Kern & Sohn makes weighing scales for scientists. In the 1990s, a B2B PR campaign might have involved issuing a press release mentioning the scales’ product features, but those sort of approaches are much less effective these days. Instead, Kern & Sohn did something more creative. It created The Gnome Experiment. As I write in The PR Masterclass:
Kern & Sohn, wanted to raise its sales, by standing out in a marketplace where brand recognition is poor. They ran an experiment, with the aid of the scientific public. It turns out that the world is not completely spherical, which means that objects, on ordinary scales, weigh a slightly different amount depending upon where they are located on the planet. The firm launched a microsite – that is, a small cluster of pages separate from its main website – where people could volunteer to borrow a pair of the scales and a garden gnome. A gnome’s arrival on the South Pole grabbed substantial media coverage. The experiment was covered on major channels from the BBC to Canada’s CBC News and Australia’s ABC, and in publications from National Geographic to The Times. By the end of the first week of the campaign 1,445 sales leads had been generated. Thousands of people volunteered to participate in the weighing and the media coverage eventually reached an estimated audience of more than 350 million people in 152 countries.
You can find out more about Kern’s campaign in this video: