A lot of the buzz at ad agencies these days is trying to figure out how to generate buzz for a product in different venues and arenas. You may remember that before "Desperate Housewives" debuted, there was a clever campaign using dry cleaning bags (dirty laundry, get it?) printed with the show's/ABC's logos. Not only was it advertising in an unconventional place, but the rest of the media gave it lots of coverage because of its originality.
That's part of the concept behind "Buzz Marketing," an essential book on the subject by Mark Hughes. Last year, I was fortunate enough to be invited to a presentation he gave for Greater Media Philadelphia. John Fullam is a big fan of looking for out-of-the-box ways to market a brand, and Hughes gave a stimulating speech.
WCSX has made great use of this with their "Pace Cars" - listeners volunteering their own vehicles to advertise the station. It's clever, and it's earned CSX press coverage. 98Rock has cleverly distributed magnetized logo bumperstickers around the Sacramento area. The backs of a few of these magnets notify the finder that he/she has won concert tickets. Again, it sure beats being the 9th caller.
And last week, USA Today covered another clever buzz marketing concept - Gas Station TV. Out of suburban Detroit, the concept is to put 20" hi-def TV sets on gas pumps that display ESPN highlights and ABC news clips. GSTV already has 1,000 in Atlanta, Dallas, and Houston, with expansion plans that cover other big metros, including New York and L.A.
And why not? We stand there at the pump, watching our vehicles consume $40, $50 or more of fuel. A little entertainment might help. Locally, it's an opportunity for radio to air some of its consumer-generated TV commercials, or other cool station video projects that we're happily seeing show up on web sites around the country. It's rapidly becoming a video world, and yet radio's content can oftentimes fit right in, be compelling - and generate a little buzz of its own.