2020’s Creative Campaigns #5 – Radio 1 ‘Loses’ Greg James

I’m an avid listener of Radio 1 in the morning, and Greg James is undoubtedly my favorite DJ. That’s why, when he didn’t turn up to work this morning after the Brits, I was a little disappointed.

At first, I didn’t think much of it. “He’s just pulled a Phil and Holly”, I thought. But after stand-in presenter Adele Roberts and Jordan North were mentioning Greg’s disappearance pretty much after every song, the cynic in me quickly debated whether this was a PR campaign.

As perfectly put by Jasmine Granton earlier today, working in PR has ruined the fun in everything. Us Public Relations professionals (unfortunately) can see past quite a lot of these endearing ‘mishaps’ and realise that actually, they’re probably just marketing stunts.

Greg James Goes Missing – Unsolving The Mystery

I started the days thinking that Greg had slept his alarm after a heavy night at the Brits, I ended it applauding Radio 1 for a really interesting and unique marketing campaign.

Let’s explore how today unfolded.

Hungover Employee…

A late night at the Brits and an early morning breakfast show do not go hand in hand.

It wouldn’t be the biggest shock in the world if Greg James failed to clock in for his shift this morning.

Adele Roberts and her co-presenters made much light of the situation, branding Greg as a ‘dirty little no show’ and trying to collectively ‘work out’ where on earth he had got to as it was revealed by his wife that he failed to make it home.

But was this really just a no-show from Greg after one too many last night, or was it part of a wider scheme that the Radio 1 presenters and their marketing team had been planning?

…PR Stunt…

“I have a good reason for being on my phone,” said Jordan North, a little before 9am this morning to Radio 1 listeners. “Greg’s made it to the news!”

Screenshot 2020-02-19 at 17.17.19

It transpired that the Metro has been quick to pick up the story that Greg had failed to turn in to work for his breakfast show. And though Jordan’s reaction was genuinely that of surprise, it was around this time that I couldn’t help but think that it was no accident that Greg’s debacle was beginning to pick up press coverage.

As the day unfolded, finding out where Greg James was turned into something of a game, with many of Twitter’s trending hashtags relating to the incident.

Screenshot 2020-02-19 at 15.54.56

It later transpires that it was no coincidence at all that finding Greg turned into a game, because that was actually exactly what Radio 1 had intended all along.

(Imagine my shock).

…Or A Seized Opportunity?

Dubbed a ‘listener stunt‘ by the media, it was finally revealed that the fact that Greg James had gone missing was in fact, an elaborate and well-crafted plan by the BBC Radio 1 team to inject some fun into our Wednesday.

Various recordings and details released throughout the day had readers thinking that Greg had been kidnapped after the Brits after-party, and people began to speculate who could have done such a thing; with Lizzo, Harry Styles and Lewis Capaldi’s names popping up as suspects.

Of course, it was revealed later on in the day that this was a pre-planned trick and Greg was safe and sound – he had not been kidnapped and was in fact, just pranking his readers.

We’ve all pulled a Greg at one point in our lives, right?

But this does lead the cynic in me to ask even more questions.

Adelle and Jordan were incredibly believable this morning when they held down the fort following Greg’s absence, sounding really shocked and confused. This leads me to wonder whether back at 8 o’clock this morning, was Greg’s no-show genuine, and is #WhosGotGreg just an incredibly quickly thought out diversion tactic by the Radio 1 marketing team?

I mean, if it was, I doubt they’d tell us. But either way, I’ve enjoyed listening to Greg’s story unfold throughout the day.

Something different than your typical ‘hump day’.

Screenshot 2020-02-19 at 17.12.06.png

Whether it was a pre-meditated campaign, or a respectfully clever cover-up for a tardy employee, this has worked wonders for Radio 1. Just check out the Google searches over the last 24 hours…

Screenshot 2020-02-19 at 17.18.59

What do YOU think, was this a pre-planned PR stunt, or is ‘doing a Greg’ now the best coined phrase for creating an elaborate cover-up story to excuse you not showing up for work?

Let me know what you’re thinking in the comments below or on Twitter.

1 thought on “2020’s Creative Campaigns #5 – Radio 1 ‘Loses’ Greg James”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s