Products that Perk Up the Holidays

December 20, 2010

Each year, millions of television viewers eagerly anticipate Oprah’s “Favorite Things,” Ellen’s “12 Days of Giveaways,” and Rachael Ray’s “Faves.”

How do these busy hosts learn about the year’s hottest new gadgets and gizmos? As you know, often from PR pros! Unlike paid television product placements, audience giveaways are a popular way to build excitement for products and brands, obtain valuable third-party endorsements and boost sales and exposure for companies. Here are some tips from my experiences in coordinating and preparing for TV audience giveaways:
  • Recon, Research and Report – Before you begin a pitch, thoroughly research the shows you are targeting and the giveaway segments they offer. Identify the right product placement coordinator or producer and begin a conversation by asking lots of questions to obtain details about their giveaway process.
  • Be Prepared – While coordinating a past giveaway of the Eureka Envirovac vacuum cleaner for “Ellen’s Earth Day” special, not only were more than 400 vacuums shipped to the studio in a week’s time, but a Eureka representative also was sent to California to oversee the display that was created. Make sure that a large quantity giveaway on very short notice would be possible for your client. Most shows require a large product donation, usually between 100 or 450 of whatever you want to give away. Many also allow you to visit the set to arrange your own display, but will need you to travel there on very short notice. Still others require product be sent to invididual audience members after the show if your product is too large to carry.
  • Secure a Spot – Aside from the product’s performance, giving producers a 100 percent product commitment in your pitch tends to put it ahead of the pack when it comes to selecting giveaway items. Negotiations with producers also are common, especially when it comes to incorporating product benefits and features on-air. Don’t be afraid to secure the best positioning or prominent product points – after all, you and your client know the product best.
  • Piggyback your Pitch – Piggybacking off your success in landing a placements in Every Day with Rachael Ray, Martha Stewart Living or O, the Oprah Magazine is a natural way to propose a giveaway to their corresponding shows. During a past holiday season, I coordinated a giveaway for a Snow Joe snow thrower on the “Rachael Ray” show in conjunction with the product’s appearance in the December magazine issue.

When the time is right and you have the perfect product to pitch, it all comes down to researching the right opportunity, preparing in advance and managing the process. Once you hear the roar of cheers and applause on TV as your product is rolled out, you’ll know that all of the preparation was well worth the effort.