Tuesday, 12 October 2010

The David Beckham Technique

The last few weeks have been completely manic at JWA as we have been involved in two very big sporting events; the first, the annual Tesco Grand Prix, which is part of our client, PIM’s, running circuit, and then, just last weekend, a NHL ice hockey event, where we were working for the TV channel, ESPN, who were covering it … those two events, combined with a lot of other regular things going on, have meant that I have had little time for blogging…. Just as I feared when I started this, keeping up the momentum was always going to be difficult!

I did, however, have a few ideas during the last few weeks that I thought were worthy of a blog or two….. One was something that I read in someone else’s blog some time ago; their agency had carried out a survey to see which words used in the title of a press release were likely to generate the most coverage, and the result was ‘David Beckham’ – i.e. if you can find some way to incorporate his name into your press release, you have a good chance of getting a journalist to jump on it! Something like: ‘The effect of the new xxxx is likely to have the same sort of impact as David Beckham on the England football team’… of course, nothing to do with the man himself, but effective nonetheless!

Funnily enough, we had proof of this ourselves earlier this year when our PIM client said to one journalist (not completely seriously!) ‘now we have had Petr Nedved taking part in one of our races, we might just surprise everyone and invite David Beckham next year’ – and, sure enough, we had headlines all over the place the next day! Actually, before we had Petr Nedved confirmed to run in one of the races, we had a long discussion as to whether we should mention that he might be taking part. The more cautious amongst us didn’t want to say it until it was definite. My view was that the headlines we would get from mentioning it (on the basis that he was definitely considering it) were worth having… even if, in the end, he didn’t run. I won, and the coverage was immense… and then, when he did run, we got it all over again!

We had another ‘David Beckham’ moment during the NHL weekend. In the Czech Republic, mention ‘ice hockey’, ‘NHL’ or, even better, ‘David Krejci’ and the media will go nuts!

Now, I might seem to be rambling, but there is a real morale here. PR agencies are often judged by how much coverage they are able to generate for a client (often when the press release has not even been written by them and sometimes when there is little of interest to attract the journalists). But, actually, getting a lot of media coverage about a subject that is really close to the journalists’ heart is easy! The real skill is getting a little bit of coverage about something that is really not that newsworthy.. and this is where the ‘David Beckham’ technique comes in useful…. Try it!

Along similar lines, I have been watching the effect that a ‘celebrity’ can have on otherwise normal people… and the effect that those people have on the celebrity. Worthy of another blog I think.


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