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Gregg Bagni: Ideas That Live in PR

Published April 27, 2012

Big advertising budgets aren't easy to come by let alone the time and energy to flawlessly execute them. So instead, why not create an "Idea That Lives In PR" related to your business, your values or what it is you're good at? You might get lucky rolling out an alternative to paid advertising and do it less expensively to build awareness in your unique public voice. Plus, if the idea is well thought out and interesting, it's bigger and longer lasting than typical "viral campaigns.

(Quick side note? Thinking back there's a strong possibility the "Idea That Lives In PR" strategy was lifted from Alex Bogusky of Crispin Porter + Bogusky when we collaborated in a past life. )

Whenever I suggest the "ITLIPR" strategy to a client or a portfolio company the question always arises, "Can you give me an example?"

Well, here's a great one that's fresh in my mind after returning from the lovely Sea Otter Classic in Monterey. Scot Nicol of Ibis was responsible for one of the best "ITLIPR" seen in the bike biz in a while. Standing before me was the Ibis Maximus, a 1,000 pound, 59'er. A 2 ½ times scale model of an Ibis mountain bike. To add to the awe it was beautifully done, well constructed and artistic. It was hard to not be impressed.

As the sun shone on it I realized it was the glowing highlight of the expo area. Kids used it as a jungle gym, people posed for pictures, the press came by, it was an icon of the event. Nicol's idea was so literally and figuratively big that he created a one of a kind, physical monument. It intimately spoke to two-wheeled loving Sea Otter attendees in a cool, freak show kind of way. And that my friends is the definition of a powerful "Idea That Lives In PR".

It was so good and so original that every designer, concept artist, marketing geek and creative type in the industry had to have felt scooped by this one.

Better yet? This was more than a one-shot viral deal, this "ITLIPR" has some year-long legs and I'm hoping Scott is building a trailer to transport it to consumer events, let alone the opportunity to build buzz at trade shows, key retailer visits, press camps, etc. Whether national or regional this idea has mainstream media appeal.

I'll close by saying creativity only lives when you build, ship and deliver to the heart of the customer. Congrats Scot, you really delivered on this one!

Editor's note: Bagni spent seven years (49 dog years) as the SVP of Mktng and Prod Dvlpmnt for Schwinn Cycling & Fitness in Boulder, CO, as part of a new management team that carried the ailing icon back to the number one position in the U.S. marketplace. To close his tenure, in his usual humorous style, a corporate press release was sent claiming he was to be abducted by the same aliens who dropped him off in 1993. Not long after he re-entered Earth’s atmosphere and launched Alien Truth Communications, a Colorado based strategic marketing and communications consulting firm.

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