Not long ago, a friend of mine opened a diner in New York. He chose the location because it was cheap, and he could not afford anything more expensive. I worked with him on turning his little diner into a Hollywood premier without the Hollywood budget.
To get started, I helped him create a flyer that announced, “Come and Meet the Stars of Big and Little Screens!” The flyer listed the date, time and address. Next, I worked out a deal to buy half price tickets from a local movie theatre. The tickets were for showings on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, when the theatre has many empty seats. I gave the 25 tickets I had purchased to a local FM radio station. The station was attempting to increase the number of its listeners, and giving away tickets was a good way to create an incentive. The tickets would be awarded by the radio station to the first twenty people who showed up for our night of stars at the diner.
On the night of the opening, the station agreed to broadcast directly from the diner. I even booked a old style Hollywood DJ. To further simulate the luster of an old fashioned Hollywood opening, I hired a large searchlight to attract attention from all over the city. Finally, I booked numerous celebrity impersonators to complete our event. I hired about ten people ranging from Burt Reynolds, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Liza Minelli, and Sylvestor Stallone.
Three weeks prior to the event, we sent press releases and media alerts to the local daily and weekly newspapers.
So, now the question is, how did the event go and what were the results?
More than 300 people showed up to see the celebrity impersonators and get to know the new diner and its food. My friend gave away a series of ten coupons that entitled the bearer to 15% off ten different meals at the diner. Also, three local newspapers sent reporters and photographers to cover the event. The event was a great success in every respect. This is a great example, that even in a tough economy, a creative event completed with smart marketing can pay off big time. By the way, my friends diner has been very busy ever since.
Josh Gair – Impact Entertainment Services