Vitamin Water no phone for a year campaign
Student/PR

#NoPhoneForAYear – my favourite campaign of 2019 ALREADY

When you work in Public Relations, keeping in touch with the news is an important part of your job. Whether it’s seeking out journalists, eyeing out press opportunities or just generally keeping in the know; most of my days start with a quick flick through the news. And that’s when I noticed this morning that Vitaminwater, known for their quirky branding and whimsical attitude, were about to execute a truly stunning campaign to take us into the new year. (Is it possible to have a favourite of 2019, before 2019 is even underway? – Because I think I do.)


May I steal your attention for a moment…

I’ve been nominated for a UK Blog Award for best PR blogger, and would love it if you could vote for me (that is if you like my blog and think I’m worthy of course!). Here’s how if you’d like to.

  • Click here.
  • Click on the categories (Public Relations, Marketing and Communications is mine) and view the entries.
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  • And to vote for my entry (please please please), click on the red heart. 
  • OR, you could go straight to my entry page here.

Thank you so very much. Now back to the blog…


Scroll Free 2019 incoming…

We live in a world now where our smartphones are forever by our side. They keep us in touch with one and other, keep us up to date with the news, allow us to shop and browse the web to find out things we didn’t even know we needed to know… they even unlock our cars, keep an eye on our homes, they tell us how we slept, hell – mine even reminds me to breathe. And with the growing popularity of smartwatches this year (guilty as charged), they – with the exception of showering – are literally with us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

With all that going on, it’s hard to imagine a life without smartphones and similar appliances, right?

And everyone knows it too. That’s why, in my eyes, this campaign is brilliant. The mere thought of asking one to give up their phone for an entire year is, in itself, enough to generate a stir. But to offer a tenth of a million pounds to one person who manages it? That shit shakes the system. And seemingly, it has. As since Vitaminwater announced the competition 3 days ago, it’s generated masses of attention in regional and national press and it’s no doubt earned tonnes of sign-ups ahead of the deadline too.

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All you have to do is type in Vitaminwater into Google News to realise the global attention the campaign has generated already…

Vitaminwater, who are offering a massive $100,000 to one person who’ll be picked at random to complete the challenge in January, has announced that the contestant who is chosen will be provided with a 90’s esque cellular phone to get them from A to B for logistical purposes. But as for everything else, well, they’ll be essentially cut off. No Facebook, Twitter or Instagram on the go, and no Snapchat at all. I’m not all that sure I could manage it myself, (though for $100,000 I’d give it a bloody good go).

What’s even better about this campaign is that they’ve planned for every eventuality. A lie-detector test will determine whether the participant adhered to the rules for the full 365 days. Acting as a deterrent to any dishonest minds who were thinking of applying, and of course, ensuring that their money’ll be well earned come this time next year.

What makes #NoPhoneForAYear so brilliant?

While their publicists are probably giving themselves a pat on the back, we PRs over here complaining ‘why didn’t WE think of that?!’ And that’s because, from start to finish, the creativity, the execution and the overall brilliance of this campaign is absolutely and entirely flawless. (And I’m both jealous and in awe of whoever cooked it up to say the very least)

Getting press coverage for your brand is always rewarding. I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I see that a piece I’ve put out as has been picked up in the likes of the Daily Mail (as it has this week) I always do a little happy dance and it truly does make my day. It’s good to know your hard work has paid off and for the good of your client, too.

So, I can imagine the Vitaminwater press team are in full party mode right now, as the news of their competition spreads not just nationally across the states but globally. 

But of course, it’s no coincidence that this campaign has generated the attention that it has. Nope. You can tell a lot of hard work has gone into making this brilliant, and brilliant it is.

Here’s why…

Because it’s controversial – We live in the 21st century, people. Phones are as vital to us as our organs nowadays and therefore challenging just one person to completely purge their device for an entire year is unorthodox to say the very least. The headlines seldom surprise me anymore. Brexit negotiations STILL in place? I already know. Kate and Meghan are feuding? Old (and probably fake) news. They’re becoming almost cliche, the front pages every day. So, when a fresh, vibrant brand such as Vitaminwater throws something as this into the works, it’s something different and is that ‘something new’ that we so badly crave. And that’s why the campaign has generated the attention it has from the get-go, and why I believe it will go on to be one of the most – if not THE most – successful marketing campaigns of next year.

Because it’s foolproof – There were a lot of loopholes to be had in this one, but the marketing team at Vitaminwater – whoever they may be – have covered every single one. Their careful campaign planning means that: you can’t cheat, you’ll still be able to communicate in emergencies and most importantly, you’ll only earn the money if you truly commit to the challenge. Which works either way for them. The contestant doesn’t win? The press’ll cover the participant as a failure, and this will reinforce how dependent we are on our mobiles. Or, the contestant wins? Great – Vitaminwater make somebody $100,000 richer and that’ll gain its fair share of coverage too.

Because it’s great value for money – $100,000 may seem a lot to a person, but to a brand? They probably blow ten times that amount on advertising spends every year alone. Which means, for the traction it’s received, this campaign is truly a bargain for them… And that’s yet another reason it’s simply SO great.

Because it’s recyclable – And lastly, just because Vitaminwater has announced the competition now, it doesn’t mean that’s the last we’ll hear of it. No, running a yearlong campaign is genius and that’s because it’s essentially a gift that keeps on giving. Once the competition is closed, we’ll likely see the campaign in the news again. One year on, when the participant ends their year-long phone eradication, we’ll, of course, see the whole affair in the news again (I personally will be waiting with bated breath to see if they managed it or not). Oh, and updates throughout the year would be well placed too. The thing is, when you have a great idea in front of you – it becomes evergreen. People are always going to want to hear about it and follow its journey. I mentioned Vitaminwater grabbing an absolute bargain on this campaign, right? Well, when you weigh it up with the extended number of press opportunities it becomes even more of a steal.

I for one, and I’m sure I’m not alone in saying this, think that Vitaminwater has raised and set the bar for comms in 2019. Executing a successful campaign before the latter year is even up, they’re definitely one to watch next year and for me, are at the forefront of the competition for inventive PR ideas right now. Creative and clever, I think this campaign is truly brilliant and I can’t wait to see how it all pans out. (Keep your eyes out for the contestant who’s drawn too, as I’m in 2 minds about signing up myself).

What do you think of #NoPhoneForAYear? Do let me know in the comments below.

While you’re here, please subscribe to my blog by heading back to my homepage and entering your email on the right-hand side of the page.

PR and lifestyle blogger jessica pardoe

2 thoughts on “#NoPhoneForAYear – my favourite campaign of 2019 ALREADY”

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