Cleverest Stuff: April 2019

Every week at Clarion, we send round an update to our clients on the cleverest bits of PR and marketing that we’ve found that week. We call it ‘Clever Stuff’ because we like to keep things simple like that. Once a month, we’ll be highlighting the best of the best, the smartest of the smartest.

We call it ‘The Cleverest Stuff.’

April is an important month in the marketing calendar, with seemingly the majority of the country’s brands joining in on the April Fool’s fun.

In Cleverest Stuff this month, we’ve got our favourite April Fool, a self-referential ad campaign, a clever use of AR, and a new look for a fast-food icon. Enjoy!

Tinder’s Height Verification Badge

Our favourite branded April Fool’s stunt this year was Tinder’s ‘height verification’ feature, to catch men telling porkies about their height online. Using new state-of-the-art software, Tinder claimed that they could verify the height of users and give them a ‘Height Verification Badge’ if they are telling the truth. Undoubtedly silly but a lot of fun, the spoof still managed to fool a few angry male users, who made sure to voice their disappointment online!

M&S – Return of the Food Porn Ad

It’s rare that a campaign gains such a significant place in public consciousness that it can be parodied by the brand itself many years later. But that is the case for M&S’ ‘food porn’ ads, which first appeared 15 years ago, and introduced the nation to the now instantly-recognisable ‘it’s not just food…’ tagline. Last month, Grey London brought back the ads with a twist. Showing ordinary people interrupting their daily lives to lust over M&S products, mimicking the original voiceover to describe the delicious-looking food in front of them. Self-aware and exposing a sillier side to the brand, the new campaign was a hit with fans on social media.

Pizza Hut Deal Jacker

Pizza Hut ‘Deal Jacker’

We’ve seen in the last week or so how brands interacting and criticising their competitors can backfire. Burger King’s new ‘Real Meals’ – a range of meals inspired by McDonald’s Happy Meals, that say it’s okay for people to not be happy all the time – have been criticised by many for capitalising cynically on Mental Health Awareness Month, and has drawn particular ire from the marketing community for its allegedly lazy and badly thought-out strategy.

Pizza Hut’s new ‘Deal Jacker’, however, is a great way of getting one over on your main rival. The new AR app, created by Iris, allows users to identify Domino’s deals through their smartphone, and then suggests even better Pizza Hut delivery offers. If the app can’t recognize a deal, Pizza Hut Delivery will still give customers 50% off when they spend £20 on pizzas. Using insight that suggests people get their pizza delivered from Domino’s even though they prefer the taste of Pizza Hut, the app gives customers a genuinely helpful tool to save them money, and an incentive to make Pizza Hut their first choice.

KFC – ‘Instagram influencer’ – Colonel Sanders

As this piece from PR Examples shows, KFC have become increasingly known for their attention-grabbing, entertaining PR stunts and social content. Last month, they added to this with their Instagram campaign, which saw them transform the world-famous Colonel Sanders figure into a modern-day social influencer.

Complete with expensive haircut, hipster-style glasses, a hideous word-script chest tattoo, and even trendy Insta friends, the new Colonel was featured in a series of posts parodying modern marketing that targets the so-called millennial consumer. Connected by the #secretrecipeforsuccess hashtag, this is just another bold move from the brand that also savagely tore into Morrisons’ new chicken platter last month on twitter.