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Europe is just next door – a great PR stunt

I love taking a bit of time out to look at other people’s PR ideas – sometimes they inspire me and sometimes I just like to appreciate some really creative thinking.

Take this campaign ‘Europe is just next door’ for SNCF (France’s national rail company). A stunt set up in cities around Europe, filmed and made into this pretty ad.

The organisation wants to tell its customers they can get to major cities really easily by train. Instead of simply putting that on a poster, it uses an imaginative way to grab people’s attention. And those people don’t just passively absorb SNCF’s message. They interact with it, and seem to really, really enjoy themselves.

Add to that the fact that the video will then be viewed and shared by people like you and me, and you’ve got a really clever (and happy) campaign, that doesn’t rely on prime-time TV advertising slots.

Visual campaigns based on photos, infographics or videos can be much more successful than a whole heap of words on a web page or a host of press releases.

Why? Well apart from the fact that pictures and videos can be more appealing and stand out more than a string of words on a screen, people engage with them at a different level too.

They quickly connect your brand with the images they’re seeing, which means you have real control over the way your customers perceive your organisation and what it stands for.

Studies have found that people remember visual campaigns more easily too. That means you can include a lot of information in social media conversations – much more than you can in Twitter’s 140 characters. For example I now know that I can travel to Geneva, Barcelona and Brussels with SNCF, quickly and without much fuss (apparently…) Oh, and I’ll have so much fun when I get there!

It’s easy to think that IT companies don’t have the same content to draw from, that little films and infographics about data storage or networking might not have the same impact. But that’s not true.

IT buyers and users are influenced just like train passengers – they respond to films and photos and take in information in just the same way. All you need is a good idea, and a great strategy to get people sharing.

Check out this Virgin America safety video if you don’t believe that traditionally dry information can be fun…

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