Why advertising doesn’t work

Since I work in PR, I find the next video very funny and spot on! (credits: Geert de Sager, Microsoft)

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World Records and media attention, Pink Ribbon

Pink Ribbon Museumplein AmsterdamThis weekend I spent in Amsterdam, where there is always something going on. I walked by Museumplein, when a large group of people holding pink umbrellas caught my eye. It turned out to be an attempt to form the largest ribbon in the world for the Guiness Book of Records. They succeeded!

You could ask yourself why you would try to form a big ribbon? In this case there is a very good reason to, given the fact that the ribbon was pink. Pink Ribbon is an organisation which tries to increase the awareness around breast cancer. They do this successfully in many different ways. Estee Lauder is known for illuminating many famous buildings or sites in pink, such as the Niagara Falls and the Australian Harbour Bridge. In The Netherlands, a special glossy magazine is published once a year of which all turnover is donated to breast cancer research. Doing this year after year is not enough to get attention every time so therefore they came up with the World Record.

It is interesting to see how organisations attempt to get in the news. Trying to set a world record is nothing new. Just recently, Mentos set a world record making Mentos geysers (famous because of movies on YouTube). Last week, Cosmopolitan set a world record in photographing women in bikinis (over one thousand). Personally, I like the Mentos record since it uses the hype in a fun way. You can question whether making a big ribbon helps, but it at least makes you think about something serious as cancer. What Cosmopolitan tries to achieve with their world record or which message they want to send is still not clear to me. Using a world record just to get attention but with not much of a link to what you do or what you stand for is useless attention in my eyes.

I was in the news!

NRC Next articleWell, kind of at least :-) Let me explain… In November ’06, me and 19 other students throughout the Netherlands got selected for a new project set up by the Netherlands Red Cross. These students are responsible for the set up of student desks in their city, nine university cities in total. We have a meeting in Utrecht every two months and last time a journalist was there too since the newspaper found it an interesting initiative. Well, that resulted in a full page article in NRC Next yesterday. NRC Next is one of the most popular newspapers among students, with a circulation of 75,000 after existing for one year. This article also got a follow-up by NOS (Dutch Broadcasting Foundation) who shoot a video about this topic in Rotterdam.

After doing an internship at a communication consultancy, I have seen many press releases come by and it’s always interesting to see which information is picked up by journalists and what is not. It’s funny though that in this case no press release was used but we probably got more (free) exposure which we wouldn’t have if we had used it. It’s exactly this kick what I like about communication/PR!