A Look Back at 2019

Hi-Jack of the Year: Fiji Water Girl

2019 has seen its fair share of brilliant ambush marketing (‘news-jacking’, in the PR world… or ‘agendaneering’, in the Frank office), but our top pick has to be the one and only “Fiji Water Girl”.

During the Golden Globes in 2019, a woman handing out bottles of Fiji Water consistently appeared in the background of, well, everything! In one of the most iconic photobombs of all time, the mystery woman managed to pop up in the background of major A-List celebrities’ red carpet moments.

Quickly becoming a meme and catching the attention of viewers, the Twittersphere called for her to be given the award for Best Supporting Role. Fiji Water is the official partner of the Golden Globes and this was a
hilarious way of simply promoting their product, whilst social did all the hard work. Genius.

Campaign of the Year: The Lioness Reveal

Following a thrilling men’s World Cup in 2018, with “It’s Coming Home” becoming the soundtrack of summer, the challenge was on to build the same level of excitement for the Women’s World Cup this year.

In order to reach the masses, 23 celebrities – from David Beckham to Emma Watson – pitched in for the big reveal of the 23 players that made up the England squad. This PR campaign introduced the Lionesses to new audiences, made them household names overnight and built the credibility and recognition they deserve.

Interview of the Year: Prince Andrew and Emily Maitlis

Not only will Prince Andrew’s car-crash Newsnight interview go down as the biggest PR fail of 2019 but perhaps of all time. After ignoring the counsel of his publicity team, the hour-long BBC programme featured his royal highness being grilled by Emily Maitlis about his relationship with shamed sex-trafficker Jeremy Epstein.

This was truly a masterclass in PR catastrophe; an interview designed to save his damaged reputation ultimately set alight a whole new chain reaction that made global headlines. It’s no surprise his former publicist (allegedly) resigned over his decision to take the interview.

Social Media Platform of the Year: TikTok

This year, rarely a week went by without TikTok hitting the headlines. While the app was originally launched in China in 2012, and became available outside China in 2017, it was February 2019 when the app began to blow up on a global scale.

TikTok allows creators to make short, amusing videos. This year saw many of the videos go viral, including ELF branded content amplified by influencers including Brittany Broski and Beasteater, and even saw celebrities including Sam Smith and, most recently, David Beckham join the craze.

It wasn’t all good news for TikTok as the app was hit by multiple scandals amid rumours it was sharing information with the Chinese government and questions over the appropriateness of its content for younger users.

In spite of the dramas, the app has continued to grow and has now been downloaded 800 million times worldwide.

Social Media Trend of the Year: Instagram versus Reality

The damaging effect social media has on users’ mental health continued to make headlines in 2019.

Spurred on by the rise of the World Record Egg in January, conversation grew around the effects of social media and Instagram, in particular, on mental health. Quick to jump on the train, well-known influencers and celebrities began posting filter-free, un-posed, embarrassing pictures in an effort to curb the image of ‘insta-perfection’.

Will 2020 be the year where Instagram’s visual aesthetic really shifts?

Influencer Scandal of the Year: Mother of Daughters

If you hadn’t heard of Tattle pre October 2019, count yourself lucky. When mother and midwife influencer Clemmie Hooper (aka Mother of Daughters) was outed for using the site to defend her family, whilst taking down her peers under a false name, the chat forum hit headlines.
Clemmie, along with many other influencers, had fallen prey to keyboard trolls and under the guise ‘Alice in Wanderlust,’ she’d tried to protect her family. While trying to deflect attention from herself, and dispel rumours that Alice was indeed Clemmie, she began to attack her online friends, and even her husband, on Tattle. When the truth emerged, the influencer community refused to stay quiet and after a ‘half baked’ apology Clemmie has vanished from social media, since deactivating her account. Her husband, Father of Daughters, continues to post, but with 1/5 of the women in his life distinctly absent. We await 2020 to see if she will make a return in any capacity… Watch this space!