Taking a public stand can be a risk for a brand, but when it works, it can pay off handsomely. Here are a few examples of brands that took the risk and enjoyed a serious PR payoff:
You may not expect an international beer brand to be at the top of the list, but Stella Artois makes it for their brilliant and compassionate campaign that helped bring safe drinking water countless people in regions where safe drinking water is a luxury, not an assumption. The campaign, called “Buy a Lady a Drink,” combined the thrust of Stella with the star power of Matt Damon and the boots on the ground of Water.org to encourage consumers to engage with the movement. Stella Artois even debuted a limited-edition bottle that, with each one purchased, sent a month of clean water to families in developing countries. Buy a sixer, and that represents six months of clean water for a family.
Who buys most of the groceries? Mom. Who gets most of the criticism about how kids are being raised? Mom. Who did Yoplait yogurt target with a powerfully-affirming, feel-good social PR campaign? You guessed it: Mom. Ostensibly in response to the constant critiques mothers get for every decision they make for their kids, Yoplait invented “Mom On,” which showed a series of moms responding to common complaints about how they parent. The women addressed issues ranging from breastfeeding to when they went back to work with well-placed humor and confidence. Moms – and women in general – loved the campaign, rewarding the company with their business in droves.
Uber v. Lyft
Rideshare companies Uber and Lyft waded into the heart of a very controversial situation: President Trump’s travel ban. When other taxi companies chose to strike to protest the travel ban, Uber chose to keep operating. When that resulted in an avalanche of criticism, then-CEO Travis Kalanickdefended the choice, saying his company was dedicated to work with the President on urban transport issues. Lyft, however, came down strongly and solidly on the other side of the issue, condemning the travel ban and offering to donate a large sum of money to the ACLU, which was fighting the ban. Now, regardless of how most people feel about the issue, most of Lyft’s and Uber’s customers sided with Lyft, which gave Lyft a net win.