Making millions with help from the media.
Michelle Mone, founder of the Ultimo lingerie brand is a Baroness, a multi-millionairess and an extraordinary business woman. Dragon Peter Jones made a very insightful programme called ‘How We Made Our Millions’ in which he talked to her about how she got Ultimo off the ground.
Cashflow was a huge problem, and Michelle simply could not afford to advertise Ultimo, even though it was about to launch in Selfridges, but how else could she let the public know about her lingerie?
The answer was an inspired and very daring publicity stunt!
“I hired 12 actors and dressed them as plastic surgeons and gave them banners saying ‘Ban the Ultimo bra because it is putting us out of work’ and got them to protest outside the store.
“I was hoping and praying it would work. When I was driving to the launch up Oxford Street the taxi driver said the street was blocked with people.
The place was swarming with photographers and it was known as the biggest bra launch in Europe – all for £500! Selfridges sold out six months’ stock in three hours.”
Michelle continued to make made marvellous use of the media to keep her brand in the public consciousness, by sharing details of her difficult childhood in a Glasgow tenement, when she and her family did not have a bath or a shower and speaking openly about how she piled on weight when her business life got stressful, and about how she successfully lost all the weight again, as well as provoking an angry response from Rod Stewart when she replaced his wife with his ex
“for the publicity”.
The move gave a massive boost to her former company’s promotional campaign and made headlines across the world.
“I did it for the team. I did it for the brand and I knew it was going to create lots of publicity,” Michelle admitted at the time.
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