A friend whose company is opening a new addition called to ask for my best tips on how to stage a ribbon-cutting ceremony the media will love.
“That’s an oxymoron,” I said. “The media don’t love ribbon-cuttings. They despise them.”
As I’ve explained in the ebook I wrote last year titled “How to Use Photos & Graphics in Your Publicity Campaign,” stop wasting time trying to make a big pair of cardboard scissors, then lining up your execs in front of a long red ribbon and asking somebody to do “the honor” of cutting it. These kinds of staged media events are cliche and just plain dumb. There are far more creative ways to get publicity for a new addition:
—Why was it built? Are you bursting at the seams and need more office space to accommodate all your new employees?
—Is there anything unusual about the architecture or construction? Was it built with environmentally friendly materials? If so, why did you choose that kind of construction?
—What will take place inside the addition, or how will your customers or clients be affected?
—If you can’t think of an interesting story idea, call the media and ask for a stand-alone photo and caption. Suggest photogenic things inside the addition, like employees filling their coffee mugs at the latte bar in your new cafeteria, or the employee work-out room.
Dan Collins, one of the best PR people I know, has dozens of suggestions on how to avoid these cliche events and, instead, offer the media enticing story ideas, photos and special events. He explained them all when I interviewed him for a teleseminar called “Fun Alternatives to Boring Ground-breakings, Ribbon-cuttings and Check-passings.”
For example, Dan dreams up clever special events or publicity stunts that intrigue the media and create interest for the new building addition, or the award, or the donation.
Please help my campaign to encourage people to stop breaking ground, cutting ribbons or passing checks.