Friday, December 05, 2008

Power Marketing Tips 13: Your Worst Dressed List

Power Marketing Tips 13

Your Worst Dressed List

Mr. Blackwell, the creator of the famous annual lists "Blackwell's Best Dressed" and "Blackwell's Worst Dressed", died this past week.

He was an out-of-work actor who went into fashion design and produced his own line of clothing, House of Blackwell. Yet he is well known internationally for his annual lists. His fame demonstrates a few good lessons for marketers.

What can you learn from Mr. Blackwell's best and worst dressed lists?

It cost him nothing to create the lists - just some creative thinking and boldness.

First published in 1960, here was a powerful example of what we now call viral marketing. It was controversial, cost nothing, garnered free media coverage and created a buzz. His comments were cheeky, colorful, brief and quotable.

Although he created and published two lists the better known one is "Blackwell's Worst Dressed".

Why? Blackwell rated and berated the rich and famous. Most of us secretly like to expose flaws in others, partly because we sometimes feel guilty about our own flaws. And we enjoy it even more when the rich and famous are the butt of our jokes.

The Worst Dressed list contained all the incendiary elements of gossip - which is the original viral marketing. Those elements are: controversy, repeatability and opinion. There is one other element to gossip - that is the assumed superiority of the gossiper by expressing judgment upon others.

Mr. Blackwell was the first to create these lists. There have been and will be more imitators but they will always be seen as copycats.

By publishing these lists he established himself as the expert. The best and simplest way to become number one in your market is to create the niche. Coke, McDonalds, The Boston Marathon and Sir Edmund Hillary are number one in their markets because they were first.

How might you use this in your marketing?

Create a list of mistakes, errors, and disasters. Then show prospects how you can help them avoid those traps. This could be a one time list or like Mr. Blackwell you could publish your annual list.

George Torok

Power Marketing

PS: Tell me how this tip helps you.

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