IT'S GOOD NEWS

Burnt Dragons

19 February 2018 | Lloyd Hughes

So, it turns out Dragons’ Den is still going.

Forgive me if I’m alone in this, but I thought it had given up the ghost ages ago and was merely on the edge of my consciousness thanks to past successes.

Much like the Apprentice in fact, which sailed into television oblivion years…oh. Hang on. That’s still going too.

I used to watch Dragons’ Den in the good ol’ days of Theo Paphitis, Duncan Bannatyne, Deborah Meaden and the ever-present Peter Jones. That quartet came about in series 3, I believe (Wikipedia based research, of course). From there, I rather lost interest and presumed it had enjoyed another 4 or 5 series of relative success before coming to a dignified halt and gracefully retiring from our screens. But no, it’s apparently gone on for *rubs eyes* an astonishing 15 series.

Dragons’ Den (like the Apprentice it would seem - an equally astonishing 13 series) has ticked along under my radar for years.

But before I say flogging and dead horse, both must be getting ratings to warrant their continuance.

I don’t have much chance to watch television these days (I’m busy don’t you know) so it’s not overly surprising that I’m not au fait with the latest goings on, however I do keep abreast of the news – working in PR kind of makes this essential – and Dragons’ Den has been widely talked about in the media this week.

It surged back to the fore of my consciousness mainly due to a social media furore around a group of budding entrepreneurs turning down Dragon investment to the tune of four £100,000 offers.

This subsequently made its way onto multiple news websites – where I happened to see it, including a highlight video of the moment of rejection.

With the pitching party only willing to part with a derisory 1.5% share of their business, the dragons were having none of it and seemed pretty furious that the group weren’t willing to offer up a larger slice of the entrepreneurial pie.

Plenty of viewers seemed to be asking the question, what’s the point of going on the show if you don’t want investment?

Well, publicity it seems.

The concept (Playbrush; turning kids’ toothbrushes into mobile gaming controls) has reached a much broader audience than those who were merely watching Dragons’ Den, which, while viewing figures are still pretty high, certainly isn’t what it used to be.

Appearing on the programme gives much needed exposure. The hardest part of starting a brand from scratch is gaining an initial customer/client base.

All Playbrush had to do was appear on the show to get some level of exposure – but by refusing the investment offered by the dragons, the firm has managed to generate far more of a buzz about its offering.

With some questions over just how much benefit investment from the dragons can bring, it could turn out to be a shrewd move by the trio. They maintain full control over their budding business, while also making sure plenty of people keep an eye out on what they do.

Good PR for Playbrush, but also good PR for Dragons’ Den in a way. I, at least, now know it’s still kicking about somewhere on the TV*. Bring back Noel’s House Party I say!

*It turns out, if you look, there's plenty of news out there about people rejecting the dragons' investment. Playbrush isn't alone it seems. I really should pay more attention...