What Do Robert Downey, Jr. and Spongebob Squarepants Have in Common?
Have you heard of The Bic Prank? It looks like it's been around for a while now, but I only stumbled upon it this week and think it's a brilliant use of social media.
Essentially, a genius at Bic (who deserves a promotion) realized that most celebrities will sign anything without looking if you hand them a pen and paper. In order to promote the brand, people armed with Bic Cristal pens went to celebrity hot spots, like movie premiers and concerts, to try and get autographs. Unbeknowst to the celebrities, the papers they were signing were joke contracts and applications, which is how you end get Iron Man to apply to be a store detective or Tom Cruise to order himself a highchair.
The meme took off. Do a search for "Bic Prank" in YouTube and you'll find a number of user-generated videos, completely unrelated to the official Bic campaign, doing the same thing. People loved the idea of pranking celebrities into unwittingly signing things, and all of this user-generated content was linked as a response to the original Bic video.
You can create a promotion like this to. If you have a cell phone and an internet connection, then you have a camera and a YouTube audience. Go to a concert or political rally wearing a client's shirt and try to get a photo or video next to someone famous. If you get a photo shaking hands with a senator while wearing a client's logo, you can bet they'll be calling you for more orders.
If you've ever created any fun guerilla-style promotions, tell us about them. Or if the Bic videos gave you any great ideas, let us know what they are.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a marriage certificate to print out. If anyone knows where Scarlett Johansson will be this weekend, drop me a line.
Kyle A. Richardson is the editorial director of Promo Marketing. He joined the company in 2006 brings more than a decade of publishing, marketing and media experience to the magazine. If you see him, buy him a drink.