I’ve recently discovered and fallen in love with a long-running web-based show from Woodshop Films called Breakfast at Sulimay’s. The show, which has been online since 2007, follows three lovable elderly Philadelphia residents as they review the latest in pop music from the back booth of Sulimay’s, a quaint restaurant in the heart of Philadelphia’s Fishtown. If this sounds like an odd pairing for a show – it is, but that’s what makes it work. And as I watched Joe, a jazz-loving WWII vet, try and wrap his head around the satanic thrash that is Slayer, I realized that this show wasn’t just good for a few laughs, but could also provide some great lessons for those of us working in public relations.
Below is a list of four lessons I’m taking away, but first let’s check out Joe in action.
1. Offer a Unique Perspective
The only way to make your pitch stand out is to make sure it’s something the media has never heard before. Remember, it’s not about reinventing the wheel, but reinventing the story of the invention of the wheel. Despite the fact that music critics are a dime a dozen, the folks at Woodshop Films have managed to do just that by creating a completely original concept for chronicling music reviews.
2. Don’t be Afraid to Go Against the Grain
Casting conformity to the wind and disagreeing with popular opinion can be a great way to grab some attention. It might bring out some haters, but so long as it’s how you truly feel it’s worth the risk. Joe isn’t afraid to hate the latest Animal Collective record and you shouldn’t be either.
3. Be Authentic
No one sniffs out BS better than a reporter and whether we’re talking about you, or your client, it’s best to always be yourself. Sulimay’s simply wouldn’t work if Joe acted like he knew about pop music – he doesn’t, but thanks to his sincerity he doesn’t have to.
4. If You Want to be Brilliant Don’t Be Afraid to be Stupid
On paper this show has to be the stupidest idea ever – but it works. Likewise, when the folks at KFC pitched that they wanted to make a sandwich made up of only meat, cheese and sauce (The Doulble Down) I have to think the PR department cringed at the reaction they’d get – but that worked too. So long as they’re calculated, these kinds of risks are absolutely worth taking and can often come with great dividends.