The guy we’re pitching says “Here’s my problem. I’ve got real, high fashion clothes by the top designers, and I’ve got them at incredibly steep discounts.”
So what’s the problem, we ask. “Two things, actually. First, no one knows about me, and the ones that do, they don’t believe the stuff is the real stuff. They think it’s all knock-offs.”
Okay, we say. What assets do we have? “Not much” he says, and quotes us a ridiculously small budget. “That’s it?” we ask, incredulously. “Oh, and these 12 Hermes Birken bags that we were gonna give away in a contest.”
Hold the bags, we say. We’ll be back in a few days.
But what the heck do I know about high fashion? (Short answer, not much.). So i start talking to some of the women in the office, and one of them says “My step mother would kill for one of those bags.” And I say “That’s it!”
And she says “What, we’re going to have my step mother kill someone?”
No, I say. We’re going to ask women what they would do for one of these bags. We’re going to take one in a glass museum case to New York Fashion Week, and we’re going to ask women there what they would do to get one. Then we’ll video the responses, create some b-roll, and send it to news stations all over America, starting conversations all over the country about what women would do for a $5000 purse.
And it worked.
First, we got tremendous b-roll from women. Women who would sleep with their husbands. Women who would walk naked down 5th Avneue. (There was a lot of nudity involved, actually). Women who would trade us their Gucci and Louis Vuitton bags.
And when we told them that they could win one – a real one – on Bluefly.com, we got so many hits it crashed their servers (a pity for Bluefly, but honestly, kind of a home run for those of us who came up with the idea).
And when Hermes publicly asked us to cease and desist, claiming we weren’t actually giving away real Birkin bags, well, then it became exactly the kind of news story that we wanted. Now the CEO could get on TV and say that yes, everything Bluefly.com sells is really and truly designer.
I can’t remember the number of hits or entries we got. But I do know it was in the multi-millions. All for a budget that wouldn’t have gotten you a decent utility infielder. Good Lord…