The PR team at RHS Chelsea Flower Show have just played a blinder. For the first time in the history of the show, garden gnomes (often considered tacky and a distraction from true garden design) are being temporarily allowed in. But we're not talking your regular little man with a red pointy hat and green trousers.
Not only has there been fantastic on and offline coverage and various broadcast pieces (including the national weather forecast by the delightful Carol Kirkwood on BBC Breakfast), but everyone is talking about garden gnomes again (do you love them or hate them type conversations?!) and in turn, everyone is talking about the RHS Chelsea Flower Show - appealing to a much wider demographic than usual.
It really was a simple, yet brilliant idea.
Over 100 celebrities were invited to design and decorate a gnome, from Sir Elton John to Dame Helen Mirren. The line up of celebrities is impressive in itself. Following extensive photo calls with the national media (the poor little things must be knackered from all the attention!), each of the gnomes has been auctioned on eBay. The sale of the gnomes helps raise money for the RHS Campaign for School Gardening - an initiative to encourage young people in horticulture.
The triple challenge of promoting 100 years of garden design, raising substantial amounts money and raising awareness of the charity among existing members and new audiences is no mean feat. This initiative is a brilliant example of developing and creating a thoughtful PR initiative that meets a number of objectives. It also shows the power behind a classic PR tool, the good old photo call.
And just for the record, I love gnomes almost as much as I love Marmite.