The business lesson in Britney and Anna Nicole

This morning on the way to work, for the umpteenth day in a row, the TOP STORY on the radio news is not Iran, Iraq, the economy or anything remotely important…. its Britney.

Next, Iraq, then Hillary v. Obama, then Anna Nicole.

2 of the top four stories at the top of the hour news (this is not the E! station) are about stupid celebrity issues that are about as important as what color socks I’m wearing today (gray, if you’re taking notes).

The lesson is that the news media has figured out some subset of these things:

  • The majority of the American people think celebrity news is more important than anything
  • The majority of the American people don’t care about “hard” news.
  • The media feels its job is to entertain us, not to inform us (Fox’s Colbert has that part down pat).

Your lesson is this: You need to be using this ridiculous, silly, unimportant news in your marketing, because its what people hear in the news, its what they talk about, its what entertains them. It may annoy the crud out of you, but you are not your customer. If its on the front page of USA Today, find a way to use it. Be creative about it, not boring.

Just as an example, say you own a coffee shop in downtown Billings MT, where the clientele is largely business people from 7-5. How difficult would it be to have stickers for your togo cups that allow your clients to “vote” for the day’s contentious (but silly and inane) issue?

Who will win the Super Bowl? Who likes bald Britney? Who gets Anna Nicole? Who do you think will win the Daytona 500?

The possibilities are limitless. You could even make a contest out of it, drop your biz card in the Chicago Bears bowl, or in the Indy bowl. After the game, draw a card from the winning team’s bowl, award them a cup of coffee – but dont stop there. Get one of those life size cardboard cutouts of the winning QB and take a picture of you (the owner), the person who won, and the cardboard cut out. Blow it up, put it in the store. Use it in your ads.

Just one possibility…

Taking this further, you can make yourself into a local celebrity. “Be somewhere, Be Someone, Do Something”, as Dan says. Write a column for the local paper, do a radio or tv spot, take on a local cause PUBLICLY. Watch what celebrities do to bring attention to themselves. You can do similar things, just dont be a bozo.

Another option: use a celebrity. A mortgage guy in Chicago got the use of “The Fridge” Perry (huge Chicago Bear lineman) for a year for 5k. There are agents you can call and “rent” the use of a celebrity and you’ll find it far less expensive than you think, unless of course you want Paris Hilton at your tool rental shop. A commonly overlooked option is to rent the “most popular” local sportscaster or weather person as your spokesperson. Even these folks are treated as celebrities on a local basis.