ENGLAND cricketer Ryan Sidebottom had recently retired from the sport when he approached MHR Clinic to discuss a hair transplant.
The fast-medium bowler’s trademark curls were hiding a receding hairline. With new offers of TV work coming in at pace Ryan was becoming self-conscious about his appearance.
The latest was for a turn on ITV’s coming series of Dancing On Ice.
MHR Clinic struck a deal with Ryan and then told Stones PR it wanted national news coverage around his hairline surgery.
But Ryan wasn’t yet a household name. He would need a good innings on the dance show to pique interest in his cosmetic procedure.
AS ITV’s new season of Dancing on Ice began to screen, MHR Clinic’s staff tuned in with interest.
Fortunately, Ryan’s endearing manner won over the show’s judges and audience, and the 6ft 4” gentle giant skated into the semi-finals and nation’s hearts.
Once his turn on Dancing on Ice was done, to increase chances of generating the national news coverage demanded by MHR, I convinced Ryan to let me film his daylong hair transplant.
On the day of his procedure, we took a photographer, videographer and four HD video cameras into theatre, and interviewed the star about his hair transplant while he had his surgery.
The interview footage would be an industry first.
Media experience told me that single candid moment would be sufficient to entice and satisfy the appetites of most newspaper editors.
JUST five months later, Ryan’s hairline was already strong with more growth to come.
Invited for interview at MHR Clinic, the sportsman reflected on his procedure and how his new look hairline would help him his new showbiz career.
Coupled with video from the day of his procedure, I was able to produce a collection of content with video partners Sagitta Media – including several social media clips.
Photos and written content in a copy-rich news release were crafted to work together. A landing page for the campaign on MHR Clinic’s website was also readied.
A campaign schedule was then planned to coincide with the next series of Dancing on Ice.
Just as public anticipation grew around the next line-up for the ITV show, and as the first three contestants were announced, I dropped the PR campaign in front of news and showbiz editors and referenced the popular programme repeatedly.
When launch day came in September 2019, The Sun, Mirror and Daily Mail ran stories about Ryan’s procedure, putting Stones PR’s sensational video content at the heart of theiur stories.
All embedded the video in their online pages, which also hosted our photos and copy.
Links to those pages were held on each of the national outlets’ homepages for more than ten hours on launch day.
Each national newspaper also circulated their story with video on social media, as even wider audiences engaged with MHR’s brand.
I RAN a 21-day concerted social media campaign of short video edits and media coverage articles on MHR Clinic’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages following the press launch.
Content and design for a landing page on MHR Clinic’s website was completed by Stones PR. It caught all web traffic that moved via links embedded in media articles and in social media posts.
THE Sidebottom campaign’s ‘social shorts’ can be viewed below.
Stones PR’s campaign video content proved so compelling that it was shared widely online. MHR Clinic’s celebrity hair transplant footage was watched by an estimated audience of 5.5 million UK viewers as a result of the campaign.
MHRClinic.co.uk saw website traffic impressions leap from 45 per day to 690 on launch day. More than 400 people visited the following day and then the site received an average of 140 hits each day for another week. Website visits finally stabilised at around 60 per day thereafter.
As a result, MHR Clinic realised an additional £70K of business in the two weeks after Stones PR’s public relations campaign went live.
BBC weatherman Simon King came to MHR Clinic with contractual constraints. His employers wouldn’t let him do any commercial endorsements.
So, I had a paparazzi photographer capture the BBC broadcaster on one of his visits and leaked the photo story to The Sun newspaper with quotes from ‘a friend’ about Simon’s fear around his hair loss.
The connection between Simon and MHR Clinic was established for our PR campaign that would come later.
Simon had his hair transplant. I ensured MHR’s technicians took photos of his procedure on his iPhone, with Simon’s consent. Two weeks later, he returned to live TV. Simon pre-empted public reaction to his appearance by posting the surgery photos on his iPhone to Instagram, with an heartfelt account of why he’d done it.
