Secretly you know you love watching the tabloid TV shows Today Tonight (Channel 7) and A Current Affair (Channel 9) with all their “Aussie Battler”, “The Neighbour From Hell”, “Weight Loss”, “Money Saving”, “Subtle Supermarket Advertising” and “Shonky Salesman” stories. The sensationalised stories these shows produce lead to sales if your product is featured. That is exactly what happened to the company I work for.
I have been meaning to contact these shows for months however this time they contacted me with a story idea. We had a limited time to get organised for the film crew but enough time for us to memorise some fast “amazing” product facts to wow the audience.
The crew came to our offices, spoke with the company director and filmed the product being made. The story was about 3 different ingredients that have beneficial health properties and our products got some excellent screen time with a health professional holding them! GOLD!
Even though 3 different ingredients were mentioned and we make many different products using these, for some reason the viewers picked up on one main ingredient and the product made with that has been selling like wild fire. Previous to this we were actually thinking of discontinuing it because it wasn’t selling well at all.
Now time to see the boost in website visits, my favourite part!
That’s around a 900% jump in website views the night the story aired. Slowly slowly you can see views return to normal after the initial wow factor wears off. However, there are still a lot of people talking about the segment weeks later.
The morning after the story aired the phone rang off the hook! My colleagues and I hardly got time to take a breath all day answering questions and pointing people to the best retail outlets. It was hectic but wonderful all at the same time.
I’m guessing, based on the phone calls, that the main demographic of these TV shows is ladies over the age of 66 named Margaret (there where honestly about 10 Margarets that called). That, or maybe it’s just because that age group does not have internet access to find our website. Or that age group really needs some healthy products to cure their multiple health problems that I spent a good proportion of my day listening about.
So, if you have a product with an interesting story or benefit GET ON THE PHONE!!!! These shows offer you free and mostly NATIONAL publicity which, if nothing else, will give you some exposure and brand equity/ share of mind. Something else to remember is that these are daily shows with around 5 stories per show so they are desperate for content. If you can pitch them an idea with some interesting aspects you have a great chance of being featured. If you make life easy for the journalists they will keep you in mind and you may get regular calls from them to be an expert in your particular field of expertise. Also you will then be in their video files and you may see your segment re-hashed in a year or 2’s time with a slightly different angle. Try and give them some interesting sound bites that they can cut and use on the ads. Sentences that stand out like “This (Product X) truly is a miraculously beneficial product”.
One problem I experienced was that we were not warned when the show would be aired. This led to our retailers being unprepared for the mass of customers asking for the product they saw on TV last night. If I had a few days warning those stores could have been informed and stocked up on product… so we lost a little there. Also, one of the products mentioned, when Google searched does not bring up our brand straight away and instead brings up many of our competitors products. I’m sure they got a very pleasant sales windfall from our promotion. But all in all it was a very helpful, positive experience for our company and retailers.
Note to self: Find another story to pitch to the media to gain more interest. Probably something along the lines of “Shonky Salesmen with mean neighbours who have cancer have found a cure in a magical ingredient that Aussie battlers can’t afford but Woolworths is helping them to obtain”.