The Photocall: A Picture says a thousand words.

Posted by Chris Frame On September 25, 2015

The Photocall: A Picture says a thousand words.

For decades now, organisations have been creating events with the purpose of showcasing their brand and building awareness through PR coverage.

However, with the ongoing growth and intrinsic strength of digital media, the lines between pure marketing and pure PR are becoming blended; with many organisations expected to achieve both acquisition and awareness goals from the same budget.

Furthermore, the fast pace of digital media, and the ever changing media landscape means that more and more online publications haven’t the time for their photographers to attend lengthy events; as might have been the case in the past.

Enter the photocall – not a new concept but one that can be used in a highly effective manner in this digital landscape.

A photocall is an event where the content for a photograph is purposely set up; allowing the media to acquire high quality targeted imagery which you can use to get your message across. Furthermore, in the era of social media, a photocall can offer the general public a way to promote and advocate your brand.

Last month, I was a guest of Qantas at the re-launch of their international flights between Perth and Singapore. The airlines decision to withdraw from this service in 2014 was met with wide criticism across social media and the airline has returned on the route due to popular demand.

Naturally, Qantas was keen to get the message shared with Perth travellers that they were returning to the service. To spread this message, the events team at Qantas created a simple photocall which returned a high ROI. It was achieved thanks to the photocall.

The airline already had the basic ingredients. The retro-painted Qantas Jet (nicknamed Retro Roo) was scheduled on the service. There were eager passenger waiting to board the service. And there were excited and motivated staff members at the airport happy to see Qantas returning to the Perth base.

However, to take the event to the next level and ensure excellent visual opportunities existed, a few low cost additions were made. Branded cupcakes were handed out to each passenger. Balloons adorned the boarding gate and, during embarkation, a special Dragon Dance was performed.

This low cost event was visually stunning and gave the invited media some excellent visuals. Television stations including seven and ten were present and captured the affair for television viewers.

However, the ongoing impact was far greater than TV coverage thanks to the power of social media. Passengers, crew and passers-by were snapping photos on their smartphones, and before the aircraft had even left the gate Twitter, Facebook and Instagram were being flooded with images of the first service.

Furthermore, the news services promoted that nights TV coverage on their own social channels. Retweets and shares spread the imagery further than a simple media release could have achieved and all before the flight had landed in Singapore.

Closer to home, we employ very similar concepts at Bethanie. One recent example was our ‘turning the sod’ event for Bethanie Gwelup. Bethanie Gwelup is a new development in Perth’s norther suburbs which offers a luxurious lifestyle for seniors with views of Lake Gwelup.

To promote this message, and inform the public that building had commenced, a professionally photographed photocall was setup for the event. It produced brilliant visuals which allowed for the excitement of the first dirt being dug to be shared with a wide audience via social channels, as well as traditional media.

Targeting the social message via various hashtags, including #agedcare, allowed these images to spread to the relevant digital influencers, who then shared the imagery with their followers. And like Qantas, we were able to achieve a pleasing uptake off a small budget.

They say a picture says a thousand words. In this digital age that comment is as true as ever.

Chris Frame