Now I’m not a football fan, but I am a fan of a clever reactive PR stunt. If that involves football, then I am willing to set my disinterest aside and open both eyes and ears to see the results…

This week Travel Republic managed to do just that and proved that when it comes to a timely stunt, quick action and a willingness to be bold, can attract the attention of an audience well beyond the football fanatics, even football-phobic’s like me.

The offer of ‘emergency evacuation’ for Man United, Everton and Arsenal fans who optimistically (or rather presumptively) booked trips to Madrid in the hope of seeing them ‘bring it home’ in the Champions League Final, is really smart news gen.

It’s a story that appeals to the sorrowful fans now unable to enjoy a weekend of sun and sangria in Madrid without being bombarded with the fact their team didn’t make it to the final. It’s also appealing to the Liverpool and Spurs fans who will no doubt use it to revel in their smugness. After all, they can head to Madrid and enjoy the sun and sangria with the added bonus of a potential Champions League win…

It’s got subtle wit, timeliness, relevance and boldness. Nice job well done, Travel Republic.

Three key factors of a successful reactive story:

  • Relevance: journalists and the public alike can sniff a band-wagon-jumper a mile off. The news/cultural event you’re using to convey a story can’t be shoehorned, the link between story and brand needs to be clear and make sense
  • Calculated risk: there’s usually a level of risk for the brand with effective reactive stories. With this case, it’s Travel Republic hedging their bets on not many people actually taking up the offer to manage the logistical impact of the story
  • Speed: you need to move fast on reactive stories intrinsically hooked on big news in the national interest. The key is pre-empting the news where possible and ensuring plans are in place with the various stakeholders and approvals are in place to get the story developed and go public