Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Tis the season?

With just 151 days to go, it seems Christmas is well and truly upon us, at least for those of us who work in the PR world anyway. When I mentioned to my friends at the weekend that we were holding our Christmas event for one of our beauty clients this week they looked at me as if I’d completely lost it. However, those of us in the know can appreciate that the ‘Christmas in July’ phenomenon is in full swing. If you’re not familiar with ‘Christmas in July’ then let me explain very briefly. December in the world of media mostly means one thing – Christmas Gift Guides. And with some monthly glossy magazines working on their features, and in this case their gift guides, as much as six months advance, July is the time PRs start selling in all that their clients have to offer by holding Christmas in July events. Now, this is where I come to my point. Christmas in July events come in all different shapes and sizes with varying degrees of Christmassyness in all its gaudy glory. This is where I think the problem lies for PRs – how do you create stand out from the competition in such a crowded market place where everyone claims their product is the ideal gift for a coveted place in magazine gift guides. The standard offering from Christmas in July events normally consists of festively dressed rooms adorned with tinsel, Christmas crackers and the obligatory Christmas tree in the corner as well as an abundance of mince pies, turkey sandwiches and mulled wine, not forgetting a guest appearance from a carol singing school choir. Now this I’m sure journos have seen many times over (and don’t get me wrong, being pro Christmas, I love it!) so PRs are now under more and more pressure to up the stakes, with one beauty brand recently causing debate by having real life performing penguins at their Christmas in July event – creative thinking or a step too far? It’s a question of gimmick vs style – how far do we go?

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