How to Market the Impossible in A Politically Correct World
In 2009 the Modern Art Music Movement (MAMM) made history by producing an award-winning film inspired by actual events which generated such buzz through word of mouth worldwide by incorporating innovative techniques. Years later, people around the world are still talking about the low-budget, independent film that has since become an undisputed cult classic. The underground film has been screened alongside such legendary movies as Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” and “Pink Floyd’s: The Wall.” Florida Case # 50-2006-CC-016579, was dubbed “The Crackhead Jesus Trials” by mainstream media outlets including the largest newspaper in circulation, the USA Today Network, Miami New Times, and the Miami Herald. The controversial film, ‘Crackhead Jesus: The Movie’, was created in three days as part of the “2009 Delray Beach Film Festival 72-Hour Film Competition” and the unique marketing campaign has been noted by Cox Communications executives as being one of the most successful campaigns in advertising history. Over a decade after being manifested the product continues to generate global interest making headlines in newspapers like De Volkskrant in Amsterdam, Netherlands. MAMM successfully used the top seven ways to generate buzz around their product, therefore it will be used in this article as an example to show how to generate news buzz around your own product.
One: Controversy Can be Good if Done Right
When Coca-Cola launched Coke, the controversy behind the iconic brand being put to rest in favor of a soda that most people hated generated enough worldwide publicity for the brand name company that it generated billions of dollars worth of free publicity. So too when Donald Trump announced his run for President of the United States his controversial run garnered so much free publicity that it helped solidify his way into the White House. MAMM chose to focus on a real-life story that nobody dared to preserve in celluloid and instead of choosing a safe title for the product that could easily be forgotten and never heard from again, a single unforgettable name was chosen to represent the brand which was planned as a seven-movie series. In the case of Coca-Cola, Donald Trump, and the Modern Art Music Movement, daring to stir up some controversy without harming anyone ultimately paid off by generating news buzz around all three products, the soft drink, presidential candidate, and film series.
Two: What’s in a Name? Everything
When Prince changed his name to an inexplicable symbol people thought he was crazy but the artist formerly known as Prince knew exactly what he was doing. The radical move created world headlines and helped move millions of copies of his new album. So too, the inarguably controversial title, “Crackhead Jesus: The Movie” was deemed so “rude, disgusting, vulgar and offensive” by the United States Trademark Office that the government agency refused to issue the Modern Art Music Movement founder a trademark for his film. The issue was finally resolved a decade later in a landmark Supreme Court case filed by the popular Asian band, “The Slants”, which ruled that failure to trademark such seemingly offensive names was a clear violation of the First Amendment. Needless to say, the highest courts’ free speech ruling made world news, including an unforgettable, eye-popping headline in the Amsterdam, Netherlands newspaper, de Volkskrant, which instantly propelled the ten-year-old independent film back into the mainstream press and generated buzz all over again. Lest anyone confuse the title with blasphemy, the name Crackhead Jesus actually has nothing to do with any religious figure or God, rather it is the nickname given by mainstream media outlets to a high-ranking official who got high on crack cocaine at his workplace and was fired for standing on his desk and proclaiming to his employees that he was the new Messiah and that they were all now his disciples. His groundbreaking court case became known as The Crackhead Jesus trials presided over by the infamous Jeffrey Epstein trial Judge Donald W. Hafele, in a West Palm Beach District Courthouse.
Three: Create Word of Mouth to Propel Your Product into Headlines
To score success with your product, you must know how to build hype around your new creation. Several marketing channels exist that you can use to propagate brand awareness and get people invested in your latest product but the undisputed champion is word of mouth. The organic manifestation of the word-of-mouth buzz is hard to generate but once it gets going like wildfire, it is undoubtedly hard to stop. Crackhead Jesus has spread around so much as part of the urban dictionary that over time it has become part of the English vernacular meaning: scoundrel, jerk, hypocrite, anti-Christ, the devil. Word of mouth has also helped to propel products such as Xerox, Google, and FedEx into the English vernacular meaning respectively to copy, search and deliver overnight. Generate word of mouth and you are sure to create news buzz around your product as well.
Four: Harness the Impact of Street Art Sticker Slapping Culture on Millennials and Baby Boomers
In the hardcover visual encyclopedia of sticker art titled, “Stickers: From Punk Rock to Contemporary Art” by authors DB Burkeman, Monica LoCascio and Carlo McCormick published November 22, 2010, and registered in the Library of Congress, stickers are described as those little markers that capture a point in time and document our culture. The 300-page book traces the visual and social history of the medium and explores the relationship artists have with their pieces and how they communicate with viewers. In it the black and white dada-esque, “Crackhead Jesus is coming” sticker, used to promote the film around the world is listed as being one of the most iconic stickers of all time. Over thirty-thousand of the limited-edition stickers were given away at music festivals around the United States and photos of the ‘CHJ’ stickers began popping up on social media websites like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter showing the stickers slapped on street signs, car bumpers, and even the grave of Jim Morrison of the Doors in Paris, France. The stickers have been spotted from Sydney, Australia to Manhattan, New York, and from Miami, Florida to Las Vegas, Nevada. The influential artist, Shepard Fairey states in the book, “It’s hard to believe that paper and vinyl with adhesive backing can do so much.” He also states, “A little sticker can be a whole lot of things and do a whole lot of things.” For those reasons alone, you should seriously consider generating news buzz around your product by creating stickers that can be promulgated everywhere at little expense.
