My Bestseller Sold 5000 Copies in Six Weeks
Remember last week I told you about the joint advertising I co-ordinated during a similar recession in Australia, getting 400 businesses to collaborate in a 6 month TV advertising campaign? We created a jingle and made a series of commercials and posted those commercials out of town, in regional centres, and used local events as part of each ad to bring people to town during those event times. 2100 ads over 6 months and it worked with a boost to sales, morale and most importantly team spirit.
It did not, of course, stop the effects of the recession.
But isn’t it interesting where the dramas and the disasters can take us? Because around the same time, the town I was in had its 100 year flood. I worked as a freelance journalist and camera person as part of my production company with a team of 3 camera people. Over the 10 days of the flood we got to see the levies being sand bagged , the children being rescued from near death, the emergency airlift of a child with ruptured appendix, the food and water drops to isolated homesteads, the animals being saved, the cars being washed away, the downpour, the landslips, the aerial view of the history-making biggest ever flood on record for that town. Where was it? Grafton NSW!
On the last Friday the waters receded and I was driving back from an interview with local rescue and emergency crews doing the final mopping up …. and lo and behold….an idea came!
This happens for Spielberg too did you know?
Most of his ideas come while driving. The constant blur of image and the passing landscape does something for his mind and ideas rush in. The idea that came was this. I knew the local historical society had an old film reel from about 60 years ago of another big flood for the town. But that was it. The average person had no ability to view it. But I had ten days of footage and interviews that could be edited and made into a newsreel and sold to the townsfolk who had NOT BEEN ABLE TO SEE WHAT I SAW!
So at about midday on the Friday I put an ad in the paper for the coming Monday for a half hour narrated newsreel. This ad told the story of the video which showed the flood, the levies being sandbagged, the rescues being effected, the aerial shots, the emergency rescue of a child with a burst appendix, the cars that were swept away, the bridges that broke….and so on.
Then I rang a newsreader colleague, booked her for 3 hours for the Sunday and then stayed at the studio Friday night and began editing. It was quite easy as all the news we had fed to the networks was all in chronological order. I wrote the script of about 3,500 words and we began the edit process, matching footage to dialogue. By Sunday 10pm it was done and ready to release the next morning.
I was not alone in my genius. Another entrepreneurial person had done similar, but his had no narration and there was the key to the unprecedented success!
It was the storytelling that sold the product.
Taking local people from being trapped by the floodwater and only able to see out their front door, to being privy to to all that went on with a sequential story of the disaster building and then the subsiding, was the answer. They got the drama but they also got to see humanity in action. They saw the good work. They saw people being in service beyond the call of duty.
The phone rang for 6 weeks nonstop. I employed 5 students to make the covers and run off copies and in the end had to send out to get them done in lots of 500 and 1000. I sold just over 5000 copies into a population of 18,000 in 6 weeks. It slowed down after that for about 6 months and then slowly died away.
By being present and open to opportunity we see things where others do not. I gambled but all I would lose was some sleep if it did not work. The newspaper ads were a small investment but achieved a big return. So, what do you know or what could you create in any format that a lot of other people would like access to?
Do you know dear reader….next week I am going to tell you the story of the best bank manager I ever knew!
New Zealand’s leader in the Science of Positive Psychology and Humour in the Workplace, she has a CV that’s not to be laughed at! Included in her giggliography are some ground breaking achievements, testimony to her ability to successfully combine her business acumen, creativity, and wit. Pat has presented over 15,000 hours of keynotes, workshops, seminars and lectures reaching an astounding 55,000 people throughout Australasia. She was President of the National Speakers Association NZ 2001, The Most Awarded Speaker at the 2000 NSANZ Convention and 2002 NZ Speaker of the Year. She has coached many people through adversity, is an author, columnist, radio producer and film director.