Sometimes a business will get lucky, very lucky. Sometimes it’s all due to accident, yes, sometimes a product can become very popular due to something the company are not in control of at all. Let me give you an example. I guess you have heard of the now famous shoe thrower, this one incident has made a Turkish shoemaker really popular.
Last sunday, Iraqi journalist Muntazar al-Zaidi threw his shoe at George W. Bush during a press conference in Baghdad. This happening has been all over the news, all across the world. The journalist is now in prison, he has been tortured and he might be sentenced to as much as 15 years (the trial will be December 31st). Ramazan Baydan, owner of the Istanbul-based Baydan Shoe Company, which makes the now famous “Bush Shoe” has been swamped with orders from across the world.
So many orders, that they are hiring an extra staff of 100 people.
Incidents like this one will have shoemakers all across the world think, why didn’t Muntazar al-Zaidi use our shoes instead of a pair of Baydan Shoes? Well, it’s coincidence, or maybe not. If you’re creating an already popular brand, it’s more likely that it will be used by people, by shoe throwers and others. But at the same time, it’s more likely that it will be worn by people that will have a negative impact on your sales as well (think about it, what if this guy was a terrorist and not a shoe thrower). It’s all about accidental branding. Some people are really lucky, and some people are not.
But, this episode with the Bush Shoe will soon be forgotten. If Bayden Shoes are not quality shoes, they will soon have to fire the 100 people, it’s about using this incident for all that it’s worth, and keep up the level of service and quality.
What if you use a Guerilla Marketing strategy, and provide a guy with your shoes in order to throw them at Bush? It sounds like a really interesting strategy at the moment, but that’s only because we know that it had a positive impact on the company, and we wouldn’t have known this before the incident. And the thrower is in jail and tortured (so I guess it’s not something you should consider).
Speaking of accidental branding, a while ago, I wrote a short review about an interesting book that I recommend that you read.