Kim Kardashian West "ignites controversy" with a Virgin Mary candle. This seems like a major brand awareness campaign. That may not sound like it makes sense, as Kim K. is angering many people. But in the school of any publicity is good publicity, which brands like Urban Outfitters, Zara and Nordstrom may have graduated from recently with their controversial products, Kim K. is taking it to the highest level.
If you’ve spent any time at all on Twitter and Facebook during the last week or so, you’ve undoubtably heard about KONY2012. The campaign by the nonprofit advocacy group Invisible Children centered around Joseph Kony, the Ugandan warlord and leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a guerrilla group with a long and violent history that includes the kidnapping of children. With striking and dramatic imagery and Hollywood-style editing, the campaign video presents an utterly compelling message in the age of “social” media: by simply clicking “share,” you can make a difference in the world. And “share” the world did …
For several weeks during May and June, a series of wildly exciting full-page ads ran in The Philadelphia Inquirer for a seminar titled GET MOTIVATED! to be held in the massive Wachovia Center, home of the Philadelphia Flyers (hockey) and 76ers (basketball).
Among the speakers with star power were Gen. Colin Powell, Rudy Giuliani, Steve Forbes, Zig Ziglar and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. The cost:
Only $4.95 PER PERSON. Or Send Your Entire Office for Only $19! That’s almost free! Admission at the door: $225 per person. Call immediately to take advantage of this limited time offer.
After seeing this ad three or four times, I did the math. The Wachovia Center seats a maximum of 22,000 people. If completely sold out at $4.95, gross revenue would be $108,900.
That amount would be completely eaten up by speakers' fees. Colin Powell: $100,000 plus private jet. Rudy Giuliani: avg. $80,000. Zig Ziglar: $25,000 to $50,000. Donovan McNabb: $20,000 to $30,000. I could not find Steve Forbes’ fee on the Internet, but it has to be at least $50,000.
The “GET MOTIVATED! Workbook” was an additional $4.99, so the final tally for me was $10 and change (tax). A full house at $10 each would generate $220,000. But speakers’ fees, hall rental, staff, audio-visual, etc., would create serious negative cash flow.
I smelled a rat and decided to sign up.
In the immortal words of The Wall Street Journal’s Laura Landro, written last Friday about her long weekend at the George V Hotel in Paris: Of course, you pay dearly: Even taking into account the strong euro, prices at the George V, like other luxury hotels, are stratospheric. Internet access, at $32 for 24 hours, feels like highway robbery. And when a club sandwich, small shrimp salad and a couple of Coke Lites come to $157, you know you aren’t in Kansas anymore. Where the British pound equals $2, the euro is a paltry buck and a half. Dinner in Germany and Austria was
Friday afternoon on MSNBC’s “Hardball,” host Christ Matthews raised this question to two guests: Should the leader of Iran be allowed to speak on Columbia University campus in New York next week?” Radio talk show host Ed Schultz was unequivocal: Absolutely. I think Columbia University is doing this country a favor by getting this guy on American soil, getting him on the record in an academic environment. Let‘s find out what he thinks about Israel. He‘s made all these outlandish comments about the Holocaust on the other side of the world. Let‘s get him on American soil and get him on the record. The thing I