Paranormal – Things Aren't Quite What The Seem

We should know better but we still can find ourselves whipped up by hype.   In America last week, Lisa and one of our lovely Clients braced themselves for some US horror at the local LA flicks.  Totally sold on the hugely appealing trailer, they opted for Paranormal Activity, set to hit UK cinemas next week.  This is the low-low-budget film that has swept America by storm, racking up huge sales, with people at best screaming throughout and at worst running for the nearest exit.  So how did they cope?  To be literally the only two in the screening room (ironically!) wasn’t exactly the best of starts but they sat through it, notching up two or three loud screams.  However, half an hour on leaving the cinema they concluded that it wasn’t that terrifying after all – and these two are real scaredy-cats.

The film has drummed up significant word of mouth thanks in part to a cleverly shot trailer.  Timely, as we were talking trailers with a Client the other day, discussing the importance of building drama without of course giving too much away.  Sounds so easy but it’s actually pretty hard when you’re so involved and close to a project.

So, has the Paranormal Activity marketing strategy been a bit too clever for its own good?  We do give it hats off to its pre-premiere tactic of showing screenings at US universities and colleges to kick start word of mouth – and that hype.  But does the film match up to the trailer?  We’ll leave you to make up your own minds (as we help spread the hype!)…

Continuing the theme of Hot Air. Strings was asked to comment on the new British Gas Open Letter ad campaign for PR Week.

He said ‘Consumers have seen gas prices rise by over 15 per cent, and utility companies seem to still be making huge profits. Being more transparent is great, but quite simply consumers want lower prices when profits are being made. They also don’t want token gestures, they want meaningful actions.’

He added: ‘As it’s becoming easier to switch all the utility companies are looking to drive brand loyalty and make their service more attractive, but fundamentally the token touch points need to be backed up with high service levels and competitive prices.’

Basically stop making huge profits, stop putting up prices, stop having call centres that take you 10 minutes to talk to, a further 10 minutes go through the right department, and stop trying to run emtional we care ad campaigns, when quite clearly if you did you’d have done something about it.

The only hype from the utility companies have been their prices to date, but we’re happy to be proved wrong.