The next time a client asks why you’re recommending they conduct a survey to generate PR, send them to this New Yorker piece on Coldplay. The article begins:
In a 2005 piece in the Times, Jon Pareles called the British rock group Coldplay “the most insufferable band of the decade,” and he placed the blame on the band’s front man and singer, Chris Martin, whom he called a “passive-aggressive blowhard.” Earlier this year, in a study sponsored by the hotel chain Travelodge of the bedtime habits of 2,248 people in the U.K., Coldplay topped a poll of music choices that would help people fall asleep. Coldplay apparently relieves what Travelodge called the “pressures of modern living.”
That’s right. Travelodge (in this case, Travelodge UK), the low-priced hotel chain trying to shed its crusty image, just got a hit in The New Yorker by surveying its customers on what music they listen to for a good night’s sleep. The accompanying press release, NOTES FOR A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP: THE A TO ZZZZZZZZZ, notes that the music of James Blunt, Snow Patrol, Take That and Norah Jones also beats counting sheep.
Why This is Awesome
1. It proves what PR pros have always said: surveys have legs! The survey results were announced in April, and this is an August issue. And when a survey has its own legs, that means less legwork for you, the PR practitioner, because…
2. It proves that putting survey results out as press releases works! Unless someone at Travelodge PR pitched Mr. Frere-Jones (highly unlikely), it appears that big-time journalists actually do subscribe to Google Alerts and read press releases distributed by wire services. NME and Contact Music also picked up the announcement, so it’s equally likely that Mr. F-J read it on one of these music sites.
3. It proves that the surveys that succeed are the ones that aren’t always 100% “on message.” I can hear the naysayers in the conference room now — But we aren’t a music company. We’re doing PR for Travelodge, not Coldplay. Shouldn’t we ask customers how many fresh towels they expect upon arriving in a hotel room instead?
Props to the Travelodge UK PR team for fighting the good fight and providing an excellent case study on the PR power of surveys.