Do you remember the pet rock? And you'll recall that strange little product got talked about on thousands of radio stations, shown on TV, and written up in newspapers and magazines, providing its inventor with millions of dollars of free advertising. He simply sent pet rocks to the media, and they went nuts over it! On a smaller scale, you can generate media interest and coverage with your own unusual products or promotions.
The Home Club, a wholesale membership store, used a brochure made to look like a rock in a direct-mail campaign to solicit new members. Sticking with the rock theme, the club talked about its "rock bottom prices" and their location that was "only a stone's throw away," and offered, as a free gift to new members, a phony rock with a well in it to hide a spare key. The mailing pulled a remarkable 7 percent response. But the promotion was so unique it was written up in Target Marketing Magazine (7/90) and mentioned on local talk radio.
On a Friday The 13th, a record store erected a "superstition obstacle course" in its parking lot—complete with a ladder to walk under, a sidewalk crack to step on, mirrors to break, and a black cat roaming around—and sent dares to all the local radio disc jockeys, newspaper columnists, and TV personalities to go through the obstacle course. One radio station bit and did a live remote, morning drive-time broadcast from the site. Two TV news programs reported it. Thousands of dollars of free advertising resulted.
One of our local banks has all its tellers come to work in costumes on Halloween—and for three years in a row, they've garnered free advertising on TV news programs with this gimmick.
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