Wednesday, 6 May 2009

It's Pants, Man

"The Apprentice: You're Fired" should have come with a health warning last night. Certainly, I nearly choked on my Ovaltine and rich tea during Philip's farewell interview. The man is delluded. He still thinks Pants Man was a success in marketing terms. Honestly. He does.

His rationale? We are all talking about it and I quote (albeit from memory), "That is what advertising and marketing is all about isn't it?"

Well Philip, no. We are all talking about Swine Flu but none of us wants it. We all talked about The Millennium Dome - but hardly any of us went and when Gerald Ratner called his products "total crap", the whole country talked about it, and promptly stopped shopping there as a direct result.

There is a marked difference between getting people talking about you and getting people buying from you. The old adage, "there is no such thing as bad publicity" has been proved wrong time and time again. And once, by me.

On my last maternity leave, clearly having far too much time on my hands, I went to war with baby equipment retailer, "Two Left Feet." I put all of my media know-how and contacts into use and started blogging, joining mums forums, writing press releases and the like - all in a bid to get my money back from the cowboys. They ignored me so I went to Watchdog. Clearly the hormones were at play here as the results of my actions didn't actually dawn on me until I was on air. No matter, I got my goods. However, I wasn't alone in my hatred of "Two Left Feet" and its dodgy business dealings. The company was back on Watchdog a while later and went into administration earlier this year, blaming "bad publicity" for its decline.

Ok, there was more at play here but all this goes to show - there is more to effective PR than filling a client's press cuttings file with any old rubbish, coverage for the sake of coverage in other words. Good PR translates to sales, it demonstrates a return on investment, it has a positive effect on the bottomline. Plain and simple.

Brendan Behan once said, "There is no such thing as bad publicity - except your own obituary." True, but bad publicity has also led to the obituaries of a fair few companies and, unless Philip returns to reality very soon, Pants Man could be all that's in his.


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