A hairy turn of events: Entrepreneur magazine features my Blagojevich haircut offer PR stunt

Nearly a week after closing arguments in former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s corruption trial, the jury is still out on whether he is bound for the slammer, a reality TV show, or somewhere in between.

But Entrepreneur.com, at least, has weighed in with a verdict on a Blago-inspired PR stunt that Inside Edge PR concocted for a hair salon client, Charo’s Hair Design and Day Spa of Elmwood Park, Ill.

The stunt came on the heels of Blago’s arrest some 20 months ago.

In a piece that appeared online Tuesday, freelance writer Geoff Williams deemed the stunt to be a flop, though he did note some up-side as well. He also covered nine other PR stunts and teased out lessons from each, making it relevant material for anyone in the public relations and marketing fields.

I really don’t mind the “flop” characterization.

As Williams rightly notes, “Blagojevich didn’t take the salon up on the offer; he likely didn’t see much of an upside to accepting. A smattering of local outlets reported on the gimmick, but the stunt went nowhere.”

On the positive side, Williams wrote, “It’s good practice to invent marketing stunts that won’t cost you much if they don’t go anywhere. Baron doesn’t think Charo got a lot of business from the stunt, but she didn’t lose any time or money, either. Try to avoid a marketing stunt that, if it fails, could cost you a lot of time and money that you can’t afford to lose.”

And here in August 2010, the hairy hijinks did get some more national publicity, with links to both the Inside Edge PR website and that of Charo’s Hair Design.

How fortuitous, too, that it comes at a time when Blago is very much on the collective public’s mind. Who knows? Maybe he will still take up Charo on her offer, which is good through January 2011.

If so, you can be sure that I’ll appeal to Entrepreneur.com to alter its “flop” verdict.

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Timely PR Tips: How To Get Free Publicity

For me, one of the most enjoyable parts of sports writing has always been the vast array of cool action verbs that you can use in describing a game’s outcome.

Routed, pummelled, thrashed, drubbed, nipped, shocked, trounced, to name only a few.

In a similar vein, I suspect that journalists covering the economy these days may be finding solace, amid the overwhelmingly negative news, in being able to trot out numerous adjectives to spice up their stories.

Is the economy “beleagured” or “beset” or “in the doldrums” or “troubled” or “swooning” or “moribund”? Take your pick, and crack open the thesaurus to find other words that may be fitting.

No matter which pejorative word or phrase one uses to describe the economy, there’s a public relations antidote for those seeking to wage a marketing campaign in this (pick your pessimistic adjective) climate. It’s called “free publicity,” and it’s something that all publicists strive to attain for their clients (for whom the freebie, of course, is on top of their publicists’ fee).

A year ago, Geoff Williams, a freelance writer on assignment with Growing Wealth Magazine, included some of my pointers in a story exploring that very subject.

You can find the story on the Inside Edge PR website, on the Resources page and headlined Marketing On A Budget.