Tag Archives: Guerrilla Marketing

Guff & Gubbins…

Imagine an embryo in a suit sitting at a desk in a cubicle disguised as an adult. Somehow it has made its way into central London on a grad scheme; the main responsibility of which appears to gravitate around the concept of making me feel old and decrepit. More pressingly (he) is now occupying the room that houses the cabinet in which my work shoes reside. I tap on the glass and open the door.

‘Hi, do you mind if I just get my shoes?’

All the blood drains from of his face. The transformation is quite dramatic. ‘Yes.’

‘You do mind?’

‘Yes I do…sorry.’

‘Oh…well I’ll jus-‘ The wall of stench hits me. He was been breaking wind – a lot. It’s a very tiny room and he clearly wasn’t expecting company. I am physically repelled and contain the outbreak with a hefty slam of the door.

Given a moment to think I realise that I probably should’ve handled that better – maybe acted as if there wasn’t a paint-stripping reek assaulting the inside of my throat and calmly returned later. I smile through the glass to show him that there are no hard feelings and that I shall retrieve the aforementioned footwear in due course. Shortly thereafter he scurries away.

4084833608a5daa7c93e65460d0af83b885b907724ee782c48b0b2c36307d596d5ad42c7Later I am returning from lunch when I see the lift doors closing. I make a dash for it and step inside. There is already someone within – the graduate! He seems mortified to be in a confined space with me. The lift takes an eternity to begin its accent, and we are only moving for a few seconds before a robot announces ‘Emergency call activated.’ The graduate steps forward. A red light is flashing in the space recently vacated by his ass-cheeks. He becomes flustered.

‘Don’t worry about it,’ I reassure. ‘It happens every other day. They should probably think about relocating the button. Someone’ll ring through in a minute and we’ll be on our way.’

…And then the stench hits me – worse then before! We are in an even smaller room. There is no escape. Embryo won’t look me in the eye. His suit looks highly flammable. He is taking a very great risk. This is too glorious an opportunity to pass up.
‘Seriously, there’s no point squeezing one out stealthily. I’m the only other person in here and I know it wasn’t me.’

‘What wasn’t you?’

Come on!’

‘How do I know it wasn’t you?’

What wasn’t me?’

‘…Whatever it is you’re talking about.’

‘How do you know? Cos it was you. If there was one other guy in here then there might be an element of mystery, but as there isn’t, there isn’t.’

Before we descend into a he-who-smelt-it-dealt-it territory a muffled, metallic sounding voice comes from the lift’s side panel. ‘Can I help you?’

‘Yeah, you can let me out of this dutch oven before I asphyxiate.’

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Grovelling personified…

Once a week I write to Mariella Frostrup at Radio 4’s ‘Open Book.’ At first I begged her to grant me an interview on the show, but now I mostly compliment her on her hair. I thought about sending one that read ‘Can you see me? I can see you,’ or perhaps ‘Did you get that finger I posted?’ but people rarely take stalker-humour in the spirit that it’s intended.

Latest Google searches to find me: ‘Pot urinals,’ ‘Guerrilla night-clubs’ and ‘Sally Gunnell bikini.’

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“You are my Kryptonite…”

…Was universally agreed last night as the answer to the question ‘What’s the worst chat-up line you’ve ever received?’

The relevancy of which is that the lady in question had also tried to order The Melting Pot via Waterstones, but had subsequently been refunded after they were unable to source it…all despite my having gone to great lengths to get a wholesale agreement in place with a company called Gardners. I checked on the website and it seems that the agreement has been cancelled without my knowledge!

This kind of occurrence is the biggest obstacle to a self-publisher – the bulk buying view – where a company will say that’s it’s not in their interests to buy (or even take on sale or return) from a single seller due to it being inefficient time-wise. I’ve mentioned before that I sometimes approach a bookshop in or around Reading (where I live), agree a sale, but then have to post the books via a warehouse hundred’s of miles away rather than just take them in myself!

…And relax.

A guy from the Isle of Man ordered the book on Amazon a few days ago and was kind enough to write and say he liked what I was trying to do. I always massively appreciate strangers taking the time to do this, and it more than counters any frustrations I feel at the logistical constraints of fulfilling orders. This particular reader also relates back to the Waterstones rant and goes a long way to explaining a bizarre phone-call I received from a bookseller a few weeks ago – which went like this:

‘Hello.’

‘Hi, I’m on the Isle of Man.’

[PAUSE] ‘I’m happy for you.’

‘Oh…sorry…One of my customers would like a copy of your book. Can I buy one?’

‘Of course you can.’

‘Great! Bye.’

‘Wait – how were you planning on ordering it?’

‘I thought you could send it to me.’

‘I can, but I don’t know who you are or where you live.’

‘I’m on the Isle of Man…’

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Spot the impending tragedy…

It’s amazing how often the London underground catches fire! Following general gridlock / alarms several thousand people were kicked out of Paddington yesterday morning; thwarting the efforts of the sneaky soul who kindly fly-postered the Bakerloo 12032008001.jpgline the night before.