The Sun, the Mirror and the Daily Mail all reported his emotive reasons for tackling hair loss. And they all lifted his surgery photos from Instagram. His previous documented visits to MHR Clinic ensured all publications could easily deduce where he got his new look.
Stones PR orchestrated four national newspaper articles around Simon King’s hair transplant, without him publicly endorsing the clinic. News of Simon’s hair transplant reached an estimated audience of 15 million readers and resulted in more than £55K of business for MHR Clinic.
STONES PR prepared and conducted a video interview with Adam Rickitt as he returned to UK TV screens for a role in the popular Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks.
Responding to lines of questioning, Adam became candid about the potential effect of hair loss on his acting career and how he had sought treatments to ensure he would still secure important roles.
The former teen idol agreed to a photo shoot. I put together a news-ready PR campaign, including video edits, a series of photos, a copy-rich press release and landing page for MHR Clinic’s website. A raft of social content was also produced.
With all content in the can, I travelled to London to strike an exclusive deal with Reach Plc for the campaign to run exclusively in four of its major news titles – The Mirror, Daily Star, Manchester Evening News and Birmingham Post.
As agreed, The Mirror’s article appeared on the publication’s home page banner which contained links to MHR’s website. That exclusive was then followed up by The Star, Manchester Evening News (in print and online), the Birmingham Mail, while the UK’s leading entertainment website Digital Spy also picked up and ran the story. All provided links to MHR’s website and posted on social channels.
Coverage reached more than 15m UK readers, generating more than £40K of business for MHR Clinic.
WHEN MHR Clinic called Stones PR, Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg was already a year since his transplant.
Worse, national media had picked up on his radical change, published it and people knew about his hair transplant.
The challenge was to make new news.
Mark’s clinic records and endorsement deal revealed photos of his two-day procedure and 8000 hair transplant.
I conducted an interview with Mark who relayed his story of hair loss. Pairing it with the surgery photos was easy.
A news-ready PR campaign included candid video interview, photos, a copy-rich press release, a website landing page and social media content.
The Daily Mail was approached as the campaign’s ‘lead steer’ guide the rest of the media pack. The paper used all of the surgery photos of Mark and generated response from The Sun, Scottish Sun and Irish Sun all of which asked for the content. FourFourTwo magazine, Yahoo Sports , SportReff and ESPN also ran stories. Spanish media outlets Mundo Deportivo, AS, Cuatro and Sport.es followed.
Many traffic links to MHR Clinic’s website were established. Media titles circulated articles on their social media channels.
In total, Mark’s hair transplant reached a global audience of more than 65 million readers. The PR campaign generated more than £285K of business for MHR Clinic.
It was the PR campaign that put MHR firmly on the map.
AS A PARTNER in MHR Clinic, Ryan Giggs wanted to come clean about his hair transplant and medical hair treatments.
Him telling his story about his hair transplant would create huge interest and exposure for the clinic.
How mainstream media might relay the revelations was another matter.
Ryan had a chequered relationship with the press. Issues in his personal life now dominated his personal brand.
Orchestrating a campaign around the football legend’s hair transplant would need a deft touch.
Questions for interview were prepared, and vetted by Ryan. Videographer and photographer signed non-disclosure agreements. A date was set for interview at MHR Clinic.
Stones PR’s film recording and photo shoot were over within the morning before a meticulous weeklong edit began.
Three key video edits and a series of social media clips were produced. A copy-rich news release was edited hard to drive the narrative. A website landing page too.
Deals were struck with tabloid editors to sanitise coverage in return for the content.
Controlling the narrative was always the most important part of this high stakes celebrity endorsement campaign.
It mattered for Ryan, it mattered for MHR Clinic and it mattered for me.
Launch day soon followed and the results speak for themselves.
There’s much more to read about Stones PR’s handling of Ryan Giggs’ hair transplant publicity on this dedicated page here, containing all the candid content.