The Ubiquitous PR Give Away – From the Inept to the Dangerous

insidious pr
Giving away stuff has always been an old PR standby. Set up shop, announce the handout, and watch people (hopefully) flock to your booth/store/ event. Then (even more hopefully) hope that said handout inspires more purchases, name recognition, and overall profitability. It’s a fairly simple equation, and it makes one wonder why it seems at times so hard to get it right. Here’s two very recent examples that cause the eyebrows to arch ever so slightly.

1. Horror Movie Themed Ice Cream Trucks
The Media: Check it out here.
The Promo: Insidious 2 looks to build awareness by designing themed ice cream trucks promoting the film. Participants get a free ice cream if they share the event on social media.
The Positive: Ice cream is an effective draw and is relatively cheap in terms of a PR budget.
The Eyebrow Lift: There’s nothing interesting about this event, and no reason why media or anybody else would want to share it. Even though social media can push something viral with the right critical mass, that presumes that the content is interesting to begin with. There’s no captivating idea here or stunningly visual eye candy.

2. Free Cell Phones
The Media: Check it out here.
The Promo: LG looks to build excitement in South Korea for its new G2 phone. A ton of helium balloons are released with coupons attached, and whoever snags one gets a free phone.
The Positive: Free smart phones can certainly draw a crowd. Furthermore, the promise of playful elbowing in an attempt to snag the balloons can certainly provide for some humorous YouTube action.
The Eyebrow Lift: Did anybody realize how popular a free smartphone might be? How about spear and BB gun popular with 20 people getting injured. Bad event planning all around. (Although still some decent PR. Who wouldn’t want a phone that somebody was willing to maim for?)


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