I was sitting down to my Sunday breakfast and papers not too long ago when low and behold I was faced with Felix Dennis on the cover of the Observer Magazine, stark naked, with nothing but a pair of boots and a fedora hat covering his modesty.
I thought to myself that surely, somewhere in London there was a PR with their head in their hands wondering how they were going to turn this one around.
However, as I thought about it more, I realised that Felix Dennis certainly isn’t the only spokesperson to have caused a stir. Remember the time when Sir Richard Branson dressed as a flight attendant and served drinks to passengers on a long haul Air Asia flight with the world’s press looking on? Or let’s not forget the time that he jumped off the Palms Hotel Casino in Las Vegas to make an inaugural Virgin American flight resulting in split trousers and a bruised back.
Many would that say that these PR stunt tactics are only suitable for consumer facing brands and that there is no way that this could ever work in the enterprise world. But what about the Marc Benioffs of the world who commandeered taxis to rival’s event or moved his scheduled Oracle OpenWorld keynote to a nearby venue when Oracle tried to move it to later in the week? Both of which drew in the attentions of journalists and event attendees.
Whilst we certainly don’t encourage our clients to dress in drag or abseil into their next press conference, we do believe that they shouldn’t be afraid to show their personality. Spokespeople walk a fine line between representing a brand and representing themselves. But because we work in a people industry, making introductions and building relationships, it is crucial to make an impression that the media will remember. After all journalists are humans too.