Celebrity-based ads most likely to hit the headlines

Marketers are tackling shrinking budgets by resorting to tried and

tested celebrity-endorsement as a way of garnering PR support for ad

campaigns, according to research out this week.

Celebrity-based ads are increasingly likely to generate PR spin-offs,

according to the latest annual 'Ads That Make News Survey'.

The report shows a 38 per cent jump in the number of stories in the

national press generated by ads. Most coverage was generated by ads that

were sexy, involved celebrity endorsement or were controversial.

The most coverage (29 stories) was generated by the Marks & Spencer

campaign that featured celebrities including Zoe Ball. Celebrity

endorsement was also a feature of three of the other ads in the top

five - Coca-Cola, J Sainsbury, and Pepsi.

The highest non-celebrity-based advertiser in the table was Tesco, which

generated coverage for its price claims.

Contention also helped secure national coverage for smaller brands

during 2001. A firm of solicitors called Brookmans, for example,

achieved widespread PR when its aggressive 'Ditch the Bitch' campaign

for divorce service was predictably panned.

Nick Fitzherbert, a director of Propeller Group PR firm, the firm that

compiled the report with Media Report Editorial, said: 'Advertisers are

falling back on trusted formulae at a time when things are


- The annual PressWatch analysis of company coverage saw Tesco emerge

top with 3,893 positive stories. Railtrack was the least favourably

reported company, featured in 8,895 negative stories.

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