Monday, September 28, 2009

Don't Bomb Your Audience With Turkeys

Do you remember the wonderfully funny TV sitcom "WKRP in Cincinnati?" from the 90's?

I'll never forget it and not just because Cincinnati's my home town and I get extremely homesick every time I see the intro with Fountain Square and views of downtown Cincinnati. I won't forget it because it's so laugh out loud funny.

As I'm trying out different forms of promotion and hopping from one blog to another and filling my brain with awesome tidbits of information, I was reminded of a particular episode of WKRP where they bombed their audience with turkeys.

The turkey "bombing" started very innocently with the very best of intentions - to give free turkeys to the radio station's listeners for Thanksgiving. There was a lot of build up and it looked as if the promotion would make a lot of people happy.

Then the unthinkable happened. The people in charge of the promotion did not research turkeys. They thought turkeys could fly and so they dropped them out of a helicopter onto their unsuspecting fans. Instead of floating down to their fans, the turkeys instead *bombed* the fans. The former fans panicked. They were horrified, maybe scared for their lives.

Instead of being a wonderful promotion, it was just the opposite.

Of course WKRP pushes the limits of comedy and is fictional.

I sincerely doubt any of my writing colleagues would drop live turkeys on their public to promote their books. The people I know personally agonize over their promotional efforts. At least they give sufficient consideration to avoid doing such idiotic things.

Sometimes, I still see some ill-thought-out promotion. Spamming, whether it's on Twitter or Yahoo Groups, turns people off. Speaking ill of someone certainly turns me off, in particular if there's name-calling and/or flame wars. This happens much too often in blog comments and email loops.

Before you launch a promotion, research any unknown facts. Put some thought into it. Don't mimic this fiasco intentionally or unintentionally and bomb your audience with turkeys and make them run for their lives. Sure you'll be remembered (this is probably the best-remembered episode of WKRP) but you'll wish you hadn't been the person to go down in history this way.

For your entertainment, here's the clip of the famous WKRP Thanksgiving Turkey Bombing. (No, I don't think it's funny if any living being is hurt - just the idiocy of the people involved - the turkeys are only talked about, not shown).

* Note: My husband claims this video had a virus so I deleted it. So sorry. You might be able to find it at if you search for "WKRP in Cincinnati Turkey" or "WKRP in Cincinnati Turkey Bombing". Unfortunately, I don't know if all the copies there have a virus or not. I guess I was a turkey positing this. My apologies.


Sandra Cox said...

I remember that episode:)
I loved that show.

Molly Daniels said...

"As God as my witness...I thought turkeys could fly!"
-station mgr (???) at WKRP

Was it Mr. Carlton? LOVE that episode and LOVE Johnny Rocket! We always tuned in to see what asinine thing Herb was going to wear or do:)

Unknown said...

Oh boy do I remember that show! Loved it! :)

Linda Kage said...

I never heard of that show or episode, but wow... what a story. And what a good point. Makes me step back and remember to think before going out and buying some turkeys.

Thanks for the wonderful advice.

Unknown said...

WKRP in Cincinnati is a classic, and that episode is probably the best of the bunch.

Arthur Carlton was the station manager and it was Mr. Carlton and Herb that came up with this nutty idea and executed it without running it by Gary, the station manager, and one of the few same people at the station. Gary's the sandy haired guy behind the DJ (Dr. Johnny Fever) who's dying as he's listening about the mess he'll have to clean up.

I forgot to add in my post that this turkey fiasco was based on a true event done by another ditzy radio station.

Linda and whoever wants to tune into this show, if you can find it, it's well worth watching if you like comedy. I initially tuned in because it was set in my home town, but I'd love it wherever it was set.

Unknown said...

Molly - I'm not sure of Mr. Carlton's and Gary's titles, but Mr. Carlton was a figure head because his mother, aka wicked witch of the north, east, south, and west, owns it. Gary's the one who really runs the station but has to make Mr. Carlton feel appreciated and like he's doing it.

The Bumbles said...

Ah - WKRP. Such a classic show. But it was long gone in the 90's. I grew up in the early 80's watching it. I always liked Les Nessman. What a great analogy for your post. And thanks for sharing the clip!

Unknown said...

I used to love funny and original

Molly Daniels said...

(Head slap) THAT's Johnny's name...not rocket! Sorry...confused him with the restaurant! I had a mild crush on Gary:)

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