So, I get this email from my trusted Senior Buzz Builder Chris, titled:, "A NY giveaway turns into mayhem", and my heart dropped. Could this be The Atlas Solution? Then I read the attached link to a CNN story about how Cash Tomato, a new video sharing site, experienced a riot-like atmosphere when handing out cash (and tomatoes?) in the street to promote their new site.
My first thought was to see what went wrong. We give out singles daily in Queens, New York. We have never encountered a problem at all. We give out LARGE amounts of cash at The Shops At Atlas Park daily as part of our "Atlas Solution" giveaway. So, upon further review of what they've done in San Fransisco, I see that they set up a scavenger hunt where people have to find tomatoes with dollars attached. They also pre-released their location on Yelp, and Craig's List, and actually promoted the event-- "Hey we are giving away money at 2:29pm to celebrate Leap Year on 2/29!!! Woo Hoo! And that's when I had my second thought...
Did they do it on purpose? I mean, any company that really thinks that you can have an organized cash scavenger hunt in the middle of NYC is not thinking clearly-- unless they wanted the negative attention? I'm sure CashTomato.com does not have the money for traditional advertising, and needs all the press they can get, but do you think that this was the right way to get it?
With The Atlas Solution, our cash giveaway is tied into a buzz-worthy hot button...and that's our current economic conditions. That's what makes it interesting and buzz-worthy...not the fact that we are handing out dollar bills. It's about making consumers feel confident...all while increasing the brand awareness (and foot traffic) for The Shops At Atlas Park.
With The Atlas Solution, we never go out without a Lady Liberty, an Uncle Sam, and a MANAGER. We give each person a single dollar bill, they say thank you, and that's that. If, at any point, crowds become out of hand, we reserve the right to leave. It hasn't happened yet. We have given money away at the airport, at train stations, and on crowded streets in urban and suburban neighborhoods. We also, never NEVER release where we will be before hand, and we certainly don't have a countdown to dollar giveaways. That's why I question whether or not potential riots or at least screaming crowds was part of their gameplan...
I guess the point is that it doesn't have to be RADICAL and COMPLICATED and CRAZY to achieve your goal. Had Cash Tomato simply handed out 200 Fresh Tomato with a dollar and a sticker attached, there might not have been such a riot. They could have even tied it into the hot button issue of City Council wanting more fresh fruit stands in underserved areas of New York. That would have gotten them tons of press, sans the riot.
Tonight, I will be uploading the Atlas Solution videos to Cashtomato.com. The subject? How to correctly give away cash without causing a riot in NYC!