Personal trainers Jim Labadie and Ryan Lee of North Palm Beach, Florida knew the release of Michael Moore’s new movie “Sicko,” which castigates health care in the United States, was the perfect chance to use two strategies I advocate:
1. Don’t be afraid to become embroiled in a controversy.
2. Piggyback off celebrities and current movies.
With help from Tampa PR pro Lizz Harmon, that’s exactly what they did.
“Mr. Moore is a walking advertisement for heart disease and diabetes,” Jim says in an open letter to all fitness instructors. “This is not to bash him. This is not to be viewed as an attack on him. This is not about aesthetics. This is not about looking good in a bathing suit. This is about Michael Moore exercising regularly and improving his diet so he can become a better role model for preventative care.”
The letter urges fitness instructors to also write a letter that calls on the filmmaker to become a healthy role model.
“I haven’t done too much with the letter other than promote it to people who have given us permission to email them,” Jim says. He and Ryan emailed about 130,000 people in the fitness industry, and others who they thought would be interested.
Their campaign is starting to gain traction on the Internet because the topic is perfect fodder for special interest websites and bloggers, whether they write about fitness, health insurance or politics.
It’s also edgy enough for drive-time radio interviews and local TV shows. If you’re a fitness trainer, how about joining this campaign, then pitching your local TV stations? (See “Get Booked on Big Radio Stations in the Top 20 Markets.”)
Think the campaign is downright nasty and are you refusing to participate? Sounds like a story to me. (See “How to Get on the Local TV News Tomorrow.”)