CAMPAIGNS: CONSUMER PR; Cherie’s Prima donna persona

Client: Prima Magazine Campaign: Promotion of Prima’s tenth anniversary - October issue PR Team: The Braben Company Timescale: July 1996 - September 1996 Budget: pounds 20,000

Client: Prima Magazine

Campaign: Promotion of Prima’s tenth anniversary - October issue

PR Team: The Braben Company

Timescale: July 1996 - September 1996

Budget: pounds 20,000



Earlier this year Prima invited Cherie Booth, also known as Mrs Tony

Blair, to guest edit its tenth anniversary October issue. For ten years

Prima, published by Gruner and Jahr, has held the number one position in

the women’s magazine market but has so far been unable to achieve high-

profile media coverage. The Braben Company was hired to create a

consumer PR campaign.



Objectives



G+J used Prima’s tenth anniversary issue to communicate the magazine’s

position in the market place, reinforce the title’s relationship with

its readers and boost sales.



Tactics



The anniversary issue was promoted in a two-step campaign. An initial

press campaign focused on a Prima survey ‘State of the Female Nation’,

in which 2,000 Prima readers were interviewed on their attitudes to life

in Britain in the 1990s. The media interest created by the results was

then used as the launch platform for the anniversary issue.



Six months prior to her editorial debut, Booth visited Prima

headquarters on a fortnightly basis, choosing knitting patterns for

mother/ daughter sweaters, commissioning articles entitled ‘Who’s

looking after your kids?’ and ‘Dinner’s in half an hour’, persuading

Paul Costello to design her ‘ideal dress for Prima readers’ and finally

writing her own column called ‘Your Rights’ in which she answered legal

questions. Booth also met eight Prima readers over tea at the Ritz to

answer questions about her personal life.



On 12 September, the night before the issue hit the newsstands, Prima

organised an anniversary party in a marquee in Battersea Park where

staff and advertisers got to speak to Booth and her surprise guest: Tony

Blair.



Results



The campaign was a promotional success generating a considerable amount

of publicity for both Prima and Booth.



About 200 pieces ran in national and regional papers and tabloids. BBC

Radios 2, 4, and 5, IRN and all major regional radio stations covered

the story. However, since Cherie Booth refused to do any appearances,

the TV coverage, which included BBC2’s Working Lunch and Late Review

dealt mainly with the editorial contents of the issue.



‘We were very happy with the amount and quality of coverage the campaign

received,’ says G+J marketing manager, circulation Lucy Dunphey. ‘We

received a lot of reader letters about how well Cherie came across as a

very down to earth person.’



Verdict



Unfortunately for Booth, much of the print coverage was negative, with

reporters having a field day with her new softer ‘homemaker’ image and

the upcoming elections.



‘She’s produced something I’d vote for - I mean buy -each month,’ wrote

Marcell d’Argy-Smith in the Observer; ‘Patronising attempt to capture

the housewife vote’ said the Daily Telegraph; ‘A Prima donna who ought

to know better’ wrote the Independent.



However, whether this was a gimmick to boost Prima sales and increase

votes for the Labour Party is not the issue. The fact that the issue

sold like hot cakes and the Prima name was seen in almost every tabloid

in Britain makes this a very successful campaign.



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