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Stickers Cause PR Frenzy for US Company

Stickers Cause PR Frenzy for US Company

Most of us in the UK (especially those who use social media) are probably familiar with Fiat’s “Fatherhood” rap advertisement, the follow up to the rapping mum starring “Motherhood” which topped the list of online adverts in April 2013.


Or Dove’s “real beauty” campaign which aims to encourage women to feel better about their appearance.

Most advertising campaigns use a mixture of techniques to get their marketing message across to their target audience. Things such as advertising on billboards, online through mediums such as YouTube via video footage, or through social media sites, and in print, through magazines or on packaging.

There is always the exceptional marketing idea though that goes that one step further to create a truly amazing effect (or truly awful one, depending on the idea!)

We thought the most unusual advertising campaign we have seen recently (and the most relevant for us as it was based around labels!) had to be the H & R block “Get your Billion back” campaign. Here’s the TV ad that was part of the campaign:


H & R Block, one of the world’s largest tax services providers, prepares over 1 in 7 Americans tax returns every year and has prepared more than 550 million tax returns worldwide since 1955.

So where do the stickers come in?

Their recent campaign, launched on 17th January 2014, encompassed real dollar bills, handed out to members of the public, with a peelable sticker. This sticker said “Americans who did their own taxes last year left a Billion dollars behind. Get your Billion back America”, and included a free telephone number, a website address, and a small disclaimer (that not all Americans would get a tax refund).

The H & R Block Labels on a US Dollar Bill The H & R Block Labels on a US Dollar Bill[/caption]

Even though H&R Block has stopped handing out real dollar bills bearing stickers with its 2014 tax season marketing message (due to federal law prohibiting advertisements being attached to money), the advertising campaign drew a lot of attention.

In short, everyone LOVES free money. And although there was no guarantee by H & R Block that you would receive your Billions back, there was always a possibility that they may save you time and money. The sticker they used to display their message was peelable, so there was no damage as such to the money. And because people do like free money, the impact from a PR perspective was huge, and reached a much higher audience than they probably thought, even through word of mouth!

However, when a marketing campaign has to be pulled, or indeed changed, because the rules haven’t been followed correctly in the first instance, it can have a negative effect on consumers as they don’t have the confidence in the company that they had before. With controversial campaigns you are always going to take a risk.

The cost implications for you as a business can also be overwhelming – from having to limit freebies (because your ad campaign was so successful you yourself didn’t even believe it would be), to having high legal costs (you did perhaps take it one step to far?), or the idea is particularly difficult to retract (it can cost you more to rectify a problem than run it). So one word of advice – don’t bite off more than you can chew without perhaps testing (or getting legal advice about) first!

The reason the H & R labels campaign drew an audience is it appealed to the mass market and had something that everyone wants. There is no point in running a special offer for example if the offer isn’t deemed “special” enough by your clients, or no point offering a freebie if no one wants what you are giving away free! So tailor your gifts or offerings to your customer or prospects.

Now – think of a wacky idea – the wackier the better. Your ideas can always be reined in and the more creative you can be to start the better. A good marketing idea we heard recently by a small to medium sized business was a “golden ticket”. Hidden inside the boxes of their product range were a number of silver tickets, but just one golden ticket, offering a prize of a lifetime that everyone wanted to win.

Thirdly think about how you will run the campaign. The golden ticket worked well because it could be added into the product line right at the last minute, and effectively managed (through a code online). But can your campaign be integrated into your business that easily with little or no additional costs?

One thing is for sure, not all ad campaigns have to be big, bold or expensive to run – they just need a clever idea.

Do you have any great marketing ideas for your business that use labels? Let us know at AA Labels.

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