03 February 2015
Alice Baker, Account Director

The departure of Dippy opens the door for PR

Save dippy Natural History Museum

I had the great pleasure yesterday of listening to an interview on BBC Radio 2 between presenter Chris Evans and a representative from the Natural History Museum (NHM).

Just in case you're not 'up' on current activities at the NHM, here is the latest…

Last week it was reported that 'Dippy' the Diplodocus – a 85-foot-long skeleton which has sat proudly in the museum's Hintze Hall for the last 35 years and been the iconic mascot for the world-renowned museum during that period too – will be moved and replaced by the skeleton of a Blue Whale. Shock. Horror.

After the announcement of Dippy's retirement was made last week, the UK was immediately up in arms, quickly setting up a #SaveDippy hashtag and even starting an online petition calling for the decision to be dropped. (I rather enjoyed the personal description one person had given to Dippy which read – "NHM dinosaur looking for work. Forced into retirement at the young age of 150 million").

Today's interview on Radio 2 saw the NHM defend the decision and reject claims that the decision to remove Dippy was 'negative advertising'. But what does it matter if the decision was intentionally made to stir up public opinion? NHM has already this week secured coverage in the majority of the national newspapers, not to mention a huge amount of noise on the social platforms and an interview on BBC Radio 2! Good PR campaigns always look to raise the profile of something or someone via provocative means and what better example do we have than the 'sacking' of a 100-year old replica dinosaur?!

The decision has not only raised the profile of the NHM, but has also given the institution a fantastic platform to discuss its future plans and focuses, the importance of natural history for future generations and the forthcoming overhaul of the museum. It's also paved the way for Dippy to go on tour around the country (lucky that), giving even more people the opportunity to view Dippy in the 'flesh' before he goes into retirement.

The key thing to draw from this episode is that a successful PR plan doesn't always have to be planned, but the ability to spot an opportunity and harness its potential is what real PR is all about! If you're thinking about making a big change in your business and want to talk about your potential PR opportunities, then talk to us! Contactinfo@westgatecomms.com or call 01732 779087

[Worried about missing Dippy before he disappears? Don't worry! He'll be on display until 2017, to book your tickets visit: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit.html]


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