The case for and against publicity on TV

When we start working with new clients, we ask them where they would like to see media coverage about their brand.  As far as prime time current affairs programs are concerned, such as Channel Nine’s A Current Affair or Channel Seven’s Today Tonight, our clients fall into two main camps – those who would love to appear on those shows and those who ask as to stay clear of them at all costs.

Clients who fall into the latter category do so because they hold the belief that the aforementioned programs are determined to create a negative spin in every story and appearing on those shows will result in disaster for their business. Television

Having worked in the PR industry for ten years and before this time as a researcher on A Current Affair, I would advise the more cynical and suspicious business owners out there to have an open mind.  I would suggest they way up the risks before ruling these two shows out of their publicity strategy.

All the stories that we have pitched to ACA and Today Tonight and that have been picked up by them have resulted in a fabulous plug for our clients and an immediate and dramatic increase in sales and credibility.  This is despite the fact that due to the formula of these programs they often include a ‘sceptic’ or ‘critic’ as part of the story.

For instance, a couple of years ago, ACA ran a seven minute story about a client of ours who sells a handheld therapeutic device that relieves pain. The entire story was extremely positive and three case studies were interviewed, whose lives had been improved drastically thanks to the pain relief offered by our client’s product. A sceptic was also interviewed, who said that the product was rubbish, didn’t work and was basically a waste of money.

Despite the sceptic’s opinion, many of the people who suffered from pain and happened to be watching the show at the time thought it was worth giving this product a try. Needless to say, the company’s sales experienced a steep spike along with their credibility.

Some tips when considering a pitch to a current affairs program are:

  • Don’t be surprised if they also interview your competition
  • Be prepared for a sceptic to be filmed who will be negative about your product/service
  • Be as helpful as you can with the production team, as the more time and flexibility you can give them the more chance you will have great airtime
  • Know your key messages and don’t beat around the bush when answering interview  questions
  • Make sure you have enough stock in place, so that if you are flooded with orders,  they are able to be fulfilled
  • Ask the producer about the angle they are using for the story

Have you appeared on a current affairs program and noticed a dramatic impact from the publicity?  I’d love to hear about it.

  • Do you mean weigh the risks instead of way up the risks?