Genius stunt or needlessly risky? Adrian Brady talks to PR Week

Eulogy in the news

17th November 2017

Via PR Week

Genius stunt or needlessly risky?

Greggs received a wave of publicity – and a boost in sales – this week after a branded advent calendar depicted Jesus as a sausage roll. Was it harmless festive fun or something more sinister? And what does it tell us about ‘banter marketing’ today?

The launch of the limited edition advent calendar – which has a token for a different Greggs menu item behind each door – received widespread publicity at the start of the week, with scores of publications reporting on it.

Controversy started mid-week when Greggs’ hometown outlet the Newcastle Chronicle quoted a vicar’s criticism of the brand’s depiction of the nativity scene with baby Jesus as a sausage roll.

Creative shouldn’t drift into offence

Adrian Brady, chief executive, Eulogy

“The fact Greggs responded quickly did at least help. But let’s take a step back from that. Those of us who have worked on Christmas campaigns have long been aware of the sensitivities around this time when it comes to secular vs religious creative.

“It’s an area any brand engaging with a Christmas theme must be prepared for. Greggs apologised quickly but they created the risk themselves. For those who feel it may have delivered some useful results for the brand it’s worth remembering comms agencies create amazing content every day, which can be proven to have a real commercial impact and stand out, without the need for retractions or apologies. There’s no need to assume creative should ever drift into territory where it can cause offence.

“Whilst creative is critical, it should be all about what message will best resonate with your target audience.

“Humour or education can then be built in. And brands can still be ambitious without blindly chasing a creative idea by simply testing a concept so any pitfalls are preempted.”