Monday, November 28, 2005

Paris Hilton Crashed My Marketing Party (figuratively)

I noticed something this weekend, and it led me to think about what is perhaps one of the truly brilliant marketing moves of the 21st century.

We were in Palm Desert, CA – perhaps a bit altered by too much Thanksgiving tryptophan and residual Burgundy effects. I noticed that lots of the young guys and some of the young gals at The River (a hip mall) were wearing baseball caps with the Hilton “H” on the front.

I got to thinking….hmm.. Hilton, a $22 public stock on the NYSE. Hilton.. a big hotel concern with 70,000 employees and more than 2,300 properties.

What if… what if Paris Hilton is just a marketing ploy? What if her antics and exposure are ultimately designed to serve the company stock (HLT)?

Think about it. Where is the one piece of advertising real estate that virtually everyone has to view? Let’s say you’re a consumer that doesn’t watch TV, listen to the radio or go to the movies. Where else could you be ambushed with brands and marketing messages? The supermarket check out line, of course. Those “billboards,” the tabloid covers, might be selling something. Maybe a hotel chain in this case.

I wonder if Paris Hilton has helped propagate the Hilton Hotel brand. Maybe she’s not even their child. Maybe she’s an actress that they hired to build mindshare. Perhaps they grew her in a Petri dish and trained her to party and giggle her way to the check out stand headlines.

Tongue firmly in cheek (kind of).

Seriously, though. Think on a smaller scale. Could you come up with a device similar to Paris Hilton that gets you into the press or at least into the minds of your target market? T-shirts and caps come to mind, but that’s so “old hat.” Golden Palace has made a habit of purchasing outrageous, news generating items on eBay (remember the Virgin Mary toast?). That’s pretty original.

Anyone have some ideas (large or small) that are currently working? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

P.S. Amazon.com sells "The 7 Essential Steps to Successful eBay Marketing" for 32% off the cover price. Walmart.com sells if for 36% off!

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