In our office we have a coffee mug with the picture, name, and slogan of a singer-songwriter we knew years ago. She left the business awhile back, but if she ever turns up in our orbit again, it's fair to say that the presence of that mug will have some effect on the interest we'll take.
I thought of this when I learned of a high-class twist on the time-tested concept of the promotional mug. In conjunction with the release of Pedro Almodóvar's latest film, Los Abrazos Rotos, the illy coffee company has created an arty cup-and-saucer collection featuring emblematic scenes from the director's most famous movies.
Now, much as I adore Penélope Cruz, I'm not about to spend $60 for the privilege of sipping espresso from a cup with her face on it. But that's not the point. Just the fact that I've learned about this promotion (via a Twitter post) has incrementally increased the likelihood that I'll see the film.
Why? Because the film's promoters did something just a little bit new, a little bit different, and hence a little bit worth tweeting about.
When I saw Rock of Ages on Broadway a couple of months ago, every audience member was handed an LED "cigarette lighter" to wave during the show's classic hair-band songs. It was a great promotional gimmick, because the darn thing's actually useful as a small flashlight, so I've held on to it. Although I loved Rock of Ages, I'm sure that tiny piece of swag has increased the number of people I've recommended the show to, because carrying the little light around in my bag has kept the musical closer to top-of-mind.