CAMPAIGNS: BOOK LAUNCH; Gold book offers a briefs encounter

Client: Ann Summers Team: In-house with back-up support from Condor PR Campaign: Launch of Good Vibrations, the autobiography of Ann Summers managing director Jacqueline Gold Cost: pounds 5,000 in external costs including photography and publicity packs, plus in-house time promoting the campaign Timescale: August to November 1995

Client: Ann Summers

Team: In-house with back-up support from Condor PR

Campaign: Launch of Good Vibrations, the autobiography of Ann Summers

managing director Jacqueline Gold

Cost: pounds 5,000 in external costs including photography and publicity

packs, plus in-house time promoting the campaign

Timescale: August to November 1995



The publication of Jacqueline Gold’s autobiography Good Vibrations last

November provided an excellent chance to promote both Gold and the Ann

Summers’ lingerie and sex toy business to an audience of potential

female customers and saleswomen.



The bulk of the company’s turnover is generated through its party plan

system, but Ann Summers recently embarked on a retail expansion plan

with the ultimate aim, says PR manager Jacquie Wilson, of having a

presence in every major UK city and town.



Objectives



The aim of the campaign was to boost the profile of Ann Summers’

business to potential saleswomen and customers and to promote Jacqueline

Gold as a business leader.



‘The key point was to present Ann Summers as a well-organised company

organised by women for women,’ says Tina Hancock of Condor.



Tactics



The publication was scheduled to take place amid the first stages of the

retail expansion campaign which had already provoked a degree of

negative local press and resistance to planning applications at some

sites. It was felt that some good press would help future presentations

of the Ann Summers retail concept to local planning officials.



Ann Summers’ PR Manager Jacquie Wilson deliberately downplayed any pro-

active publicity work from January 1995, focusing on a publicity blitz

later in the year.



Pre-launch work began in August to drum up interest in Jacqueline Gold

and her book. The six weeks up to the book launch was set aside for an

intensive round of interviews with national press and women’s magazines.

TV and radio chat show spots were also targeted.



Results



The Daily Star, Today and the Sunday Mirror all ran big with Gold’s life

story which combined those two potent elements: sex and money. The

Guardian and Sunday Express also ran extensive pieces based on the book

launch.



Ann Summers also placed a two-page editorial promotion with News of the

World, but curiously its stablemate the Sun, despite arranging an

interview with Gold, didn’t publish - the only interview among 17

arranged with newspapers and magazines not to make it into print. Gold

was also featured at length on BBC TV’s Good Morning programme across

the London ITV area on After 5.



Importantly, there was very limited negative press and the content of

most coverage appeared to lap up the two main propositions put forward

by the campaign: that Gold had made Ann Summers successful through her

own entrepreneurial efforts; and that Ann Summers is a fun, rather than

seedy, business, run by women for women.



Verdict



The British, they say, are embarrassed by sex. But on the evidence of

this campaign, there is no lack of editorial interest in what

paraphernalia we use when we do it - and how some of us make money out

of it.



If Wilson was pushing at an open door, she appears to have done

everything right to maximise coverage - and avoid any possible pitfalls

in what could be a contentious area.



‘The scale of the coverage certainly will have raised awareness of the

Ann Summers party plan and retail operation to potential customers - the

key objective of the campaign,’ says Wilson.



‘The cuttings we achieved are important - they can be used when we want

to present Ann Summers as a suitable retailer at high street locations,’

says Wilson. ‘It was a by-product of the campaign, but the cuttings have

given us another tool to promote Ann Summers to decision makers.’



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