The South African chicken chain is a brand that likes to throw its hat into the ring when it comes to witty PR stunts. It might not be as bold or as daring as an advertiser like Paddy Power, but likes to have a bit of fun every now and again. The rule at Nando’s seems to be to keep things responsive and simple, but not contrived, which is a lesson that a lot of brands today could learn from. Here are 3 of the best PR stunts from the last few years that have generated a wealth of earned media in national press and online news outlets:
Adnan Januzaj’s Nando’s Date
Adnan Januzaj is a 19-year old Manchester United player who burst onto the scene in the Premier League last year. He earns £35,000 a week, but in January he decided to take a girl on a date to Nando’s. He turned up in tracksuit bottoms, trainers, and made his date pay for the parking. Reports said that the meal set him back £18. His date said, “I usually go there for a quick bite to eat with my mates. I didn’t expect to be going there on a date with a Man United footballer, especially in my dress and heels.”
The next day the story was picked up by the national press. In response, Nando’s sent Adnan a tweet offering a £50 meal voucher and some advice about what clothes he should wear to his next date if he really intends on wooing the girls. The quick and witty response generated 21,000 retweets and nearly 10,000 favourites.
The Chicken Cheque
The Chicken Cheque is a piece of promotional material that Nando’s issues to unhappy customers or people who engage their PR team in a positive way through social media channels. Although not many have been seen recently, the Chicken Cheque makes bundles of sense for Nando’s to give away. Having forged a strong social media presence, every Chicken Cheque that’s awarded is tweeted about by its receiver and the message is amplified across the web. Nando’s can light the touch paper for just the cost of a chicken platter. It’s a cheap PR stunt that’s easy to roll out and gets the public talking. Problems arise when too many people think they’re entitled to become part of the fun, so maybe that’s why Chicken Cheques aren’t as common as they used to be.
It’s almost as if the Chicken Cheque is a way of nullifying any potential PR disasters. Who will say no to something called a Chicken Cheque?
Again, this barely registers on the Richter scale of ambitious PR stunts, yet generated thousands of pounds in earned media for Nando’s. Alex Ferguson, the ex-Manchester United manager, was famous for “Fergie Time”. This referred to how games in which his side were losing often carried on past the allotted injury time, and when this happened his side would inevitably score. Fans of other sides accused referees of favouritism, whereas Ferguson brushed off the accusations. When Ferguson announced his retirement, Nando’s decided to open its Trafford Centre for 5 minutes extra for one night only. What did this cost the brand? Absolutely nothing.
A simple change on its website and the inclusion of the hashtag #NandosFergieTime was enough to get the media snowball rolling, and the tweet announcing the change generated 17,000 retweets. Sometimes simplicity is the best policy.