Learning from Dome PR fiasco

The New Millennium Experience Company has claimed that it underinvested in advertising support as a result of overestimating the amount of “free media exposure” and “word-of-mouth endorsement” that would be generated by the Dome (MW November 16).

One can forgive them for failing to take into account the extreme and somewhat irrational hostility of the media to the Dome, but it does appear that their faith in the potential contribution of positive PR was rather naive.

What it does highlight is the need for advertisers and particularly media planners to have a much better understanding of the potential contribution of PR when setting media budgets.

With these budgets increasingly stretched by a combination of media inflation, audience fragmentation and clutter, the value of incremental media exposure generated through media relations will become ever more significant.

We only have to look at French Connection to see how a relatively limited advertising budget can be amplified through associated publicity.

However, unless planners really understand PR discipline, they will always struggle to account for the potential PR effect, and mistakes such as the Dome’s underfunding will be repeated.

Martin Thomas

TME 360 (The Media Edge)

London NW1

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