When creating a staged public relations event it is important to think it completely through.
What are the goals of the event? What do you hope to achieve? How can you measure success?
And, most importantly what could possibly go wrong?
Georgia State University wanted to encourage more fans to come out and watch its pathetic football team play. So, a PR brain trust with the college thought, “Let’s drop $10,000 in vouchers from the roof of the Georgia Dome and see what happens.”
The event had disaster written all over it. Rabid fans attacking each other for the vouchers. It had all the earmarks of a national PR disaster for the school.
It was reminiscent of the grand opening stunt for the former “Just for Feet” store in Overland Park where store management tossed money off the roof to help generate a crowd for its grand opening. The store received bad publicity and there were several injuries. The “World’s Largest Athletic Shoe Store” went belly-up a few years later.
In all honestly, George State lucked out with the stunt. It didn’t really seem to generate enough of a crowd to create an awful situation. It has generated significant publicity for the school.
“There are a few nice tackles (one particularly good collision happens on the bottom right of the screen at 36 seconds, and there’s another takedown on the bottom left of the screen at 43 seconds) and fans diving and sliding around the Georgia Dome turf to grab the envelopes with the vouchers inside,” wrote one blogger.
The bottom line: It was a stupid promotion and the school is lucky it didn’t turn into a complete disaster.