Wow Tech Group has garnered a pile of PR this month for its billboard advertisement.  Situated alongside one of the busiest roads in Toronto, the billboard shows a picture of the company’s “Womanizer” sex toy alongside the slogan: “Scream you own name”. 

The Daily Mail was one of the high-profile publications to pick up on this “controversy”, but is it worthy of national newspaper exposure?  Do we still live in a world where adverts confirming the existence of women’s sex toys are controversial?  The strap line (no pun intended) is clever, but hardly ground breaking.  What else would we expect from a company that sells sex toys?

But saucy has always driven newspaper coverage

A decade ago some women in the village where I live posed for a fund-raising calendar in 1940s style clothing.  There was nothing lewd about the images. Nobody was in any sort of state of undress, yet this story ended up on the front page of the Daily Telegraph. 

The organisers rang the local paper hoping to get some publicity.  The story was reported here.  This generated the interest of a local news agency, which led to pick up in several national newspapers.  The Guardian was so proud of its decision not to run the story, that is wrote a story congratulating itself!  You can see it here

Contrary to what The Guardian thought, this was not a PR stunt.  It was a perfect storm.  Nobody involved in the calendar knew how the media worked, or that on a slow news day, towards the end of August, this kind of story could make the front page of a national.   The women enjoyed their 15 minutes of fame and went back to doing what they always did.

Exploiting the opportunity

The Toronto sex toy billboard and the calendar girls of Bramley have something in common.  They are both fun stories.  It is easy to forget how much of an appetite the media has for fun.  Businesses see themselves as very serious, perhaps even righteous, which might explain why many struggle to cut through and generate publicity.  After all, where is the fun in being serious?

Too many corporates underestimate the value of fun, but fun gets brand exposure and exposure brings success.  If you want to know more about how you could add a little fun to your communications, give us a call on 0333 444 0468 or email me at chris@xl-comms.com

Chris Bignell

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