CAMPAIGNS: Promotional Activity - PowerGen shows off its hot dates

Client: PowerGen

Client: PowerGen

PR Team: Panic

Campaign: Launch of 1998 PowerGen Calendar

Timescale: May - December 1997

Cost: approximately pounds 10,000

This year is the ninth that PowerGen, the electricity generating

company, has published its corporate calendar and the second year that

proceeds have been donated to the British Red Cross.

In previous years the calendar had been overshadowed by other corporate

calendars such as the famous Pirelli version, so this year PowerGen

decided to spice up the content in order to generate greater media

exposure. Panic was brought in to capitalise on the imaginative work of

the calendar’s photographer Bob Carlos Clarke’s while also exploiting

the newsworthiness of the celebrities it featured.


To reposition the PowerGen calendar as the desirable corporate calendar,

while also selling 2,000 copies to the public in aid of British Red



The first task was choosing and persuading celebrities to pose for the

calendar. Ghislain Pascal, managing director of Panic, was in command of

the process and decided that they would have to be personalities who

were newsworthy enough to generate coverage.

He pulled together a list of celebrities whose faces are seldom out of

the press, chosen from a variety of fields. ’It’ girl Tamara Beckwith,

DJ Zoe Ball, supermodels Caprice and Jodie Kidd and athlete Linford

Christie were among those who agreed to pose. As the theme of the

calendar was Images of Desire, it was a chance for many to be seen as

they’d never been seen before.

Once the calendar was ready, it was up to Panic to get the story into

the press. They concentrated on print media, and photographer Bob Carlos

Clarke was available to be interviewed about working with the

celebrities and shooting the pictures.

A launch party was organised in London restaurant The Connection. In

attendance were many of the celebrities who were featured. There was

also a photocall starring Hugh Laurie, model Kaya and a Triumph

Thunderbird motorcycle, recreating one of the calendar shots.


The wisdom of using newsworthy celebrities from a variety of fields was

reflected in the wide coverage the calendar, launch party and photocall

received. The magazines of both the Saturday Mirror and the Express on

Sunday ran colour features and there was a long story about the calendar

in OK! magazine. The Jodie Kidd picture was run on the front page of the

Independent. Several other nationals and dozens of regional newspapers

also ran stories, with numerous pictures from the calendar being


The ’see them as you’ve never seen them before’ angle of the calendar

was widely reported, with papers particularly lapping up the concept of

’quintessential English gentleman’ Hugh Laurie posing as a biker in



The media relations campaign has certainly paid off for PowerGen with

the calendar receiving a flood of coverage in the print media -

effectively stealing the limelight from Pirelli.

Graham Smith, managing director of production company No Excuses, which

produces the calendar for PowerGen, said: ’We realised we had a

fantastic product, but the extra dimension was lacking before. This

campaign got the calendar the exposure it deserved.’ Panic has now begun

work on the 1999 calendar.

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