I want to talk about one of my favorite, things…publicity stunts.
You probably remember that famous Super Bowl when Janet Jackson exposed her breast. Like President Bush, I’d dozed off during the game and I don’t have TIVO. What’s funny to me, is you’d think she and the nitwits at MTV/CBS had invented something. Lady Godiva rode stark naked through town on a horse.
Bill Veck sent a midget into bat. Joe Cossman had a train carload of potatoes delivered to the street outside ‘The Tonight Show’, when he was on with Carson, to promote his Spud Gun. These stunts are as old as, well, Lady Godiva. Nothing new here.
Raleigh Pinskey’s orchestrated some of these, and writes about them – along with other strategies – in the book I recommend, 101 WAYS TO PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS.
It’s worth noting, it’s best if the stunt’s designed so it doesn’t backfire. But even the Janet wardrobe malfunction’s impact is, I assure you, judged behind the scenes in ratio: how many did it offend, and how much did it cost in everything from FCC fines to irate advertisers vs. how much did it make in selling CD’s, creating ratings for her next appearance, and so on. It certainly did dominate the news and national conversation, didn’t it?
A sluggish business, just like a sluggish career, can get a boost from a stunt. You may choose to stop short of baring some portion of your anatomy on TV. But you may very well want to consider what you might want to do, as a publicity stunt or “big” marketing gimmick, to grab a lot of attention and create a lot of conversation with you or your business as the subject.
The “contest” used by Bill Phillips for EAS, by Joe Polish for his coaching program, a gimmick that serves this purpose.
The Phoenix insurance agent who rents out a popular bar every St. Pat’s Day, adds a giant tent covering the whole parking lot, invites all his clients and everyone they want to bring to his party, ties up traffic and makes the local news, a stunt that serves this purpose.
Yanik Silver’s birthday-bash seminar, along these lines. You might even figure out something “contained” within your own universe of past and present customers, that never “goes public”, but whips up a lot of excitement amongst the base.