Multilingual Business Communication

February 5, 2009

Need cash? Ask Bailout Bill

Filed under: Anja Peleman, business communication, marketing communication — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 7:28 pm

Was2154617The past two days must have been the most luckily moment of those people in need for money. A mystery man, calling himself ‘Bailout Bill’, handed out cash in New York. What people had to do for this? Not so much. First of all, standing in line for the ‘Bailout Booth’, a small cubicle, in the heart of Manhattan’s Times Square. Secondly, telling their problems to an assistant standing in front of the cubicle. And that’s it. Everyone was said to receive something. The minimum anyone could get is $50 with the maximum of $5,000.

A striking question is of course: why would anyone do something like that? Bailout Bill himself says there are two goals: firstly, it’s partly a publicity stunt for a new website, bailoutbooth.com. Secondly, ‘the mystery man’ says he also wants to help ordinary people in the same way that the US government is bailing out banks and other corporations. With this second statement, I do believe Bailout Bill wants to soften the real marketing basis of this stunt.

That’s also the reason why I do wonder the objectivity of this marketing stunt. wr_420_bailoutbill-420x0In my opinion, just handing out money to those people who are in need for it, seems to be an irrealistic fairytale. There is of course more in it for ‘Bailout Bill’ than just showing his good heart. Why should otherwise the cubicle be surrounded by people holding banners with the website printed on them? But I do wonder if the people who received money really cared about the fact that this website exists? Will a stunt like this be able to boost the number of visitors of this website? Nevertheless, I do have to say that it truly is a marketing stunt worth mentioning.

Anja Peleman

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1 Comment »

  1. I share your doubts about this stunt: would the people who stand in line to receive easy money really check out the website? If you have lost a lot due to the economic recession you probably only care about the money. Maybe you would not have anything left to sell anyway. The question remains whether “Bailout Bill” has reached the right segment with this stunt. Maybe he had better devise a stunt to reach those Americans for whom decluttering their house is a good way to make some money and who would like to get their “fifteen minutes of fame”, instead of appealing to those who are more vulnerable? After all, those who turned up were “people on a fixed or low income or just lost their jobs […]. Some used the largesse to pay off mounting bills. Others bought badly needed groceries.” What is more, if you want to use this service, you will actually have to pay for it: “The first seven days are free but you have to pay $3 for every week it’s up thereafter.” I wonder whether those that accepted the money will be spending it on the Bailout Booth site. Still, the stunt has been covered by different media, so “Bailout Bill” has reached more people than those in front of his cubicle.

    Aagje Verbogen

    Comment by Aagje Verbogen — February 14, 2009 @ 6:02 pm


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