One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about PR whether I was working for nonprofits, corporations, or for myself (promoting my books, publicizing my presentations) is the eclectic nature of promotion. Clearly, PR is different than marketing and advertising, but if you’re going to have effective programs in each area then it’s critical really to not combine the three but certainly understand the relationship between these related but different disciplines.
So even though advertising is something we pay for and publicity is “free” the two often get dumped into the same part of a consumer’s brain. That is, people watching a commercial for a real estate company may not separate what they discover about this firm through an article in which one of its agents is quoted. Anything that goes over the transom to the public, in my opinion anyway (and isn’t that what blogging is all about?!) is really public relations and fair game.
And that brings me to labels and cereal boxes. I remember as a kid sitting at the kitchen table, barely awake, maybe bored out of my head, reading the back of a cereal box. It didn’t matter what kind of cereal it was. The literature just had to grab my attention. Of course if I found a prize inside the box, that turned into temporary loyalty that at the very least had me engrossed in whatever cartoon or other promotion was plastered on the outside.
Many of us still do this, yes? I sure do. And even if you think I don’t have a life (actually I do thank you very much) I found myself entranced (I’m serious) the other day as the label on a bottle of Rescue Vitamin Water caught my eye. I wasn’t at the grocery store. I was standing in front of one of my favorite spots in the house: in front of the opened refrigerator. So I’m standing there, wondering why my kids like this stuff so much. I should reveal that I’ve never tried it, but I do love the packaging, now more than ever. Here’s why: on the label:
“Is it just us, or does life never cease to amaze you? Your best friend was dumped via text message, your sister wants you to wear a lime-green bridesmaid dress (with taffeta ruffles, of course), and your paparazzi friend posted all those scandalous pictures online . . . looks like you need to be rescued. Well, this bottle is packed with vitamin c and egcg to help keep you from stumbling down the runway of life, and with our girls Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda making their debut on the big screen, we thought this might help with some of their ‘big’ problems (because brunch time discussions don’t always cut it). So drink up, and don’t worry about the photos . . . they were pictures of your ‘twin sister,’ right?”
So they’re doing a little cross promotion with the Sex and The City movie and telling us they know our lives. Actually, I think they’re speaking to someone way younger than me, but you get the idea. I actually think this is brilliant, because honestly I don’t think we ever get over our habit of reading the back of the cereal box.