particular sponsor’s red carpet presence. Kelleth Cumbert, better known as the ‘Fiji Water Girl’ caused an internet frenzy after she photobombed a series of high-profile red carpet snaps, becoming 2019’s first meme. The Fiji Water brand ambassador appeared in the photos of celebs like Idris Elba, Kaley Cuoco, Jamie Lee Curtis and more. Since her Golden Globes moment, the model has made television appearances and gained a large social media following.

The Fiji Water Girl story doesn’t end there, the last few weeks have seen the model embroiled in a legal battle against the company she’s become synonymous with. Cumbert initially filed a lawsuit against Fiji Water for unauthorised use of her likeness. The bottled water company have responded by filing a countersuit, claiming that, by filing, Cumbert was skirting her ‘contractual obligations’.

World Record Egg

Some of the biggest stories this year have spotlighted the way we interact with social media. The Netflix and Hulu Fyre Festival documentaries both cast a lens on the social clout given to influencers, highlighting the potential for disparity between social media and reality. The World Record Egg was created on Instagram in a bid to break Kylie Jenner’s world record for most liked Instagram post, which had reached 18 million likes. The post became a viral sensation, garnering over 52 million likes and inspiring a series of memes.

This simple egg’s influence didn’t end there, however, recently the World Record Egg account continued its campaign with a post highlighting the pressures of social media, and the toll those pressures can take on mental health. The egg was ‘cracking’ under the pressure of its celebrity.

Gillette Ad

One controversial moment of 2019 came when Gillette released its latest ad campaign. Drawing on the #MeToo movement, the razor company reworked its famous slogan from ‘The Best a Man Can Get’ to ‘The Best a Man Can Be’. The ad emphasised a message of social responsibility, even incorporating some of its own past ads in order to showcase ‘toxic’ cultural messages. Gillette was following in the footsteps of brands like Nike by incorporating a prominent social movement into its campaign and brand image.

The ad prompted a slew of responses, many of which came from those advocating its message, many others from those who felt slighted by the ad.

Extending the message of the campaign, Gillette have moved to support organisations geared towards helping boys and men by donating 1 million each year to a relevant nonprofit.

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