Why big publicity may not be the best publicity

big publicity

I had a client once who was contacted by a team that produces a television show for a former supermodel. She was ecstatic – who wouldn’t be? This HUGE former supermodel knew my client’s product existed and wanted to feature it on her show. What a great opportunity for big publicity!

Dream come true, right?


It turns out anyone can be on this show for a simple one-time payment of $20,000. They get four minutes on the show with their product prominently displayed, AND they even get to use that video on their website so everyone can see that this huge celebrity basically endorsed their product by having them on the show.

The little things behind big publicity

Here’s the real skinny. The show airs in the early morning hours on a channel most of you have probably never heard of. Basically, you’re paying to be associated with this supermodel, but you’ll have to do all of the legwork to figure out how to leverage the appearance. You can stick it on your website and social media…but will it get you $20,000 worth of business to offset the cost?

My client wanted more assurances about what she’d actually get for her money. She wasn’t necessarily opposed to spending it (although it threw up red flags for me), but she didn’t want to just throw money away.

I asked for a case study in our genre (health and beauty), and I was given the name of a company that was on several months before. I was told they loved their experience so much they paid extra to get the license to use the supermodel’s name in their marketing.

So, I went on their website…and they weren’t using anything from the show or the supermodel anywhere on their website.

You know what that tells me? It wasn’t valuable. If being on that show, and being associated with that supermodel, was growing their business, I’m pretty sure I’d find evidence of it on their website. I did not.

So, two lessons here:

1) Just because you see someone’s product or service being featured somewhere doesn’t mean it’s better than yours. It might just mean they bought it. There are LOTS of pay-to-play opportunities in TV and radio.

2) Don’t spend money on these kinds of opportunities without doing your research! Just because it sounds cool doesn’t mean it delivers results.

And here are a couple of FREE things you can do instead that will likely get the same – or even better – results:

1) Pitch yourself for TV segments that aren’t pay-to-play. They exist all over the place.

2) Partner with influencers in your niche (on Instagram or YouTube, or even bloggers in your space), who often only require free product, on some targeted social media posts or blogs.

3) Pitch yourself for podcast interviews. Many podcasters offer you the opportunity to promote a product or service in your episode. If you want to learn more about landing podcast interviews, download my free guide, The Art of the Podcast Pitch!

Vicky Lynch
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