Posts Tagged ‘Promos’

The promotion game can be a tricky one. No one really appreciates the intricacies until it goes horribly wrong. I have spent a good part of my life working in promotion of one kind or another. Television, Radio, Print, Billboards, Publishers, etc. You name it and I have promoted in it or for it. Some are big and well know places. Others, not so much, but they realized the need for good promotion.

In fact, those are the ones that I took my name from. One of the fellows who brought me some of these clients use to refer to me as “SPP”. One day I finally asked him why he called me that. He chuckled and explained, that it didn’t matter how little or how bad the material was he brought me to work with I was always able to make something good out of it. He went on to explain that SPP stood for Silk Purse Productions, like the old saying of “making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear”.
He got it.

Now, I am not going to brag…ok, maybe just a little. I’m pretty good at it. I’ve won International Awards for Promotion in New York City (twice). I have trained and mentored people in the field who have gone on to do big things. Unfortunately, now that the internet exists a lot of people think that all they need is on-line social media accounts for promotion. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, to name just a few, are all incredibly useful tools for promotion but you still have to have some skill to navigate the ins and outs of promotion. Even a little common sense can help.

Recently I came across a small company that totally blew me away in how poorly they handled their promotion and customer service. I won’t name them. I didn’t name any of the big companies I spoke of above. Consider this a mini case study.

The pandemic has been very hard on a lot of businesses, especially the small family owned businesses. Some have not survived, others have actually flourished. He-Who and I tend to eat out a lot. When we like a place we are loyal customers, we write good reviews and we promote the place to friends, family and readers.  No one was looking forward to being able to eat inside again more than we were. When it finally happened we made a point of visiting one of our favourite places 125 km from where we live. We had visited during lock-down and were able to go inside and order but had to eat in the car. We aren’t really great at eating in the car.  When we got there this time we found there was no access to get inside. They had put in windows to order from outside and there were picnic tables outside for eating. We were not best pleased and I confess a little confused. We ordered and ended up eating in the car. Unfortunately, this was the first time that I can say the food was not good. More of it made it to the garbage than to our tummies. We were really disappointed.

When we returned home I went to see if there was a reason they were not letting us in. There was a post.

There were a couple of red flags here…

1)There should have been a better way to let people know

2) “We are too busy with lineups (daily) to be able to follow safety guidelines for COVID.” Ummmmm, there are still plenty of “guidelines” to follow even for just take-out. There were lots of lineups when they were busy before COVID, this implies to me that their cleaning of tables etc. was not being done because they were too busy. (Anyone else feeling a little queasy?)

3) I’m not sure I want to know that their sanity is in question while preparing food I am going to eat.

As I felt my food coming back up on me I wrote a note just to let them know we were disappointed. The response was…let’s see what you think.

I came out of my office and read this to He-Who. He was…not pleased (I’m trying to keep this PG). I confess, I had to calm down before I responded.

That was the end of that conversation. He-Who and I both had the same thought. We had been frequenting a place in another town. Family owned and operated. A husband and wife team that were killing themselves to keep customers happy throughout the pandemic. No excuses, no bad food, no poor service. When they were allowed they put tables on the sidewalk. When they were allowed to serve indoors I am happy to say their excellent customer service had them at capacity all day, as loyal customers kept coming. We both decided that we would rather give them our business and that we would not return to the other place.

This morning I got a private message from the offending place.

This person should not be handling the customer service or the promotion. To tell a client that they “mentally can’t handle it” is beyond my comprehension. But wait, there’s more. The following is what put me over the edge …

Never in all my years…I know I sound old, but seriously…never have I ever heard anyone use menopause as an excuse for them not being able to respond to a customer in a proper manner. This person has sent feminism back at least 40 years. I am torn between laughing my butt off and disgust.

The lack of professionalism from the business was astounding. They need help. I almost felt sorry for them, briefly. Very briefly. Had they handled this differently from the beginning I might have even offered to help them. As it is, my cousin saw the public posting and asked me on there where this place was located. I gave him directions and then added, “however, I can not recommend them at this time”.  

I’m not sure anyone can make a silk purse out of this sow’s ear.

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Last week I spent some time with some of the most talented individuals in the entertainment industry, from all over the world.
No.  I am not talking about Angelina, Brad or George.  I was not at TIFF (Toronto Film Festival).

I had the honour of being one of the judges for the PROMAX/BDA awards.  Something I have participated in for several years and enjoy to no end.

PROMAX/BDA is the International Association for Entertainment Marketing Professionals. The PromaxBDA Awards is the only competition dedicated to recognizing excellence in Marketing, Design and Creative content in the entertainment industry. With thousands of entries each year, the competition is stiff. But if your work is strong enough to bring home a Muse, you’ll understand why the PromaxBDA Awards are the industry standard for excellence.

Personally, I have competed and twice brought home my very own Muse from the annual convention in New York City.  I know what it meant to me to receive this honour, (did I mention twice?) so I take it very seriously when asked to judge the work of others. There are many categories and the only ones you are not eligible to score are ones that you may be competing in yourself. Each category is scored in the same manner. Points are given for Marketing Objective, Overall Creativity and Production quality, with each of these being scored out of 100%. It is always a surprise to see which straw I draw for categories and I was very fortunate to get my two favourite categories while judging PROMAX/BDA ANZ (Australia/New Zealand). “Something For Nothing”, and the “Rocket” awards.

My favourite category is “Something For Nothing”. The name speaks for itself. You have something to promote. There is no money in the budget for this. You have limited resources and quite often the show/special/event hasn’t started yet so you don’t even have any visuals to work with. OK, I admit this may be near and dear to my heart because I myself find that I continually have to create a “Silk Purse from a Sows Ear” (this is where you should look up, way up, and see the name of my blog at the top). It never ceases to astound me what people are capable of creating when they start with nothing. Quite often I find myself watching the same entry over and over again trying to figure out how they came up with their ideas, or because I am astounded at the impact of a piece that is simplicity itself. Here are a couple of my favourites for you to enjoy, each quite different from the other.

Here There   &   The Riff: Promo With Carissa (Long)

The second category I love is called the promo “Rocket” award. This award celebrates new, up and coming talent. As the name insinuates the individuals competing for this award are the bright and shining stars of the future and not even the sky will limit them. They are judged on a body of work with the same criteria as the other awards…Marketing Objective, Overall Creativity & Production Quality. It is a reward itself to be able to view some of the creative genius of these young people and one can only imagine what they will share with us in the future. Here are a few of the people to be on the watch for …
Anastasia Doniants – TVNZ , Karlton Christopher Akari – Fox Sports , Jared Barnes – W-Foxtel , Luke Farquhar– XYZ Networks and Carlos Sanchez – Nickelodeon.  There were several more but this will give you a taste of the talent that is being unleashed on the world.

I spent a week admiring and being inspired by these spots. Laughing, crying, oohing and awing and thoroughly enjoying myself. Always, sad when it is over, I was thrilled to see in my inbox my notification that “Judging for Promax/BDA Africa starts today”, and I was off for another week of viewing some pretty incredible talent.

Note: If you do not belong to PROMAX/BDA or have never attended the PROMAX/BDA Annual Conference at the very least sign up for their Daily Brief where you can be updated on industry happenings and news and are treated to a daily sample of some of the latest brilliance in the industry.

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