Out-of-the-box marketing is yesterday's news. To grab the attention of today's harried journalists, you have to get out of your clothes. Mark Breier, CEO of e-commerce site Beyond.com, did just that recently.
Mimicking a customer from his company's advertising campaign who no longer sees the need for clothing after learning to shop at home using Beyond.com, Breier did an interview with CNBC clad only in his skivvies. Talk about exposing yourself to the press.
PR director Lise Olson, who came up with the idea, said she didn't tell the CNBC journalists until minutes before the interview that their guest would be, ah, quite revealing. But the CNBC staff took it in stride ? 'they were wonderful,' Olson quipped. The only problem, she recalled, was figuring out where to put Breier's microphone.
Then, to the delight of the media, Olson sent 300 pairs of Beyond.com underwear enclosed in press kits. Recipients collectively postponed doing laundry for another week.
In an era where a CEO is often viewed as the embodiment of a company, what does this PR stunt say about Beyond.com? 'Corporate martyrdom at its finest,' wrote Upside magazine editor Tish Williams. 'Rather than let us lay Beyond.com's business plan and revenue growth bare, Breier has offered up himself.'
Will Breier's navel ? sorry, novel ? approach be copied by other CEOs hungry for press? Stay tuned.