PR agencies often think it's a great idea to latch on to established events on the average punter's calendar. Sometimes the releases are justified - think gadgets for dads on father's day or present ideas for Christmas - and sometimes they are outright bizarre as with Valentine's day where the Eye Care Trust reckoned people should watch out for flying champagne corks, because they can blind you.
It's the World Cup soon - that magical time every four years where blind patriotism is accepted for a couple of weeks, and when waving St George's Cross about isn't just for the English Defence League. Surprise surprise, then, that already PRs are trying to get in on the action. It's called piggybacking and it often works, especially on slow news days. You can bet the world+dog will be telling us that we're gripped by World Cup fever (sometimes mania), lots of innovatives, lots of solutions, and just about every company, unlike the inevitably disastrous England squad, being "leading".
The World Cup is an exciting display of athleticism and showmanship where countries get behind their teams and the world unites, just for a moment, to show solidarity over a magnificently organised sporting competition. It's about bringing the world together, while we watch 22 men in shorts kick a leather ball around over and over and over again. It's a good job, then, that Ipswitch Inc's Network Management Division wants to take all the fun out of it, quashing workplace banter with its network traffic calculator which tells you when you should sack a worker for taking a sneaky look at the competition.
Using the World Cup Network Traffic Calculator, IT managers can plot the
likely impact on network resources based on number of users, speed of
internet connection, normal bandwidth use and country of origin. In
addition, users that agree to share their email addresses will receive
anonymous peer comparison results.
The official TV Licensing website for the UK gets in on the action too, telling us that up to 25,000 people could be watching the tournament in black and white. And that whatever way you watch, YOU NEED A LICENSE. This could have been released any time of the year since the story is essentially: 25,000 people in the UK still have black and white TVs. This was put on the wires twice AND embargoed.
Sex, unlike network management, sells in the mainstream media. That's why The Mirror covered a release by sex toy website LoveHoney.co.uk saying most women would like to bed Joe Cole from the England team. The poll doesn't cite how many people it asked in its survey but puts out handy percent figures for easy reference in the papers. Wisely it placed Heat magazine ultravillain and alleged serial sex-texter Ashley Cole as the least alluring catch.
The cheery Divorce-Online.co.uk, which says it can offer you divorce services from just 70 quid, takes a more sombre look at footie and tells us that one in ten relationships will end because of football - so the World Cup will put extra strain on a relationship. Managing Director Mark Keenan says he's not surprised and he's sure his wife has considered kicking him out.
Satnavs are ten-a-penny so what better opportunity to get your name out there than by riding the World Cup bandwagon? CoPilot Live, a navigation app for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone at a very unreasonable £30, put out a release called "England fans set to go the distance in South Africa". The revelatory release reveals to us that South Africa is big and actually quite far away from England, and charts the amount of miles a fan would need to drive to follow the team around. App releases are always some of the most entertaining for piggybacking on events, but we'll get to that in a moment.
TomTom's in on it too. Starting the 15th of April and ending the 8th June, it is running a promotion where if you buy one of its satnav devices it will refund your money if England wins the World Cup. Which means it's fairly confident England won't win.
Our absolute favourite by far is an iPhone puzzle game by Kick'n'Mix Ltd that promises to "capture the passion" of the World Cup. It is essentially a slide panel puzzle game with pictures of flags in the background. Check out the thrilling promo video below, set to The Undertones, to see what we mean:
It's World Cup mania!