Five of the best spoofs in PR
Death Star PR is an amusing take on the work of the Public Relations Division of Darth Vader’s intergalactic empire, offering a homely introduction to the Empire and the many staff members who live and work on the giant Death Star. Here’s our guide to some of the best PR spoofs of recent years, some genuine and humorous PR campaigns and others a means to question and lampoon political parties, companies and individuals.
In a wonderful poke at the Conservative Party, Cash4Access offers companies and individuals wanting to affect Government policies the opportunity to meet PM David Cameron, Chancellor George Osborne and other influential Tories in exchange for large sums of money. A meeting with the PM is priced at £250,000 but comes with a ‘free Clegg’, while Lembit Opik is offered at the discount price of £25 just to get rid of him from parliament – even though he’s not actually a Tory.
British Biscuits Advisory Board (BBAB)
In 2010, Clarion Communications won an international Sabre Award for its Fox’s Biscuits PR campaign for Rocky bars. The campaign involved a series of spoof adverts and informative commercials from the fictitious British Biscuit Advisory Board (BBAB) discussing biscuits and biscuit-related issues and risks, including genuine statistics from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. The excellent campaign captured audiences through lampooning the world of risk assessments and ridiculous Health and Safety regulations.
Darth Vader and Volkswagen
When Greenpeace wanted to question the green credentials of the German car giant, an interesting and engaging way of getting the message across was a video released on YouTube spoofing a previous ad campaign by VW that featured a child dressed as Darth Vader. Where the original advert used the Darth Vader image in a family orientated and cute campaign, the Greenpeace parody switched the focus to a compare VW with the evil, planet-strangling, intergalactic Empire headed by Dart Vader. As the Greenpeace film did the PR job and went viral, it was subsequently removed from YouTube for allegedly breaking the copyright terms of Lucas Films, leaving commentators to question whether VW might have had a hand in the film’s removal.
In 2010 British journalist Michael Breen faced legal action and a possible prison sentence for publishing a satirical piece mocking Samsung Electronics’ moral credentials. The column, titled ‘What People Got for Christmas’ and featured in The Korea Times, made reference to bribery allegations and bad leadership at Samsung. The company’s response was to pursue Breen for defamation through the criminal and civil courts, undoubtedly doing more damage for Samsung than Breen’s original article would ever have done.
US coal suppliers fell victim to a spoof PR campaign when the hoax website Coal Cares went live, featuring information on fossil fuels and breathing-related health through fun cartoons in the ‘Kidz Koal Korner’ and meeting its social responsibility by offering free inhalers for kids living with a 200 mile radius of any coal powered power station – ‘reaching out to youngsters with asthma.’
Tom Walker is a Freelance Copywriter who specialises in business and public relations and produces content for PR Week.