Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Charlie Sheen Method of Getting Publicity

We have all heard him and seen him: Charlie Sheen in his raw state of angst and anger. The rants, the insults, and the personal derisions leveled against his employer, Chuck Lorre, creator of the hit show, Two and a Half Men. Though it would be better described as notoriety, Charlie Sheen's recent public outbursts and displays can give us a few lessons on publicity, but not the negative kind.

Lesson 1. Make outrageous statements. Soon after getting locked out of the Warner Bros. studio, Charlie contacted radio stations and began to vent. Those vents were personal and offensive toward his employer. Yet they were provocative enough that they made everyone want to hear what he said.

Publicists create outrageous "headlines", but they are meant to grab the audience - not to insult or abuse. The eye-popping headline wants to pull you in order to engage and interface with you. Not push you away.

Lesson 2. Go on a press junket. Though Charlie already has the name to garner any media outlet he wants, he put himself on every network & radio program that would have him. I could not turn on the TV or go online without hearing about current Charlie's problems.

Publicists reach out to the media with relevant stories and current trends. Perfecting your pitch to the media can get you placed, and with patient persistence, combined with a developed relationship, you can become an "inside" source for a reporter. At this point, a press junket may not be too far-fetched.

Lesson 3. Show your "raw" side. Charlie's "big" interview aired on ABC's 20/20 where he smoked a cigarette, admitted he was on drugs, called the "Charlie Sheen drug", and exposed obviously erratic behavior. This was Charlie no-holds-barred, as he told his side of the story.

Good publicity tells your story. It is not about your product, service, business, stats, etc., but about the woman behind the success. We all are eager to know about, and root for, the journey you took to get from ordinary 9-to-5er to the wildly successful venture you launched.

In the world of celebrity, even bad publicity is considered "good" for public image. This is not the case in business. Smart marketing and branding garners good publicity. So when in doubt about your publicity campaign, take a lesson from the Charlie Sheen Method - and do the opposite.

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