Liz Erk (lizerk) wrote,
Liz Erk

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I was recently walking through downtown Boston when I came across a guy playing overturned buckets like a drum set.

Now, this is not original by any means, as I've seen this sort of thing all over New York City when I was growing up. But what always amazed me was the sizable crowds these guys drew in. Same with the other variations of street performers who play on the subway platforms, or even this one guy who plays the harmonica and mutters to himself on Huntington Ave. in the Back Bay area. They are seen by countless people day in and day out.

Why am I bringing this up? Because while our Internet was down yesterday morning I sat with a copy of Advertising Age and read about the woes of big brands trying to effectively advertise and reach broad audiences. From standard print ads to billboards, companies are spending hundreds of millions on the execution of their campaigns.

Yes, that's right: what I'm getting at is that corporations should try to work with these street performers to market their products! Imagine the possibilities!! For instance, Bucket Drummer could have a variety of orange-colored plastic buckets that say, "provided by HomeDepot" on them and HomeDepot would give the (likely homeless) person a hundred bucks or something for his use of them.

(Yeah yeah, skip the obvious "HomelessDepot" joke...)

Think of how cost effective this is! The drummer is out there for 4 or 5 hours a day and is seen by thousands. Compare that to the current campaign the home improvement giant has going...

First of all, it costs the consumer $62,000 to buy the car. But on top of that, how much did HomeDepot have to shell out to NASCAR and NEXTEL to make all the components of the joint promotions happen??

(And honestly... who's going to want to be seen driving that thing around? Maybe it's because I'm not a big NASCAR/ HomeDepot enthusiast, but to me that car is tacky looking and not to mention, who wants to pay $62,000 to operate a mobile ad for those companies??

And while we're at it, take a look at this section detailing what else a buyer can get with their purchase:

Up to $2,000 Worth of Upgrades to Choose From
As if the limited-edition Monte Carlo SS wasn't impressive enough, you also get to choose up to $2,000 worth of custom accessories. These add-ons must be agreed upon with the dealer in order to ensure that they do not violate the car's warranty. Possible upgrades include:

*18 in. chromed double-spoke wheels
*Brushed aluminum pedals
*Instrument cluster face plate
*And more

Oh! "And more!!" Sign me up for $2000 worth of "and more" please!!)

Anyway, my point is, corporations could really get their name out there by getting a little more creative and for even less money. For the struggling guitarist on the T platform, give them a decent guitar and a t-shirt that says, "provided by VH1's 'Save The Music' Program" or something along those lines. Or for the guy who's singing on the sidewalk, give him a t-shirt that reads, "fueled by Burger King."

I mean really, was it entirely necessary for Burger King to spend $340 million on a campaign that centered around a creepy plastic head?

For the dismal 1.1% revenue increase experienced by BK franchisees that Advertising Age reported, I'm going to vote "no."

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