Street Promotions and Other Unique Promotions

When thinking of a stunt or street promotion, you have to realize that it requires more careful preparation while still making the promotion noteworthy and interesting. Remember, to make the promotion successful, you have to keep it legal. Additionally, location of the promotion is critical; if you are doing the promotion for public attention, pick a central location or an area that has high visibility and large amounts of traffic.

Every year, to announce the fact that the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus is in town, the circus does a street promotion called the animal walk. Depending on logistics and neighborhoods, most of the animals from the circus are paraded from the circus train to the venue in which they will be performing. This is a tradition in every town the circus tours and has been going on for many years. Three years ago, to enhance the excitement,

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey created an old-fashioned circus parade, similar to the ones that occurred over 50 years ago, featuring circus performers, animals from the show, old circus wagons, marching bands, and lots of horses.

To get attention, you sometimes have to be unique and creative. As people see increasingly outrageous TV shows and contests, marketers have to continue to stand out to grab the attention of their target market.

When planning a street promotion, you must consider weather, risk, and outside influences that might disrupt the stunt. Not everyone may be as excited as you about your promotion. If it is raining, you may not draw as many spectators as you had expected. If the promotion causes traffic jams, the people stuck in traffic will have other thoughts about your promotion.

People love to get something for free, whether it is big or small, so when you think of street promotions all it may take for a little attention is to give something away to the public. By giving away something for free, you guarantee some type of interest and excitement. Make sure the "freebie" has a connection to the event; it

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

You have to be careful about how wild your stunts can be. When you come out of a successful brainstorming session, there may be a temptation to do a stunt or street promotion that may be too bizarre or may not be legal. You have to remember that if something goes wrong or the stunt alienates the public, there may be more negative attention or publicity that could then end up harming the event.

To promote the opening of a boat show, which took place in the middle of the winter, we got one wacky person to water-ski with just a bathing suit on the almost-frozen river that borders the city. In the end, we were lucky our water-skier did not fall into the freezing waters, which could have produced a dangerous situation. He did not, and we saw hundreds pull over to the side of the road, a little confused as they watched him perform tricks in front of photographers and reporters.

Sometimes There Is a Free Lunch!

The agency in charge of the grand-opening events for the Vanity Fair Factory Outlet Malls wanted to create awareness in the media that there was something special inside the shopping center. To accomplish this, the agency ran a promotion: For the four days of the grand opening, the mall would be giving away a free pair of Lee jeans (made by Vanity Fair) to the first 400 people who came through the door. Each day, there was a line of more than 400 people, stretching almost the length of three football fields, all camping out on beach chairs and blankets before the doors even opened. To the media who passed by and saw a huge line every morning, their only impression was that there must be something going on inside the new store. To the traffic reporters who saw traffic jams on the nearby roads, they reported on a "new hot store that has lines before it even opens."

should also have a message on it that promotes the event. Sometimes the act of giving something away can be used to get media coverage.

Whenever there is a chance to win a large sum of money or a trip to an exotic location, people will be attracted in large numbers. Also, if there is a chance for someone to win a car or a million dollars, both the public and the media will take notice. But, remember, by holding one of these contests, you will create a lot of awareness as well as a lot of disappointed people who did not win. As a result, you may damage your event.

In 1990, Foot Locker created the first Million Dollar Shot, which took place during the rookie game at the NBA's All-Star Weekend. One person was chosen at random that year to take a half-court shot for the million dollars. National publicity prior to the event included a story on the front page of USA Today and an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman. When the winner, a 15-year-old boy, missed the big shot in front of millions of people on TV, his immediate reaction was to cry in the arms of his parents. The public's reaction to his crying was not the best publicity for Foot Locker.

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