Fill up on Dallas’ PR stunt

27 Feb

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I wonder how many PR agencies have come up with the idea to launch a petrol station – offering cheap fuel – to promote a prime time TV programme? Answer – one.

To celebrate the launch of Dallas returning to the small screen this week, US TV network TNT launched Ewing Energies – in honour of ‘oil man’ character JR Ewing – for Manhattan consumers to fill up their cars for just $1.98 per gallon.

Up to $2 per gallon cheaper than anywhere else in the area, it’s no surprise that motorists were queuing two blocks away to take advantage of the one day deal.

TNT launched the stunt with a video, where JR tells fans that the offer makes good business sense. And, as one of the most powerful people in America, he can make it happen.

What I like about it, is that the video is ‘on message’ with the soap, adding drama and intrigue around the new series, but interesting and fun at the same time. It’s also effective because it has a short shelf-life. It propels a call to action, with consumers knowing that if they miss this, they miss out. 20140227-075340.jpg The video, hosted on the Dallas’ Facebook page which has over 1.4m fans, generated over 1,000 likes. And images of the man behind JR, Josh Henderson, pushed that figure to more than 13,000.

It’s an active Facebook page that acts in the form of JR’s diary, encouraging people to comment on what they’ve just viewed and forthcoming teasers. It’s also completely different to the way it runs Twitter, so it was right to make the most of the stunt on that social media channel.

All in all, I think it’s a fantastic idea, engaging with new and existing soap fans by bringing TV to life. Although it’s not yet known how many viewers the PR activity brought in, TNT has many more tricks up its sleeve. Next month, JR is also set to launch a range of Bourbon.

What do you think? Does this campaign make you want to reach for the remote?

It’s a formula that we could see open up in the UK. Just think:

The Queen Vic opening up in Shoreditch
BBC bosses have recently been complaining that E20 no longer represents trendy East London. So, why not connect with new viewers by launching a cheap bar? Content could be used in its online mini-series, that runs alongside the show, giving customers the chance to be on TV.

Doctors to offer free check ups
Members of the show could chat to people who are in line for a free health check up – blood pressure or cholesterol etc – to make them feel at ease. Linking in with a medical brand or pharmacy, discounts could be offered on certain products.

Meet Mr Selfridge
To coincide with Selfridge’s next milestone anniversary, the cast from the hit ITV show could attend an exclusive party at the flagship store, of which part of it would be re-designed in the style from the 1900s.

ITV could then launch a competition giving viewers the chance to win tickets to the champagne reception, maximising coverage opportunities and generating talkability.

BBC and ITV – talk to me.

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