Anthony Bourdain's escapist marketing
I’ll admit it.
I’ve been an Anthony Bourdain fanboy for the better part of a decade and I’ve watched practically every episode of his three hit shows: “Parts Unknown,” “The Layover,” and “No Reservations.”
And I also consider his first book, Kitchen Confidential, to be the best personal memoir I’ve ever read.
I bring this all up because this month is the 4-year anniversary of his death this month.
And, more importantly, because I believe he was the best marketer of food, travel, and culture in the 21st century for reasons like:
He created multiple hit shows for several different cable channels.
He wrote close to a dozen best-selling memoirs (including the aforementioned Kitchen Confidential and Medium Raw) cookbooks, travel books, and even a few novels.
But, most important of all, he created such a cult following that gobbled up every book, every show, every article, every interview, etc. that he did that he also inadvertently created an army of imitators trying to get a little bit of that Bourdain magic to rub off on him.
And although most of these successors were duds (Dave Chang being a rare exception), the fact that there were so many is the ultimate testimonial to his success.
So why have most failed?
For one simple reason:
Anthony Bourdain understood why people watch food & travel shows.
For one thing, they want a host that isn’t some high falutin’ hoity toity fellow like Andrew Zimmerman, who always wears his glasses so far down his nose they’re practically falling in his mouth. Nor do most want a host who seems unbearably nerdy and unrelatable like, say, Rick Steves or Samantha Brown.
But most importantly: Bourdain understood that people watch for the pure escapism of the thing.
They want somebody who’s going to deliver them an adventure in a place they may or may not have heard of before, without really trying at all.
That’s the best kind of advertising there is.
He’s a walking, talking billboard for what YOU could be doing in this place, even if you never actually go yourself.
This is a good thing to keep in mind for your own fundraising and marketing.
Give your donors a real experience in your copy, show them what an adventure it is to be a contributing member of your organization, and what an emotional and mental escape it is to donate to your mission.
Once that happens, they won’t just be open to being solicited by your fundraising, they’ll downright demand it!
In a world of monotony and boredom, do everything you can to take your donors on an adventure with everything you do publicly.