Looking at the press yesterday I saw two examples of attempts to garner publicity, one being positive and the other rather negative. The first was the launch of Halo 3 last night at the IMAX. It’s one of the most successful Microsoft games ever and its press department have obviously treated it as such and given it the red carpet treatment instead of just aiming the launch at gaming geeks and kids. Although holding a premiere is not the most creative idea, the publicity machine has tried to rise to the challenge of the world wide anticipation for the game and treated it like a large scale spectacle with Pharell Williams and Christian Slater attending the launch party. The amount of coverage today represents the decision to aim the game beyond gamers. 7 out of 10 for effort.
The other example was a sad and tired attempt by a Milanese clothing company to gain publicity at the start of Milan’s fashion week by using shock tactics in the form of a naked anorexic poster campaign. A stick thin naked anorexia victim, Isabelle Caro, who weighs less than five stone is on billboards across Italy in an attempt to bring the clothing company into the public eye. It happens quite often when unknown companies are desperate for publicity, that they go for an age old idea – this time straight from Benetton’s archives – of shocking the world in an attempt to get noticed. But the company has got this so wrong – it’s far too obvious to use the debate about size 0 in this way. I think it will rebound in their faces and everyone, press and public alike, will see it as a cynical publicity ploy to magnify the brand. The cynicism will seep into the brand and have a very negative effect, instead of the desired one.