Adam Sandler puts on a red shirt, grabs his guitar, sits in front of a camera, and sings, "Put on your yarmulke, it's time for...Passover?"
That's what David Sugarman, president and CEO of the Manischewitz Company, is hoping. The company, which primarily sells kosher food products, launched a PR campaign on Monday asking Sandler to write a Passover song. It would match the comedian and movie star's famed "Hanukkah Song," which debuted on Saturday Night Live 25 years ago. The incentive: a "dream hotel suite" stocked with multiple guitars and plenty of Passover food, and a lifetime promise of free Manischewitz products.
Here's the interesting part. The company is already calling the operation a success, even though Sandler hasn't actually responded to the offer yet. Manischewitz's social-media engagement skyrocketed on the first day of the campaign; the Facebook post announcing it had a 200 percent increase in interactions, compared to the brand's average post. The timing is perfect: Passover, one of the company's busiest sales seasons, starts next week.
Of course, Sugarman would love Sandler to take the deal--saying it's more "public service" than public relations stunt. Still, the early success alone delivers a few entertaining and valuable marketing lessons:
1. Sometimes, all you need to do is ask.
This idea had been tossed around the Manischewitz offices for years, but nobody pulled the trigger until this year. This year's 25th anniversary of Sandler's "Hanukkah Song" helped, as did the idea that a Passover song could make the Jewish holiday more popular among younger consumers.
The ultimate goal--that is, a new Sandler song--now seems like a cherry on top, rather than a make-or-break necessity. "We're a little bit surprised by how quickly it is taking on a life of its own, and the amount of engagement that we are getting from Manischewitz consumers," Sugarman says. "We'll see if we actually do hear from Adam, we're hopeful that we will--at that point, we'll have a better idea if there are things we could have done differently. But so far, so good."
2. You don't have to spend big bucks to be effective.
If you think an idea is fun, there's a good chance your audience will agree. Manischewitz's Facebook post has already been flooded with comments, ranging from debates over a Passover song's importance to lyric brainstorms. "Nothing rhymes with matzo. Closest thing is schmata," one commenter notes, referring to a Yiddish term for junk. Others have offered to write the song themselves if Sandler passes up the opportunity.
The best part: The company didn't need to allot extra money for the campaign--the cost of the decked-out hotel room came out of Manischewitz's standard marketing budget. Sugarman calls the stunt "guerrilla grassroots PR," a nod to several different low-cost marketing techniques.
3. Create something you'd personally want to experience.
Find something you'd personally enjoy, and hope others will enjoy it, too. That's the best way for a marketing campaign to feel authentic. Sugarman stresses that he and the Manischewitz team want Sandler to write a Passover song because they actually love his "Hanukkah Song"--they listen to it annually while brainstorming for the winter holidays.
It's a proven strategy--look no further back than two years ago, when Hamburger Helper released a low-budget rap mixtape purely because the marketing team thought it'd be fun to put together. It racked up millions of plays in mere weeks.
"Don't be afraid to do something like this. If you believe in it, if you think there's a greater good, if you think it's something that America or the world wants, go for it," Sugarman says. "It's a great way to get consumers engaged--and to have some fun."