Friday, April 13, 2012

A New Tourism Publicity Stunt

Heather had a problem. She was working for the Tourism Commission in Louisiana and was looking for some new angle to attract visitors to the Bayou State. While jazz or zydeco music, Cajun or Creole food, Cajun life, the plantations along the Mississippi, and the quaintness of New Orleans and Baton Rouge were perennial standbys, other themes did not make the hit they had hoped for. For example, very few people in the test market focus groups worked up much enthusiasm for Yam Festivals or Crawfish fights or Toenail-Painting Festivals.

So, messing around, she looked on-line for some ideas. There she read about some new entries in the Guinness Book of World Records. One intrigued her: There was a person that actually got 982 people together to sit on whoopie cushions. Now, why 982? Heather looked in her handy book of numerology on her desk (don't ask why she had one) and found nothing of consequence with the number 982.

But then she applied Occam's Razor and realized the obvious: The event was planned for 1,000 participants, but 18 failed to show! That's true: the simplest explanations are often the most likely So 1000 is do-able. Yes!!!!

Heather then had an inspiration. Why not have a whoopie cushion seating en masse; one that would unquestionably be so extraordinary so that the record would never be broken? Or so she thought. But, what about the cost? It turns that the cost was reasonable per unit: the vendor that normally sells the whoopie cushions for $2.99 apiece would sell them at $2.00 apiece for orders of a dozen or more.

How many? And where would you get thousands of cooperative persons? Two possibilities came to mind: A typical New Orleans Saints game, or (even better) the LSU - Ole Miss game. This could be presented as an Expression of Louisiana - Mississippi Friendship and Amity. Now everyone has heard of the excesses associated with this game, and what could be better than a visible expression of interstate friendship that also would make the news.

Yes!!!! What an idea!!! To have 100,000 happy people simultaneously, uh, expressing their whoopie cushions immediately before the kickoff and strategically during the game. Let's see: 100,000 - 105,000 people at $2 a pop. That comes to about $200,000. Now we can get corporate sponsorships if the corporations could get their logos stamped on the cushions. For an occasion like this, some local big-name entertainment will be needed. And that'll attract the media.

It turned out that Heather was more than successful with this idea. She got approval for the idea both from the Tourist Commission and LSU, the cushions were paid for by a National Endowment of the Arts grant, and several girl pop singers volunteered to lead the crowd in the expressions from the cushions. Several old jazz and zydeco performers signed on, and the New Orleans industrial music embraced the idea like a French intellectual would embrace a new intellectual trend.   (If I was on a date, I'd describe that sort of embrace as "being felt up.")

Each of the four major networks plus the faux news networks CNN, Fox, and MSNBC carried a film of the 100,000 Whoopie Cushion Event in their newscasts, with several shots of the audience's enthusiasm. But no one mentioned the score of the game.  Newscasters sometimes miss what is important.


Grand Crapaud said...

Important? 100, 000 rabid football fans making fart-like sounds is surely important!

Mike said...

No video? I couldn't find any.

Big Sky Heidi said...

That would be a halftime far better than Madonna's self-trumpeting in the Sooper Bowl. Funny.

Svejk said...

Good story. It was informative to find out that there really is a Whoopie Cushion.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

This would make every halftime show obsolete.

Bilbo said...

I make my own rude noises whenever I watch Faux News or MSNBC. The Whoopie Cushion would just be extraneous. Good story, though! Go, Heather!!

bakku-shan said...

LSU fans farting in unison? Too cool for most.