The Man Who Lived On His Bike

Publicity with video clips is a strange beast. Engaging video clips can capture imagination, tell a story, persuade, inform, offend–you name it and there is a reaction to fit any example. From a PR perspective, these are great opportunities to share and reach a large audience, particularly if it “goes viral” and it has millions of views. This particular video is particularly entertaining, but for 2-3 minutes. If there is a cause or a reason that the producer created this piece, it’s lost on me other than for pure entertainment. Take a look and tell me what you think:

Man Lives on His Bike

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Savvy Marketing Video

It seems there’s a publicity stunt worth commenting about nearly every day of the year. This one has an interesting twist. It started as an e-mail being circulated about a band improvising music after its instruments were stolen. The link in the e-mail take you to an iPhone video posted on YouTube. That’s not unusual. What is unique is that the entire band performance, on a NYC subway ride, was performed using iPhones/iPods by the band members, including vocals, guitar, drums and keyboard. Plugged into a Mac laptop computer and some small speakers hidden among the band members and voila! an instant concert performed for commuters. What is also relevant is that in only 3 days following the Internet upload, the video was viewed a million times. About a month later, over 4 million views on YouTube. An instant hit for the band Atomic Tom. Watch the video here:

Publicity, P.T. Barnum and KFC

In P.R., the father of publicity stunts, P.T. Barnum made a name for himself while promoting the circus. Whenever the American Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Baily circus came to town, it was usually preceded or accompanied by a publicity stunt. These stunts included parading an elephant through the town square, acrobats or trapeze artists performing feats of strength or skill to encourage public attention and get the media to promote the event. It’s no different from the stunts created by companies today to promote new products. Some of these stunts are intentional, others are not. For example CEO Steve Jobs of Apple periodically responds with rather blunt, condescending e-mails to customers who complain or question him. (see here: http://gawker.com/5641211/steve-jobs-in-email-pissing-match-with-college-journalism-student?skyline=true&s=i

Enter Kentucky Fried Chicken. More recently known as KFC, home of Colonel Sanders if you remember the iconic founder, the company has embarked on a new strategy to attract customers using the behinds of college co-eds. It’s crass and irrelevant. See the story here: http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2010-09-22-kfc22_ST_N.htm

College students market KFC product on their rears

The bottom line (pun intended) is exactly what one brand expert suggested: Clean up the stores and make a better product. Bunless chicken sandwiches?