Going, going, gone!

Whatever you say about agency life, it’s never dull and you never know what you’ll be asked to publicise next … here’s a case in point.

We were recently contacted by Berkshire-based international online auction house, Dawsons. During a routine house clearance, one of their valuers had spotted a painting hanging over a bed and instantly recognised it as an Italian masterpiece.  To cut a long story short, the painting sold for £255,000.

They were very excited and wanted us to publicise the story. In the national press.

A simple Google search of ‘Masterpiece found under the bed/in attic/in garden shed, etc’ reveals dozens of similar stories, most with far higher values.

Still, we liked the story and shared the sheer enthusiasm of the team at Dawsons.  We knew we couldn’t rely on the hammer price to get the story noticed, especially by the nationals, so decided to focus on the human interest aspects of the story, too.

It worked!

After a disappointingly slow start – not helped by the shenanigans surrounding the Platinum Jubilee celebrations – the story gained momentum and is still going strong.

In the UK, alongside local and regional coverage, we secured a BBC Radio interview plus coverage in all the broadsheets and red tops.  Here is just a small sample … The Times, The Independent, MailOnline and Express

Then the story went global, appearing in the USA, Canada, Italy, India and Spain.  It even made it into the Smithsonian, the magazine of the world’s largest fine art museum.

Despite being a long-established PR agency, we were thrilled to see the story gain traction and fascinated to seeing how different publications nuanced the headline to appeal to their different readerships. 

Every piece was positive and the team at Dawsons was clearly delighted, describing the coverage as ‘extraordinary’.

There are three morals to this tale. 1) Know which aspect of a story will appeal to the media – it won’t necessarily be the bit your client expects.  2) A good quality image is essential. 3) Persistence pays off.

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