CPR Promotional Check-Up - Jun 17, 2011
June 17, 2011
Doing The Research
Your states' department of tourism will have a website that should have most of the events you'll want to be at. Also, have an intern go to the website of every suburb and outlying community and get the info on their summer festivals AND 4th Of July celebrations. Get a calendar. Start penciling stuff in.
"But we have remotes" is the #1 excuse for missing the opportunity to politic the station to thousands and thousands of people. (Though, the same six people who come to each remote and complain about the quality of your swag and the pizza, appreciate the effort.)
Figure out a way to have people at a festival and still be at Famous Footwear. It's that important. Borrow a soundsystem from your mixer. I've had to do that about 8000 times. There's usually a way to make this work.
Parades are one of the great all-time promotional venues...and most stations only hit the one or two biggest every year. Which is nuts if you consider that generally at one point or another, just about every 'burb and surrounding community has a parade. And these things draw tens of thousands of people.
Obviously you want to be blasting music. At the old WLOL, we actually had mike stands on the roof so that we could stick our speakers on the top of the van as we rolled through.
PARADE LESSON NUMBER ONE: Have a mix CD in the van. The last thing you want to do is in front of 25,000 people, go into a long ass stop set. (And that's inevitably when you'll get stuck with a feminine hygiene spot.) So when you go to spots, stick in the CD.
At parades, you obviously want to go down in advance and banner all the key intersections anyway. You'd want to do this even if you didn't have a competitor. At St. Patricks Day in Tampa, we bribed the guys with the float in front of the competition, and the guys with the float behind the competition to hang banners on the vehicle facing back or forward; so that the other station would have to stare at Wild logos the entire route. They went nuts. It was great.
Also bring a couple of dozen shirts for the people riding floats. There are always a couple of floats or units where you can get people to put them on...and roll past 40,000 people. The queens and princesses won't do it, but as teen females, they're usually fans of your station (we would hope) and will at least stick a sticker somewhere visible. Also, if you can get a sticker on the competition's vehicle (like Beev did to the other station at St. Patty's) it's a Beautiful Thing. They couldn't figure out why everyone was pointing and laughing as they rolled by.
The point? You're going to sit at the parade line up for two hours; you may as well use the time effectively.
Fairs and Festivals
Like parades, every community will have a fair or festival at some point during the year. You have to be at these things.
F&F LESSON NUMBER ONE: You want to have something at your booth that builds a crowd and keeps it there. When people walk through an event and see people congregated around your booth, the mental image is: "Gee they're popular. I wonder what I'm missing?" Or something to that effect. See my Street Team Manual for all the behaviors to avoid, ie: sitting at the booth, eating. In fact, take the chairs out. They'll have to stand. And then come up with something to keep the crowd. I hate prize wheels but they're better then nothing.
At fairs and festivals, don't feel like you have to limit your signage to your booth. Go down to where they are the first morning of the event and bribe the booths all around them to have your station on. Once again, you should be doing this anyway. The kids and carnys who work the food booths at these events will do anything for a shirt. Make sure they wear it every day and keep your station blasting.
RULE NUMBER TWO: the first day of any festival I usually took a couple dozen shirts and worked the festival, getting us on at booths and at rides. Even if you don't have competition, this is something you should do.
Finally, stand in front of their booth and do a line-of-sight check. Basically you want to finagle banners in all directions around them, so, sitting there in the blazing heat, they're forced to stare at your logo. It's torture. And easy to pull off. Just have some t-shirts for bribing. These are the ultimate carny currency. Movie tickets are worthless since they'll be gone in 72 hours. (And I don't think you want these people at your screening anyway.)
That's it. 'Tis the season to torment the competition. Let me know if I can help. I live for this stuff.
Bonus "Tormenting The Competition" (But Not Something To Be Proud Of) Idea
Grand Old Day is one of the million festivals that permeate the Twin Cities during the Summer. About 300,000 people on 18 blocks of Grand Avenue in St. Paul on a Saturday. (And yet, some stations ignore it)(Genius).
KDWB had a music stage in one of the parking lots and there, in front of it, stood a mentally handicapped young man in shorts and a straw hat, dancing to the music. Even when there was none. And because people are polite, they steered clear of that stage. They stood way back at the street or walked on by.
I would find a promo person who can turn it on and off and have him dance in shorts, with his underwear showing, in a REALLY small shirt from their station, in front of their booth. They can't make him leave. That would be, just, well, mean.
And Now...The Ideas
In the meantime, what else can you do at a fair?
These are lifestyle, family events. That might be excised from family budgets. Thus, these are good prizes. My favorite vibe weekend was done by Z-90 in San Diego when they did tickets to the county fair. It was a "Fair Weekend". "In the past we've done some great weekends, some good weekends, and even an awful weekend. This weekend is just fair."
