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Thursday, 25 October 2012

People Power


As I’m sure most of you are aware, in the past few weeks a momentous feat was achieved.  For those of you citing X Factor revelations or the latest blow ups in TOWIE, I think you might be on the wrong tracks.  On the 14th October 2012 Felix Baumgartner made the death defying leap from space to set the altitude record for a manned balloon flight, parachute jump from the highest altitude, greatest free fall velocity and he became the first person to break the sound barrier without vehicular power.  Felix is truly an astonishing man – but his sponsors Red Bull Stratos have also achieved a pretty amazing (possibly accidental..?) feat.

Red Bull Stratos’ Facebook page was buzzing as Felix dropped through space and following his landing his proud sponsors posted a message to let the world know he had landed safely.  The message they posted, complete with a spelling mistake of pretty enormous magnitude, soon became viral. 

For those of a sensitive disposition please forgive me for what I’m about to post!


Many people, particularly those in the PR profession, have been skeptical about the “mistake” Red Bull Stratos made.  This type of mistake be considered to be potentially detrimental to Red Bulls public image but despite the offensive language it seems to have only benefitted their popularity.  At the time the status was posted the Red Bull Stratos Facebook page had 4136 likes and as of today, two weeks after the jump, almost 33 million people have liked their page.  This is a huge leap and a massive boost for Red Bull Stratos.  Accident or not, it certainly got people talking. 

Tench and Yeomans state that as most people gain information from broadcast media which is normally the most effective route to generating opinions and if it’s really successful a ‘buzz’ can be created by media coverage leading to word of mouth endorsement.  Word of mouth could actually be considered one of the most important PR techniques, a method which I’m sure Red Bull Stratos are thankful for.

50 Shades of Grey, published in June 2011, has really taken the world by storm.  Millions of people around the world have delved into the X-rated world of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey.  Usually we are very judgmental of those around us but seemingly due to the popularity of the book it seems everyone has read it.  Try not to gag but I would put a pretty good bet on your mum, aunty, that snobby tutor you have at Uni and maybe even your guy mates have had a pretty good flick.  It seems that the world is divided about the storm 50 Shades of Grey has created.  In many ways it has helped shatter the taboos that we as a culture still cling on to, seeing that old lady reading it at the back of the bus rarely requires a second glance – it has become the norm.  As much as many people may disagree I for one quite like the fact that a book, as naughty as it may be, has helped to open up our closed minds and become less stilted in our opinions.

Amazon UK stated on the 1 August 2012 that 50 Shades of Grey has over taken the combined series’ of Harry Potter to become their best seller.  Who could have predicted that a book that had not even been out for a year has over taken a series of books which span over a decade? E L James is now Amazon UK’s best-selling author a mean feat for a previously unheard of author.  I think it is safe to say that when it comes to 50 Shades of Grey, what many consider to be socially acceptable soft porn, the readers really did the talking.  The PR Team of the publishers Vintage Books might as well have stayed at home with their feet up as the millions of people who devoured the book, my best friend included who read the trilogy in a matter of days, were the best advertising any product could have wished for.  Whether the reviews were good or bad – people still wanted to get their hands on a copy. 

Word of mouth is a seriously powerful tool – handle with care.



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