Gethin Bradley, who is a pioneer of motor industry PR sent me an email recently with a link to British Pathe video. This offers a glimpse at another world – employees celebrating 25 years with Rover, a presentation of a futuristic vehicle to the Science Museum and a media launch for a new Land Rover.
In many ways this looks very different from modern PR practice – much slower pace for the company and the media, for example. But in other ways, the activities are recognisable as the very things that practitioners continue to arrange today.
There may be fewer employees today reaching a quarter of a century with one employer – let alone a family of four brothers as in the newsreel. The museum piece would feature zero emissions and other environmental benefits. And the media launch? Well, there’s less smoking and journalists aren’t so formally dressed today!
But an attention to detail is evident – and it is notable that senior executives of the company are supporting each of the activities. That meant recognising the importance of employee loyalty, reaching a wider public, and the influential role of the media.
The film’s conclusion about Rover being synonymous with motor engineering may sound a little like “spin” with the benefit of hindsight, but this is a fascinating glimpse at how the modern world of PR owes much to those early pioneers.