How to market a great story

Everyone and his dog is writing predictions for how marketing will look in 2016, so I won’t weigh in with my two-penn’orth. Instead I’d like to consider (tongue firmly in cheek) how the birth of a rather important baby was “marketed”.  If you’re easily offended by such gentle joshing, please look away now.

First things first: management arranged that the event would take place in a newsworthy manner. The Sun and the Mail would have had a field day with it: “Pregnant woman travels miles by donkey for census”; “Mother forced to give birth in stable”; “Child’s bed eaten by ox and ass”.

Then the news was literally shouted from the skies by a chorus of angels. Now that beats a Geminid shower any day – though maybe the two are not unrelated… The event was made very public, though the only people who apparently noticed were some shepherds who, against all advice from the Department of Agriculture, left their sheep unguarded for several hours while they hot-footed it into town. You’d think some of the townsfolk would have spotted the commotion…

Shepherds at manger
Image courtesy of Wikipedia “Christmas in the Ukraine”.



Next – hang the expense and inconvenience – management laid on a comet to take the news further afield. This is where the marketing started to get a bit out of hand. Three wise men (or kings, depending on your source; highheidyins, anyway) saw the comet and followed it on the understanding that it was a portent of great things. They asked for directions at the Palace, as you do. Bad move.

The ruler wasn’t keen on competition. Instead of welcoming the baby, as potentially increasing the fan-base for potentates, he ordered the wholesale slaughter of any child who might be the right one. Obviously his Intelligence weren’t terribly intelligent, or they’d have known exactly which baby was the right one, what with all those shepherds (and the tabloid reports about the family’s appalling living conditions). It all got rather messy and decidedly tragic. The ruler’s reputation has never recovered.

Anyway, management laid on another angel [they’re awfully handy, aren’t they?] to tell all the right people to get out of the way, so the kings (or wise men) hied them home and the baby and his family headed off to Egypt for a wee visit ‘til the ruler took himself out of the story and they could get on with their lives.

The story then went quiet for a bit – some 30 years – before the next round of marketing began, mostly by word of mouth, but also using the talents of some seriously effective copywriters whose work is still studied today.

So that’s how you get the good news out: shout it to the skies, get in the (social) media, lay on all the special effects you can manage, and tell the right people. Just make sure that they really are the right people.

P.S. If you want help shouting your story to the skies, just give me a call. I may be no angel, but I can sing!