Campaign: WAG tans prove unlikely World Cup winner

Fake Bake is an organic-based tanning product range that prides itself on its celebrity users, who include Charlotte Church and the members of pop band Girls Aloud.

Campaign Glow England Glow (Tanning the WAGs in Baden Baden)
Client Fake Bake
PR team Coalition Total Media
Timescale June-July 2006
Budget Undisclosed

It was not an official sponsor of the World Cup in Germany, but predicted that WAGs - the acronym for the wives and girlfriends of England players - would attract just as much coverage during the tournament as their partners.

To maximise awareness of Fake Bake throughout the World Cup and link the brand to WAGs. To achieve an increase in sales.

Strategy and Plan
Fake Bake and Coalition Total Media sent a tanning team to Germany to top up the WAGs' pseudo tans - making Fake Bake the only beauty brand associated with the World Cup.

The idea was born after Alex Curran, fiancée of England midfielder Steven Gerrard, asked the company to provide tanning treatments in her hotel room. A month before the World Cup started, Coalition negotiated with the Brenner's Park Hotel - where the footballers' partners were staying - for Fake Bake therapists to provide complimentary treatment for everyone.

After its first visit to Baden Baden proved a success, the therapists were invited back by Toni Poole (defender John Terry's partner), Nancy Dell'Olio (then girlfriend of England coach Sven-Göran Eriksson) and Rebecca Robinson (goalkeeper Paul Robinson's wife). Coalition sent a press release entitled ‘Glow England Glow' to all national and trade media, while emails were sent to entertainment, features and beauty journalists.

Publications such as Grazia, the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror were the first to run the story, so the PR team
offered them extra exclusives to secure follow-up coverage, including details on who they tanned and quotes from the WAGs.

Finally, Coalition organised a covermount with Closer magazine, offering readers a 50 per cent discount for the Fake Bake Airbrush Tan. This was one of the products included in goodie-bags hand-delivered to the WAGs - a fact mentioned in the press release.

Measurement and Evaluation
Media coverage of the aerosol and cream vendor increased by 193 per cent on normal levels during the World Cup. Seventy-eight articles were printed in June, of which 23 mentioned the Glow England Glow campaign.

Highlights included a front-page story in The Guardian, with features in The Sunday Times, The Times Magazine, The Mail on Sunday, Daily Star, Now, OK! and Reveal.

All mentioned the fact that the Fake Bake Tanning Team was applying its wares to the women in Baden Baden.

The campaign sparked an increase in online sales, while the Closer covermount prompted a 300 per cent sales increase of the Airbrush Tan in July.

Mail on Sunday news reporter Dennis Rice says: ‘I approached the PR team to request an interview with Fake Bake. I was intrigued with the glamour side of a brand and its association with the WAGs - it was an original idea.'

SECOND OPINION, Shani Shaker, account director at 360 Communications:

Because 360 Communications handled the PR campaign for Duracell's sponsorship of the World Cup in Germany, we were aware of the number of other brands with football-related stories that would be vying for media attention.

Despite wanting to out-do as many other product campaigns as we could, the coverage generated by Fake Bake really stood out this summer and deserves to have dramatically increased the company's sales.

Above all, this was a smart, well-thought-out campaign that beautifully captured the attention of the media, without seeming to try too hard.

It is worth remembering that it is not easy to align a beauty brand with such a male-dominated sporting event as the World Cup. With this in mind, securing nearly 80 articles without being an official tournament sponsor was a great achievement.

The strategy of focusing on the so-called WAGs (the wives and girlfriends of players) meant the brand was able to leverage the publicity it needed. It also positioned the brand as being glamorous and aspirational.

Above all though, Fake Bake and the PR team behind this campaign provided a story that was not only specifically tailored to women's media, but which was equally appropriate for  the general news pages, too.

Shani Shaker worked with World Cup sponsor Duracell for this summer's tournament

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