Celebs Mix It With Artists in Body Painting Comp

Posted: Thu, Oct 23, 2014
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Public Relations Events

In late November 1997, Raymond Weil luxury watches wanted to make a splash in their marketing push. The contracted the firm Annie Blair was working for, Public Relations Partners, in Ultimo, Sydney to coordinate their first body painting competition in Sydney and Melbourne. Annie Blair (then 26) and colleague Natalie Wardman ran the account, Annie concentrating on Sydney and Natalie on the Melbourne event.

The brief was to generate as much positive media coverage of the two events and the key message was Raymond Weil's support of the arts. The desired result was, of course, to attract young, upwardly mobile consumers to the brand.

The Challenge

Body painting in itself is not news worthy, in fact, completing a stand-out 'artwork' takes hours, therefore not good television news. There was no photo or video library to draw on when media made requests. Body painting artists were thin on the ground as were volunteers to be painted on (even with underwear on). We were really starting from sctratch.

The only way to acheive the high levels of media coverage was to secure celebrities with the charity hook (AIDS Trust) and select an iconic venue to draw crowds to the brand event.

Our Role Was to:

  • Source celebrities to attend the events (for very little or no remuneration) and persuade then to do lead up PR, gratis also
  • Conduct media relations
  • Direct market to art schools, photographers
  • Manage the event (along with a staging company, Peter Lehman)
  • Manage the needs of co-sponsors and charities

Our Success:

We sourced ironman Guy Leech & (famous celeb sister) Mimi McPherson as MCs (who were a couple at the time), Jane Flemming (athlete), several Sydney Swans players, Ian Roberts (NRL Player), olympic swimmer Sarah Ryan and even a Cleo Bachelor of the Year to act as 'canvases' for artists.

Some 99 Competitors took part in Sydney, 47 in Melbourne, attracting a combined audience of 4,000 people to watch.

In the lead up and from the day itself we acheived coverage everywhere:

  • Major weekend papers like The Sunday Herald Sun and The Sun-Herald
  • metro dailies The Age, The Canberra Times, The Herald-Sun and The Northern Territory News
  • Magazines like Ralph, Who Weekly, Woman's Day, Men's Health and Marie Claire
  • Ten suburban and regional newspapers
  • The Today Show on Saturday (Channel Nine)
  • Fox News
  • ABC Recovery
  • Gay and Lesbian media
  • Commercial radio stations - Triple M, Today FM, Radio 3AK
  • Business and marketing media such as Ad News, B&T Weekly and The Australian's Marketing column

In Sydney, the grassed area beside the Museum of Contemporary Art was selected, facing Circular Quay - a short trip for news crews.

Our careful management of celebrity needs in the lead up to, and on the day of, the event meant we were able to secure drip-effect coverage to electronic and print media as well as maintain strong relationships with celebrity agents for future events. The client was thrilled with the coverage of the event and the calibre of participants.

What the Sydney winner said: "BTW, it was a great event. Well done on your event planning for that day." Steve Vandertouw, Oct 2014

In progress, the process takes hours
inside the competitors tent
We arranged interviews with the business press for visiting President Mr Bernheim
The award winning advertising campaign, which prompted the focus on body beauty and art
We arranged interviews with business media for visiting President Mr Bernheim
The award winning ad campaign running at the time, which focussed on the body beautiful... and art
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