PR opportunities this big don’t come around often, and the Pez company doesn’t seem to be flexible enough to take advantage of it. The Doss family run a museum dedicated to Pez in California (where else?). For their gift shop they created a 7 foot 10 inch working replica of a snowman Pez dispenser. Recognized by Guiness as the worlds largest, it’s drawing a lot of attention for the Australian candy company, but not the kind they would like.
Instead of seeing the giant snowman as a marketing opportunity, Pez sees it as a threat and they have filled suit – and in so doing they come out looking like Grinches. Why a company would want to put the kibosh on enthusiasm for their product is beyond me. My guess is it’s due to fear of loosing control over how the brand is used – but that’s the nature of PR. By turning your message over to a third party like broadcast media, retweets on twitter, or a giant Pez dispensing snowman, you do loose some control, but in exchange you have the potential to make huge gains in credibility.
People tend to believe journalism, or the enthusiasm it takes to build a giant replica of your product, more than they do paid advertising. In the Dosses and their giant pez dispensing snowman, the Pez company has the all the makings of a PR campaign that could easily go viral: uniqueness, singularity, distinction and humor, but they chose a different path.
Successful viral PR happens when opportunity meets with preparation. So that you’re prepared when some wacky enthusiast makes an eight-foot tall replica of your product, here are four steps you can take to pull together a Guerrilla PR kit and be ready when opportunity is dispensed like a little brick of sugar:
Step #1 Know who you are, what you do and how to express it in the most succinct and interesting way possible. Preparing quick, short answers (AKA soundbites) before you’re interviewed is a good idea. Great first impressions will win the day.
Step #2 Ask yourself “Why should the media care about me?” and “Why should they care now?” tailor your story to focus on these answers and you’ll get the medias attention.
Step # 3 Define your audience and create a media list. Know who you’re pitching and be sure their audience is your audience.
Step #4 Put together a press kit including a press release that tells your story clearly and any relevant photographs or clippings. An on-line press kit is a great way to keep this information organized and ready at a moments notice.
Remember, be resourceful and flexible. It’s the bold, not the meek, who vault higher during hard times. Fear leads nowhere; enthusiasm can lead everywhere.