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The early PR factor Mm11

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The early PR factor

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The early PR factor Empty The early PR factor

Post by tigger on 15.03.13 7:49

People lead dull lives, high profile events give them the opportunity to shine even if it is only for fifteen minutes.

During the 80's there was - just around Christmas - the Ethiopian famine.
People were competing with each other in their haste to contribute to the aid for this disaster.
Once a high-profile pop star had wandered over there and dreamt up a scheme that would make money and revive flagging pop careers there was no stopping the British public doing good and being seen to do good.

One couple sold their furniture and house - not to be outdone other 'ordinary' people organised events and donated what they could ill afford.
A sort of mass hysteria tends to develop in high profile cases - especially where there is simply 'a disaster' not 'two sides to the story'.

The same with the tsunami in 2005 - there was so much money collected that it was widely publicised to stop doing so.
All the same, months later, well-meaning people were still collecting money in buckets. (literally).

Now, to return to our sheep as the French say, how does that phenomenon show up in the McCann case? How was it orchestrated?

We have in short order:
John McCann giving up his job to search for Maddie. (his CV doesn't show a gap from May 07 to when he returned to the fold). This gesture will encourage others to do something - anything - as well. (This man gives up his whole career, least I can do is give a tenner etc.)

Two men voluntarily (turned out they were paid) trundling by road to the Algarve with a inflatable bill board. (Good advert for the firm, useless for the search)

Colin Sahle, sells his possessions, rents out his house and can finally live out his fantasies of being a paratrooper. Gets photographed inside a what looks like a sewer or a culvert and one may suppose, generally has a good time living his fantasy life.

Clarence Mitchell, who tells the press that lots of people want to give money (quite a lot might not have thought of that) and they wish to facilitate this to the nth degree: so the only people who've ever managed to get money delivered without it getting 'lost' in the mail are the McCanns. To further simplify this, CM gives them an entry-level address, first names and a placename. Well done there then.
The hysteria to outdo others in giving is well under way.

Both the Uncle Brian Kennedy and the mother tell the press that the Ltd. Company 'Fund' alliviates their grief. That works like pressing a button on the fruit machine. Money rolls in from the good people of Britain.

The 'simple' but hard-working family is used to good effect, Philomena as the spokeswoman can be seen by every 'ordinary' overweight housewife as one of us.'

The Irish connection is rolled out very early, so is (4th May) Jon Corner distributing photographs and videos according to a US directive on missing children.
(book page 86).

Once the government adds their support it's official: it's a British disaster abroad. People not helping are seen as 'bad'.

In short - there was something in it for everyone. But imo a number of these 'stunts' were prepared by a PR expert.
The presentation of the photograph. The girl with the fairy-tale eye. The coloboma was a masterstroke.
The immediate use of the press complete with a number of extremely appealing photographs.
The happy - hard working family story - the fairy-tale little girl they never thought they'd have.
The immediate 'collecting for Madeleine' in Glenfield Hospital.

Maximum use was made of the generosity of the public. 'Us' against 'Them' - a Spirit of the Blitz was generated immediately by TM from the 3rd. The Portuguese were incompetent bunglers. Slow and too late to close the borders (another fairy tale). They were getting no local help, nobody was searching.
Another pointer to PR imo.

In no time at all, they had two PR in charge - CM and Justine McGuinness. But who was the architect of the initial enterprise?

Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch'entrate.

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Post by Guest on 15.03.13 10:29

The early PR factor 41345390Tigger.

There was a Daily Mail article in October 2007 which said that the McCanns would sell Rothley Towers if that's what it would take to get Madeleine back.

I reckon that provoked another deluge of donations from people who couldn't bear to be held responsible should that happen.

Certainly an excellent PR job but, as to dreamed up the whole thing in the first place, maybe one day we'll find that out.

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Post by tigger on 16.03.13 7:48

Found this in: business sense of the McCanns topic:

Fundraisers can learn from our human response to disasters The Vancouver Sun

By Jeremy Douglas, Special to the Sun
February 4, 2011

What if I gave you $100 to donate to either (a) Sandra, a young, homeless girl whose parents abandoned her, or (b) the overall homelessness plight? Who would you give the money to? Most of you will pick Sandra even though donating to "homelessness" would go to people in a similar situation to Sandra. Why? Because we're hard-wired to care more about a victim we can identify with than a large number of people or faceless statistics, no matter how grim. That's why, according to academics, people stand by and do nothing or do not intervene early enough in the face of great tragedies, like the genocide in Rwanda. It's impossible to comprehend 800,000 individuals. They're just "lots and lots of dots."

