PR Team: Panic
Campaign: Launch of 1998 PowerGen Calendar
Timescale: May - December 1997
Cost: approximately pounds 10,000
This year is the ninth that PowerGen, the electricity generating
company, has published its corporate calendar and the second year that
proceeds have been donated to the British Red Cross.
In previous years the calendar had been overshadowed by other corporate
calendars such as the famous Pirelli version, so this year PowerGen
decided to spice up the content in order to generate greater media
exposure. Panic was brought in to capitalise on the imaginative work of
the calendar’s photographer Bob Carlos Clarke’s while also exploiting
the newsworthiness of the celebrities it featured.
To reposition the PowerGen calendar as the desirable corporate calendar,
while also selling 2,000 copies to the public in aid of British Red
The first task was choosing and persuading celebrities to pose for the
calendar. Ghislain Pascal, managing director of Panic, was in command of
the process and decided that they would have to be personalities who
were newsworthy enough to generate coverage.
He pulled together a list of celebrities whose faces are seldom out of
the press, chosen from a variety of fields. ’It’ girl Tamara Beckwith,
DJ Zoe Ball, supermodels Caprice and Jodie Kidd and athlete Linford
Christie were among those who agreed to pose. As the theme of the
calendar was Images of Desire, it was a chance for many to be seen as
they’d never been seen before.
Once the calendar was ready, it was up to Panic to get the story into
the press. They concentrated on print media, and photographer Bob Carlos
Clarke was available to be interviewed about working with the
celebrities and shooting the pictures.
A launch party was organised in London restaurant The Connection. In
attendance were many of the celebrities who were featured. There was
also a photocall starring Hugh Laurie, model Kaya and a Triumph
Thunderbird motorcycle, recreating one of the calendar shots.
The wisdom of using newsworthy celebrities from a variety of fields was
reflected in the wide coverage the calendar, launch party and photocall
received. The magazines of both the Saturday Mirror and the Express on
Sunday ran colour features and there was a long story about the calendar
in OK! magazine. The Jodie Kidd picture was run on the front page of the
Independent. Several other nationals and dozens of regional newspapers
also ran stories, with numerous pictures from the calendar being
The ’see them as you’ve never seen them before’ angle of the calendar
was widely reported, with papers particularly lapping up the concept of
’quintessential English gentleman’ Hugh Laurie posing as a biker in
The media relations campaign has certainly paid off for PowerGen with
the calendar receiving a flood of coverage in the print media -
effectively stealing the limelight from Pirelli.
Graham Smith, managing director of production company No Excuses, which
produces the calendar for PowerGen, said: ’We realised we had a
fantastic product, but the extra dimension was lacking before. This
campaign got the calendar the exposure it deserved.’ Panic has now begun
work on the 1999 calendar.