Even with the proliferation of TV channels that came with the introduction of satellite and cable TV, paid for television advertising is not particularly cheap
But there are other, more cost-effective ways to publicise your business, even on the supposedly non-commercial BBC channels. The two most popular wheezes are
- Commission a low-cost public opinion survey and issue a press release based on its results. Fax the press release to everyone and pray that it’s a slow news day
- Make an expert pundit available for incisive comment on current events, on the proviso that your company name gets mentioned and slapped up on screen whilst he’s talking
In my last firm we favoured Option 2 highly. We employed an economist with an impressive CV and we used to whore him around the likes of BBC News 24 and Bloomberg shamelessly. That’s not strictly true, very often they’d phone us. Twenty-four hours of television that needs filling. Day after day after day after day. I’m surprised more television researchers don’t turn postal and go into work with an assault rifle more often.
‘Can you make it? Great. I’ll send a car. Thank you. Dear God. Thank you’
The War on Terror in particular has led to a Golden Era for security and risk consultants from tuppeny hapenny firms getting onto to tele and advertising their flimsy wares by burbling government-compliant crap at 6.00 am in the morning.
The dismal quality of some of the ‘experts’ given airtime by the news channels only goes to demonstrate the ordinary public’s relative priorities when it comes to news stories. If a news channel were covering a football or a cricket story it wouldn’t dream of wheeling on some random nonentity and referring to them as an expert. Viewers wouldn't stand for it. However, virtually any other topic is fair game.
All this serves merely as a preamble for a link to the marvellous Guy Kewney interview on BBC News 24 the other day…
… where the BBC accidentally interviews the expert’s taxi driver rather than the expert.
I reckon they could have got away with it.