Look-in-the-Bag learned something about the cost of publicity when we placed a small ad in Good Housekeeping Magazine last December. Our website was new and shiny and we wanted to attract customers for Christmas so we paid out £300 for an advert in the classified section. It led to a small jump in visits to the LitB site (around 60) but no sales.
One problem with trying to sell things through advertising is that people know that adverts are biased. Of course, biased information is not necessarily untrue information, but it’s not surprising if people question what an advert says about the product being advertised. The same isn't necessarily true of a product mentioned by a brand ambassador or used in a film or a TV show. For example in the Bond film Skyfall, when Bond downed a beer in place of his usual vodka martini, the audience were more likely to think “After what he’s been through he deserves a beer” than to think “How much did Heineken pay for that plug?”
The kind of person cynical enough to ask such a question would probably be cynical enough not to be surprised by the rumour that Heineken payed around $45 million to reach the plots other beers couldn’t reach.
Clearly, the most valuable sort of publicity is good publicity that isn’t paid for. Thanks to PRIME, Look-in-the-Bag has been brought to the attention of a couple of magazines (Choice and Saga) and the local press. We even had the undivided attention of a top press photographer, which is something I’ll blog about in a few days time.