Turkeys Away! :: #COMM2322

On April 22, 2010, in COMM 2322, public relations, by Barbara Nixon

In today’s Public Relations Applications class, we watched a classic episode of the classic 1970s TV show “WKRP in Cincinnati” :: “Turkeys Away.” Though I paid to download the episode from iTunes, I just discovered it’s also available for free through Hulu.

In this episode, which was based on a botched promotion from a radio station in Atlanta, live turkeys dropped from a helicopter. Chaos ensues.

What can we learn about how NOT to do a promotion from Mr. Carlson’s fiasco? I’ll get the list started:

  1. Communicate with your entire team before launching a promotional campaign (or a turkey).
  2. Do your research! It’s best to learn ahead of time that turkeys don’t fly.
  3. Get permission before doing a stunt.
  4. Know what is considered news in your local market. Giving away turkeys for Thanskgiving wasn’t news. (But watching live turkeys plummet from a helicopter probably would be news.)
  5. Brainstorm for what could possibly go wrong before you proceed with a promotion.

What would you add to this list?

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5 Responses to Turkeys Away! :: #COMM2322

  1. […] turkeys away! :: COMM 2322-Barbara […]

  2. Megan says:

    I loved watching this video in class. It was a great way to see how a promotional campaign should be. Learning from this videos mistakes is a great way to find out how to make your campaigns as a public relations professional effective. I would also add to start promoting it early on. If you were to do something for Thanksgiving start advertising for it after Halloween. It will create a bigger buzz from your audience.

  3. Stephanie says:

    Here’s my one cent:
    Know the public you are catering to and what they would appreciate. Live turkeys would not be wanted in a suburban area. After they get the LIVE turkeys what are they going to do with them? They aren’t in a rural area that has a slaughter house oh so conveniently in their back yard. At that point people won’t want the animal, they just want the meat.

  4. A classic show in its own right. Here’s my 2 cents worth:

    1. Know the potential harm of your event.
    2. Know how to mitigate the occurance if harm *does* occur.
    3. Have a backup plan.


  5. Rich Becker says:

    Too funny! Of all the episodes I vaguely remember, this one still remains as clear in my memory as the day I saw it, well before ever deciding I’d become a communicator.

    Even better, I love the tie in with the lessons too. Good stuff.