27 June 2018

Gemma Collins’ PR Team Make Crucial Error in Now Interview

  • Gemma Collins from The Only Way Is Essex
Robyn Hardman, PR account executive

Now Magazine haven’t pulled any punches in their recent interview with Gemma Collins, classing her the ‘ultimate diva’, but we don’t think it’s all down to her – her PR team should have been better prepared.

Oh dear. An interview like the one Gemma Collins gave to Now recently is the stuff of PR nightmares. In the interview, which was supposed to be about her new book, it turns out that the journalist hadn’t actually read the book. There’s a plot twist though – Now had never been supplied with the book in the first place. Cue a lot of red faces and a very, very short interview.

You can read the full piece on the Now website, and the story itself has gone viral, with plenty of people congratulating Now on publishing the piece verbatim and showing Gemma up for being a ditzy celeb. However, it’s not totally her fault – her PR team didn’t do their job properly! It doesn’t matter what you’re trying to publicise – whether it’s a book, a record, a hotel or a restaurant, it’s often important that all outlets you’re hoping to place a story in have had a chance to experience what you’re offering. 

According to Gemma’s publicist, “[the book’s] only been sent out to certain people, and it’s not out yet. She’d have been lucky to have already read a copy,” and instead, the journalist would have only been briefed on the new release. Not only is that statement insulting to the journalist conducting the interview, but it implies a strategy of exclusivism, albeit one that’s gone terribly wrong. 

Exclusives can work very well, if planned out and executed correctly – especially if you’ve got limited resources. However, if resources are limited and you’re reaching out to a greater number of titles, you need to consider the kind of coverage you’re hoping to achieve with each one. If you’re given the chance to get a better story, then you need to have built in enough flexibility to provide the journalist with whatever they need to do it right. 

There are also a lot less journalists these days, with plenty more demands on their time – so they may not be as prepared as you might hope! There’s no need to throw a diva strop though. You and your client should be the experts, so share information that will help the journalist and take time to explain answers in greater detail. Not only will this help you to direct the interview in the way you want, but it’ll ensure you get a more appreciative journalist, and a better piece at the end of it all. 

In this case (and it’s the exception, rather than the rule), there is a silver lining – the interview itself has spread much further than it would have done had it just been a straightforward discussion. But Gemma’s PR team will have learned a valuable lesson, and will make sure that they’ve prepped the journalist and their client properly before heading into future interview situations. 

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