Making headlines: 5 PR tips from a textbook dental story

by Branding, Communications, Movers and shakers

The year has got off to a nice start for our client David Murnaghan at Boyne Implant & Dental Clinic. He’s been in the news around the world thanks to an extraordinary case he took on pro bono, and there are some lessons here if you wanted to make the headlines with your dental practice.

David Murnaghan on Claire Byrne Live, RTE One, January 29

Click here to see David on Claire Byrne Live, prime time TV on Ireland’s RTE One

  1. Find a human story. David didn’t go out looking for one in a premeditated way, he just happened to share a car with fellow water polo player Michael Sheridan, 32, who showed him a full mouth of black, crumbling teeth. They had ruined his life, changing his personality and diet, and he was in pain and suffered abscesses. A while later Michael came in for a consultation, and it was clear a full mouth clearance was needed. He was going to be getting married in late 2018.
  2. Connect the dots. The solution for Michael’s budget was full dentures, but David realised that, being the same age, this was a terrible outcome for such a young man. He began looking at the story in a wider context: Michael’s addiction to Coca-Cola (five or six litres a day) seemed like an indictment on the Irish sugar habit, and the sugar tax was in the news; Michael was an extreme example of a problem that too many Irish people experienced, decay from sugar, poor oral hygiene and avoiding the dentist.
  3. Be enterprising. David asked his suppliers Bio Horizons and Gordon Watters Dental Laboratory in Belfast if they’d cover their end of a 12-implant treatment if he would cover his end. They would in return for some media coverage. David asked around and someone was interested in making a TV documentary.
  4. Be yourself — it’s enough. With four cameras on him — three from the documentary crew and one from the Meath Chronicle newspaper — David extracted 27 teeth in one sitting. It was the most he had ever done in one go and he just focused on the work. A few days later he was invited onto the Late Lunch show on LMFM radio with Michael, where he explained everything in an open and honest way. No need to pump himself or his business up, and in fact David admitted that he was a little uncomfortable about broadcasting that he was doing the implants gratis because his business couldn’t afford to do this for everyone. Listen to the interview below,

    and note how David links Michael’s plight to the wider Irish phenomenon of high sugar consumption and poor dental attendance, dropping in a couple of statistics. He explains the treatment plan in layman’s terms, no jargon.

  5. Look after your local media. After the story broke in the Meath Chronicle David was approached by some of the national papers, but he allowed the Chronicle to keep the story with a succession of banners, double page spreads and videos for its website. In doing so he kept a valuable mouthpiece in his catchment onside, and the nationals ran with it anyway. So far it’s been picked up by the:

He’s also been on two national radio shows, the Moncrieff show on Newstalk and the Ray D’Arcy Show on RTE Radio 1, as well as LMFM’s Late Lunch again. Newspapers and media outlets are always more interested in multi-media packages and the Chronicle’s videos have helped sell the story:

VIDEO: Ashbourne man’s smiles better after having 27 rotten teeth removed in one morning

VIDEO: ‘I just want to go back to being me, not that person hiding away from everything’

VIDEO: I’m going to have to learn to smile again, I’ve forgotten how’

Oh, and congratulations to David for delivering his baby son Darragh in the back seat of his car, for which he landed even more press coverage in the Irish Mirror and Irish Independent, among others.

David Murnaghan

“We have a problem in Ireland compared to our European counterparts”

David Murnaghan, Boyne Dental & Implant Clinic
Author: Zac Fine