Posts Tagged ‘breaking the rules’

Learn the rules so you know how to break them — Dalai Lama

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Learn the rules so you know how to break them.

This is one of Dalai Lama’s 18 Rules and so apropos for PR.

  1. tacobell image1. The rule: Tell the truth and tell it fast.  This is a golden rule for crisis communications and one I highly recommend to clients.  But sometimes it’s fun, and effective to lie. For example, when Taco Bell was trying to gain inroads in Philadelphia, they issued a press release stating they had purchased the Liberty Bell and were renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. On a smaller scale, last April Fools, gearjunkie came out with an announcement that Vibram FiveFingers now had a cycling shoe. For a flash second I thought I had been left in the dark, then I looked at the calendar.  In both cases  UVs went sky high.
  2. The rule: Avoid head to head competition.  Well this is more the client’s rule.  From a pr standpoint, rarely are companies willing to instigate their own comparative review initiatives for legal and any many other reasons. But a direct battle can be a crowd pleaser. Case in point, in Asia, Burger King was getting creamed by MacDonald’s.  In response, they put BK tee-shirts on Ronald MacDonald statues and plastered footsteps leading from MacDonald’s to BK, along with other subversive techniques.   The ploy sent BK burger sales soaring.
  3. Rule 3: Avoid illegal activities when planning events. OK, you don’t want to get your client, or yourself thrown in jail but if you can pull it off without prison time, the fine might be worth the publicity payoff. In the UK, two streakers painted with a cell phone company‘s graphics ran onto the soccer stadium field.  The stadium was named for a competing company. The stunt was picked up by the major broadcast company filming the event and got lots of print play as well.

I’m not saying you have to strip down or put out bogus press releases to get attention but I do think you have to be extremely resourceful in this business to succeed. Whether it’s a small budget, tight deadline or stiff competition, sometimes the situation calls for a creative, alternative solution.   Don’t have enough money to fly the media in for an event? Then catch them at a tradeshow – you have a captive audience.  Don’t have time or luck getting through to Newsweek then try their daily blog, The Daily Beast.  Can’t compete with the heavy hitters when it comes to entertaining than go the other way and do something so simple that’s it’s different and a welcome change. Can’t come up with the change to hire a driver for a NYC media tour? Take cabs and wear your running shoes.

Check out http://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/business/blog/guerrilla-marketing-campaigns/ for more guerrilla marketing inspiration and, sorry for the cliché, but keep thinking out of the box.