This is the second of six articles in the “Six PR Tactics that Grab Attention Like ‘Orange is the New Black’” series.

Today’s post discusses how the hit Netflix show nailed the element of the unexpected and how you can use this element to inspire a winning idea to sell your product or service.

Time and time again we see the same things on television. How many times have you met the hyper-sexualized woman followed by conventional, heterosexual romance? Stereotypes prevail, the good guys conquer the bad and we’re left with an ending to a story we had subconsciously predicted from the start.

The storyline behind OITNB is unlike anything we’ve seen before. The writers and producers are constantly taking risks and confronting controversial social issues.

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OITNB tells the story of Piper, a woman who made some mistakes in her youth, specifically, trafficking drug money. She was influenced by someone she loved, and she was ratted out nine years after the fact. She was charged for her crimes as a 30-something soon-to-be wife on the brink of launching her own homemade organic bath products company.

Little by little the show reveals each inmate’s story and how she landed in prison. Each story leaves the audience with the same words running through their head: “That could have been me,” or, “Wow, that sucks.”

People think of prison inmates as dangerous, violent, scary, bad people. OITNB unexpectedly contradicts that stereotype. The stories of Piper and her fellow inmates offer a different perspective.

One prison guard in the show put it best when she said to Piper: “The only difference between me and you is that you got caught and I didn’t.”

Or when Piper’s fiancé told her she didn’t belong in that prison, and she answered with this …

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This is a powerful quality to have in a PR campaign — making people stop and think, and maybe even realize that the product could pertain to them when they never thought it would before. This aspect of a campaign differentiates your product.

OITNB also confronts many trending social issues, from racial stereotypes to gender and sexual identification. The women wear prison scrubs and sport virtually no makeup or hair styling. 

The ever-popular “sex sells” slogan does not apply. And guess what? People dig it.

When creating your PR campaign, take a risk. Come up with an original idea that’s unexpected. If you can successfully do this, the message of campaign will be made to stick.

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