CAMPAIGNS: FHM gets the circulation going - Consumer PR

Since FHM was launched, it has developed its position as Britain’s premier lads’ mag and now regularly outsells its nearest competitor by more than 200,000 copies.

Since FHM was launched, it has developed its position as Britain’s

premier lads’ mag and now regularly outsells its nearest competitor by

more than 200,000 copies.

FHM’s challenge is to maintain and build on the position it holds as the

leading men’s magazine.

Last year, advertising agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty created the FHM

Warning brand campaign for the magazine.

With the annual 100 Sexiest Women issue due out, the creative team came

up with a PR campaign to publicise the issue. The 100 Sexiest Women has

traditionally been far and away the best-selling issue of the year, with

a circulation in excess of 900,000. The list is compiled by means of a

readers’ poll.


To increase awareness and anticipation of the 100 Sexiest Women


To run a campaign which reflected the magazine’s brand values - sexy,

witty and clever.

Strategy and Plan

A spoof election campaign was devised as a good method of getting

consumers to think about the FHM poll and anticipate an outcome.

A playful advertising poster campaign exploited the elections which were

taking place in Wales and Scotland and the upcoming election for the

Mayor of London by prompting readers to vote for such luminaries as

’Jenny McCarthy - Definitely Not Conservative’ and ’Jo Guest - Very

Liberal’. Other posters advised readers to vote ’pro-sleaze’ by

selecting Pamela Anderson as their ’candidate’.

A poster featuring television presenter and FHM cover-girl Gail Porter

was projected on to the side of the House of Commons as a one-off,

publicity-winning PR stunt. As well as promoting the 100 Sexiest Women

issue, it had the advantage of promoting the June issue, which featured

none other than Ms Porter herself.

Cunning Stunts, a specialist marketing company, provided the laser

projection expertise. Together with the BBH account team, they went to

Westminster Bridge and set up the stunt, waiting for the lights to dim

at 11.30pm.

A Press Association photographer was present at the event and, despite

the rainy weather, was able to photograph the projection. The story was

picked up by the press the next day, a Monday.

Measurement and Evaluation

The stunt won plenty of media coverage for the 100 Sexiest Women poll,

including a double-page feature in the Daily Sport, page three in the

Express, the Sun and the Daily Mail. The Mirror ran a cartoon of the

Queen’s image being projected on to Buckingham Palace with the caption,

’She wants to give the tourists more for their money!’ after the Palace

was declared poor value for money in a survey of tourist


It was also parodied on the Frank Skinner Show and featured on This

Morning and the Big Breakfast. Chris Evans mentioned the stunt on Virgin

Radio, as did Radio One. All coverage mentioned FHM and the relevant



For a one-off stunt which almost didn’t take place because of bad

weather, the FHM projection quickly entered the popular


On a more practical level, the June issue of FHM, featuring Gail Porter

on the cover, sold out two weeks before the end of the month.

Client: FHM

PR Team: Bartle Bogle Hegarty

Campaign: 100 Sexiest Women

Timescale: May 1999

Budget: Part of pounds 2 million spend on brand

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