We have mentioned the “Selling the MCG” story in another post or two but we focus this post on it because it serves as a sample PR strategy for your business.
Below we cover how the idea came about and then how it was brought into the public arena to help sell it.
Of course, in this case we are talking about an Australian icon (the MCG) in a one-off venture, but many of the lessons I learned from this campaign I took into my later businesses and hope that you can use the lessons in yours too.
I had just read the “One Minute Millionaire” by Robert Allen and Mark Victor Hansen and was intrigued by the story of how someone actually sold pieces of the Brooklyn Bridge for $14.95 during one of its reconstructions.
A while later I was driving past the MCG and saw that they were knocking one of the stands down and had my light bulb moment.
The MCG was an Australian cultural icon in much the same way as the Brooklyn Bridge is to East Coast Americans and the opportunities started flashing across my mind.
Making It Happen
I knew I had to speak to the demolition people and after a few conversations I had already managed to fill my vehicle up with $1000 worth of stuff to get started, with the promise to return the next day to collect the rest.
I was originally interested in the bricks but thankfully (for shipping reasons) I was steered towards the green wooden benches and pieces of iconic red carpet with the MCG logo on from a demolished bar.
Unfortunately when I turned up the next day the rest of the carpet had been snapped up already, supposedly by someone who wanted to line their pool room floor with it!
In the middle of this I had to attend a week-long boot-camp, but by the time that came around I had my strategy nailed and even had the press release written in my head: Melbourne Man Sells the MCG for $24.95!
I had the wood sliver packages all designed with certificates as a low-end product and the pieces of carpet in the process of being framed as a higher end product for $650.
You can imagine my horror when the phone rang a few days later and it was one of my friends asking whether I’d told anyone about my big idea, because there was another 21-year old guy in Melbourne doing the same thing right then!
Getting The Media Attention
I am now good friends with the guy who was my competition at that time, but I dearly wanted to come out on top of that battle because this idea was my “baby”; I knew that the way to do it was to become higher profile than him and use the media for attention.
I started with the press release and did it in the traditional way, sending it out myself to newspapers, rather than using online distributors like PR Web.
Some newspapers had editorial email addresses so I sent it to them, knowing that the story had legs because of its sporting and cultural hook that would interest many Australians.
Then I ran editorial ads in MX Magazine which is a free publication distributed on public transport in Melbourne. These were really ads that were formatted as articles, so it was more likely that people would read them.
These efforts led to the appearance on the Today Show and on Nova Radio, as well as the Herald Sun story entitled “Bench Mark of Success” and the rest, as they say, is history – sales took off through the roof!
The reason I relate this story is in the hope that you apply the learning points in your own business to get media attention. Also, note that some things are best done offline, even in this increasingly online world we live in – combining the two approaches in your PR strategy will get the best results overall.
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