Is Any Publicity Good Publicity?

It’s a question many a PR person poses when creating and debating stunts in their respective ‘ideas factories’. Every brand and every client has a different theory which leads me to think there probably isn’t a one size fits all answer. 

However, last week a bookmaker famous for its disruptive stunts and a footballer infamous for his disruptive influence on the concentration of many an admirer sought to put the question back on the agenda.

After the news was leaked on Thursday night (perhaps to guarantee the full contingent of sports writers attended the morning press conference) that David Ginola was throwing his hat into the ring for the FIFA presidency many people were excited, expectant and intrigued. The bookmaker lending Ginola its support is well known for poking fun at the FIFA bureaucracy and is not afraid of targeting Sepp Blatter as a figure of fun. Could it be serious?

Well, by Friday morning and after a few well-placed questions everyone had their answer. The great and the good of UK sports headed to twitter to vent their frustration. They’d been duped. David Ginola was nothing more than a shiny, uninformed front for a bit of publicity.

Shock Horror…

Journalists felt lied to, their time had been wasted and most of all they took umbridge that people were being asked to donate money to the cause. David Ginola didn’t have the required support from five member nations, he didn’t know the names of the executive committee and he didn’t have any policies of depth.

Yet, the coverage still flowed and the bookmaker was making headlines. Yes, it was mainly negative, but on the flip side many fans understood the bookmakers intentions and wanted to be involved because they too enjoy being disruptive. Negative press coverage, but with positive engagement…perhaps that’s what the question is getting at.

‘Imagine if he actually did get elected!’  Real or not, that point remains. It would be a great stunt if he did get the support, it would mean the press were wrong and it would give the fans what they want; a brilliant look on Blatter’s face.

Has the question posed in the headline been answered…absolutely not, but really we should all wait until 29th January before judgement is passed anyway.

N.B. You’ll notice that this article doesn’t mention the name of the bookmaker, a choice many outlets have made in the hope they are not seen to be complicit in what they know to be a stunt…they still wrote about it though, Paddy Power mention or not.

Further Reading