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Racing pigeons fly and tweet across Europe for Fogg

18th June 2013


Of all the ideas that caught my eye this week, it was one from Sweden (mentioned to me by my esteemed colleague @GrumpyChops) that made me smile most.

The schtick is kinda simple: Fogg does borderless SIM cards for mobiles (I confess I didn’t trouble myself to find out what this actually means, at least before I had to write about them).

Anyway, in order to promote this mysterious offer, they have enlisted the services of some racing pigeons which they are set to release from Malmo in Sweden on 18 June.

The tenuous link, it transpires, is that the pigeons (Hans, Jean Claude, Wilma and Engeli – AKA the pigeon version of ABBA) will live Tweet their journeys from Sweden across Denmark, Germany, Holland and assorted other European nations.

We are to gather from this that they are doing so because, with a Fogg SIM, you can access web apps and data anywhere in Europe on one flat rate.

Clever, eh?

Here they are in action. Or training. Or something.

So, what did we learn from this today, class?

That clients need to be brave, while at the same time being budget conscious (pigeons are, to the best of my knowledge, relatively inexpensive as far as talent costs are concerned).

A leap into the unknown – after all, it’s easy to call this a success AFTER the coverage has appeared – is so much easier to make when you aren’t being charged a small fortune for it.

That clever beats big every time. Because an idea should be built to be as small as it can possibly be to achieve the result (in this case, coverage). Not “as big as it can possibly be made”, which is often the approach of so many in our business.

But ultimately, it’s a reminder of that that age-old PR lesson: sometimes the perfectly ridiculous idea can gain traction in ways that the hackneyed PR man might doubt before it happens.

And sometimes, therefore, you just have to go with things. Eyes wide open. Purse strings tight throughout the process. Hoping always for the best and selling the story like you mean it.

With all of those things in place sometimes, just sometimes, the idea takes off. Or, as in this case, it flies.

James Gordon-MacIntosh is founder and Managing Partner at Hope&Glory PR. He is also author of Ideas of the Year 2012: an incomplete compendium of the best ideas in PR during the year. You can buy a copy simply by emailing him.



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