Simon Cowell, Haiti and the Power of PR

This morning I accompanied a client of mine, Ali Baylav, MD of Cavendish Lettings to a media opportunity with the BBC. No great surprise there; “PR consultant and client in front of journalist and mass audience shock” will hopefully not surprise many. Par for the course really if you know your onions.

The core reason for us being there, whether the cynical reader believes it or not, was to promote Cavendish Lettings’ charity prize draw on behalf of Nottingham YMCA. Essentially offering a luxury break for two to Marbella with the proceeds going to charity.

The trade-off for us was helping the BBC by reading the morning papers, thus giving them a fresh voice and a studio guest for the presenter to chat to, whilst breaking the programme up and injecting some colour. However, it is also undeniable that we gained positive PR for Cavendish Lettings. Which got me wondering, what does the public see when we crank this example up a couple of notches to say, Simon Cowell.

Simon Cowell
What motivates Simon Cowell's proposed charity single?

Here is a man who effectively sells records on the back of human interest stories, making millions in the process. Does the public see that or even care? More interestingly, what do they make of his pledge to produce a charity single to aid the poor victims of the Haiti disaster? What do we think of the celeb circus lining up to join him? Do we trust him? Do we trust them? Do they really care or is it just another vehicle to ultimately sell themselves and in the worst possible taste? Are they taking advantage of media appetite, public grief and a horrific disaster, or is there a trade-off here?

Just a thought. I’d welcome yours. Here’s my opinion.

The Press For Attention Prescription

The media offers the ultimate tool to raise awareness of campaigns – be they cynical or philanthropic. PR consultants and their clients have the skills, contacts and ability to utilise this tool. Whether that be for pure commercial gain, charitable causes or a combination of both, I’d argue that the question should always be “which came first?” The PR campaign or the urge to help? If it is the latter, I can rest easy. I’m not so sure that is always the case for everyone.

What say you?

Here are some links I have found, in no particular order, for those wishing to donate to the Haiti disaster. That is my trade-off for using this as an example.