An Introduction to Publicity Matters

Publicity Matters is a multi-award winning Durban-based, women-owned business specialising in promotion, public relations, media liaison and publicity.

It is best known for working in the area of civic events; arts and culture; social justice, and sports and leisure.

It was established in 1995 with two partners – Sharlene Versfeld and Illa Thompson.

Since 2001 the company is now run by Illa Thompson, with her sister, Sophie Thompson and various specialist service providers, interns and associates.

Publicity Matters was awarded:

  • Won inaugural Arts and Culture Publicists of the Year; 1998
  • Finalist Arts and Culture Publicists of the Year; 2001
  • Finalist Arts and Culture Publicists of the Year; 2002
  • Won Arts and Culture Publicists of the Year; 2003.
  • Awarded “Impact” award at the Durban Fools Award in 2003
  • Awarded 2005 “Judges Award” at the Durban Theatre Awards

Our Team

Illa Thompson
Illa ThompsonPartner
Illa, a graduate of Rhodes University and resident of Glenwood, is a former journalist with Independent Newspapers. She has been a publicist since the late 80s. She does publicity for various faith structures; social justice bodies; NGOs; theatre practioners such as Pieter Dirk Uys and KickstArt; events; festivals and galleries. She serves on numerous boards and NGO bodies including the Denis Hurley Centre; the KZN Performing Arts Trust; the interim KZN Cultural and Creative Industries Federation; and the Glenwood Community Forum. She is a columnist with the Mercury commenting on Art Matters; and has a weekly slot on SAfm, DYR and Skye Radio. She is also an Ambassador for the global initiative of Thursdays in Black.
Sophie Thompson
Sophie ThompsonPartner
Sophie joined the business in 2001. Sophie brings to the company a wealth of experience and expertise in particular in the sporting arena – she played springbok action cricket; has SA colours for athletics; Natal colours for athletics (club and school); hockey; softball; water-polo and outdoor and indoor cricket. Sophie has studied Sport Psychology and Computer Technology. The main accounts that she works on are the SPAR Women’s Race in Durban and Pietermaritzburg, SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge, as well as a lot of the sailing events that take place in Durban. She was part of the successful team that worked on the PyeongChang’s 2018 Winter Olympic Bid and the World Transplant Games. In rejuvenating the Durban scene of sailing, she has also started photography to help promote the sport.

Our Services

  • Writing general media releases for submission to local press, radio and television and email-based media
  • Submission of photographs and press releases to media
  • Motivating for and setting up interviews with media and attending thereto
  • Supporting the clients presence on social media
  • Motivating and setting up photographs with local media for main body of newspapers / social media
  • Motivating for and arranging for for competitions to be run in local media
  • General media liaison
  • Project managing poster and flier distribution as well as liaising with designers
  • Together with the client, assisting in the drawing up invitation lists of local celebrities, media and VIP guests suitable for functions – sports, theatre and social celebrities
  • Sending out invites and processing / receiving RSVPs
  • Attending to guests and press at functions
  • Liaising with ticketing agent where necessary
  • Managing FOH / box office at events
  • Liaising with the venue management on behalf of client;
  • General administration, organisation and function co-ordination
  • Together with ad agency, design and placing of advertisements in relevant media