2013 Digital PR Awards: WOW! Campaign

Winner: Quaker & HUGE - Cap’n Crunch Earns His PR Stripes With Viral Uniform Controversy

The Cap’n Crunch brand needed to find ways to reach consumers (primarily men) in their 20s and 30s, who often eat the cereal as an afternoon or late-night snack, rather than for breakfast. Working with PR agency HUGE, the brand relaunched the @RealCapnCrunch Twitter account and Facebook page and introduced an animated late-night talk show hosted by the Cap'n on YouTube. But one of the objectives for the Cap'n’s Twitter social media strategy was to track and monitor memes and relevant pop culture trends. Like manna from heaven, that arrived in June 2013, when a Reddit user posted an image on reddit.com pointing out that although U.S. Navy captains have four stripes on their uniforms, Cap'n Crunch only has three and therefore was not a real captain.

As soon as the PR team spotted the Reddit post and subsequent Twitter conversation, the Cap'n's community manager and copywriter immediately began responding to fans and foes alike with clever tweets from the Cap'n, defending his good name. By monitoring social mentions the HUGE team playfully kept the conversation going with all of the influencers who engaged the Cap'n on Twitter. Once the conversation and media coverage had reached an international scope and appeared on several major national news outlets, the HUGE team got budget to produce an animated response video showing the Cap'n responding to the fraud claims.

The video was viewed more than 53,000 times in less than a month and received more than 380 YouTube "like"s. All told, the controversy resulted in more than 689 million mainstream media impressions and roughly 110 million social media impressions within just one month, resulting in purely organic ROI of $0.05 CPM, with absolutely zero paid media.

Honorable Mentions:

  • AMD - AMD Radeon HD 7990 eBay Publicity Stunt
  • GolinHarris - Cisco Live Social Media Command Center
  • Major League Baseball - MLB Fan Cave
  • MWW - Zumba Nightclub Series ft. Lil Jon & Gina Grant


Comments Off


About Matthew Schwartz

Group Editor, PR News: Matthew Schwartz is group editor of PR News, the leading source of trends, how-to content and best practices for PR professionals. Matthew leads the editorial strategy for PR News’ premium content products—including its weekly newsletter—and for its digital presence. Matthew was editor of PR News from 2003-2005. Prior to returning to PR News, Matthew was a reporter for Crain’s BtoB and Media Business magazines, where he covered business marketers and media companies. He was also editor of BMA Buzz, a biweekly email newsletter covering B2B marketing, advertising and social media, and contributing writer to Advertising Age Custom. Matthew has helped to launch blogs on behalf of ZoomInfo and direct marketing agency The Kern Organization. He also spent a few years in cable-news precincts, working as a writer/producer at CNN and Fox News Channel.

Deals of the Week

$150 Off PR News' Social Media Summit

socialmedia201602-180x150Join PR News in Huntington Beach, CA on Feb. 26 for the Social Media Summit, where you'll be immersed in real-world, tactical case studies from brands, nonprofits and agencies and get takeaways in pulling and analyzing social media data; emerging social platforms and apps and so much more. 

Use code “150” at checkout to save $150 o the regular rate.

$50 off the CSR & Green PR Guidebook

csr_vol7_print_digital-thumbPR News’ CSR & Green PR Guidebook, Vol. 7 captures best practices in communicating the positive relationships that organizations are building with their communities of interest. This six-chapter guidebook connects the dots between the effective communication of positive social contributions and corresponding improvements in bottom lines.

Use code “50off” at checkout.

Save $100 on a PR News Subscription



Let PR News become your weekly, go-to resource for the latest PR trends, case studies and tip sheets. Topics covered include visual storytelling, social media, measurement, crisis management and media relations.

Use code “SUBDEAL” at checkout.

Comments are closed.