Melinda Messenger getting her kit off at Vauxhall Cross probably
doesn’t surprise anyone. It’s what our Mel does for a living, after
That she was stripping down to her swimming cossie and getting all water
sporty to promote Organics shampoo is equally unsurprising.
This was, after all, just another in a long line of media events posing
pertly as advertising - a one-off ’poster’ extravaganza guaranteed to
draw the paparazzi and even attract the attention of the esteemed
Campaign Diary (see last week’s issue).
Now I know that a scantily-clad Mel Messenger and the ad industry
veteran, Winston Fletcher, appear to have little in common, but bear
with me, there are a couple of pertinent points here. First, don’t be
surprised if last week’s rumours about Bozell Europe talking to the PR
company, Charles Barker, prove true. The two worked together on the
pitch for the Teacher Training Agency (not much of a vehicle for talents
like those of Melinda, admittedly), which they scooped last week - proof
of the value of combining advertising with a strategic PR campaign.
Abbott Mead Vickers plc, of course, got into the game by buying Freud
Communications a couple of years ago and the simple fact is that PR can
make advertising work harder.
Second, with the cost of TV advertising rising alarmingly, and large
audiences increasingly difficult to track down as media fragments, PR
can be an effective alternative to advertising. Would Organics have
spent more on traditional ads if the idea of a model washing her hair in
public had not been conceived? Maybe. One certainty is that the
editorial coverage the stunt achieved was somewhat cheaper than buying
the same amount of exposure from an advertising ratecard.
Some PR people may appear to be unintelligent life forms, but there’s an
opportunity here which even they are latching on to. Ad agencies ignore
it at their peril.