Diary: Hit or Miss... Free shoes

Word comes to us of an internal communications campaign from T-Mobile that backfired somewhat.PRWeek's correspondent in France was recently alerted to a lucrative scheme supposedly catching on among African PR agencies and, as yet, overlooked in the UK.Nike managed to hijack coverage around last Sunday's London Marathon, achieving widespread mentions of its 'Free' running shoe range.

The trainers, which 'mimic the natural mechanics of your foot', were worn by marathon winner Paula Radcliffe and received a 'big thumbs up' from The Observer, while The Times described the shoe as 'a key component of Paula's training regime'. The story also piggybacked news that 53-year-old Steve Hammond was attempting to become the first man to run the marathon barefoot.

A man claiming to work in PR emailed PRWeek, seeking Western investment in the money-making venture.

Unusually, the African PR agency he works for has uncovered a profitable scheme supplying cow medicines to farmers.

Is this a market UK PR agencies have foolishly overlooked? Could a UK agency have something to offer Jersey's cows? Are we likely to see a boom in bovine healthcare agencies?

If you're interested in investing in this industrious PRO's scheme, PRWeek has his contact details.

To create a buzz among call-centre staff selling its new tariff and get them 'fully immersed' in the brand, the mobile operator enlisted guerrilla marketing shop Cunning to install fake speed cameras at its car parks - based on one that appears in a current TV ad promoting the tariff.

But the staff were not informed these cameras were indeed fake, prompting some to tip off local paper the South Wales Echo, that they had been duped into a money-making scheme.

T-Mobile-branded parking tickets duly appeared on the desks of call-centre staff days later, but many had already fallen for the practical joke.

The South Wales Echo ran a story entitled 'Mobile Phoney', detailing innocent drivers' shock caused by spoof cameras. T-Mobile UK marketing director Phil Chapman tells us: 'The employee reaction proved how effective this campaign was.'

Quite an understatement.

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