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Till Talk: Be ridiculous; people love ridiculous


Here I’d like to detail with you one of the most effective — yet least expensive — pieces of advertising I have ever been a part of.

And it could not have been any easier.

On Dec. 14, in the middle of the holiday season, I broadcast a “faux” press conference from our Kilwins stores in both Babylon and Patchogue. I did this using the new social media tool, Facebook Live.

The video featured myself, attired as an elf, discussing our extended hours for the holidays.  No actual media outlets covered the event.  In fact, if you look closely you can see that I am speaking into a cluster of inflatable microphones like you might see at a wedding.

I fielded some “questions” from wooden nutcrackers, very skillfully manipulated by a representative from Kilwins headquarters. (Video appears above.)

Who cares, John?

Well, there are so many ways nowadays to try to promote your business, many of which are expensive and hard to track. I would like to break down the costs associated with my press conference.

My elf suit was about $30, plus shipping. The inflatable microphones were $7 for a dozen. The “actors” in the shot were for argument’s sake, free. So, my all-in cost on this one was about $37 — for those of us following along. 

Still, who cares John?

The point of the story is the video went locally “viral,” as they say, it was getting everything one could ask for – likes, shares, and comments. 

By the time all was said and done, over 6,000 individuals viewed what I still believe was an insanely ridiculous video. 

Maybe two months ago, 60 Minutes ran a segment on people who make a living being what are called “influencers.” These are mostly young people who promote products such Subway sandwiches, among their social media followings. things like that.

One of the people featured was compensated $100,000 for three hours of work promoting a product.  Basically, he had so many followers that his 8-second clip was worth the company paying him $100,000 for it.

Just to set the record straight, I did not pay myself $100,000 for my press conference. But we had about $100,000 worth of laughs. I do believe that conventional advertising doesn’t work as well anymore. Do something crazy. Step outside the box. Make someone who is bored at work at 3 p.m. laugh, and they will love you for it. 

Build your own audience and be your own influencer. It’s not as hard as you might think if you’re ready for some trial and error.

OK, gotta run.

We’ve got more ridiculousness to plan for the spring/summer. Stay tuned!

About the author: John Murray, III

John Murray, III is the owner of Kilwins Babylon Village and Kilwins Patchogue Village. He and his wife, Lauren, live in Wantagh. When not serving chocolate and fudge, you can find him high-fiving Jason Aldean in the pit at Jones Beach Ampitheater.