The “Balloon Boy” Hoax and 15-min. of Fame
By Denise Michaels, Author, ‘Testosterone-Free Marketing”
You had to be living under a rock if you didn’t hear the story out of Fort Collins Colorado last week regarding the six year old boy who parents said they were afraid had blown away in a homemade weather balloon on Thursday. The nation sat gripped with awe as we watched images of this aluminum foil looking balloon buffeted along over empty fields and up to heights of over 15,000 feet. Finally it was discovered the boy was hiding in a box in the attic of the family’s home the whole time. Happy ending?
Police discovered the event was a hoax. The father is a publicity hound whose been on a couple episodes of reality TV. He did it to improve his chances of getting on another reality TV show.
If only the six year old boy hadn’t ratted him out and thrown up on national television – his scheme probably would’ve worked.
On September 9th a Congressman from South Carolina shouted, “You lie!” during an important speech by the President. He apologized to the President, but within a week he raised over a million dollars in campaign contributions which will probably ensure his re-election in 2010.
Back in the 1960s, artist Andy Warhol said, “Everyone will have 15 minutes of fame.”
In both cases I don’t agree with what these people did. What blows me away is their results.
Here’s what I see: unless someone is brought up on charges for breaking the law, in 2009 people are often rewarded for “bad behavior.” It makes headlines and if you leverage it the right way, it’ll keep you in the headlines. It used to take extraordinary talent to become a celebrity – now it takes something like a sex tape leaked on the internet and crazy behavior aka Kim Kardashian. Bingo! Instant fame and reality star of a show now in its sixth season.
What does this mean for you and your business?
You can be a nice girl and say, “I’d never do anything like that!” Or, it may be time to suck up your confidence and make some noise about your home-based business and stop waiting for people to discover you. After all, publicity can be an incredibly valuable form of marketing.
Tell the world. Say something controversial. Plan a publicity stunt. Get your phone ringing off the hook.
According to Wikipedia: “A publicity stunt is a planned event designed to attract the public’s attention to the event’s organizers or their cause. Publicity stunts can be professionally organized or set up by amateurs. Such events are frequently utilized by advertisers, celebrities, athletes, and politicians.”
Can you use a publicity stunt in some way?
Don’t automatically say, “No, I could never pull off a stunt.” Consider the possibilities.