I copy the comments by WAToday reporter Brendan Foster on the PR debacle the Perth International Arts Festival-PIAF made out of the river journey of the Giant Puppets:
Bugger me; there WERE supersized puppets on the Swan River near Fremantle late on Sunday.
In the end it was almost impossible to hide the monstrous marionettes as they weaved their way on a barge down the waterway to the port city.
Yet, for some inexplicable reason the crew at the Perth International Arts Festival last Thursday didn’t want to tell WAtoday.com.au the wee giant – The Little Girl – and The Diver would make their farewell trip via Fremantle. Even after we spied a newspaper ad confirming the puppets would be at the East Street Jetty around 5pm, PIAF still denied it.
But why? Why would PIAF try to pull the wool over the eyes of potential marionette moochers, when thousands lined the riverbanks on Sunday afternoon to get a glimpse of the puppets from French company Royale de Luxe.
And dozens of people took to Facebook to post pictures of the puppets heading to the port city.
If I was managing public relations for an arts organisation, I would’ve thought this level of exposure was gold.
Maybe the good folk at PIAF thought portsiders would pinch the puppets, given their local footy team the Dockers lack a decent tall?
Or was PIAF worried if portsiders knew the puppets were heading their way, they wouldn’t make the rare trip across Fremantle Bridge to see them?
According to Main Roads, The Giants had more than 1.4 million visits over the three days they sauntered through the streets of Perth.
Kudos to PIAF for recognising the event would resonate with Perth audiences but they missed a trick by not letting us know the puppets would be barging their way to Fremantle.
It was strange indeed as this Freo’s View blog was the first to publish this after hearing it late on Wednesday afternoon on the ABC Radio Drive program with John McGlue. I received an email from Brendan Foster of WAToday, who had read my blog post, to ask if my story was correct because PIAF had denied it was happening. I got calls from the City of Fremantle if I could delete the blog post because PIAF was worried about getting a large crowd at the jetty and they had not allowed for that with security. I also received emails and comments on Facebook telling me I had spread untrue rumours, but I hadn’t!
Luckily people believed my blog post and the WAToday story and came to the Swan river and the Freo East Street jetty, where the barge with the larger than life marionettes arrived at 2.45 pm.
FREO’S VIEW had over 2,700 hits on Sunday!