Monday, September 04, 2006

Media Relations Review

First impressions can change

I’m a proponent of creativity, and I admire those PR people who come up with innovative packaging ideas to get the attention of editors and journalists. But I have to admit that my first impression had to turn 180 degrees from being intrigued, to disappointed and even dismayed, to admiration over a package I just received from the iPR Group on behalf of Sony Ericsson Canada.

The intrigue started when Canada Post delivered a large, silver insulated bag with no return address. Inside was an oblong cardboard box with an abstract blue-and-white design and a title, Extremely Cool Stuff Inside.

The dismay started when I opened the box: it was filled with little bits of crinkly white, translucent plastic that represent snow or maybe ice shavings. Cushioned with them was a handsome colour brochure entitled Too Cool and bearing the Sony Ericsson logo. Inside that are pre-Christmas promotions for Sony-Ericsson’s current line of wireless phones, camera phones, a Walkman phone and accessories.

There’s also a CD-ROM on the 2006 product features.

This is where the disappointment hit: nothing else was buried in the phony snow. No samples, no trial phone or Bluetooth headset for journalists. Just a brochure and a bunch of little bits of plastic.

At that point, I decided against the whole package. Bad idea, I thought. I imagined the little bits of plastic would behave like Styrofoam bits, clinging with static electricity to everything, getting into disc drives and turning up everywhere for weeks on end. Bits were even stuck to the CD-ROM, and I really didn’t want to insert it into my computer’s drive.

I imagined writing a very negative review, scolding the iPR Group for not thinking things through. How could you send journalists something that will bugger up their laptop computers? I thought of writing.

But gradually, my thinking turned. Actually, it turns out that the plastic bits aren’t that prone to static. And the tiny bits stuck to the surface of the CD-ROM weren’t that hard to pull off, and the disc played just fine in my laptop.

So, all in all, my final impression is: good job, iPR Group. You really got my reaction. You got me to look at the material and even publish it.

It truly is an effective piece of communication. Sometimes, effective just takes a little while to come around.

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