Just when you think that this year’s creative campaigns have really stretched the concept of being totally bizarre and inane, along comes Poundland with a fresh, unapologetic announcement…
“Hey, guess what? We now sell engagement rings!”
Because nothing quite says romance like a plastic ring with a faux jewel that cost the bearer a quid, right? Upon first glance, I think this is what the majority of the nation (who obviously have nothing more important to get riled up over. Brexit? Hell no – Poundland are selling knock-off rings) are in dismay over.
But actually, hearing from the company themselves, the point of the rings – released just in time for Valentines’ Day – are supposed to be a sort of stopgap gift while the happy couple chose the real deal together. Owning the tagline ‘because we promise they’ll want to choose their own’ you can now pick one of these up in most Poundland stores nationwide.
Have people missed the point here? Maybe. But are said people still talking about the product and the brand, and therefore promoting it anyway? Definately.
Yes Poundland are selling engagement rings, but no they’re not serious
Let’s just give a bit of context before I delve into the standard PR analysis that I love so much.
The infamous ‘Poundland engagement ring’ actually comes in 4 different styles. 3 silver, 1 gold and a couple are even complete with a mock ruby and topaz stone – classy!
Complete with a red heart-shaped velvet box – which let’s be honest probably cost more than the ring itself – at first glance, they certainly give the illusion of authenticity. And truth be told, I think they’re kinda cute.
But, only designed to be a budget placeholder in the interim between proposal and real ring purchasing, the initiative has sparked quite a debate. Fulled of course by no other than Piers Morgan, who admittedly is becoming something of a public relations dream at the moment (and I never thought I’d say that).
FYI Piers, when you slander a brand on national TV, they’re not upset about it – they’re most likely in gratitude to you.
The debate: would you be happy with a £1 ring?
The argument is basically this – ‘would you be happy with a £1 engagement ring?’.
With the humble amongst us (including myself) saying definitely yes, there’s also those who are 100% on the cost over sentiment boat, slamming Poundland for even thinking that this budget jewellery would be acceptable.
Though many have missed the mark completely with this, they’re still creating and feeding the conversation. All the while promoting Poundland and their products, which you can hardly complain about.
But that’s only one of the reasons that this campaign – headed up by Poundland who’re also famed for their iconic and shameless ‘naughty elf’ Christmas ads every year – is a great one.
Multi-pronged in success, there are a few more reasons why, as a PR campaign, these £1 rings are genius.
How a £1 product can deliver a prolific PR campaign
Let’s look at the points here (because there are multiple), as to why something as simple as a £1 ring can spark a brilliant reaction with many benefits to a brand.
As mentioned above, the most unique thing about this product is that it’s controversial and defies the ordinary. Everybody knows that engagement rings are typically an expensive investment. So, when a famous everything-is-a-pound retailer decides to start selling their own, it comes as a surprise.
From the initial announcement ‘Poundland are selling £1 rings!’ to the debacle that follows ‘I would NEVER want to be proposed to with a £1 ring’ the common denominator here is that the brand is being talked about repeatedly.
Most PR campaigns have short shelf lives. Press releases are only typically used once. But this one, however – well it just keeps coming back. Every time a new opinion is formed, the ideation resurfaces, and once again – the brand is in the news. Which is pretty much exactly where they’ll want to be.
Though public relations is valuable in itself, it becomes even more so when it examples a direct effect. And this is a campaign that I believe will do exactly that.
Myself included, following the multiple discussions around this product, will want to go and see it. After doing some searching on social media, I’ve discovered that some stores have entire aisles dedicated to their star buy product, clearly expecting a demand. But what I also deduced from this is that people have been locating their nearest Poundland, and paying it a visit to get a real-life view of the celebrated product.
And when was the last time you walked into a Poundland and brought nothing? I don’t think I’ve ever done it. So, even if they’re not selling the exact product, it’s likely they’re still going to be generating revenue from their increased customer base by other means.
Boosting sales through product visibility
And finally, who else sort of wants to buy one of these now that they’ve heard about them? I’ve literally got no purpose for it whatsoever – but I want one nevertheless.
Though Poundland probably would have generated a few sales organically, without all the press coverage – most would have just looked at the product to be a cheap ring and not given it much of a second thought. But now, following all the traction in the press and the discussion on social media, this has probably sparked an idea in a lot of people’s brains. Be it as a gag gift or as a real proposal temporary stand-in, I bet there’s a fair few thinking about purchasing one of these for their other half, or even for their friends now.
…Seriously, I wonder if anybody will get proposed to on Valentine’s Day with one of these?
All of this, of course, ultimately means more sales. Proving time and time again that there’s so much value in PR. Whether it’s boosting your products, services or just your brand – you can’t go far wrong with a stellar public relations campaign. And as far as creative campaigns go, this one’s ticked all of the boxes.
What’re your opinions on the Poundland rings. And how do you think the product fairs as a PR effort? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below…
P.s. – Thank You!
I’m not quite done yet either. I’m in a small but brilliant pool of talented and creative writers, and I too often feel as though I don’t belong here. Therefore, to be in amongst the finalists for the UK blog awards for best PR, Marketing and Comms blog means so much to me… Beyond words.
It’s amazing in fact.
Therefore, I just wanted to say a big… No, a MASSIVE thank you to everyone who voted for me in the awards. If it wasn’t for the people who read my blog and support me every day, I almost certainly wouldn’t bother. So for that, endless gratitude is in order.
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