For example, today is National Doughnut Day, created by The Salvation Army in 1938 to honor the men and women who served doughnuts to soldiers during World War I. Now it is merely an excuse for today’s pastry purveyors to give away free product and gain visibility. No one is immune, as a giant doughnut on 5th Avenue proved today. At least three TV trucks descended on the monstrous munchie, and it was all over radio and social media as well.
This phenomenon is repeated throughout the year on other so-called holidays, joyously newsjacked by commercial brands which would have a hard time garnering this kind of press without the air of importance lent by these hype-happy days. Even the most hard-boiled assignment editor turns into a softie when presented with feel-good stories like this.
Lest you think that your client’s product or service has somehow been overlooked by a day of its own, take comfort in knowing that there are other seemingly tired tactics that withstand the test of time, including:
Big anniversaries. Be it Nutella’s 50th last week or GMC Trucks 100th or even the 50th anniversary of Motel 6, product anniversaries present major media opportunities. As you get to know a client, always ask about important anniversaries.
Tweaking a classic product. Most famously exemplified by the unsuccessful (or was it?) launch of “New Coke,” any variation on a theme is usually pressworthy. Often you can work with a client to effect a tweak, even if for a “limited time offer” and still achieve impressive results.
Bring back an oldie but goodie. Much like celebrating an anniversary, bringing something “out of the vault” a la Disney animated films, elicits a tug of nostalgia that many reporters glom onto.
Factory tour. Offering reporters a behind-the-scenes visit with a famous brand like Domino’s or Dyson to see where the “magic is made” is another angle that doesn’t seem to age even as these brands post YouTube videos and other content “virtually” everywhere.
In addition to offering up a plethora of PR possibilities, these examples also demonstrate that some ideas are best executed in real life.