Old but gold
Advertisers riding the World Cup wave struggle to differentiate themselves but a classic PR stunt can produce more buzz for less cash
According to the recent front page report of one marketing publication, the squillions being squandered on brand penetration during the World Cup are falling short of the intended mark.
Logos are washing over football watchers like some subliminal tsunami, and a Russian oligarch’s ransom (an ‘Abramovich’ as it’s technically known) is being squandered on sale promotion offers, virals and glossy ads.
The advertisers’ mission: that a global audience will sup more beer (responsibly of course), drive more eco-chic cars, and devour more mechanically recovered meat.
But the best value for money in this World Cup, where a single advertising hoarding in a single game costs £500,000, comes from a good old-fashioned publicity stunt. And it’s cost less than £2,000.
My cynical radar went on high alert this morning on hearing of a football-crazy British band who have generated a huge dump of ink and broadcast noise with a tremendous tale.
To make them feel at home while watching the World Cup in Germany they have pre-ordered a celebration curry to be flown in from their home restaurant in Bath.
The previously unknown band, Opposite World, have allegedly been taken to the football tournament as a reward for getting their latest single into the dance charts. So after watching England play Trinidad and Tobago in Nuremberg on Thursday, they plan to feast on their fave meal.
The curry will be carried to Germany by restaurant manager Abdul Nasir, who told a news agency: “We received a phone call on Saturday for a takeaway to Germany and thought it was someone having a laugh. But we were contacted again and they gave us a deposit so we knew it was genuine.”
The equally previously unknown restaurant, Bombay Nights, is preparing a feast including ramo dakhna chicken, mirchi fish, lamb karahi and Bombay king prawns, together with a selection of rice, naan breads and starters.
The meal is expected to set the record label back £1,600, including the cost of transporting it 800 miles – complete with the required, chrome, night-light heaters – to the boys’ hotel, where it will be served.
It’s enough to get Sandi Thom to pick up her guitar, pen a ditty to the lads and broadcast it across the net from her basement.
I wiped tears of joy away as I was overcome with the inspiration of taking an old PR standby, used by every Indian carry out, and then reworking it into a modern day idiom.
We have all seen it before: a new Bengal Balti opens up in the local high street and before you can say chicken jalfrazi, some punter has ordered a meal for two to be delivered to a hotel in Toronto. Well after all, chicken tikka masala is more popular than fish and chips these days, and no one cooks ’em like they do down the Passage to India.
The value of the column inches to the label are worth hundreds of thousands, far outstripping the cost of the meals delivery. Media outlets from Germany to South Korea celebrate the band’s name. I dare say a few radio stations will be illustrating the story with a snatch of Opposite World’s hit.
Capturing the zeitgeist is the heart of any great PR scam. Mix it up with a touch of Del Boy mischief and Bob (or in this case, Abdul) is your uncle. The cost of the exercise is next to nothing and is more ingenious than a bunch of actors parading the virtues of a the power supplier that is currently fuelling the ITV coverage.
Better to bet the equity in your two-up two-down, buy-to-rent investment on Opposite World getting a number one over the next few months.
Let’s face it: at the moment it’s more likely than Ronaldo, who seems to have taken the burger ads to heart, scoring the winning goal on July 9