Smile – You’ve Just Been Ambushed!

For years I’ve been a devotee of getting the Messages On Hold logo exposed throughout the media without paying for it. We’ve ambushed AFL games, Ashes Cricket test matches, Wimbledon, live news broadcasts, even the Olympics. The result? Hundreds of thousands of dollars of free media exposure.
But isn’t there a risk of upsetting people with this cheeky (never illegal) form of marketing? Sure. After all, this sort of marketing can polarise people. Some love it, some hate it, most notice it and then get on with life – it’s no big deal.
I’m never going to do business with everyone. So why should I worry about alienating a small segment of the market. So many business people spend their lives treading the safe line, making sure they don’t do or say anything that might cause offence or gain unwanted attention.
Messages On Hold has always been “out there” and those who do business with us tend to love that sort of brash attitude. I remember when we ambushed Tim Gossage in the betting ring a minute prior to the start of the Melbourne Cup.
Glenn Wilson held up a Messages On Hold sign over Tim’s shoulder, not an easy task (he’s about 6’5″ tall). The phones went berserk. We must have received 40 calls from outraged viewers. I think we even lost a client over it. However, half the country saw that logo and focused on my business for 15 seconds.
“Would you give up a $2,000/year client in return for $50,000 worth of national exposure?” Is it ethical? That’s for you to decide. I can’t make the media expose my business, but if the opportunity presents itself and I don’t take advantage of it, more fool me.