Today: “Get you a Margarita?”

 > The Situation:
I saw it on CNN. But here it is, word for word, in The Huffington Post (out of Chicago). The headline reads: “’World’s Best Job’ Website Flooded In Final Hours.” And then the story: “BRISBANE, Australia — A lucky 200 people have been shortlisted for the chance to become the caretaker of a tropical Australian island, dubbed by promoters as ‘The Best Job in the World.’ But tourism officials acknowledged Friday that many last-minute applications were lost because the web site was flooded with traffic. Nearly 35,000 people submitted video applications for the job with Tourism Queensland, which pays a salary of 150,000 Australian dollars ($97,000 US) to relax on Hamilton Island in the Great Barrier Reef for six months—while writing a blog to promote the island (tough gig, huh?). The job is part of an AU $1.7 million campaign to publicize the charms of northeastern Queensland state.” End of story.

 > The Idea:
Well, not quite. Actually the story is just beginning. While I saw it on CNN, and then read about it in The Huff—millions and millions of others heard, saw, and read about it—in and on thousands of other media outlets. Stop for a minute. Right here. Right now. And try to calculate the value of the publicity that this publicity stunt generated. The story was carried by BBC. Fox News. AP. ABC. The Economic Times of India. The China Post. The New York Times. Virtually every major media outlet in the world—including, I bet, an item in your local rag or radio station. (Obviously) you can’t buy this kind of publicity at any price. Which makes it literally priceless. And. All it cost was a creative idea. A press release. And a free campaign to let the world know via the internet. Brilliant.

 > The Risk:

Zero risk on this one.

 > The Reward:

Tourism Queensland (basically) invested $97,000 US on this campaign—the cost of the winner’s salary for six months. Plus (of course) staff time to develop and execute the campaign. And (presumably) the cost of a marketing or ad agency’s creative input. But. The truth is that any of us could do something similar—with an absolute minimum of cost. Thanks to the internet.

 > The Call to Action:

I know, I know. You run this (relatively) small and (relatively) ordinary business. And it’s hard to come up with an idea this powerful—that could literally capture the interest and imagination of the entire world. But. Is it possible? Could you offer a prize of, say, $5000 worth of your product, to the winner of a puzzle or game that you create? And then spread the word to the world via the internet (as well as through press releases to the media)? Could you do something like this right here at home, in your local community? And generate a huge amount of local buzz? Just think of the possibilities…while I fetch you a Margarita.

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