Orchid for sparkling ad


The Citizen (Gauteng) - - NEWS - Bren­dan Seery

Onion to PR man for ‘shot­gun’ press re­lease that greatly an­noyed re­ceiver.

Peo­ple are some­times sur­prised that I give Orchids to ads I don’t like or even prod­ucts which are not par­tic­u­larly to my taste. My re­sponse is that, in jour­nal­ism, as in ad­ver­tis­ing, there is one golden rule: You are not the tar­get mar­ket.

So, I am cer­tainly not the tar­get mar­ket for Bernini’s sparkling wine (sssh … don’t say the champ word). I am no fan of sparkling wine – why mess up the fruit of the vine with car­bon diox­ide? – and have been known to give away bot­tles of the ex­pen­sive French stuff when it lands on my desk.

Nei­ther am I a so­phis­ti­cated mil­len­nial, nor up­wardly mo­bile. How­ever, I am able to recog­nise an ad which does ad­dress that mar­ket … and I am able to recog­nise good pro­duc­tion val­ues and use of im­agery. So I was im­pressed with the new­est Bernini TV spot.

The ad starts with a trio of hot ’n hap­pen­ing babes in what looks like a nor­mal ho­tel room. One of them sees a red but­ton on which is em­bla­zoned: “Push for sparkle” … so she does.

And the whole scene starts trans­form­ing – fix­tures dis­ap­pear and a bar ap­pears, along with all the in­gre­di­ents nec­es­sary for a party, right down to the Cin­derella-like trans­for­ma­tion of them all into glit­tery fash­ion mag­a­zine mod­els.

And, nat­u­rally, they all have bot­tles of Bernini’s spark­li­est best in hand.

It’s not a new idea – that a prod­uct will sup­pos­edly change your world – but the way it’s been done cap­tures the en­ergy and some of the in­no­cence of hav­ing fun. And with the fes­tive sea­son ap­proach­ing, there will be young women out there drawn to the ad and the drink.

So Orchids to Bernini and Ola! Films di­rec­tor Amy Al­lais for a sparkling piece of com­mer­cial mak­ing. It’s all the more in­ter­est­ing be­cause most of the ef­fects were achieved on set, rather than with com­puter-gen­er­ated images, which is be­com­ing the norm.

To­day’s les­son in How Not To Do Pub­lic Re­la­tions comes from Given Tsha­bal­ala who, be­cause his com­mu­ni­ca­tions come from what ap­pears to be his own per­sonal Gmail ac­count, could be a lone wolf free­lancer. Noth­ing wrong with that – and even if he worked for a PR com­pany there would be no guar­an­tee he would learn the er­ror of his ways be­cause many in the busi­ness sim­ply don’t know what they’re do­ing.

Given sent me an e-mail in which he rather testily re­marks: “I have been try­ing to get hold of you un­suc­cess­fully.” Who the you is, is not ap­par­ent from his stan­dard PR bimbo first line: “Good day, I trust this e-mail finds you well.”

Good day who, Given? And why would you trust this finds me well? Do you know some­thing about my health that I don’t? Then he com­mit­ted Mis­take Num­ber Two in the “How to an­noy jour­nal­ists” hand­book: “Yes­ter­day, I sent you a press re­lease, please can you con­firm if you have re­ceived it.”

Oh yes, Given, I am about to drop ev­ery­thing be­cause your name in­stantly springs to the top of my mind, as does your press re­lease. Jour­nal­ists get so few of them it’s a real earth-shat­ter­ing event when one ar­rives. (That, by the way, is sar­casm … for the ben­e­fit of those who might not get it.)

Your press re­lease was about Nige­ria re­cently host­ing the African Trade Fo­rum co-hosted by the Rock­e­feller Foun­da­tion, the UN Eco­nomic Com­mis­sion for Africa and the African Union Com­mis­sion. I also dis­cov­ered why you had not man­aged to con­tact the name­less per­son you were re­fer­ring to. You sent the mail to me, but ad­dressed it to him – and he works for Busi­ness Live.

Clearly, what you did there, Given, was pre­pare a “shot­gun” press re­lease (so called be­cause its con­tents get sprayed ev­ery­where) and then lost track of where you had sent it. Who­ever paid you for this work wasted their money. Per­haps you (and other sim­i­larly dim PRs) might learn some­thing from this Onion.

We re­ceived this note from Trevor For­tuin in Rand­fontein in re­sponse to my award­ing an Orchid last week to Mahin­dra’s lat­est TV ad: “Bren­dan Seery’s ob­ser­va­tions on ad­ver­tis­ers are nor­mally spot on – but his po­si­tion on Mahin­dra’s lat­est ad – ‘Send-up tops’ is way off the mark for the fol­low­ing rea­sons:

Farm­ers don’t drop other farm­ers’ fences.

If the jour­ney to re­turn the lamb to its right­ful owner was of suf­fi­ciently long dis­tance to re­quire an overnight stop, how did the lamb get to the pick-up point in the first place?

Was that lamb so phys­i­cally dif­fer­ent to oth­ers that the cen­tral char­ac­ter im­me­di­ately recog­nises the lamb as be­long­ing to some­one he knows – yeah right.

No apolo­gies to Bren­dan – this was not his best cri­tique.”

Well Trevor, no apolo­gies from me ei­ther … be­cause I did make the point (I thought clearly, but ap­par­ently not) that this com­mer­cial is a spoof and a bit of fun. Facts and logic do not ap­ply in such cases.

Cap­tures en­ergy and in­no­cence of hav­ing fun.

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