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PR Wags the Dog | 35grove.com | Where Ideas Grow

PR Wags the Dog

Lately, I’ve noticed an uncharacteristic spike in articles, shows, and radio broadcasts about Hitler and the Holocaust. And while walking across Houston Street a few nights ago, the cause was staring right at me in the form of a huge billboard: Valkyrie, the story of one of the 42 plots to kill Hitler (I learned that there were 42 failed assassination attempts this weekend while watching a special on National Geographic Channel; case and point). And it’s premiering soon. Coincidence? I think not.

What’s really going on is that United Artists is waging a strong PR campaign. Instead of asking the media to focus on their film (the media will never promote a product just because you ask them to), UA has suggested topics and stories that the media can cover…that in some way or another, lead to mentioning Valkyrie. Kudos to them. That’s the way PR is meant to be done. Give the media a story, not just a promotion.

So how can you take advantage of this? Two ways.

The first: let this be a lesson in effective PR. There’s so much Hitler flying around that you won’t help but consider going to watch or at the very least talk about Valkyrie in the coming weeks. The most amazing part: UA has brought Valkyrie to your attention by convincing the media to talk about a related topic, and the sudden spike in interest in that topic, has rubbed off on the film. (As a side note, lots of films pursue this strategy.)

And the second: jump on the band wagon when the iron is hot, and let the bandwagon pull you all the way to the bank.

I’m not so sure that the Holocaust will boost your sales, but look ahead, and see how you can utilize a sudden interest in a topic to promote your business. The simplest example is a holiday gift guide around Christmas. A more sophisticated one is preparing some content, promotions, or products that relate to a central topic in a movie, album, sporting event, etc. that you know is going to be in the media spotlight in the future. The goal: become part of the feedback loop (company pushes topic to the media, topic reminds people of the company’s product, topic and product become really hot and rub off on other products related to the topic, topic becomes hotter, everyone’s talking about the topic, and then hopefully everyone’s talking about your product as well…).

In conclusion: leverage other people’s PR spend so you don’t have to. Granted, jumping on the bandwagon will help their PR goals, but if done right, you’ll also be able to reap some major benefits.

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