Five: Create Exciting Press Releases for Distribution
On October 30, 2010, The Palm Beach Post Weekend Movie ListingPage reported Stanley Kubrick’s, A Clockwork Orange and Pink Floyd’s The Wall screening alongside nine question marks as part of the Modern Art Music Movement Midnight Cult Movie Series at the Movies of Lake Worth. The independent-film titled, “Crackhead Jesus: The Movie”, was listed as, “?????????”. It was the first time in movie listing history that a product was censored by a newspaper. Needless to say, the curious listing raised eyebrows and generated news media including appearances by the award-winning film director, producer, and screenwriter on FOX News Radio Networks. MAMM wasted no time in using eReleases to get the word out by reaching all major news outlets through the largest newswire service for press releases. Through PR Newswire’s network, the press release was distributed to five-hundred and fifty news content systems including three-thousand newsrooms and more than forty-five-hundred major news websites. The product was instantly connected with industry-specific trade magazines, reporters, and bloggers as well by using a media database that exceeds one-million-seven-hundred-thousand contacts, including over seven-hundred thousand bloggers and social media influencers. A curated “email send”, to individuals likely to engage with the press release, was also used to generate news buzz around the contentious product.
Six: Create Influencer and Key Opinion Leader Engagement
Nowadays, bloggers are key influencers when it comes to launching new products as their loyal followers want to try recommended products. For more complex industries such as technology and healthcare, key opinion leaders and world influencers add credibility to your product. People are very likely to purchase a new product after they have been endorsed by field experts. In the case of “Crackhead Jesus: The Movie”, Sharon Gless of “Burn Notice” and “Cagney and Lacey” fame and Academy Award nominee Bill Plympton of MTV fame, were among five high-profile judges at the Delray Beach Film Festival, now known as the Downtown Boca Film Festival, that screens films and documentaries from all over the world. Having such respected figures in the arts and entertainment industry award best film honors to the Modern Art Music Movement production of such a controversial film project gave huge credibility to the prophetic movie which tells the story of a serial-killer-spinal-surgeon, false prophets, lawyers, and homegrown terrorists using political correctness as a weapon to infiltrate the United States Justice system to destroy the Republic. The story was inspired by a Florida Court Case that exposed the world to a dangerous lack of oversight in the Florida Justice system creating a global butterfly effect documented by a maverick New York born multimedia-artist in his diary of the world on canvas known as “Modern-Art-Gonzo-Journalism”. The film then went on to win “Best Screenplay” at the 2014 La Romana International Film Festival in the Dominican Republic generating even more international press against all odds.
Seven: Create Eye-Popping Billboards, Mysterious Radio Ads, and Tease your Audience
When network stations refused to run television commercials to market the product because tv executives felt the title was too offensive for prime-time audiences, the Modern Art Music Movement decided to create a slick, subversive ad campaign surrounded by mystery to generate curiosity amongst the public during the Christmas season that ran through Spring Break into Easter. Ten to Fifteen second radio ads ran during the Rush Limbaugh, Hannity, and other top-rated talk shows throughout the day for weeks on end announcing that “Crackhead Jesus is coming and he doesn’t pull out”. Weather reports and traffic reports were sponsored by Crackhead Jesus leading listeners to the website, crackhead Jesus dot com which was designed specifically to tell the story of false prophets and lawyers inspired by actual events that lead to the creation of the censored award-winning film. When top executives told the founder of the MAMM that he could not run the mind-blowing ads on the radio or place black and white billboards on top of fifty cabs throughout South Florida during peak season because the general public might find the ads offensive, the MAMM founder reminded the room full of executives at the high-level meeting that they all worked for a company called Cox Communications, which promptly settled the issue and one of the most memorable ad campaigns in history was immediately given the green light. To this day, people from all over the world visiting Miami Beach who saw or heard the ads and posted photos of the cabs on social media platforms and videos of the taxi billboards on YouTube, remember the curious nature of the Crackhead Jesus is coming campaign.
At this point, if you haven’t realized that being shy or squeamish about publicity, positive or negative, will not help you generate any news buzz around your product, no matter how fantastic it may be, you are not going to generate anything but yawns from the public. Take chances. The risk is good. Realize that If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, so too will your product fall with a loud thud on deaf ears if you don’t dare to be different and make waves where none exist. Use all the creative tools at your disposal to engage audiences and challenge their perception of what is trending and buzzworthy. Be a winner, not a loser. Don’t be a Crackhead Jesus.