To date my exploits have brought me into close proximity with such acolytes as The Henry Kelly of Going for gold fame, and Oscar-winning-Turkish-assassin Kevin Spacey.  

12032008002.jpgStaying on the famous people theme a lady in the office says that she knows Nurse #3 from BBC’s ‘Casualty,’ (or ‘Spot the impending tragedy,’ as it’s known in the Cororan house-hold). We’ve conceived an idea based on the exploits of Sid James from the ‘Carry On’ films. He famously used to supplement his meagre actors salary by surreptitiously placing bottles of whisky in shot and collecting advertising royalties. In similar fashion we hope to get the book into view on the set. The current thoughts are along the lines of ‘man and book impaled on spike,’ or ‘traffic warden-book-anus incident.’ 

…Following this through to its natural conclusion I think I’ll try and get The Melting Pot on the set of ER where it can be used to deflect a bullet fired by a lesbian heroin addict before being shredded by an exploding helicopter…

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Throw me a frickin bone…

If this blog were a graph, then every six weeks or so a whiney, ranty, high-pitched spike would emerge – today would be one such moment…

Why is getting noticed so hard?

The impetus for this mood-swing came from approaching several libraries earlier in the week and asking if I could put up a poster. One of them made me fill in a two page form detailing what I hoped to get out of the experience, and said that someone would call to let me know if my request had been successful.

‘Surely you jest?’ I reasoned. ‘There’s a space on the wall. Here’s my poster. I could’ve put it up while you were explaining all that.’

‘SSSHHHH,’ her colleague interjected!

Annoyingly, every time I think about jacking it in (almost to the second), someone gets in touch and tells me that they enjoyed the book. I then feel suitable reinvigorated to throw myself once again on the merciless bureaucracy of the literary world.

If any of you reading this have any ideas – they would be gratefully received. A work-colleague suggested going up to Camden and setting up a market stall – not a bad idea at all. I’m also toying with the concept of Bus-tagging (i.e. running up behind moving billboards and eliciting sneers from old-age pensioners).

Finally – following legal advice I should point out that I’ve been burgled, that my posters have all been stolen, and that all future campaigns will (may) be perpetrated by an unknown third party…

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Let the illegal activities commence…

I received a shock this week when I enquired as to how much it would cost to advertise in the London Underground.  (Proper) marketing is phenomenally expensive. A TV program a few days ago said that the average Hollywood blockbuster spends around £36 million pounds on advertising. By contrast I’ve just spent about a ton on some high-resolution posters. This represents my entire marketing budget:

My entire marketing budget

I wrote a list of all the best places to put posters in order to gain the maximum effect. Most of them appear to be illegal (which is a shame). Working on the assumption that it’s better to apologise after the fact than to ask permission I set about spreading my message of literary joy.

Initially I’ve started fairly tame and flyered a few phone-boxes…more daring schemes to follow in the next few days…

leicester.jpgLeicester square – Pretending to make a call whilst prit-sticking a poster to the inside glass whilst being heckled by McDonalds pikeys.

03032008006.jpg 

The throbbing night-life metropolis that is Reading high-street.

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Keyser Soze

…But for a technical hitch here is the best piece of guerrilla marketing ever… 

I work around the corner from the Old Vic theatre. Kevin Spacey and Jeff Goldblum are currently appearing in a play called ‘Speed the plow.’ Today whilst out for lunch with a colleague Kam we passed a man in cycling gear and dark glasses walking a dog.

‘Did you see who that was?’ Kam asked excitedly.

‘Who?’

‘Only Kevin Spacey!’

Now, I’m of the opinion that most famous people probably get brassed off with the proletariat continuously gawping at them, so I didn’t make a big deal out it. Twenty minutes later Kam nudged me a second time. ‘Look, there he is again, sitting outside Cafe Nero.’

Back in the office we told the team about our celebrity spot.

‘You should give him a copy of your book,’ another colleague Nick suggested.

‘I’d be embarrassed.’

‘Alright, I’ll do it then and pretend I’m you.’

‘OK Great.’

I hastily scrawled ‘Hey Kevin – Love your work,’ on the inside cover and handed it to Nick. When he re-appeared sometime later without the book I asked how he’d got on.

He told me that he’d approached grinning from ear to ear and said ‘I’ve got a present for you – a book that I wrote.’

Unfortunately at this point our lack of ground-work was exposed. Kevin said ‘Thanks…what’s the book about?’ to which Nick replied with ‘Er…smuggling or something,’ before running off.

So there you go…not the most flawless of executions…but Kevin Spacey! Keyser Soze himself (for anyone who’s not seen ‘The Usual Suspects’ I have just ruined the twist).

At this moment a copy of The Melting Pot is either residing in the dressing room of a Hollywood A-lister, or else is nestling in a bin somewhere in South London!

I’ll be out tomorrow lunchtime combing the streets for Jeff…

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