If You Make Promotion Fun, You Attract Attention

There’s a lot of glitzy promotion out there, some in which the message is virtually lost in the over-the-top creativity of some agency. Some of this promotion fails to even provide basic product benefits. In fact, sometimes it’s even worse than that. With some ads, it’s hard to be sure what is being sold at all. Shoes? Purses? The resort you see in the background?

Here’s a slightly different look at what can make promotion successful. It’s fun. Fun attracts people’s attention.

Here’s a couple of examples of promotions that offered fun but kept in mind the fact that they needed to be profitable. Both involved trade shows – one huge and one tiny, but they can be adapted to any type of business.

First, at a huge telecommunications trade show, one vendor had the entire booth set up as a corral. All the staff were in western costumes. There were hay bales to sit on. But the real draw in the booth was apple bobbing. If you’re not familiar with this party game, there’s a lot of apples floating in a big washtub of water. An apple bobber holds his hands behind him, gets on his knees and tries to grab an apple using his teeth only.

It’s very old fashioned but all these corporate types in suits were standing in a long line to get a chance to bob for apples. It might have been the pure nostalgia of seeing this long-gone entertainment come to life again. It’s very likely that many of these folks had never bobbed for an apple before.

The point of the exercise was this: The staff in the booth had ample time to chat up the people waiting for the apple bobbing and find the real prospects in the crowd.

Here’s the other example. At a very tiny trade show for air conditioner technicians, there was one booth that had set up a beanbag toss game. The exhibitor provided air duct cleaning, so a visitor to the booth had a chance to throw the beanbag through a small hole (a dirty, clogged duct) or a big hole (clean duct). The winner got a candy bar. Every person who wanted to participate had to fill out a simple form that provided contact information and enough other information to determine if they were a prospect or just someone’s wife or bored kid. All the prospects were then slated for follow-up. Here too, there was a line of people waiting to play because there was nothing else happening at this show!

When you engage people’s imaginations, let them guess the number of jelly beans in the jar, name the new team mascot or get involved in some other creative or imaginative way, you will attract attention. See if you can think of ways to wrap your product or service message around something fun and watch that promotion attract attention from the right kind of potential customer.