Our PR coverage for B&Q wasn’t exactly black and white, more fifty shades of grey




Agency News

The idea was simple. Release a memo to staff, advising them to swot up on the Fifty Shades story line and expect customers’ questions regarding unconventional uses of certain DIY products.

Written firmly with tongue in cheek, it advised that “Queries may be unusual and sensitive…but staff are reminded of B&Q’s commitment to assist customers in a polite, helpful and respectful manner…”. It then went on to advise that copies of the book would be sent to stores for staff to borrow.

Perfectly timed to coincide with the increasing noise around the film, coverage landed in every national newspaper – often twice over – before reaching broadcast media and going global.

In 48 hours we have achieved more than 75 pieces of coverage with highlights including The Daily Telegraph, Mail Online, BBC Radio Two, Sky News and even a cartoon by Mac in the Daily Mail.

Simon Cowell was quoted saying that he would be missing Valentine’s Day this year, but would make it up to his wife with a trip to see Fifty Shades of Grey followed by a visit to B&Q!

Maintaining B&Q’s playful tone of voice, our statement was just as deadpan, explaining that “we would have confessed to the hoax sooner, but our hands were tied.”

The success of the idea was summed-up by one national newspaper editor who simply tweeted “The PR’s are winning.”

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