The secret of great PR is not schmoozing journalists to get them to print your media release on page one. It’s not putting together a brilliant social media content plan. It’s not even keeping media lists up to date in a world where the ebb and flow of journalists rivals spring tide on Addington Beach.
It’s ideas. Plain and simple: great PR is about conceiving a great idea that not only dovetails with brand objectives, but that also offers journalists the temptation of a great story. As importantly, it’s about coming up with an idea that can be delivered on budget.
Admittedly, it’s easier said than done. That flash of brilliance hits in many ways: as a result of an “all limbic systems on deck” brainstorm; as a result of careful reading of the client brief; or as a result of talking things over with a mate while you’re waiting for the IT chap to replace the toner cartridge in the printer. One thing’s for sure: you know when you’ve got a great idea and you hold onto it like you’ve found the goose that lays the Fabergé egg.
Take the idea Flow devised for Casual Day 2018: a turning of the tables on how the greater population thinks of persons with disabilities. Our client, the National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities, gave us three Casual Day objectives: 1) get people talking about the marginalisation of persons with disabilities; 2) get people acting to stop this marginalisation; and 3) sell tons of Casual Day merchandise.
For this campaign, our insight was this: persons with disabilities don’t give a hoot about what other people think about them. They don’t care that millions imagine they’re literally “disabled”. Persons with disabilities are capable, able and equipped to help others.
From this came the Big Idea: organise an activation on Mandela Day, where persons with disabilities cook and serve lunch, and renovate a home for displaced children and elderly people.
So, on Mandela Day 2018, persons with disabilities descended on Resthaven Home in Rosettenville. They brought boerewors, bread rolls, chakalaka, potato salad, prego steaks, tins of paint and an ebullient attitude. The group painted and braaied and packed gift packs. They played with the children, and chatted with the grannies and grandpas. They snazzed up the home, built new friendships and found the common ground that people find when they sit down and chat over a boerie roll.
As important, the group of persons with disabilities showed that disability is not necessarily an impediment to getting things done. It’s certainly no impediment to doing your bit for someone else.
On Mandela Day, most people wake up assuming that persons with hearing and visual impediments and persons in wheelchairs are, by default, the recipients of good deeds, rather than providers of assistance for others. The Casual Day 2018 campaign turned these assumptions around, and got a lot of people thinking very differently about persons with disabilities.
The results? Casual Day editorial coverage reached nearly 27-million people. Merchandise sales grew by around R4-million. The Public Relations Institute of South Africa gave the campaign a special mention at the 2019 PRISM Awards.
A group of people enjoyed a braai on a crisp Joburg winter’s day. New friendships were formed. New support systems were built.
Flow did its bit to break the barriers between persons with disabilities and persons without disabilities. We helped, in this campaign, to bring South Africa one step closer to the full inclusion of persons with disabilities. This was where the Big Idea earned its keep. And it’s what we’re very proud of.