End results of the Burrito campaign – PDX

Many of you heard me tell this story on a team call in December, but wanted to share the final results because there are quite a few lessons to be learned about social media and PR.

Quick background: my friend Aaron, worried about his mom’s bookstore in Portland with the troubled economy and projected all-time-low retail holiday spending season, posted on his blog that he would offer a burrito to anyone who spent $50 at her store. He set the date – Jan 16 – for a “burrito party,” as he’d be returning home to Portland for a visit that weekend, and he put the wheels in motion on his blog, encouraging people to “shop local” during the holidays. He linked to the blog post on Twitter and his Facebook profile – where the story seemed to quickly grow legs.

Within a day, he says he had about 400 more views than normal at the blog. In a few more days, he saw local news blogs pick up the story, calling it “heartwarming.” Then the local broadcast news station picked up the story, interviewing his mother in her store on the Portland evening news. The Portland Mercury (like SF Bay Guardian or SF Weekly – event listings) wrote an article and just last week, The Oregonian reported on the story, following the burrito collection party.

Image courtesy The Oregonian

Aaron, friends and owner of Cha Cha Cha in Portland, OR. Image courtesy The Oregonian

 Some lessons (in my mind) to be learned from this:

  1. Twitter is a rapid-fire way to engage response and action
  2. Journalists do read Twitter and blogs – even personal ones, it would seem – for news sources
  3. A personal/local story makes personal/local news

Oh – and smart PR pays off: Aaron was offered a job in the marketing department at Birkenstock, where he previously worked on customer support/analytics, by the CEO after he caught wind of the “campaign.” The exec also asked my friend for advice on social networking (I assume he’s caught wind of the Zappos guy’s success).

Not bad traction for a quick, pleading blog posting, eh? :)

 

Aaron’s other new media success since moving to SF:

Meets Guy Kawasaki randomly at airport AFTER having worked with him to create shoes.alltop.com, per a suggestion Aaron sent Guy on Twitter; Guy then mails him signed copy of his book.

Classic right place, right time – but also adding the right idea!

 



Advertisements

SF renames Bush St – aptly

So this rippled through the Interwebs today but I had actually stumbled upon it rather organically (or, ignorantly, as the case happened to be) and got a huge kick out of it – perhaps greater than if I had seen it online first then sought it out after – the beauty of a perfectly-executed stunt!

I was on my way to an appointment after watching the new Pres be sworn in this morning. Of course I was very excited, but also running a little late. As I biked quickly up the hill toward my appointment on Bush Street, I squinted toward the street sign to see if I’d met my destination (I don’t know this part of town well so was trying to get my bearings). I wasn’t wearing my glasses, either, but I swore – and as I got closer – did it really say? It looks like… OBAMA St!!

I stopped my bike at the corner and pointed toward a sign, exclaiming to a random man. English wasn’t his first language, so it took a second for us to get on the same page, then we smiled at each other, laughed and went our separate ways. It was beautiful. I snapped a photo on my phone and posted to Twitter.

 

Obama Street (at Hyde St), SF

Obama Street (at Hyde St), SF

After my appointment, I saw some students snapping photos but no one knew at the time who had executed this stunt. It was fun, though, watching people react to it – drivers honking, yelling, pedestrians smiling, snapping pics, etc. So super cool.

A friend of mine IMd me once I got back to my desk to inform that it was the work of Laughing Squid – how appropriate!

Well done, guys! This thoroughly made my morning. :)

~Jes

UPDATE: Apparently I assumed this was done by Laughing Squid, however just learned that a group called Survival Research Laboratories (they have a Wikipedia page) was behind the stunt. Thanks, Derek, for the tip! http://sfcitizen.com/blog/2009/01/20/survival-research-labs-changes-bush-street-to-obama-street/