Organising a launch event can be a tricky business, whether it’s a new product, public information campaign or fundraising initiative.
The first decision often revolves around the nature of the launch. A soft launch without an event can minimise risk, but can sometimes lack the power and cut-through a client expects or demands.
However, a glitzy, slick affair carries its own risks and fish-hooks. Careful consideration needs to go into the timing, the objectives, the key messages and, of course, the venue.
What often trips up organisations in the end is the choice of the “face”, or the faces, of the launch.
Mixing politicians and celebrities into a volatile cocktail is more often than not a big mistake.
Just look at the recent unveiling of the Scottish Nationalists’ Yes campaign to convince Scots to opt for independence from the UK.
Some critics have branded it the movement’s “Neil Kinnock moment”, referring to Labour Leader Neil Kinnock’s speech in Sheffield in 1992, which effectively saw him grab General Election defeat from the jaws of victory.
Indeed, Caledonian Mercury, the online Scottish newspaper, has argued the launch “ran counter” to everything Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond was aiming to do – that’s convincing wary Scots still unconvinced about breaking away from the UK.
Rather than focus on economic growth and aspirations, the campaign reportedly went down like a lead balloon.
Traditional Labour MPs who carved reputations fighting to save steel plants in the 1980s took centre stage, as did veteran Hollywood actor Brian Cox, who, according to Caledonian Mercury, “spiraled out of control and became, not an appeal for independence, but a left-wing rant” about Thatcher, Tony Blair and the Iraq war.
The choice of the venue – a cinema – has also been criticised as inappropriate and amateurish with a film poster of The Dictator over the door the First Minister was due to enter through.
A successful and powerful launch can build momentum and make what would have been a difficult climb that little bit easier. On the other hand, a poorly-managed, ineffective event panned by critics makes that climb so much harder.
Posted by Sam Halstead on Thursday 14th Jun 2012