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Bruno: Is all publicity good publicity?

Well the Bruno movie is officially out in cinemas, and Bruno himself, the gay Austrian fashion journalist (a creation of English comedian Sasha Baron Cohen) has been in town this week doing a bit of promotion for it. He made a particular funny appearance on Rove last Sunday night, pushing the boundaries of social decency (with hilarious results) using a lot of shock tactics to get laughs out of people. (Rove in a naked suit anyone?)

This reminded me of Gordon Ramsay’s controversial appearance on Rove, and got me thinking about the lengths in which people will go to promote themselves. Which begs me to ask the question – Is all publicity good publicity? In the case of Bruno, I would have to say yes. Pictures have been popping up of him everywhere; people can’t seem to get enough of him. One minute he is dressed as a bull in Spain, and then next he is flashing his shiny silver g-string on Rove and asking to see his “coogle sack.” His catchphrases are everywhere, “this is the most influential movie about a gay Austrian since Terminator 2”, and his shock tactics have only served to help promote his film.

In the case of Gordon Ramsay, his now infamous fight with Tracy Grimshaw earned him a lot of critics – yet it was all anyone could talk about! It made headlines across the globe. As a result, an incredible amount of publicity was generated for The Good Food and Wine Festival, the whole reason Gordon was here. Was it any coincidence that the ‘fight’ between Grimshaw and Ramsay escalated when he made comments about Grimshaw while cooking at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, thus putting the festival back into the spotlight? I think not! Was his reputation damaged as a result? Not really. But then, celebrities can often take more risks when it comes to publicity and more often than not it will work in their favour.

But what about when ad agency Naked Communications decided to take a risk for their client Witchery, with the  ‘girl in café looking for love’ YouTube video? The story went like this: girl meets guy in café. Guy leaves jacket behind. Girl launches YouTube video to search for her ‘prince’ and to return the wonderful, well made jacket. People got swept up in the story. It’s was then revealed that it was a carefully orchestrated PR stunt to promote the jacket as part of Witchery’s latest collection. It was at this point that everything went up in flames for Witchery. People were angry at being duped into believing it was real, and the mainstream media when out of their way to not name the fashion brand. This was a clear case of publicity backfiring. Big time.

The lesson here? Do your research! Know who your audience are and how they interact with media before launching a big public assault and pimping out your business in any way you can. As with any good marketing campaign, you need to develop clear objectives. Know what you want to achieve, how you are going to implement it, and what measures you are going to put in place in case it doesn’t go as planned!

If you are of the opinion that all publicity is good publicity then you have to understand the risks involved and be prepared to deal with the consequences if you fall flat on your face.

Do you think all publicity is good publicity? Is there such a thing as ‘bad’ publicity?

What do you think?

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Jessica Stanic

Jessica Stanic

As a proud Gen Y’er, Jessica’s blog will give you a rare insight into the complex minds of Gen Y’ers with a focus on online, exploring everything from social networking, to mobile phone obsessions and how you can market to this tech savvy bunch.

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