Client: E B Video Entertainment
PR Team: The Freedman PR Consultancy and in-house
Campaign: Sharp Shooting to Shearer’s Successes
Time scale: June - Christmas 1996
Cost: Approx. pounds 50,000
Alan Shearer became a national hero when he spearheaded England’s Euro
96 campaign and became the tournament’s leading scorer. E B Video
Entertainment planned to launch the official Shearer video, Shearer on
Shearer, on 31 July - on the eve of the new football season.
Shearer has always been media-shy and after having restricted access to
him during Euro 96, the media were likely to jump at the chance to
interview him when he launched his life story video.
To launch and promote the video to make it the best selling sports video
of the year.
The highlight of the campaign was to be the launch of the video by
Shearer at his club Blackburn Rovers on 31 July. Freedman managing
director Danielle Freedman spent four weeks trying to create a ‘media
sensation’ around this event, playing on the fact that the media had not
had access to Shearer since Euro 96.
Then on 30 July came the shock news that Shearer had been transferred to
Newcastle United for pounds 15 million, making him the world’s most
expensive footballer. ‘What had taken me four weeks to organise suddenly
had to be cancelled,’ says Freedman.
The danger was that interest in Shearer’s transfer would eclipse
interest in the video. But the video and packaging was a ready-made
source of information and pictures. The godsend for Freedman was that
the video contained a shot of Shearer as a boy in a Newcastle United
shirt, which was widely used by the media.
After the transfer hullabaloo had died down Freedman concentrated on
securing editorial coverage via competitions. Prizes of videos, signed
balls and shirts were supplied to the media along with an information
Shearer’s contract with E B Video Entertainment specified one personal
appearance, and at the time of writing Freedman was working on a launch
with Shearer at the Newcastle Untied souvenir shop. Freedman promises a
stunt on the day and still believes the media will come because of the
promised access to Shearer.
The emphasis in the run up to Christmas is switching to advertising and
Freedman has been promoting the video to buyers at major retailers.
She has been disappointed at in-store support and admits there is more
to be done to capitalise on the retail marketplace.
Competition coverage included the Daily Mirror, Express, Daily Star,
Daily Mail and People; around 70 regional papers; TCC, Disney BVP and
Teletext on TV; and four regional radio stations in the North.
Editorials have appeared in most of the football magazines and editorial
and/or competitions in TV titles including TV Times and TV & Satellite
Week. Smash Hits and Chat also ran editorial /competitions.
Great interest was generated in Shearer because he had become the
world’s most expensive footballer, but the message about the video may
have been diluted in all the excitement about the transfer.
There may have been over-reliance on competitions to generate editorial
and more feature coverage could have been achieved focusing on Shearer
and his life story. Competitions are effective in generating interest in
a video but this phase of the campaign was introduced before the media
had a chance to focus on the human interest angle.
Shearer’s elusiveness has been a blessing and a handicap. The fact that
he rarely gives interviews means the media fall over themselves when
they do get access to him. However, the campaign would undoubtedly have
had more impact if Shearer had lent greater support in the form of in-
depth interviews and appearances at video stores.