“Outside the box” is a horrible cliche’- mostly because it’s the price of entry for any marketing communication effort these days. The number of messages bombarding the average brain every day makes it obvious that bland, “typical” messages simply won’t penetrate. To me, that means that effective advertising and public relations efforts do have to meet one simple standard: they have to be smart.
They have to demonstrate creativity born of insight; the kind that only happens when its creators stop thinking in terms of a particular magazine page or 30-second TV unit. Every project should start with a clean drawing board and a simple strategy that includes WHOM we’re talking to, WHAT we want them to do and WHY we expect them to believe us.
With those as the only parameters, I think my favorite marketing effort of 2013 came from Brazil, and featured Count Chiquinho Scarpa. He is an exotic Brazilian billionaire, somewhat famous for his excentric behavior. He announced on Facebook his intention to, on a given day in September, bury his luxurious Bentley automobile worth $500,000 in his yard – a la the ancient Pharoahs who buried their priceless artifacts, as if to be reclaimed in the afterlife.
The Brazilian population was outraged – and the country’s media channels, and many international ones, grabbed the bait like the starved piranha in the nearby Amazon. The event was discussed and debated endlessly, with talk shows obsessing about it and newspaper editorials calling him out. Scarpa himself appeared frequently to “explain” his reasoning and fan the flames. In all, many millions of dollars worth of media time were allocated to the topic.
On the appointed day, with media everywhere (including in helicopters overhead), the Bentley Read the rest of this entry »