Zeus of Marketing

Sorry Mad Men : PR agencies Have the Advantage in Social Media

January 11th, 2011

If they only knew then...

Sorry Mad Men: PR Agencies May Have the Advantage in Social Media

In light of the recent news, I couldn’t refrain myself from blogging about Ted Williams “the homeless man with the golden voice” and draw parallels to how it would work for a product or service launch.

In the process I came to the realization that post-You Tube viral success – the media placement activities could be better executed by a good PR agency, press agent or very Innovative and fully integrated Ad Agency (not the run of the mill Madison Avenue shop). When is the last time your ad agency filmed a low budget 90 seconds video and secured interviews in every major broadcast network?

Ted William as a Parallel Case Study of The Power of Social Media and its Implementation

An hypothetical case study


Ted Williams: Get a job as an announcer in one or more media outlets.

Brand X: Introduce a revolutionary new package

The Challenge:

Ted Williams: While Ted delivers on its promise – there’s a stigma attached to being homeless.

Brand X: While the product packaging delivers on its promise – it requires a “how-to” visual representation to truly communicate it’s differentiation.

The Strategy:

Ted Williams: Utilize YouTube for awareness and follow up with broadcast TV to add credibility and secure job offers. Spin the homelessness element as a human-interest story, particularly when released during the holiday season.  Show Ted in his current environment and secure his announcer voice is heard for a shocking juxtaposition.

Follow up via Facebook page to update fans on results and maintain momentum for continuity of employment.

Brand X: Utilize YouTube for awareness and follow up with broadcast TV to add credibility and secure purchase. Showcase the unequaled green and cost saving attributes as its main benefits.

Follow up via Facebook page to update fans on results and maintain momentum for continuity of purchase.


Ted Williams: Metrics: Number of Job Offers

Brand X: Metrics: Sales

Take Away

I know, I know. This is way simplified:

1.  First, best estimate I have seen projects that only about 5 in 1000 videos go viral (0.5%)

2.  Broadcast Media placement requires additional investment (but that’s why I recommend taking a closer look at PR agencies with their existing experience and media contacts).

3.  For comparison purposes with other projects you may want to measure sales to exposure ratios instead of just sales.

A real brand example could be P&G’s Old Spice “the man you wish your guy smells like”, true it cost more, true it was created by Wieden + Kennedy (by no means an average Madison Avenue Ad Agency – they are in Portland BTW), but I am sure a strict marketing objective and strategy was followed (see  Old Spice: Responses Case Study-Best of 2010 Requires free registration with AdAge)

The key takeaway is that starting with an objective and following a tried and true marketing process should increase your chances of success. I believe that as of January 7, Ted had at least 3 full time job offers, within 2 months from the time the Video was shot.


Entry Filed under: Case Studies,Marketing Basics,Social Media

  • Jeff

    Your insights are helpful. And I think you are right on the money regarding following the “A B Cs” of marketing. Get back to basics, follow the basics but use the new tools (social media etc.) as part of your marketing mix (remember the 3 Ps!) as you execute your strategy.

    Keep up the sensible blogging.

  • http://www.gracebroadcast.com Rod Schwartz


    You might enjoy this article on TW that appeared last week in Radio Business Report: http://www.rbr.com/features/viewpoints/a-homeless-man-understands-integration-better-than-most-media-companies.html
    The writer clearly is on the same page with you, in terms of drawing useful parallels for brand marketing.

    Some would call TW’s explosion into our consciousness merely serendipitous. My personal take on it, filtered through my deliberate and tenaciously held worldview, takes a somewhat different turn: http://rodspots.blogspot.com/2011/01/golden-voice-ted-williams-biggest-test.html

    BTW, I’ve added you to my short blogroll. So far, you’re two-for-two.



  • Administrator

    I definitely would like to have been a fly in the wall in that meeting too.
    Hopefully by now he has hired a real PR agent and is planning to follow up via a facebook page of his own

  • John Tomchek


    Interesting perspective, especially given that Ted William must have over a billion impressions at this point :)

    I would like to have been a fly on the wall at Kraft when they were trying to decide whether or not to use him. There is some risk since you never know what will fall out from a story like this. At this point, Kraft Mac n Cheese is getting alot of “free” PR if there is such a thing.

    Dr Phil doesn’t seem to think the odds are in favor of Ted turning his life around.

    In any event, clearly supports the power of social media. Anybody thinking doctoral thesis on Ted?




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