February 20, 2004

generating buzzzzzzzzz: How I'm Sure It Didn't Go Down

I'm imagining a PR brainstorm session for Pepsi. I'm imagining the creative brainstorming meeting set-er-up-er splish splashing stress balls and play dough and mini snickers bites and clappers and paper clip magnets around the table, and of course a bottle of Pepsi at every seat. (Yes, this really happens.) I'm imagining a team of bright PR people tasked with generating news, ink, impressions for Pepsi's iTune giveaway. I'm imagining white boards and post it notes full of ideas.

I'm imagining a clean-shaven, designer-polo wearing, brown haired, blue eyed young man of around 24 playing with his closed bottle of Pepsi, fidgeting, staring up at the ceiling, thinking. I'm imagining him looking down at the table, deciding to open his Pepsi, tilting it and wrapping his fingers around the top, ready to twist, when he notices.

"Um. Holy shit?!"

"What greg? Watcha got?"

"LOOK! You tip it and you can see that the bottle's not a winner--you can see the 'AGAIN' as in 'Try AGAIN'!"

"No. Lemme see."

They huddle around Greg's bottle, tilting it this way and that way. The spend 10 minutes talking about whether it's just this botttle, a screw up in manufacturing, saying Sherry look at yours, is yours the same? Laura? Tim? Stephen? Everyone is tilting their bottles this way and that.

Every single person there can see the AGAIN, when the bottle's tilted j-u-s-t- r-i-g-h-t. Before they ever buy the product customers will know they're not a winner.

"Someone in bottling's going bye bye."

"Well, we have to tell them."

"Oh fuck. Who's gonna make the call? And what are we gonna tell them?"

One lone voice says: Maybe it's not a bad thing.


"Maybe it's not a bad thing."

None of them know that this weblogger in disguise is living a secret life as a PR flack.

"How can it not be a bad thing--no one's going to buy Pepsi and try to win the damn iTune if they can already see that the bottle's not a winner."

"I know."

"Uh.... well. What could be good about that?"

"Our job is to get the ink. What they want us to do is create the noise. I can do that."

"You can do that? And embarass the client? What happens when it comes out?"

"It doesn't have to be embarassing. In fact, it could be a lot of fun."

"Okay, you're insane. But tell us more. BEFORE we make the call...."


Smarter still? The brainstorm at Pepsi where someone said: "Hey, I have an idea. Let's make this one so they can see if they're a winner before they buy."


Thanks to David and Dan for the links.