CAMPAIGNS: VIDEO LAUNCH; Shearer transfer is the real draw

Client: E B Video Entertainment PR Team: The Freedman PR Consultancy and in-house Campaign: Sharp Shooting to Shearer’s Successes Time scale: June - Christmas 1996 Cost: Approx. pounds 50,000

Client: E B Video Entertainment

PR Team: The Freedman PR Consultancy and in-house

Campaign: Sharp Shooting to Shearer’s Successes

Time scale: June - Christmas 1996

Cost: Approx. pounds 50,000



Alan Shearer became a national hero when he spearheaded England’s Euro

96 campaign and became the tournament’s leading scorer. E B Video

Entertainment planned to launch the official Shearer video, Shearer on

Shearer, on 31 July - on the eve of the new football season.



Shearer has always been media-shy and after having restricted access to

him during Euro 96, the media were likely to jump at the chance to

interview him when he launched his life story video.



Objective



To launch and promote the video to make it the best selling sports video

of the year.



Tactics



The highlight of the campaign was to be the launch of the video by

Shearer at his club Blackburn Rovers on 31 July. Freedman managing

director Danielle Freedman spent four weeks trying to create a ‘media

sensation’ around this event, playing on the fact that the media had not

had access to Shearer since Euro 96.



Then on 30 July came the shock news that Shearer had been transferred to

Newcastle United for pounds 15 million, making him the world’s most

expensive footballer. ‘What had taken me four weeks to organise suddenly

had to be cancelled,’ says Freedman.



The danger was that interest in Shearer’s transfer would eclipse

interest in the video. But the video and packaging was a ready-made

source of information and pictures. The godsend for Freedman was that

the video contained a shot of Shearer as a boy in a Newcastle United

shirt, which was widely used by the media.



After the transfer hullabaloo had died down Freedman concentrated on

securing editorial coverage via competitions. Prizes of videos, signed

balls and shirts were supplied to the media along with an information

pack.



Shearer’s contract with E B Video Entertainment specified one personal

appearance, and at the time of writing Freedman was working on a launch

with Shearer at the Newcastle Untied souvenir shop. Freedman promises a

stunt on the day and still believes the media will come because of the

promised access to Shearer.



The emphasis in the run up to Christmas is switching to advertising and

Freedman has been promoting the video to buyers at major retailers.

She has been disappointed at in-store support and admits there is more

to be done to capitalise on the retail marketplace.



Results



Competition coverage included the Daily Mirror, Express, Daily Star,

Daily Mail and People; around 70 regional papers; TCC, Disney BVP and

Teletext on TV; and four regional radio stations in the North.



Editorials have appeared in most of the football magazines and editorial

and/or competitions in TV titles including TV Times and TV & Satellite

Week. Smash Hits and Chat also ran editorial /competitions.



Verdict



Great interest was generated in Shearer because he had become the

world’s most expensive footballer, but the message about the video may

have been diluted in all the excitement about the transfer.



There may have been over-reliance on competitions to generate editorial

and more feature coverage could have been achieved focusing on Shearer

and his life story. Competitions are effective in generating interest in

a video but this phase of the campaign was introduced before the media

had a chance to focus on the human interest angle.



Shearer’s elusiveness has been a blessing and a handicap. The fact that

he rarely gives interviews means the media fall over themselves when

they do get access to him. However, the campaign would undoubtedly have

had more impact if Shearer had lent greater support in the form of in-

depth interviews and appearances at video stores.



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