Kathryn Platt, Account Executive, Clarion Communications
So it’s a lovely, hot sunny day and I’m stood outside Marco Pierre White’s restaurant in central London with a box of Christmas decorations.
As I start to make my way inside, I ask myself, ‘is this real?’ And of course in the world of PR it is, for Christmas has already arrived. And it’s not even Autumn yet.
The reason behind all this is that many journalists, especially those who work on monthly consumer mags, can work up to six months ahead. So while everybody else was enjoying one of the rare sunny days this Summer and eating ice creams in the park, we were organising our Festive event for Bernard Matthews Farms, purchasing Christmas decorations and designing Christmas invitations.
Now, while receiving a Christmas invite in the middle of Summer might seem a bit daft to the rest of the world, for journalists it’s become the norm. So with all PRs desperately trying to fill their diaries with Christmas events – from mince pie tastings to offering them the opportunity to get merry on mulled wine – it’s crucial that your Christmas event stands out.
And how did we make our client event stand out? Well, we brought out the big guns, aka Marco Pierre White. The main aim of the day was to introduce the press to the Bernard Matthews Farms Christmas range, so who better to do this than our very own turkey ambassador? I mean, who in their right mind would turn down the chance to attend a Christmas turkey master class with Marco – not many is the answer, hence why our event was such a great success.
We arrived early on the day to prepare the room for the event, placing Christmas crackers and festive candles on the tables. The journalists arrived and were taken through to the kitchen, where they met MPW and had a quick chat, before he tied his trademark scarf around his head and got down to business. As he began to chop up the turkey with a large cleaver knife, journalists watched in admiration. Marco was an excellent host constantly engaging and communicating with the journalists; he made everything look so easy – even I thought I could definitely take on this challenge.
After the masterclass the press were taken through to the main restaurant, where they sat down and ate their Christmas lunch with Marco. Once they had finished we went through the Christmas range and before we knew it, it was time for them to leave. Each journalist left full, happy and with a gift pack to remind them of the event. On the way out one journalist spoke of his next Festive event (more mince pie tasting), one said: ‘I can’t wait for the Summer to be over, I don’t know how many more Christmas puddings I can take…’
After a handshake and kiss on the cheek from the great man himself, I walked outside, into the sunshine and back to reality, with a new cooking confidence that I was desperate to test. Needless to say later that night I realised it was actually a bit of a challenge, and I didn’t manage to chop the bird up in exactly the same way – I did however make a lovely turkey curry using one of Marco’s recipes…