My Top Ten Marketing Mistakes (And Why They Worked) Part 1 - The Dragon and the Radio Host
In 2008, while working as the Marketing and Communications Director of a Santa Fe nonprofit, I was informed that our agency would be co-hosting a Renaissance Fair at El Rancho De Las Golondrinas – a beautiful living museum located just south of the city. As part of the event promotion, I participated in multiple radio interviews in Santa Fe and Albuquerque.
The day before the event (and let me tell you, putting on a Renaissance Fair is a BIG deal with many working parts), I was to be interviewed on a popular drive time show on KSFR, a public radio station, in Santa Fe. The host was Diego Mulligan (gotta love that name).
When you appear on a show of this type you are forbidden to talk about ticket prices. The host told me that, in no uncertain terms, I could not mention the fact that our tickets were only $10. The admission of the competing event that weekend, an airshow, was substantially more.
One of the attractions at our fair was to be a 7 ft tall Dragon, an elaborate and super cool costume created by a popular local designer.
During the show the host and I chatted about the scheduled festivities which included jousting, belly dancers, a beer garden, and, of course, a Renaissance Fair staple, turkey legs. (Speaking of turkey legs, you have no idea how hard it can be to find a turkey leg vendor in New Mexico, but that can be a whole other blog.)
As the interview began to wind down, I knew I had to come up with something that would really make people want to go to our event. After all, this was the culmination of the hard work of hundreds of volunteers, and a special occasion for the community. I didn’t want to let them down, and a lot of people listened to this show.
At a few points during the discussion, I could tell the host thought I was going to mention the low-ticket price – which was a huge selling point. He had his finger hovering over what I like to call the “Golden Buzzer” to cut me off at any time.
With only seconds to spare, I suddenly blurted out:
“You can see an airplane any day, but you can’t always see a 7 ft tall dragon!”
That made the host crack up, and he told me right after the show that I had a great radio personality.
The event ended up being a huge success with over 4,300 attendees, which wasn’t too shabby for a first-time event. The Santa Fe Renaissance Fair is now a popular annual event.
Why This Was a Mistake: Technically speaking, you should never disparage your competition. It’s tacky, and it also brings attention to your competitor, when you want to keep the focus on your product or event.
Why It Worked: It brought a little levity to the conversation, and it was a nice parting shot. You always want to finish up an interview with something memorable.