In defence of Christmas in July

miPR’s Kirsty Barr responds to Peter Jenkinson’s assessment of the festive events from last month's issue with her very own festive top ten.
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1. We had a record turnout this year to our miChristmas Open House event, including national media, lifestyle media, broadcast and bloggers. We didn’t have one complaint from any journalists who attended. That speaks for itself.

2. We have already secured coverage in the November issue of Good Housekeeping for one client from their in-house writer who attended our event. We also got exposure on MSN.com for The Entertainer, which was seen by three million people. That’s not to be sniffed at either.

3. Yes we tied in a retailer, our client The Entertainer, but that wasn’t the be-all and-end-all for the media who came to our house. They saw a variety of products across multiple categories (not just toys) and left with a multitude of media angles that could span the editorial calendar between now and December 25th. Our job is to help them create their stories and we believe we achieved that.

4. If we didn’t get the results for our clients (and non-clients) we wouldn’t flog a dead horse. The formula works for us and the media at large wouldn’t turn up if it didn’t serve a purpose for them.

5. Doing something different each year is key. In 2013 we held a second day of the event specifically targeting families with children. This year we secured a large venue in the middle of Central London which was a one minute walk away from a mainline station and three tube lines. We’re already planning 2015 which will be different once again.

6. Quality and variety counts for everything. A quality event with a variety of brands. A half-hearted attempt with little on show doesn’t make for media satisfaction.

7. And if you link it back to the client, not charging them the earth but delivering an event which is affordable and slick is paramount.

8. Based on this year’s event, we already have two confirmed attendees for 2015, one of whom came to ‘vet’ this year’s house. They obviously liked what they saw. And, since you mentioned it in your piece Peter, we did away with mince pies and posh nosh two years ago. In came fresh nibbles to munch on for those in a hurry, and this year specifically when the sun came out and gave us the hottest day of the year to date, we upped our quantities of thirst-quenching drinks.

9. We believe there is a place for independent media Christmas events. The media who came to our event planned their day amongst others also being held. I didn’t hear of any grumbles from them, or you, when you dropped in late that afternoon, especially considering the heat.

10. We will be back in 2015 and have every expectation that the good reputation our event has garnered since we first introduced it in 2012 means it will yet again achieve a strong lineup of (happy) exhibitors and an even larger line-up of (happy) media attendees.

Merry Christmas!

Kirsty Barr is managing director of miPR. She can be contacted on: Kirsty.Barr@mi-pr.co.uk.

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