We don't lose sleep over genocide, but we're deeply affected by one person's story, like the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. This isn't right or wrong, it's simply a fact about how people comprehend individual lives. To reluctantly quote Josef Stalin: "A single death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic." Our brains are programmed to tune out large numbers of people and instead focus on single individuals. This tells us a lot about why we support certain causes and why, for example, 33 Chilean miners received more press coverage than 20 million flood-affected Pakistanis. The fewer the number of people the more "real" a story becomes.

To prove this theory, researchers conducted an experiment in which they gave people the opportunity to donate up to $5 to Save the Children. They could chose which area of the charity's work the money would go toward: (a) an identifiable victim (African girl Rokia); (b) statistical victims (starvation in Africa); or (c) identifiable victim with statistics (Rokia + starvation stats). Donations to an identifiable victim, Rokia, generated more than twice as much money as donations to a statistical portrayal of starvation in African. Even adding statistics to Rokia's story reduced the donation amount. Other research found that adding just one extra person to the appeal reduced the amount of the donation. The more people involved the less we are affected. People don't like numbers when it comes to compassion.

This awareness of human psychology has practical implications for charities and fundraisers. Fundraising is all about understanding people's motivations for supporting a cause -- is Anna donating to our charity because she just wants to run 10k, or does she genuinely care about the cause (or both)? Either way, her decision is rational and thought out. The decision to support one person instead of many, however, is unconscious. It has to do with the way we feel about an issue in an instant rather than stepping back and taking a rational look at it. There is something about the face and story of one individual that grabs us and makes us want to take action.

So, to maximize donations, fundraisers should focus their public appeals on one person's story, accompanied by a powerful image.

In the words of Mother Teresa, "If I look at the mass, I will never act. If I look at the one, I will."

Jeremy Douglas is a professional fundraising consultant.


Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch'entrate.

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Post by tigger on 16.03.13 7:52

Here's another from the same topic:

It's just that the PR and the Marketing together created a Perfect Storm and it seems they ticked all the boxes.

Business advice:
Protect your copyright, register your invention as a trade mark.

Linking: link your products to something already in the customers' mind: e.g.
Using Celtic colours for the quality wristbands. Football club is getting free publicity and get them to reciprocate.
Using or creating photographs of Maddie wearing football t shirt, jogged the memory of the public: the Soham murders.
This also links the product to the football club.

USP: Unique Selling Point: well, the coloboma girl for one. The story itself for another.

Publicity/advertising: keep a high profile in the press and other media. All publicity generates interest. Engage your customers with your product, so that they will recommend it to their friends and family.
Decide on your target market: which demography is most likely to buy your product. (initially tabloid readers) Create a narrative for the advertising, e.g. innocent victim, evil men, wicked policemen and brave parents. As in most fairy tales, evil is defeated, but this is pantomime and the public has to take part to bring about a happy ending. 'Look behind you!'

Create both short range and long range plans with intermediate close-spaced advertising campaigns.

Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch'entrate.

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The early PR factor Empty Cold and calculating.

Post by Philthecynic on 07.05.13 14:18

One of the reasons I am a cynic is that so often the cynicism proved to be justified.
However the more I read about this case the more I feel it is doubly justified here. What do we have?
Cold manipulation of the generous nature of people all over the world.
Turning the memory of a lovely child into a trademarked and saleable product. Having done this, to ensure that they keep the fame they have accrued by further manipulation of the public when interest wanes.
Ensuring that anyone who questions dogma will be vilified and verbally stoned by these same kind members of the public who feel that parents cannot possibly use their child like this.
Ensuring that, because there is unlikely to be a sudden return of Maddy, the manipulation can continue indefinitely. Even in that unlikely event they will say that their 6 years of 'Keeping Maddy's memory alive has paid off and remain urban heroes.
Even if (God forbid) a body should turn up, everyone is so obsessed with the abduction that it would be hard to start making a case for parental involvement. The McCanns are, after all, Saints.

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