Publicity stunts are nothing new. In fact, they are getting more and more prevalent in today's YouTube society. Many Christian artists feel hiring a publicist is actually at odds with the standards of someone in the ministry. But the truth is, even a shameless publicity stunt can lead to a ministry moment.
Take the Opera Company of Philadelphia and their "Random Acts of Culture" campaign. They took 650 singers disguised as shoppers to Macy's in Philadelphia. With the Wanamaker Organ to accompany them, they "spontaneously" burst into the Hallelujah Chorus. But this blatant PR stunt can't possibly lead to ministry, can it? Watch the video below and you decide. Can you tell the "official" singers from the shoppers by the end? I'm assuming the Opera Company's motive was not to create a spiritual moment, but it happened anyway.
Ministry + PR = Great Commission.
I love this. Tinucci's, a restaurant that catered a meal last week for the Minnesota Vikings, was made famous because of Randy Moss' "I wouldn't feed this to my dog" rant (expletives have been edited). Instead of absorbing the "negative" press, they have used it to draw customers. Tinucci's is offering free lunches today to the first 50 people who come to turn in their Moss jerseys. For everyone else, the lunch buffet will be marked down to $8.40, a takeoff on the receiver's No. 84 jersey, co-owner Gus Tinucci said Thursday (AP). The jerseys will then be donated to Boys and Girls Clubs. By taking the creative initiative of turning a potentially negative situation into a positive one, Tinucci's will no doubt reap the benefits of serving new customers and increasing the loyalty of old ones. With a little willingness to poke fun at themselves and have a sense of humor about the situation, Tinucci's received national press attention in addition to local coverage. And Randy Moss was released by the Vikings. I think it is obvious who won the PR battle.
As a publicist, bad interviews can make me cringe. This one made me head for the corner in a fetal position. I am reluctant to even comment on this video because, well, even a non-PR pro can list the things wrong with this one. But let's play along anyway and use the opportunity to draw out some good pointers. Here are some standard, common-sense television interview tips:
NO-NO: Don't read while the host is speaking to you.
YES-YES: Be prepared.
NO-NO: Don't pitch a talent you clearly don't have if you've been invited to the show to talk about running for the office of mayor.
YES-YES: Stay on subject.
NO-NO: Don't insult the host after she has given you ample time to showcase your non-talent.
YES-YES: Be courteous.
NO-NO: Don't be pushy about a return invite ON camera. If you want to be a jerk, do it off camera.
YES-YES: Be grateful for the opportunity on and off camera.
NO-NO: Don't EVER use a hand held tape recorder to play background music tracks.
YES-YES: Be professional.
I have worked with high-profile clientele for most of my 20+ year career. The biggest mistake I see clients make when trying to promote themselves is they get too wrapped up in their current "project" (book, cd, etc.) to keep the whole picture in focus.
I don't know about you, but by the time my child was 3 years old, he could pick out a McDonald's along the street. And not because I ever took him there. I rarely did. But he had seen those Golden Arches many times before Barney, after The Magic School Bus, during TaleSpin -- those Golden Arches surrounded everything he saw on TV. He really had no idea WHY he wanted to go to McDonald's, he just knew he should. McDonald's sees the big picture.
But you say, "I'm an artist not a fast food restaurant." Right. But you ARE the Golden Arches. Your new CD, your new song, your new book -- they are your chicken nuggets, Big Mac, large fries.
If you only think about your career in terms of your latest work, then your career will be short. Artists, authors and speakers need to think about making a "brand" name for themselves. Yes, you want to have a menu of tasty items (cds, books, songs). But ultimately, your name -- your reputation -- your artistry should mean something. Listeners will hear your music once or twice, but fans will sign up for your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Readers might like your latest book, but fans will stand in line for your book signing. A really, really hungry person might stumble into a McDonald's one day because its convenient, but 3-year-old whines and cries until he steps inside those Golden Arches. Now, that's a fan for life. Develop that kind of a following, and you'll enjoy a long and prosperous career.