The reinvention of a seaside favourite lands a knock-out PR Punch
6th September 2012

The reinvention of a seaside favourite lands a knock-out PR Punch

The stunts we’ve been writing about of late have become, I’ve realised, a bit big.

And complicated. And involved.

And the truth is that stunts in a dream world aren’t any of those things. Actually, they’re clever and small and witty.

To at least some degree, this is one of those dream world stunts delivered.

For those less than familiar with it – and who can’t judge from the still in the video clip what it might be all about – Punch and Judy has had a make-over courtesy of Taylor Herring and UKTV classic comedy channel, Gold.

Here’s a quick précis of what it’s all about …

The team has got a couple of writers to recreate the classic Punch and Judy show with a modern script.

Oh, and they also did some shocking research that suggested that the original might not these days be considered family entertainment (what with the enticement to wife beating and encouragement of child cruelty).

But it works. At least it was a moderate success (based on the swift search of Google on which I have based my judgement of quality).

It works because it’s fun. And funny. There aren’t that many news editors who aren’t going to smile a knowing smile – and then put it in the paper.

It’s spot on because it’s got an element of celebrity to it – the inclusion of Simon Cowell and Boris Johnson as puppets amongst others – that gives it a stronger connection to contemporary news values (and those who make the news).

It’s a real consumer experience as the show is going to Yarmouth and Scarborough.

That means that there is a serious nod to seaside heritage, but also something that a journo can write about where a reader can live the experience. Rather than being an event only the media can take part in.

But most of all, it’s done a brilliant job of getting a debate going.

So it has been that the media (and Ken Dodd amongst them, I not) have argued about whether Punch and Judy should be reinvented at all. They’ve argued about whether they should be performed as they were intended, relics of a bygone era, or indeed whether they be put out to pasture and never seen again, such is their inability to chime with modern sensibilities?

The fact that this campaign has worked on some many levels – fun stunt, digital content, delight for broadcast, simple celebrity-related headline grabber, the basis for a debate about modern morals and about what is acceptable in comedy – is the joy of it.

Clever work from a simple idea.

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