Real estate coach Jim Gillespie of Temecula, California has a publicity idea that will have the media tripping over each other to interview you.
Rent a movie theater in your neighborhood. Then invite anyone who you want to do business with to attend a free before- or after-hours session in which they play video games on the big screen, complete with surround sound, for a giant-sized gaming experience. If they like it–and what video addict wouldn’t?–they’ll create such a buzz that soon you’ll be the talk of your community.
Jim got the idea from an article in his local newspaper that explains how the The Temeku Cinema in Temecula, California rents its theater for $35 an hour. It all started a few months ago when theater owner Dannell Ockley kicked around the idea. One weekend night, Temeku employees and Ockley hooked up an Xbox to see if it would be impressive enough on the big screen to attract customers. They ended up playing “Halo” until about 5 a.m.
Then they started spreading the word that the theater was for rent.
The theater has a couple of Microsoft Xbox systems available, but customers are asked to bring their own game discs and controllers. Temeku also has the wires to accommodate Sony PlayStation2 and Nintendo GameCube, if the customer brings the system in.
The video games have become so successful that Temeku employees are looking for two types of customers with the program: children’s parties during a morning session, 9 a.m. to noon, and insomniacs who would get a kick out of playing “Halo,” “Madden NFL 2005” or “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City” at night.
Customers are asked to reserve the screen three days in advance, and unlike during movies, they can bring in their own snacks. The insomniac session runs from midnight to 2 a.m. The theater can be rented for any day in the week.
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Gillespie, the real estate coach, says anyone can copy the idea as long as you can find a theater that wants to make a little extra money.
“You could rent out a movie theater and invite the children and teenagers of people you want to be doing business with,” Jim says. “Can you imagine how the parents of these kids will remember you when their children come home beaming with excitement about the experience they’ve just had? And if you play your cards right, your local newspaper will probably want to interview you about how you came up with this brilliant new idea in the first place. You may even find that it makes good business sense to rent out a theater once a week or once a month for awhile for the kids because it will lead to some really great business for you.”
Nonprofits can even adopt this idea as a fund-raiser. They can rent a theater, then charge people to play games on the big screen, all in the name of a charity.
If you’re a small business that needs more publicity ideas, check out the CD or cassette tape titled “The Fastest, Cheapest Easiest Ways to Publicize Your Small Business.” Jeff Zbar, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2002 Journalist of the Year, explains what small businesses do that get his attention–the same things you can do.
Jim Gillespie, who shared the idea about renting theaters, interviewed me for an hour on what real estate agents can do to generate publicity. Read more about the hour-long interview, available as a CD or cassette tape.