Let The Dogs Bark, The Caravan Moves On!

If you’re a publicist and want to avoid controversy, then there’s a simple formula: take no risks and go to great lengths to avoid offending others.

In short, prepare to fail.

With any worthwhile pursuit, if you bring enthusiasm and creativity to the task, you will leave yourself open to naysayers, hecklers and all manner of critics.

That’s because one person’s enthusiasm and creativity is another’s bad idea and unseemly taste.

Such was the recent case with I Do, Doggone It!, the Nov. 8 event in Oak Park, Ill. that I publicized for Downtown Oak Park, an association of businesses who wanted to bring attention to their shopping district.

We drew 87 couples on a bone-chilling, rainy day–easily the 2nd-largest wedding in history, though shy of the Guinness World Record of 178, set in Littleton, Col. in May 2007. And with 13 same-sex couples (nine male and four female duos), we likely set the standard in that category.
Local letters to the editor, and even an editorial, found fault with either the premise itself or the fact that we did not break the Guinness record.

All those slings and arrows go with the territory.

Fortunately, so does the continuing national and regional coverage, from the likes of Fox News, the Chicago Tribune and various Chicago television stations, which continue shining a spotlight on Oak Park’s downtown.

Let the dogs bark, but the caravan moves on!

No Guinness World Record, Doggone It!

The mass dog wedding that I publicized, I Do, Doggone It!, may have set a record for the most same-sex dog “marriages” on Saturday in downtown Oak Park.

However, that is not yet a sanctioned Guinness World Record category.

So the 87 total marriages, while certainly one of the biggest in pooch history, fell shy of the Guinness mark (178), set in May 2007 in Littleton, Col.

To check out some video that I shot during the whimsical festivities, you can check out the blog DogWedding.info.

You can also visit a Chicago Tribune photo gallery of the event.

An Open Invitation To The Obama Girls

It’s not every day that you invite the President-elect’s daughters to come to a mass dog wedding.

But when it comes to a great cause, has a logical link to a pledge that Barack Obama made before the world on Tuesday night, and Sasha and Malia just happen to be in the neighborhood anyway…well, it just seems like the right thing to do.

Check out excerpts from the Guinness World Record attempt news release, touting the canine conjugals tomorrow in downtown Oak Park. It all starts at 11 a.m. for those dogs that need a speed-dating service, with bow vows at 1 p.m.

Even if the Obama girls aren’t able to join in the fun, plenty of people will and you’re invited along too. Here, you can check out the history of I Do, Doggone It!

Don’t Mess With Forgettable Web Names

About a month ago, I received my first offer to buy a website name that I secured. Somebody out there wants www.dogwedding.info.

They’ll have to wait until at least Nov. 8, when one of my clients, the Downtown Oak Park organization, tries to break the Guinness World Record for a mass dog wedding. Even then, I suspect I’ll hold onto it awhile for post-event publicity purposes.

The overture underscores the wisdom of grabbing a memorable website name (or URL, as techies call ’em). Being memorable, of course, is one of the basic functions of public relations.

You may not be shocked to learn that nobody was clamoring to buy the behind-the-cyber-scenes online home for DogWedding.info: http://idodoggoneit.blogspot.com/. It’s simply too long and clunky to even consider depositing into your memory bank.

Some other messy-to-memorable moves I’ve made in recent months:

Messy: http://300nkenilworth.blogspot.com/
Memorable: www.filmshootlocation.info/

Messy: http://www.scheckandsiress.blogspot.com/
Memorable: www.scheckblog.com

Messy: http://insideedgepr.blogspot.com/
Memorable: www.ieblogger.com (Look familiar?)

What inspired this spate of activity was this Mother of All URL Forwarding Coups that my wife, Bridgett, pulled off over a year ago for one of her online shopping portals:

Messy: http://bbaron.ordermygift.com/default.aspx
Memorable: www.realsimplegifts.com/

By the way, in most instances, you are able to “mask” the messy website name, so that all any visitor sees is your memorable one.

The moral of this post: if you’ve got a blog or another spot on the web that could use some sprucing up, you ought to consider going to GoDaddy or some other service and investing $10 (or less) so that you can have an easier, more catchy name to share with the world.

Picture This: PR Empowered by Video

I began writing for newspapers in 1984, and still do so on rare occasions. It’s rewarding, it’s demanding, and it’s in my blood.

But it’s far from the only channel of communication that I advise my clients to navigate. Increasingly, I am convinced that the written word remains a persuasive force but that its power multiplies when accompanied by a visual component.

Often, that means creating a website so that your audience has 24/7 access to your message. And the message should include photographs and/or video clips.

Some current examples:

http://www.100kmistake.info/

http://www.dogwedding.info/

http://300nkenilworth.blogspot.com/

And my YouTube channel, at http://www.youtube.com/mb60302, has 70 video clips. The vast majority have been used, or are currently in use, to promote one client or another.

Here is an especially compelling one, showing a Scheck & Siress client who has benefitted from a device known as the WalkAide: