Publicity: “It’s a Game, My Hobby & My Way of Life”

6 Nov

…As the famous publicist; Max Clifford said, the profession has become a big part of a lot of PR practitioners lives. Publicity is a component of public relations and a very relevant one in today’s society in which what interests the public may not always be the public interest. Mark Borowski says; The publicist’s skill is to  pro-actively find, tell and sell the stories that make their clients news.” From a very early time publicity has been an essential component of the promotion industry, for example, Bernay’s and the ‘torches of freedom’ and P.T. Barnum with his circus promotions. Publicity has always been seen as controversial in an ethical sense. Gullible and vulnerable people have fallen fools to many publicity tricks in the past and the result of such communications is not always favourable to the public.

There are five suggested simple steps to becoming a responsible practitioner of publicity:

* To tell the truth

* To do no harm

* To do good

* To respect privacy

* To be fair and socially responsible.

These guidelines are a good basis to aid the ethical decisions of a publicist but often conflict when all are adhered to in practice. For example, you could be telling the truth but at the same time causing harm to a consumer, celebrity or company. Despite these blurs of ethics in publicity it still remains to be one of the most thought after and competitive sections of public relations and one that really interests me. It can be used for a lot of good in society and proves to be very effective.

To achieve success as a publicist it is very important to be creative and requires a lot of skill in determining the interests of a target public group in order to capture their attention. The PR stunt is one of the most effective forms of publicity, here are a few great examples from Taylor Herring PR:

The Peanut Protest. Mark McGowan pushes a peanut, using only his nose, from Goldsmiths College to 10 Downing Street in protest at his student debt. The two week journey across London in September 2003 drew massive media interest and culminated with McGowan delivering the nut to Prime Minister Tony Blair, asking him to accept it as payment for his debt.

Pink My Ride. To mark the launch of the Fiat 500 Pink – we worked with marketing agency Krow to win the car manafacturer a place in the record books by painting an entire vehicle in pink nail polish. The artist used 131 bottles of pink nail polish to turn a brand new Fiat 500 into a glossy pink ride. He lived and slept in a special studio where he completed the mammoth task which was broadcast over the internet by webcam.

car PR stunt

Fathers For Justice. Despite factional issues within their own organisation, the campaign group Father’s For Justice became famous for their headline grabbing tactics. Their supporters resorted to dramatic protest stunts, usually dressed as comic book superheroes. They frequently scaled public buildings, bridges and monuments – perhaps most famously Buckingham Palace.

Fathers For Justice

These are just a few of my favourites from the publicity stunt hall of fame Taylor Herring have provided, there are plenty more to look at!

One Response to “Publicity: “It’s a Game, My Hobby & My Way of Life””

  1. David Phillips November 7, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

    I guess it is worth listening to to find out where and how * To tell the truth * To do no harm * To do good * To respect privacy * To be fair and socially responsible.
    What is Bob Diamond’s PR team saying to him and his Board and should they have solved the problem of answering his Pay question before he was interviewed by John Humphries?

    If so how – you are, after all a PR person…. eeeek!

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