PR Tip: Get Friendly

Credit: YouTube/nescafeitalia

Credit: YouTube/nescafeitalia

Who knew a bench could bring so much media attention? To its credit, it’s not any bench. We’re talking about the 'Hello Bench.'

Nescafé created a bright red bench with sensors designed to shorten and move people together when they sit down. The coffee brand set up this 'Hello Bench' in Italy at the popular Salone del Mobile in Milan. And the unusual ice breaker surprised many locals and tourists who found themselves cozying up to strangers who were, well, just as equally surprised. In some cases, strangers shook hands, started a conversation, or simply shared a smile. Click here to watch the 'Hello Bench' in action.

The PR effort, which launched in April, has been written about countless times. The company created a special hashtag on Twitter for the initiative (#NescafeConnection), which encouraged people to share their experiences and also made a dedicated place for media to find images and potential interviewees.

While few innkeepers will have the need or the means to create a moving bench, the idea may serve as a catalyst for many others; the use of Twitter in the campaign via dedicated hashtag is something available to all of us – and an easy and free way to accumulate useful images and information.

Coffee, anyone?