Tuesday, March 25, 2008

PR - the marketing miracle tool

In 1957, the much respected Panorama program of the BBC broadcast a documentary on the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest. It showed a Swiss family harvesting spaghetti strands from trees and laying it out to dry. At the time, spaghetti was an exotic dish in UK and many viewers were fascinated. They called the BBC asking where they could get their own spaghetti bush. This is a good example of how positive coverage in media can help to popularize new products from overseas.

In 1977, the Guardian newspaper of UK ran a special supplement celebrating the tenth anniversary of San Serriffe, a small republic in the Indian Ocean. It consisted of several semi-colon shaped islands, with the two main ones named Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse. The capital was Bodoni, and the people of this beautiful country celebrated unique festivals such as “The Festival of the Well Made Play”. The article carried testimonials from well-known people who had holidayed in this idyllic location. The phone rang through the day with readers seeking more information on this ideal vacation island. Another example of how good media coverage can popularize even the most unknown destination.

Both were elaborate April Fool's spoofs. Yet they worked! Think how powerful PR is (or can be) for a product that actually exists and does good things :) Yet companies continue to invest in advertising.

(More famous spoofs are at http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/aprilfool/ )
If you're considering something special for April 1st, time to start planning now!

4 comments:

Shivangi said...

Its amazing how misunderstood PR is in so many companies...and hence how it continues to be under-utilised. In fact, I've come across several orgns where the "PR" group is separate from the "Mktg" group...

Myself Zaava said...

If the arguement is that PR is the essence of marketing, its a bit like saying that Page 3 is the core of fame.

There's only so far that a paid-for experience will take you.

An organization or a person's reputation can be built without marketing. Can marketing happen without the organization or person?

Jessie Paul said...

As Peter Drucker said, ""Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two--and only two--basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business."
Trust this answers your last point, myselfzaava.

Myself Zaava said...

Those who can, do. Those who can't, quote.

Cheers!