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Naked 70 year olds….

Marketing with naked 70 year olds

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

― Apple Inc.

I was just reminded I am to speak at Ball State University next week. When I asked the topic, the answer was simply “marketing”. So what shall I talk about when it comes to marketing? First off, I love the lead in quote, one of my favorite rants is to push the “point of difference” approach in every message and I can think of no better point of different message than Apple’s core value statement.

Marketing is about awareness and reminding people whom you are or if you are new, introducing you or your company to the masses. It is a message that tells the who, what, when, and how of your being. It has been said, “great marketing is discussed, and poor marketing is never mentioned”.

About 10 years ago, there was a debate in my little Indiana county to either keep the courthouse which was historical and cool, or tear it down and replace it with a new structure that would be much more cost effective and offer it’s inhabitants the latest and greatest of technology.

Each side was very vocal about their belief in their “cause” and thus it was a matter for much public debate. At 12:37 pm one fall afternoon, during their weekly bridge game Mary Lou announced to her fellow bridge players that she had an idea to save the courthouse. It was her idea that a new courthouse was a very bad idea and that keeping the old structure, but making major improvements was the best solution.

The bridge ladies were intrigued, how can WE save the courthouse. Mary Lou went on to tell them that she had been working with a local photographer and that she had set up a time that all of them would be photographed naked. The naked shots would be used to make a calendar and the calendar would be sold to raise money to “save the court house”. When the other women stated, “I’m not getting my picture taking naked”, Mary Lou responded, don’t worry, we’ll use a model of the courthouse to cover up our downtown bonanza and our cash and prizes.

The calendar was produced and as you drive through Randolph County Indiana, you will see the most amazing original updated historic courthouse in the country. Now, folks that is marketing. Marketing of an idea and marketing that had an impact for many future generations.

3 years ago I’m getting ready to get my teeth cleaned. I had about 20 minutes to kill and I had been mulling over a new agency marketing idea. Since we use the term “naked” to describe clients that do not have adequate or correct coverage, I thought I might be able to use that term in a marketing campaign.

I called my father and said, “Dad do you remember the courthouse calendar girls”, he laughed and said “of course”. I said “I’m thinking of doing a new marketing campaign with you and mom naked”. His response was full out laughter. When I explained my concept, he was in. My next call was to my mother. “Mom, do you remember the calendar girls”? Mom: “I love the calendar girls”. Me: “Cool, we’ll I’ve been thinking of doing a marketing program that involves you and Dad” Mom: “Ok?” Me: “Both you and Dad would be naked, but you would be holding a black sign with our logo on it covering your downtown bonanza and cash and prizes”. Mom: “I’ll do it, but you father never will”.

One week from that day, both parents were at a friend’s photography studio getting photographed holding a large black sign that we would later add various messages about being naked, better coverage, etc. We registered nakedinsurance.net and within the month had the website up.

I went to a printer friend of mine and ordered twenty-four six foot cut outs, twelve of mom and twelve of dad that we could use at various spots in our marketing territory. I negotiated a large billboard on a major interstate that stated “are you naked?” I had post cards developed that included Mom and Dad with the same image.

We still use these images today on our website. If you have an interest, visit thethompsongroup.net. Many people ask, “Did it work”? The answer to that is not really quantifiable, we have always been and will continue to be a profitable company. To me marketing, whether it’s with my naked parents, or other means allows us to sustain our company.

As the owner of my company one of my favorite things to manage is the marketing. I like to go for the unique and it has been my experience that being a “misfit” is a hell of a good time.

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