Why Abba and Oasis inspire excellent PR

When we recruit graduate executives, part of their induction is a series of ‘bite size’ training modules, where we cover off specific aspects of marketing and PR. It works really well, because we only focus on one facet of the job at each session, so the key message is clear and simple.

One of these bite size modules provides them with a framework that will stay with them throughout their PR career and helps them to understand what they should be doing from writing their very first press release to planning a sophisticated, ongoing PR campaign. We call it ‘Campaign Supernova’.

We’ve used it for a number of years and it works as well now as it did at the start, even with the introduction and explosion of digital and social media, which require quite a different approach to traditional media relations.

The reason it works is because it’s based on the fundamentals of marketing and communication, in a way that’s right for a specific business and its audience(s).

Like all things that are good, it’s simple. But it does require our executives to think and, sometimes, think very hard about what they’re doing. ‘Is there a better way?’ is a question we often ask.

It’s a 5 point checklist that they refer to daily and that ensures their work stays on track. We use well-known songs to help us remember it and make it a bit more fun than your normal checklist. These are our top five:

1. Don’t look back in anger

2. Knowing me, knowing you, aha.

3. That’s the way (uh-huh, uh-huh)

4. Just can’t get enough

5. Keep on running


This is what they mean:

Don’t look back in anger

Define what you want to get out of the campaign. Sounds easy, it’s not. In top level business terms, yes, but when you start to translate that into marketing messages that will work, it’s a lot, lot harder.

To help them visualise the campaign we give them this tip: Go to the end of your campaign and look back. What do you see?

Knowing me, knowing you, aha.

Know your audience. Whether it’s comedy or marketing, this rule is one of the basics. What information do they want or will they take notice of? How do they want to receive it? It’s got to be interesting, entertaining or useful to THEM.

Know your media. Newspapers, magazines, TV and radio – what do they cover, how do they cover it? Can you get a product or client mention or has it got to be generic? Do you need to use a third party to ‘front’ the story? Is it digital or social media? Do you own it (blogs, company newsletters/eNewsletters)?

That’s the way (uh-huh, uh-huh) I like it

Give them what they want (need). Whether that’s the audience you are writing for directly or the editor, who is the gatekeeper on your copy being included in their publication, or the broadcast reporter who has to ‘sell in’ your story to their editor/producer. Tailor it, style it, supply the necessary support material. And do it in the timescale they ask.

Just can’t get enough

Repeat it. You might have written copy with the same or similar messages a dozen times, but it takes a lot longer for this to permeate through to readers. Be mindful of that and be consistent and repetitive with your messages throughout a campaign.

Keep on running

Maintain it. A one off press release, a few tweets on social media or the odd blog here and there with do nothing for a business. Unless we implement a well thought out and consistent campaign, and get our clients to commit to it, the PR you do will have little effect.


Unless all five of these fundamentals are followed correctly, a PR campaign is destined to fail, or at best, its effectiveness will be limited. And, as we tell our new executives, we don’t do either.