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A less than safe Ascot bet by Coral

A less than safe Ascot bet by Coral

Ascot couldn’t have come round quick enough this year. The sun is shining, the grass is green and the hat stands are empty. However for this years’ race-goers, the rules of the Ascot dress code are stricter than ever and as the doors swung open on Tuesday, the masses of fashionistas and trendsetters flooded in, as did this year’s fashion faux pas’.

With the ban on the fascinator introduced this year, more attendees than ever were looking to get themselves hat-papped and once again there has been some paparazzi-worthy headgear!

Image Courtesy of Charles Roffey, flickr. com

Image Courtesy of Charles Roffey, flickr. com

Milliners up and down the country have taken full advantage of this prestigious occasion and the array of wildlife that has been fashioned into hats so far is more impressive than ever. From birds to flowers and oversized hats to small ones (although definitely no smaller than 10cm!), as always the most important part of any ladies outfit in the royal enclosure has remained perched on top of their heads.

However, for one guest, heads weren’t turning to look at her hat but to gasp at her outrageous dress and very obvious PR stunt!

All eyes were on Strictly Come Dancing star, Kristina Rhianoff, as she arrived at today’s races including that of the Royal Ascot fashion police and security. Ignoring the well documented Ascot guidelines, Kristina was dressed in a short 1920’s style flapper dress made out of Coral betting slips. The Ben de-Lisi designed dress broke Ascot’s strict guidelines in more ways than one. Spaghetti straps and above the knee skirts have always been a strict no-no when it comes to Ascot etiquette, let alone the dress being emblazoned with the name of a famous betting shop.

It has been strongly speculated that Kristina’s fashion faux pas was instead an impressive PR stunt for the betting company, and after being escorted off the premises by security sporting a rather large smile, no one would believe any differently. Needless to say, the famous dancer would not be banished that easily and returned to the races moments later, in a new dress that conformed to the dress guidelines. A spokesperson for Kristina said “It was always her intention to change her dress and she is still at Ascot enjoying the hospitality at the races.”

If this was a PR stunt, it was nothing but a success as within just a matter of hours photos of Kristina in THAT dress have already featured across numerous newspaper websites and I am sure there will be plenty more to come when tomorrows papers hit the newsstands.

LUSH PR Stunt

Images Courtesy of Pip, flickr.com

Images Courtesy of Pip, flickr.com

Lush has taken action to fight against animal testing in the cosmetic industry.  Though made illegal across the EU three years ago, many companies still run tests on animals for cosmetic products.  Lush took to their flagship shop on Regent Street to raise awareness about animal cruelty by bringing these brutalities to the public’s attention.  They exposed testing methods normally done on animals and tested them on an actual human on one of the busiest streets in London.

Performance artist, Jacqueline Traide, 24, was hauled on a leash to the shop’s window. Over the course of the next 10 hours, she endured numerous poking and prodding, was force-fed, and went through two saline injections. Not to fret, she didn’t suffer any ‘actual’ pain. But the experiment stopped shoppers and those passing by dead in their tracks as they witnessed the all too real reality of animal testing.

As a Fashion & Lifestyle PR  team, we keep abreast of PR stunts and are also big Lush consumers. As such two thoughts came to mind, the first being shock and dismay, followed by a desire to help Lush fight against those malicious test centres and cosmetic companies who use, abuse, and then kill innocent animals.

PR stunts take place every week, with some gaining more coverage than others. Lush took a step outside the conventional box by combining the harsh reality of the cosmetic industry with emotions of shock and horror to appeal to an empathetic public, and as a result, it was a huge success.  The stunt challenges men and women to consider the darker aspects of an industry which exclusively exists to make us feel good.

The response to the stunt was predominantly positive, with hundreds stopping to sign the ‘fight against animal testing’ petition. Yet, a large number of individuals simply stopped, watched, and moved on without taking the time to make a difference. Criticism has come from the public, stating that while it is still legal in the UK to sell cosmetics that have been animal tested in other parts of the world, including North America and China, the stunt would have perhaps been better suited in a country that legally allows the cruelty to happen. Others spoke out saying Lush took the image of violence too far.

Lush received positive press coverage around the world for their stunt.  Yes, the images were startling and uncomfortable to view, but they made people aware of the dark secrets in the cosmetic industry.  It encourages men and women to consider how their product was created the next time they make a cosmetic purchase. As far as PR stunts go, the shock factor paid off with 200,000 signatures for their petition and chances are an increase in their sales. A startling, but successful campaign that’s got us thinking twice about my next cosmetic purchase!