I am a big fan of proactive publicity as a way to build your brand. Here are some examples of proactive publicity:
- When Hallmark launched the industry’s first personalized, computer-generated cards, they sent personalized cards to talk show hosts.
- EasyJet invested a large portion of its marketing dollars in a lawsuit against KLM, claiming unfair competitive practices, positioning itself as the underdog on the side of the public.
- Trivial Pursuit marketers sent games samples to celebrities featured in the game and to radio personalities who had an affinity for trivia.
- The Peabody Hotel in Memphis has ducks march out of the elevator down a red carpet to its lobby fountain twice a day with great fanfare under the direction of the Peabody Duckmaster. Hundreds of people watch and take pictures, many of which are posted on social media.
- A nonprofit organization, whose mission was to encourage woman over age 40 to get mammograms annually, wanted a message that would “break through.” I suggested they feature a bare-chested woman with a double mastectomy on outdoor signs along major highways, using shocking copy such as “Over 40? Don’t wait until it is too late. Get a mammogram today.” Or, “Which pain is worse? Over 40? Get a mammogram today.” (Imagine the buzz this billboard campaign would create.)
- To create buzz about the movie Frenzy, Alfred Hitchcock floated a dummy of himself down the Thames River.
- In the “Will It Blend?” campaign, Blendtec demonstrated the power and durability of its blenders by posting a series of YouTube videos of its blender blending everyday items (an iPhone, marbles, baseball, crowbar, Bic lighters, Super Glue, etc.).
- Taco Bell quietly conducted nationwide research to find twenty-five men across America named Ronald McDonald, and featured them in television and web ads enjoying items from Taco Bell’s breakfast menu.
- And click here to see how TNT promotes itself with proactive publicity.
Excerpted from Brand Aid, second edition, © 2014 by Brad VanAuken
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