Are you a business or organization celebrating a big anniversary soon?
Or how about just a Publicity Hound who wouldn’t mind being a celebrity in your own town? This idea is great for both.
This year, the Nashville Opera is sponsoring a “Put Me on a Billboard Contest” to raise funds and awareness for a new opera house. Earlier this year, it launched a promotional campaign in which it photographed local celebrities holding their fancy opera glasses, and put the photos on billboards throughout Nashville.
The opera then opened the contest to anyone and asked local opera-lovers to write about why they raise their glasses to opera. They even built a special website for the promotion.
Winners, including Publicity Hound Beverly Wichman, shown here on the right, were photographed with their opera glasses, and the series of photos started appearing over the weekend on digital billboards throughout the city.
If Beverly’s name sounds familiar, you might know her better as one-half of “The Saucy Sisters.” She and her sister, Barbara Nowak, review wine, write books and entertain at corporate events.
Beverly’s winning essay explains how her parents treated her to her first opera at age 10. She loved it so much that she calls opera her “soul music.”
During her many travels throughout the U.S., she would faithfully listen to radio performances by The New York Metropolitan Opera on Saturday nights. So would her parents. After each program, they would call each other to discuss the shows.
“It was like attending the opera together,” she said. “We would wait for the final applause and the curtain would come down. Then we’d call each other and say,’Bravo!’ “
I love this billboard idea, too, to promote fund-raisers and special events even though you might have to have a big budget to pull it off. Here’s why it’s so effective:
—It encourages people to become involved in your cause.
—It brings them to your website.
—It does a great job of turning local people into celebrities.
—It helps raise money for a worthwhile cause or issue.
Your next special event can include elaborate promotions like this one, or much simpler, less expensive ways to capture people’s attention, draw crowds, and attract the media.
“How to Plan & Promote Sizzling Special Events,” a series of six interviews I conducted with Debra J. Schmidt, explains how to inject fun and profit into even routine events like the standard business golf outing. For example, Deb tells the story of a Wisconsin group that hosted a women’s golf tournament and created a huge buzz for the event by featuring something as simple a port-a-potties with candles, scented soaps and pretty hand towels.
At the golf banquet that night, the port-a-potties were the topic of conversation, and the participants raved about that that nice, unexpected touch really made the event special.