This week there’s been a lot of controversy about media mailers, probably meaning that even members of the public who previously didn’t know what a ‘media mailer’ was, do now. Entertainment journalists across the country received a bag containing a balaclava, nails and gaffer tape in a controversial bid to promote the content of film, A Belfast Story which portrays the troubles in Northern Ireland and is due for release in late September. Journalists who received the bizarre ‘press kit’ immediately took to Twitter to convey their disgust, disbelief and anger at what they had received in the post, with Empire’s Chris Hewitt saying he was “stunned” and “wouldn’t be seeing the movie” following it.
My immediate reaction was indeed one of distaste, particularly after recently visiting Belfast and learning further about the atrocities which went on there, not so very long ago. In a bid to compete for media’s attention, it seemed that one company had decided to be more outrageous than even taste allowed for. But, was it really meant as some sort of sick, shameless stunt?
Perhaps the items were designed to physically visualise the content of the film, and the horrors of the story. Teri Kelly, a publicist for the movie has been quoted in a BBC news article conveying support for the mailer, explaining that far from a sick shameless stunt, the mailer was designed to convey the realities that many Northern Irish people had to live through.
Media mailers are obviously a fantastic way to reach the media in an “in-your-face”, tangible way, often having an impact just not possible with an emailed press release. They are indeed having to work even harder than ever to get cut-through though for publicity. The average journalist writing for a consumer magazine will get five mailers a day, and when these are just bits of card or boring product, it’s guaranteed not to make an impression. Only the most creative and interesting will be tweeted by your journalist contact, and designing something that will be of use to the journalist or will sit on their desk, rather than get shoved in a pile is always the goal. Creativity is obviously always fantastic, but avoiding something that can be slammed is probably advisable too!
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