“Unusual PR Strategies by Robert Chaen”
– key pointers from a keynote talk at Monash University

I presented to a group of MBA students in Communications in Monash University, Malaysia on 31 May, 2014.

Dr David Anandarajoo, the MBA lecturer got feedback from his students that it was the most exciting guest speaker talk of the whole course. The following are key pointers of the talk.

My background: PR Spokesperson for ChangeU Group, Asia’s #1 change experts

3 businesses:
1. ChangeU University: Training and Strategic Management Consultancy
(includes E-learning, KPI, Sales, Ideas IT systems)

2. BorneoHunter: executive search

3. Chaen-Santy Media (USA): Reality TV franchise, social media & branding PR events for Top 100 Brands

My first real job was a Copywriter in JWT.
I have also worked in Client Servicing in Leo Burnett Direct Marketing Hong Kong.

What is direct marketing?
The most effective form of advertising vs. pure awareness ads

Get a call to action, a direct response i.e. redeem, coupon, get FREE sample, contest, etc.

The problem with an over-communicated modern society – reflected in the comedy movie.

Rejected by 7 technologies: From the movie: “He’s Just Not That Into You”


The villian:
The biggest problem in PR is there are way too much noise, too many advertising messages, over communication, and too many brands that what to join the bandwagon of the pioneer leader brand.

The conquering hero:
Focus, unusual PR ways, social media PR blended in reality TV.

Some greatest publicity stunts of all time:

Blair Witch Project Pretends to Be Real, 1999
To create buzz for the horror flick The Blair Witch Project, the film makers gave out tapes to college campuses and presented them as real video diary footage. The Independent Film Channel also played clips that were labeled as documentary instead of fictional. This viral PR stunt created plenty of buzz for the film.

Best Job in the World, 2009
The Queensland Tourism board posted a classified ad for the ‘best job in the world’. They seeked out an island caretaker who would be willing to spend 6 months exploring Queensland all the while staying rent free in an island villa. They received applications from all over the world and estimate the publicity has been worth over $110 million.

red bull2

The Great Jump, 2012
Felix Baumgartner became the first person to break the sound barrier without the help of a machine by falling 23 miles from the earth’s stratosphere. The event was sponsored by Red Bull. The jump earned the world’s attention and accounted for one percent of all online conversations at the time.


1st Mega Apple-Store in Central, Hong Kong.

What you can learn from Apple’s MarCom:

“People will forget what you SAID, people will forget what you DID, but they will never forget how you made them FEEL”
~ Maya Angelou

Jobs doesn’t sell computers; he sells an experience.

The “Holy Sh_t” moment

“This is Macbook Air 2008 – so thin it even fits inside one of these envelopes.” Says Jobs. The Showstopper of 2008.

Head of communications Katie Cotton is leaving.

Cotton helped shape the narrative around Apple for years. Apple’s excellent products and brilliant CEO made Cotton’s job easier, but she deserves a lot of credit for turning Apple into one of the most respected companies in the world. Without her around, Cook will have to find his own person to lead Apple’s communications efforts, and guide the story of Apple.

Draw a Road Map

Steve Jobs makes his argument easy to follow by adopting one of the most powerful principles of persuasion: the rule of 3.

Apple:  1. Mac   2. Music: Ipod, iTune  3. iPhone

iPhone: January 9, 2007  Today we are introducing 3 revolutionary products in one!

1. Wide screen iPod  2. Revoluntary Mobile phone  3. Internet communication devise

3 of 12 ways Tim Cook changed Apple in PR terms:

1) Apple is now charitable.

One of Tim Cook’s first acts as CEO was to implement matching charitable donations from employees by Apple up to $10,000. This never happened under Jobs, who was regularly criticized for his lack of public philanthropy.

2) Apple bought Beats Audio for US3.2 Billion
Why? Because Beats headphones are hip and trendy with Gen Y and Gen Z.

3) He hired, and fired, and then hired another head of Apple retail. He hired Angela Ahrendts, the CEO of Burberry, to lead retail.

Fall of advertising - With words

The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR

1984 video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zfqw8nhUwA&feature=kp

E.g.1 Apple Macintosh TV “1984” – ran only once vs. 237 messages on that Sunday.
People remember 1984 because of the many stories. The publicity made the ad memorable.

E.g.2 Pepsi-Cola MJ 1984 – the publicity generated by the hair fire benefitted Pepsi more than all the ads combined.
Q. What is the most reported company in the world?

According to Carma, media analysis co, it is Microsoft.

Logo progression

Coca-Cola is the most valuable brand, founded in 1886 (Interbrand)

Microsoft is the the 2nd most valuable brand, founded in 1975 – worth US65B.

Advertising built Coca-cola but not Microsoft.
Most people can’t remember a single Microsoft ad.


Publicity builds brands

Massive media reports.

Windows 95. Paid $8M for the rights to Rolling Stones “Start me up”.
Windows 95 was revolutionary product – future of PC, there were countless media articles about the product but hardly any mention of Rolling Stones song.


Window XP – paid a fortune to Madonna for her song “Ray of Light”.
Windows XP was a bestseller and was widely reported unlike Windows Vista which was shunned by editors and it affected the sales of Vista. Most people didn’t remember Madonna’s song association.

Publicity build Bill Gates into one US best known CEOs.

red bull

Red Bull
Introduced in Austria in 1987 as the first energy drink. Highly caffeinated, liberal quantities of herbs.

Founder Dietrich Mateschitz, the richest man in Austria. Based his drink on Krating Daeng, a popular health tonic he drank in Thailand.
All that which proves you don’t have to invent something to be rich and famous.

All you have to do is recognize a potentially good idea, invent a new CATEGORY, and a new brand name, and get them into the mind first.

Dark Dog, Energade, Red Alert, Bomba Energy, Power Horse joined the bandwagon –but Red bull maintains 70% US energy drink market.

Chaen-Santy Media (USA)

Change Perceptions – change reality

Media shapes perception

Perception becomes reality

Media shapes the future


The majority of communication is NOISE.

Are you communicating effectively?


Sending the right message?

Messaging through the right content?

Distributing on the right devise?

The right message for the right person?

The right call to Action.

Creating an authentic experience?

Using innovative techniques.

A truly innovative media project

One large media project capable of:

Achieving company objectives

Multiple messages

Multiple platforms

Consistent branding

Adaptive and responsive

Real-time analytics

A 360 approach
Influencer post

Use our army and network of Social Media Influencers-Bloggers

How to appeal to Gen Y (1980-1989) & Gen Z (1990-1999)

Community engagement  – Get millions of people to talk about it – willingly.

Product Placement


Unusual PR Ways by Robert Chaen

As the Head of PR, if you would like to know what I revealed as my many unique PR ways that will work for your corporation or your CEO/ Celebrity, pm me today.

Published: Sunday, 1 June, 2014; 1:50pm