This PR stunt is a little abstract

29 Jan

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Do you ever wonder how often the art world crosses over into PR? Let me explain:

An artist from Milton Keynes, Tomas Georgeson, has hidden the majority of his life savings in his local gallery. Why? It’s an artistic statement to boost numbers and interest.

Through an advert placed in his local paper, local residents are being encouraged to visit their local hotspot to see if they can find it. Whoever does will be able to bank it. No terms and conditions just a potential ‘life- changing’ sum.

There’s no doubt about it – this is a great story. But is it genuine or do I smell a PR rat? One thing’s for sure, if Georgeson ever wanted to jump careers, PR could be for him. But, he’d have to learn a few lessons first to ensure his campaigns don’t fall flat in the long-run:

Think long-term
For someone who’s evidently passionate about bringing artistic culture back to Milton Keynes and reinstating the integrity of the gallery, who is Georgeson doing this for?

I’m not sure how many people are going to return after the ‘New Year egg hunt’ is over. Yes, the visitor numbers are likely to increase over the coming weeks, but what next? Arguably, advertising could have done the same.

Although Georgeson’s gone one better and created a buzz through a ‘PR stunt’, how is he going to fund the ongoing campaign and keep giving people reasons to come back?

You don’t get many surprises at my age
It would have been risky, but Georgeson could have kept his cool and played the game a little longer – and not gone to the press before the stunt had even launched. Call me cynical, but does a rare Robin Hood in the 21st century really make such a public announcement about their endeavours?

An element of mystery would have given the ‘campaign’ a better grounding and positioned Georgeson as more of a hero if he’d waited. Think Banksy.

I’ll give him this though – the timing is spot on. Every day, we’re being told how households are still feeling the pinch and money is a language everybody speaks.

Be realistic
Georgeson says: “It almost doesn’t really matter what happens, it’s the fact that it’s there.”

Serious? We live in a ‘give to get’ society. PRs especially. If you’re not hungry for the PR value or questioning the return of investment, you’re not going to excel. Georgeson should have thought more about his messaging – didn’t he want to bring the gallery to the centre of the community?

Keep your clients informed
According to the gallery’s press office, who have not been told of the cheque’s location, the team have carefully searched for it but cannot find any trace.

A careful ploy to encourage more visitors who believe they still have everything to play for I wonder?

This part of the story just makes us wonder how hard they were looking.

This will be a campaign to watch – especially when it comes to how much the artist and gallery benefit.

What are your thoughts?

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