Thinking beyond the press release

This is an article by Charlotte Brierley.
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Charlotte Brierley

A recent first year university lecture covered the past, present and future trends of successful PR, and how we cannot determine where the fast developing world of PR will be in 10 or 20 years time.

This got me wondering: how do I see the future of PR?

If the press release, the first thing we learn to perfect during a degree in PR, is slowly but surely becoming the enemy of journalists what will take its place?

PR as peer pressure

Today’s society is highly influenced by ‘keeping up with the Jones’s’. Peer pressure and the media have a huge impact on what our house looks like, what car we drive, and where we take our holidays.

Opening a copy of Grazia to find Kim Kardashian wearing a 6 inch pair of Christian Louboutin Daffodil platforms we instantly put them on our wish list – despite the price tag and the risk of spending the night in A&E.

PR and power bands

A prime example of how easily consumers can be influenced is the ‘Power Balance Band’. A simple product, an elasticised band with two hologram stickers claimed when worn on your wrist to release electrodes into your pulse giving you energy and positivity. All this for just £29.99.

In reality it was a cheap, simple-to-make accessory with no health benefits whatsoever.

Are we endorsing this product?

However with the right PR spin and celebrity endorsement, sports stars such as David Beckham and Sean Combs (P.Diddy) were pictured wearing the bands (which they were no doubt given free of charge to ‘try and test a product’). As a result you could guarantee a ‘Power Balance band’ was present in every room you walked in.

Although attempts were made to stop companies giving free products to celebrities, publicists know the ways around this.

Subconscious manipulation

In the UK alone there are over 30 glossy weekly or monthly magazines in print. Glamour magazine alone reaches 600,000 readers alone every month.  Several Reality TV shows hit our screens every year with hundreds of thousands of viewers. People consciously and subconsciously are manipulated by celebrity endorsement every day.

Emails instantly go into the junk folder and newspaper pages get ignored. So is the best way to achieve publicity to influence the media that people choose to watch and read, and then they themselves will subconsciously buy into the new era of PR?

Does that mean that the students of today will find their main PR approach to be as shallow as using celebrity endorsement to promote a product?

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