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The five toughest sell-ins of August

Welcome to the second instalment of the tough sell-ins column. If you read the first and are not my mum, dad or one of the brand team at Ketchum then I thank you very much for sticking with me.  

I’m consuming media with a new lens – constantly trying to put myself in the shoes of those who’ve had to pick up the phone and pitch in the stories. It’s highlighted how our industry is consistently able to triumph over adversity as I’m seeing the end result because the story has appeared. 

Some of them must have been challenging to pitch because of the subject matter, others would have been good fun to sell and offered the ability to build a rapport with the journalist, and the rest are pretty crap so the fact coverage has been secured is rather admirable.   

To those of you who’ve started sending me things you have found THANK YOU. I had some initial reservations about whether there would be enough stories to fill a monthly column but thanks to eager PRs ensuring COVID-19 doesn’t get in the way of press coverage, I’ve got ample content for inclusion. 

So let’s jump right in. 

1. Publicist: “Hi there, I’d like to pitch my client in for interview, I think you’d find her COVID viewpoint somewhat refreshing.”

Good Morning Britain planning desk: “OK, who is she please?”

Publicist: “Well she is a Fairy and Mermaid Whisperer but for the benefit of keeping the segment concise, she would like to focus on the Merfolk community, and specifically the impact of COVID on their wellbeing.”

Now you may laugh, but I am somewhat dazzled by this PR’s prowess because low and behold a “mermaid whisperer” graced our prime-time screens last month. 

Before I continue, for those of you wondering about the impact of the pandemic on the merfolk community - apparently they are chuffed to bits because humans of the leg-owning variety have been “less active” in the sea.  

2. Good news for anyone who’s used Alexa to “get off” during lockdown - you’re not alone! According to a recent poll for a sex toy brand, one in seven Brits are turned on by Alexa’s “comforting but assertive voice”.  For those seeking orgasms from virtual assistants, apparently Alexa in Whisper mode might just do the trick. Siri or Google’s assistant needn’t feel left out however as apparently a proportion of the nation admit to “fancying” them too.  

3. In third place - 9 in 10 middle aged men with waists greater than 40 inches struggle to get an erection. Queue the headline “Belly Flop” and one might argue we have a winner.  

4. Have you been waiting with baited breath for a brand to identify our fashion choices according to where we live? Well, you’d have been chuffed to be reading the paper last month to spot that very story.

The extent of the findings were as follows - Geordie lads like grey jogging bottoms, Surrey chaps like pink chino shorts and Essex girls prefer leather trousers. I think you’ll agree that the world is a better place now we are all armed with this information. The brand name was missing though, gutting for the PR but one might argue it did them a favour.   

5. A dating comparison site (I didn’t know there was such a thing either) came to our rescue during the heatwave. The brand kindly provided us with a sex position that negates the need for excessive “skin-on-skin action” and doesn’t require much effort. It’s called the Pretzel in case you’re asking for a friend.

Written by Sophie Raine, managing director, consumer brands at PR firm Ketchum London


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