My biggest gaffe: naked surfers

Hope&Glory PR managing partner James Gordon-MacIntosh explains why sending four chaps to parade naked on a Scottish island was a bad idea...

James Gordon-MacIntosh: Managing partner at Hope&Glory
James Gordon-MacIntosh: Managing partner at Hope&Glory

My biggest gaffe was the dubious act, while running the VisitScotland account at 77PR, of sending four likely lads - who didn't mind getting their kit off - to the Scottish Island of Barra to promote it as an outdoor adventure playground in what was termed "a viral".

The boys surfed, cycled and adventured in their birthday suits. The intention was to stick a clip out as a tongue-in-cheek ad (with an end line involving being "shameless when it comes to showing off our natural beauty") that the client was planning to run but had, in the end, pulled.

Unfortunately, myself and then colleague Alan Twigg had reckoned without the offices of the parish priest and the fact that the beach doubled as the island's runway. The faces in the office became more anguished as calls came first from the Aberdeen Press and Journal and then The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph.

In a moment of post-modern narrative - or parody - the client announced it was pulling the film, which was only being made so we could announce we had pulled it. Needless to say, it was not a relationship that lasted much longer.

And the lesson in the story? First of all, the phrase "you couldn't make it up" has never been better applied. Second, it is wise to have a firm view of a client's true appetite for risk - even after they've signed off on an idea.

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Latest Articles

John Lewis to tell brand story with "tasteful" 150th anniversary celebrations

John Lewis to tell brand story with "tasteful" 150th anniversary celebrations

Department store John Lewis is to use its 150th anniversary this year to talk about its history, which "not enough people know about", according to director of communications Peter Cross.

Labour hires Obama election strategist David Axelrod to fight General Election

Labour hires Obama election strategist David Axelrod to fight General Election

The man who helped Barack Obama win the 2008 and 2012 US presidential elections is to work for Labour along with members of his team.

Sky adds Fever PR to its roster after splitting with Cake

Sky adds Fever PR to its roster after splitting with Cake

Pay-TV giant Sky has added Fever PR to its agency line-up for a wide-ranging brief covering products and services.

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations after Easter break

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations after Easter break

The jury in the trial of celebrity publicist Max Clifford has been sent home for Easter and will reconvene on Tuesday for further deliberations about its verdicts on 11 charges of indecent assault.

Home Office brings in Munro & Forster to campaign against FGM

Home Office brings in Munro & Forster to campaign against FGM

The Home Office has tasked Munro & Forster (M&F) with supporting its campaign to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) as part of a wider retained brief.