Growing up in the rough and tumble western suburbs of Minneapolis where life was cheap and good men died like dogs in the gutter, the height of swank for my family was to go to the Foo Chu restaurant on Excelsior Blvd. in St. Louis Park.
It was old school and not some strip mall space-occupying joint. It actually looked Chinese from the outside. Or what a 9 year-old in Minnesota kid imagined Chinese to be. They even had a lounge: THE PAGODA LOUNGE. It was like getting a high ball with Mao.
You walked over little bridge from the lobby into the dining area, past a very realistic faux waterfall and were led to your table, where the real fun began. Why? Because they had a menu with columns. Pretty fancy huh?
You chose a big item from Column A, another shareable entrée from Column B and then an appetizer for the family from Column C. I fantasized that this was how the Kennedy’s dined on New Years day.
We’re on the cusp™ of a season where there are a lot of potential menu items (promotions) being shoved down our throats by servers (advertisers) and no one has ever won when they get everything on the menu, ie, you have 63 promotions on the air in December. You don’t win because it’s a morass of Win-A-Gift-Cards and the clients don’t win because their promotion is sinking in the morass.
I’ve always applied the Chinese Menu Theory of Christmas Promotions. We have three promotions and everyone is invited to be a part of one.
The “A” is the umbrella that covers everything from Thanksgiving to the 25th. The Season Of Giving maybe, which ties together an ensemble of charitable campaigns happening in the community. In Miami it was The Power Present: everyone who won on the air in December came down to the station to get a wrapped present and open it in the air so that there was genuine winner audio of them getting (far more creative term than ‘gift card’) from a client, or tickets, or a lump of coal. Yes. There were losers.
So a client wants to giveaway frozen hams? Cool. They can be part of the A.
The “B” is an event like your station holiday show or the World’s Largest Office Party or a giant community caroling night. Event = Bunch Of People Together.
The Ham Guy could provide pork products as door prizes at the Office Party. Bing.
And the “C” is something for the morning show because the morning show drives most Hallmark Holidays. It could be Wish, or delivering trees to winners or whoring out the cohost as arm candy for company parties or mall Santa makeovers or any of the 1000 things a morning show could be doing in December.
Mel’s House Of Ham needs a holiday promotion or his $800 budget is going away? Make them part of Reindeer Bingo on December 23rd.
We always want to try and plug promotions requests into features that already exist and with clients driving hard for the hoop next month, that would especially apply to December .
On New Years Eve in my senior year in highschool, the Foo Chu mysteriously burned to the ground, a part of my childhood died and now you know how I came to be so emotionally damaged and ended up in Radio. I could have been a scientist damn it.
Merry freaking Christmas.