CREATIVE CAMPAIGNS #29 – Fiji Water photobombs the Golden Globes

PR is often about being in the right place at the right time and the latest photobomb stunt from Fiji Water at the Golden Globes is no exception.

‘Fiji Water girl’ aka model Kelleth Cuthbert, a Fiji brand representative, stole the show and upstaged some of the worlds biggest celebrities by making sure she photographed with all the right people while holding a tray of Fiji Water.

This is a classic example of how piggy backing on an event and the perfect positioning can make a brand stand out and give it, and an unknown model, international headlines overnight.

While handing out bottles Cuthbert photobombed celebrities strutting their stuff on the red carpet including big names such as Dakota Fanning, Jim Carey, and Idris Elba.

Even potential James Bond actors Idris Elba [pictured] and Richard Madden [featured image above] couldn’t escape the gaze of #FijiWaterGirl
Viewers dubbed her “The first meme of 2019” and I think they are right!

I have to agree with Australian news site 10 Daily’s review of the stunt, the only conclusion I can come to is that this is intentional and #sponcon. Fiji Water, the model and places like PR Week are all saying it’s unintentional. Hell, no! This is ‘risk reward’ PR – low level risk, maximum reward.

Fiji Water sure have been milking it too with some well timed and expert social media posts and memes. And, let’s not forget about that excellent follow up on The Late Late Show with James Cordon.

I should imagine the brief from Fiji Water to the model representatives was to work, work, work that red carpet and get in as many photos as possible. The risk here is absolutely minimal – nothing ventured, nothing gained.

And, they’ve got history, according to Business Insider it’s been positioning women with trays of Fiji Water at events since 2012. It appears that recently the brand has upped its game. It’s been placing models in more prominent positions, clearly looking at cameras, as seen in the photographs from the Independent Spirits Event in 2018, so as the article says, ‘it was a long time coming’.

The best case scenario is that the photographers and news would picked up on it and it would become a viral hit. At worse, Fiji Water get the normal product placement that they’d get anyway from sponsoring the Golden Globes.

Absolutely everything was to play for, and if it came off, they’d get national and international coverage for the cost of hiring some models for the evening. Big returns for leveraging a sponsorship contract.

It’s the absolute best way to have gained the maximum PR leverage from a very normal, and lets face it mundane, sponsorship deal. This blows my mind, it’s so clever, and reminds me you don’t need a big budget to be able to break through the noise, just a daring attitude.

I’d love to know if Fiji Water paid for their own photographers for this or chucked a bit of money to the paparazzi. What do you think?

There’s always two sides to a story and with the good comes the bad, it’s the nature of the beast.

I’m sure a lot of the celebs will revel in being mentioned as part of this stunt. But, not all the celebrities were keen to have been included. Jamie Lee Curtis thinks it’s only polite that brands ask to be photographed with her and she’s been very vocal on Twitter about it.

That’s not the only backlash, comments on social media and news articles also note the use and promotion of plastic bottles. However, this has been minor in comparison to the benefits – the stunt has earnt $12 million in ad impressions according to Apex Marketing Group’s analytics in an article on Yahoo! Finance.

In a statement after the event Fiji Water said:

“For more than a decade, Fiji Water has proudly maintained a presence at high-profile events, including major award shows, international film festivals and movie premieres,” Fiji said in a statement.

“As the official water sponsor of the Golden Globes, Fiji Water, along with its Fiji Brand Ambassadors, hydrated guests on the red carpet and during the star-studded show,” the statement continued. “Fiji Water will continue to hydrate more of Hollywood this coming awards season.”

Fiji Water is defending its stance (that this was purely accidental), otherwise I’m sure more celebrities would jump on Jamie Lee Curtis’ bandwagon and vent their frustrations at being manipulated at an event by a brand (and not getting paid for it!).

Whats the upshot? More brands are going to see how they can ‘level up’ basic sponsorship contracts and leverage them for PR and marketing opportunities. If a brand has paid to be a sponsor it’s now going to look hard at all the angles to see if they can replicate Fiji’s success.

Expect every brand from here to eternity to review its sponsorship efforts and get a little more savvy, some may even say sly, with how they operate. Much like a pushy parent, hi Kris Jenner, brands will do anything and everything to directly shove its product in front of the camera to mimic Fiji’s success. For this to work brands will need to be even more inventive, a simple copy cat exercise is highly likely to fall flat.

What did you think of this stunt? Love it or loathe it?

This certainly has got 2019 off to an excellent start and that’s why it’s the first of my Creative Campaign of 2019!

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