Wired 96.3 has some tickets to a Beer Festival. So they're going to do on-air Scrabble. Sort of. All the words will be beer or festival related. Verb. Four letters. Third letter is 'K'. First person to call in and say "puke!" wins.
Visibility Around The Fairgrounds
Balloons are by far the cheapest and still most effective way to flood an event with signage. I saw a Clear Channel station send out street teamers with sidewalk chalk to mark up the pavement with pointed directions on how to get to their booth.
A Germophobes Nightmare
These things are bacteria frappe's. And with Swine Flu already hitting a million Americans (and this Fall, in the words of the CDC, is going to be a "doozy".)(My brother is an ER doc. Unflappable to the point of it being annoying. And he said that SF is coming back and it's coming back HARD this Fall). Cities 97 in Minneapolis once put their street team on rollerblades and had them 'work' the Basilica Block Party, rolling around with water spray bottles, spritzing over-heated people. How about doing theis with anti-bacterial soap?
KDWB was the station that did The Back Street Biffy. Five listeners in five porta potties. On a hot day. For BSB tickets. We're in such a mature industry. Remember that, again, any time you stick a DJ on a rollercoaster, press...will...come. Juan from KSFM was on the ferris wheel at the California State Fair for three days for charity and was on, basically, every TV station north of LA and south of Oregon.
"Who Wants To Go FASTER!!!!!"
Because in the heart of every ride operator beats the heart of a DJ, what if you had them do a job switch for a shift on a Sunday afternoon?
The Regurgitation Station
Take an intern. Feed them greasy food. Stick them on The Discombobulator and video it. Have listeners vote on-line for how long it will take for them to re-gift.
Send a different listener on every ride at the fair, helmet cammed. For web content. Jackson Blue from Kiss in Dallas just did a version of this.
Because you want to be posting listeners pics, right? What better place to find 50,000 listeners a day? Create a section of the website and take thousands and thousands of listener pics at your booth. Searchable by name. Give everyone a little numbered card that will be for a bounceback contest the morning after the fair is over, but also has the station web address with Fairbook link, on it.
KUBE in Seattle was the first station to ever do this. And it's based on the simple concept that people are going to need to go to the bathroom, and after about 3 pm, these are gross and disgusting. My suggestion to KUBE was just a private, slightly nicer portalet that listeners would get laminates to use. They took it about ten levels above that and put Astroturf around it, a little white picket fence and stocked it with mints and cologne and stuff like you'd find in a Planet Hollywood bathroom.
This is something that Matt and the Promo People at Clear Channel in Minny do to stay attentive and amused at the state fair. They have bingo cards with stuff to look for while working their booths. Like "overweight man with a too small fanny pack". Which you WILL see at the Great Minnesota Get Together. What if you handed these out to people with children in strollers, to keep them occupied? Because it's a long day at the fair when you're with a kid who has the attention span of a beagle. Bring back the card at the end of the day and use it as an entry form for a grand prize.
Cell Phone Scavenger Hunt
Stop by the booth. Get a list of ten things to look for while strolling the grounds, and bring back your camera with photos to win prizes. Maybe the first each day gets tickets to that night's show.
Go and plaster them all over the event. In the restrooms. On lightpoles. Have them link to the website for stuff like bonus points. If you have ride tickets to giveaway on-site, here's one way to do them.
A Wedding Re-Reception
These are the kinds of places you might go on a date. So K-102 in Minny renewed the vows of a couple whose first date was at the State Fair...fifty years before. All their family was in attendance. "Awww..." is a given.
Speaking of dates, the old Blind Date bit with blindfolded listeners escorted on a romantic day at the fair, has potential.
Please see my comment on "bacterial frappe's". This has "video series" written all over it. Morning person tackles a different "fair dirtiest job" every day.
Don't Hide The DJ
KDWB used to have a broadcast unit at the fair and this is where the airstaff would go and lock themselves in. Your goal is to shake hands. Stick them out front, not behind a table or in a booth. They'll hate it, but who cares? Their job is to meet lots of people.
Bear with me. So one of the first times I did Street School at the farm, during a break some of the young women found some hula hoops in the barn and started hooping. In about 30 seconds they were surrounded by people cheering them on. Cue "light bulb".
We've done this as an activity or game at the booth at several of the stations. It builds a crowd. There's "action". People gravitate towards "action". I saw a girl named Sunny doing this at one of the CC stations. She'd pull little kids out of the crowd and start hooping with them. She'd always make sure to lose. Crowd applauds. Kid gets a balloon.
Why God Created Interns
Several of the morning shows have done an annual Intern Talent Show. Why not live and on-site? Because no fair I've ever been to hasn't had a talent show. Also, every fair has a petting zoo. Why not an Intern Petting Zoo?
Okay. I'll stop.