Magazine article Marketing

Public Relations Gets Funny and Makes the Sale

Magazine article Marketing

Public Relations Gets Funny and Makes the Sale

Article excerpt

I've come to the conclusion that the Brits don't like being "sold to". Quite why this should be is not clear -- and nor really does it matter -- although I suspect we haven't recovered from the success of our industrial revolution when capitalism equalled exploitation.

But our very suspicion of the salesman has, I believe, paradoxically catapulted a sector of British creative television advertising into a near art form, the envy of the world. What's the connection?

It's when our agencies utilise creative humour to get their client's message across. But there's a catch: they do so, in my view, to "soften the commercial blow" so that we sensitive souls can pretend no grubby sales pitch has taken place.

If this is true (and I'd welcome readers' views) what does it actually say about PR? One heck of a lot actually because, by definition, PR strategies are covert. The blow is already softened and you don't know "you're being PR'd to" when reading an article, listening to radio or watching the box. And so it would seem that the PR-led sales pitch is ideally suited to tackling the reserved British (or is it English?) character, and thus ripe for brand exploitation.

But though PR might be covert, can it be creative? This thought occurred to me when watching the UK's funniest "comedy" programme -- The Clothes Show -- on BBC TV. At 5.30pm on a Sunday it's just the right time to perk one up after an indulgent lunch while guffawing bellyachingly at Jeff Banks' Essex-cum-Carnaby-Street persona and the gyrating cast of thousands, all of whom seem to have no dress sense whatsoever. …

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