Edelman to advertise on TV after CNBC deal

Edelman has struck a groundbreaking contra deal with business broadcaster CNBC that will see it become the first PR agency to advertise on TV.

CNBC Europe’s in-house production team is shooting the ad next week, to air on the channel for three months. Edelman is in return providing the broadcaster with strategic media relations advice and support across Europe.

Edelman Europe president David Brain negotiated the deal with CNBC Europe director of communications Charlotte Blenkinsop.

The 30-second spot will revolve around the creative concept of ‘Chinese Whispers’ to warn viewers that if they fail to manage their company’s message, it can get misconstrued.

It will feature a businessman, mother, youth, doctor and builder, kicking off with the businessman heard whispering about his company’s products, performance and corporate governance. The whisper goes round the characters and comes back to him as markedly different.

The endline is: ‘Edelman – independent thinking in public relations since 1952.’

Brain said the airtime is worth ‘slightly short of six figures’ and that it would look to renew the arrangement if the three-month burst proves successful.

CNBC Europe’s audience is made up almost entirely of senior business executives. Audience measurement company GfK’s latest study identified that the channel pulls in an average of 2.6m viewers a week.

CNBC has hailed GfK’s figures as more accurate than those of BARB’s European Media & Marketing Survey since the latter fails to capture out-of-home audiences.

The channel’s daily morning flagship programme Squawk Box features regular guest hosts, including WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell.

The effect of Edelman’s TV campaign will be monitored keenly by an industry where many companies approach PR agencies on the basis of recommendation.

Brain and Blenkinsop are former colleagues at Paragon Communications and Weber Shandwick.

Brain said the campaign was not intended to be a ‘silver bullet’ but part of general brand-building activities.

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