The toughest promotions I have trouble creating are the ones you have to come for clients. There’s usually very little money allocated for the promotion itself, so your creative juices need to be flowing. Surprisingly, though, they sometimes produce shocking results that become newsworthy.
When the economy tanked, we put together a giant Garage Sale for our clients called the 50% Off Free Fair in Dallas and Indy. We held it at the fairgrounds, but unfortunately, so many folks tried to get there that it shut down all the roads.
In San Diego, Don Walker (pictured above) needed some kind of a promotion for the Doubletree Hotel that would cause traffic.
We were coming to the end of our Prize Catalog promotion on KOGO, so we came up with a “Drop Off” party. We told the folks to drop off their Prize Catalog at the hotel for a final shot at a prize. It closed down Interstate 8 and was all over the news.
When printing catalogs got too expensive, my brother Reg (pictured above) figured our how to put the Prize Catalog up on the internet. Doing so caused all kinds of havoc on the internet but also inspired him to create his incredibly successful, “Rewards Program.”
After creating the “Magic Ticket and running it successfully in Dallas and Indianapolis, we sent Jerry Bobo (pictured above with me at a recent KVIL reunion) to WVBF in Boston to explain to the executives and managers of “Friendly’s” how the “Magic Ticket” worked.
Jerry told the executives who were gathered at the presentation along with their wives that the “Magic Ticket” was a promotion that was based on greed. Then he said, “Hey, instead of trying to explain it, why don’t I just show you?” Then he opened up his attache case, which was filled with money and started throwing fistfuls of dollars at them.
I’ll never forget sitting there and watching all those nicely dressed folks pushing and shoving as they crawled around on their hands and knees, trying to scoop up all the cash.
After the Magic Ticket had run its course in Boston, we purposely only mailed, “The Checks In The Mail” to only three-quarters of the homes Boston. We then sold pick-up parties to various clients all over Boston.
Unfortunately, by the time Loren & Wally (pictured above) showed up in a Brinks Truck with the checks, you couldn’t get near the place, and the police had to become involved because a riot was about to break out.
Then there was the time at WRMF in Palm Beach when we sent Robert Murphy (pictured above) to a client’s to buy dollar bills from the folks who a nine and an eight in the serial number. We were hoping to draw a small crowd. However, so many people showed up that once again, the police had to be brought in to control the crowd.
Meanwhile back in Dallas, as a news reporter was interviewing Ron Chapman (pictured above), she noticed that bags of mail were lining the hallways of KVIL and when she asked about them, Ron said, that they were entries for a “Mother’s Day” contest the station was running. At that point, she said, “Ron, I bet you could go on air and just ask for money for no reason, and they’d probably send it.”
Ron did precisely that, and within three days, two hundred and fifty thousand dollars showed up.
Shortly after discovering Delilah in Seattle and then bringing her to Boston, the sales department needed to promote a new sightseeing vessel. What we came up with was a coming-out party like the debutants have.
Unfortunately, so many folks showed up who wanted to meet Delilah that we almost sank the damn boat. (Delilah pictured above at the party)
However, with the good comes the bad, which means that not all of our promotions worked out the way we wanted them to. The worst one we ever did was when Visa offered to put our clients’ stations logo on their own credit card and share the profits.
Cool right? Wrong! Most of the people who applied did so because they weren’t qualified and were very excited that their favorite radio station was going to give them one. Then when they were rejected; they believed that it was the radio station that turned them down. Not cool!
You can learn how to do almost anything except sing or draw.
When we find “The One,” we never want them to change, but they always do.
If you don’t think we live in a sexist society, ponder this. Women can get away with sleeping their way up the ladder, but if a man suggests it, his career is over, and he could go to jail.
Speaking of sexism, how can hundreds of Priests be outed for their horrendous behavior, but not one Nun?
If you’re trying to figure out how to fit in, you’ll never stand out.
Running a business takes the same dedication as raising a child. Not sure you can do both effectively.
Uncle Brent asks, “How come all the TV ladies doing news, dress like they’re at a cocktail party, and the men look like they’re at a business meeting?”
I must know too much because I know many things that I don’t want to know.
Figuring out what’s good about bad things will make you happy.
To be believed, one must make others see what you see.
No matter how many times you fall, you only have to get up one more time than your competitor to be declared the winner.
Nobody wants to deal with what they are afraid of, but once you do, it disappears.
Wow! Now I’m told that Little Richard is gone.
I’ve lived in America for most of my life, but here’s what I still don’t buy.
(1)Nobody in the government or the Pentagon knew that Pearl Harbor was about to happen.
(2)Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone when he assassinated JFK.
(3)There was a gas shortage when Jimmy Carter was president.
(4)The Anti Viet Nam protests were about the war and not the draft. (Witness the lack of demonstrations today)
(5)There were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
(6)A few towel heads shortly after learning how to fly also figured out how to implode the Twin Towers.
(7)We are still fighting in the desert because the desert rats are a threat to America.
(8)Jeffery Epstein committed suicide.
I think the person who should be in charge of America is whoever it was that got those curbs shaved down, ramps built, restrooms adapted, and the handicapped spaces marked. How the hell did they get it all done so quickly?
Speaking of handicapped spaces, Uncle Brent says that if you park because there are no spots left, that’ll cost you four hundred bucks. However, if you park on the sidewalk, that’s only forty.
What things are better left unsaid, and who the hell are they, as in they said?
The more you try to hide something in the dark, the brighter it becomes.
Did you know, if you’re suspected of being a terrorist, you have no right to a lawyer?
I wonder if the Superstars remember who it was that gave them their first break?
Facts and fallacies may look and sound the same, but only “A is A.”
How sad that Don Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history has passed.
Doug Herman: Get together five or six guys, and a whole lot of whiskey, and chances are they’ll start a fight. Get together five or six guys and a whole lot of weed, and it’s pretty much guaranteed they’ll start a band. (Hey, Who Dat?)
Jed Duvall: George: One can apologize, one can do penance and atone for one’s wrong-doing. One can go to rehab and go through the twelve steps. But I wonder how one can find forgiveness with one’s self. Guilt and regret are heavyweights on the soul. Peace. (Our Good Economy Is Good For Whom?)
Doug Chappell: Jeez George, there must have been a lot of broken trucks on Yonge st. While promoting a Tubes live show on a Saturday night, we at A&M had a flatbed truck travel Yonge street with Lee Silversides (6′ 6″ wearing some Master John boots adding another 6″) dressed as Fee Waybill along with a bevy of scantily clad women, blasting out Tubes music. Wouldn’t you just know it, that truck broke down at 5:00 PM at Yonge & Bloor !!~! Great minds … seldom differ. (Here’s Your Free Get Out Of Jail Card)
GEO: Doug, you lucked out with a break down at Yonge and Bloor, ours occurred at Yonge and Adelaide, how embarrassing for both of us. 🙂
Geo’s Media Blog is an inside look at Radio, Music, Movies, and Life. For a sneak peek at some upcoming Blogs, or to see some that you may have missed, go to Geo’s Media Blog @ GeorgeJohns.com. On Twitter @GeoOfTheRadio. Sharing and commenting is appreciated.