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It’s a guilty pleasure but admit it – we all love a PR stunt. From Polar bears on the tube to Virgin Atlantic’s “British Airways can’t get it up” over the limp London Eye back in the early 2000s, there’s nothing that tickles the British sense of humour like a beautifully crafted stunt.

But what happens when the cameras stop rolling, the images have been placed and the giant rubber duck has been fished out of the Thames? How do you build momentum and get maximum value for money from PR campaigns so they last longer than one day?

It’s a question we have been hearing increasingly from PR teams and one that agencies have to answer if they’re going to differentiate themselves as the lines blur between advertising, PR and experiential.

The answer lies in the home of the PR campaign – the press. As former journalists the word ‘campaign’ means something very different to us than its modern PR interpretation.  

Whilst a PR campaign can involve months of work building up to a single explosive event, designed to capture maximum publicity in a short space of time, in press, a campaign is a much longer game. At its heart, a campaign is a long-term commitment to a cause or issue that can run over weeks, months or even years until it delivers tangible change. It's about keeping the conversation going in the minds of the audience and finding new angles on the same story to build and maintain momentum.

Take The Mail’s plastic bag campaign, for example, which has been running for over 10 years and is now delivering real change. Granted most brands don’t have 10 years to make an impact, but there is a growing call for agencies to demonstrate how they can build longevity into PR campaigns to make sure their ideas work harder.

We’re often asked to partner with agencies who can’t provide that final piece of the puzzle, the missing link that joins up the whole activity and makes the difference between a very expensive one-off stunt and a genuine PR campaign. Longevity and momentum help a story reach new and different audiences and brands get in front of customers they wouldn’t normally be able to talk to. And as budgets tighten, it’s this kind of diverse thinking that agencies need to build into their strategies if they’re going to deliver clear and measurable value for money.

- Lara Gould