2016 has hardly got going and yet we may just have witnessed the biggest PR stunt of the year.
The announcement of the engagement between Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall, announced via a classified ad in The Times newspaper (naturally), was swiftly followed by headlines in every major newspaper, TV bulletin, radio newscast and news-related websites around the world. Not to mention a tweet or two.
Is it for real?
Why else would they do it?
Time will reveal the answers to both of these questions.
What is not up for debate is that the simple announcement of their engagement, through the quaint, ages-old tradition of placing a small ad in the ‘local paper’ has generated headlines of such magnitude that it makes hard working PR professionals, who are scratching their heads every day to come up with newsworthy story ideas, want to jump off a cliff.
If only it was that easy for all of us.
Well it kind of is.
OK, so a press release about the silver wedding anniversary of the MD of one of your clients and his wife isn’t quite going to make the same kind of ripples as the Murdoch-Hall announcement.
Even if you did get coverage for a 25-year-happily-married story, what’s the benefit to the client?
But product news or advice carefully targeted at prospective customers, who will derive benefit from it, will create the headlines that will really benefit a client’s business
The real skill, if you want to make a big splash, is to present stories as news and not just simple product promotion, focusing on what’s in it for the reader, rather than explaining why you think a particular product is better than your competitor’s.
Of course, if you’d rather go for the bizarre, Gary Lineker’s back on the market.