It turns out the ad agency decided to go minimalist with its TV spot, spending $19,000 on production and then trumpeting (in the ad) that the average TV commercial costs $245,000.
So with all that money saved, what do they do?
- Stage a free celebrity concert near a busy Toronto subway station (great photo opp) with a substantial donation to a well-known charity
- Offer 10,000 consumers who visit that station a free subway ride hoping they’ll pay it forward by doing another good deed later that day
- Announce an online contest seeking nominations for a worthy charity to receive $10,000
It all sounds good to the last drop. But there was a vague familiarity to the elements: third-party celebrity endorser, corporate social responsibility, media relations, word of mouth, low-budget production values.
Forgive me for raining on the parade, but this sounds like a PR program. And sure enough, an award-winning Toronto PR agency was listed on the advisory and news release.
But there’s no mention of their contribution in Canada’s national newspaper.
This led me to wonder: With the demise of conventional TV spots, is big advertising trying to claim the PR space? And what will that model do to the relationships we work so hard to build? To the credibility of open, two-way communications?
I think this is an opportunity for PR professionals to demonstrate our worth and shout the gospel of Al and Laura Ries from the rooftops to the boardrooms.
I just hope we don’t stay in the background; subservient to the almighty ad.