Wednesday, 12 August 2009

We are all Mad Men now

PR is changing. But not as much as advertising. Advertising is being replaced rapidly by PR – we're told. And according to a twitter today the new series of Mad Men is to be promoted big time with massive PR. It’s enough to make a Madison Avenue man choke on his Lucky. PR? Sterling Cooper did not have a PR division!

But look a little more closely at the current view. This is in fact the view across the street from my hotel on Madison Avenue just a few days ago. There’s the hotel, just behind the car. And here’s the advertising just in front of the car. An ad on Madison for Mad Men.

An ad well crafted and well postioned. Great execution. Great media work and planning. Looks like advertising to me. Well, yes. But this is a viral phone booth and it's saying to me 'write about me' (Does anyone use them to phone anyone anymore?)

And the addition of a whole range of Mad Men clothing via Banana Republic clothing seems as much a WoM point as a genuine sell. MM King Size would not be far behind, at another time.

The exchange of value here is that we can use the hashtag and search term ‘Mad Men’ to attract you to this blog and I and thousands of others do the work for free. So, according to Theano Apostolou at producers AMC I have become a Mad Men evangelist. What is without a doubt is that the brilliant PR, excellence in craft and the integrated campaign that runs event, merchandise, press and TV delivers wonderful value for money - for me and thousands like me, as well for AMC.

Perhaps the greatest irony is something else altogether. This is a campaign that doesn't require me to own anything new or to consume any more than a simple forty-five minutes of TV.

It's been a pleasure to work for Stirling Cooper.

Get to for the 'recreate yourself in 60's style' avatar treat and the 1960's cocktail guide of evergreen delights. I'm a sucker for advertising.

PR Week US:

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Analogue for a Digital World

I have a friend who was at a loose end. The answer to boredom was a start-up. I was at a loss to understand the business model. He would direct people to great products and services. He didn’t mind paying out in time and labour until he could think of a way to monetise the whole thing. He would have a bit of fun on the way too.

So, there on Oxford Street, he would stand with his sandwich board - tantalising images of exciting products. The tourists could drop him a dime for the entertainment, or just walk on. Most of them walked, but he kept telling them to visit Debenhams, shop at Selfridges or such. He couldn’t make them buy, but he did consider that there might be mileage in bringing friends in to push people in through through the shop doorways.

You would have thought the stores should have been happy. All that free marketing. All those potential saps with currency. All they had to do was to present products that these people wanted to buy. But that wasn’t the way they saw it at all. The shopkeepers wanted to be paid for the privilege of the sending customers to them. But his business didn't make any money for them to harvest.

Without revenues my friend has had to rethink and remodel. He is going to Fleet Street. Just along from where the newspapers used to be. He will buy a paper in the morning, shouting out the headline to people who are interested – and urge them to read the story in a real newspaper. This time he will pick content that is in the interests of his paying clients, and urge them too to read the papers. I hope he doesn’t get into trouble over this. Best however, if he checks it out first with the Newspaper Licensing Agency.

PS: OK, not quite, the links about to charged for go back to the client, but that is the gist of it. I am a blogger and I can send a reader to a newspaper for free. If I am a PR company and I have the throw weight to send many more customers I have to pay to do so!

For a clear exposition of how newspapers wish to charge for businesses sending links to clients you could always go to:
an unpaid link to Communicate where David Pugh for NLA and Kevin Taylor of CIPR, slug this one out.

The lithograph is one of many wonderful drawings of early 19th century London by George Scarf, including lots of street marketing. He died in 1860 and it should be safely out of copyright. If not, George can contact me at a time of his choosing.