The marketing/PR/social media team at Discovery Channel has hit a home run in promoting Shark Week--by "killing off" most of the nation's TV bloggers. Put down your logo folder and back away from your USB drive PR people, because the press kit for Shark Week includes mangled surf shorts and a customized obituary for each recipient.
Here's a photo that's been shared on multiple blogs with the contents of the kit received by James Hibberd, blogger for The Hollywood Reporter.
"I love it, I think it's great," says one PR executive at an unrelated company about the Discovery campaign. "And the reason I love it is because you're writing about it."
It DOESN'T MATTER that the headline of Hibberd's story is "Creepiest network marketing effort ever?"
A few years ago (a few months ago?) if you asked journalists at a media panel what they think about getting clever PR stuff in the mail, they would mostly say that they don't like it and you should just email them a solid story idea. BUT the definition of journalist has changed as well as the opportunities to go viral by appealing to vanity (Pepsi told recipients of their campaign they were among the top bloggers in the nation), and the fact that people are looking for cool stuff to post online.
You have to think that there had to be naysayers at Discovery who thought that the obituaries were tacky or that the bloody shorts were too scary, or that they shouldn't be promoting shark attacks since they are so rare and it undoes years of science education--all good points.
But if their goal was to get blog hits and people talking blogging and tweeting about Shark Week--then they were a big success.