So now we had three gold Racktrap samples and were faced with a challenge of Biblical King Solomon proportions: where should we send them to maximize our media coverage? We wanted to hit TV and print outlets, but we also needed a sample to use to show friends and family so they understood what we had been up to the past several months and that we weren’t just eating bon-bons in the office (it was just a few Hershey’s kisses here and there, I swear!).
The three of us instinctively knew that we wanted to launch The Racktrap on the Today Show and thought that Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb would be the best fit, as they have that special brand of banter that resounds with most American women. And we had a great friend who suggested that Glamour would love The Racktrap. And so we decided to take a chance, pitch only those two outlets and send them two of our three samples and keep the third hermetically sealed in its ziplock bag. So we said a Hail Mary, a Shma Yisrael, knocked on wood and hoped for the best.
About a day later, Marla got a call from a producer at Today saying that they loved The Racktrap and it was perfect for Hoda and Kathie Lee to discuss during the Today’s Talk/Scoop segment. The producer promised to give us notice before the segment aired so we could spread the word (i.e. tell our families and friends to set their TIVOs). We were shocked! And thrilled! And scared! As publicists (our day jobs), we knew firsthand how difficult it is to get a product featured on the Today Show. You have a better chance of being adopted by Brangelina. But somehow, The Racktrap was deemed worthy, confirming everything we had suspected about our little baby.
The day after that, Glamour let us know that they would be doing a story on The Racktrap online later that month. We were two-for–two.
Now we had two confirmed media hits and no website, a problem that had to be addressed immediately. What good was media coverage if viewers/readers couldn’t go someplace to read more about the product and actually buy it? So we hired a web design company and got started on creating a simple website that would give product details and take orders. Nothing fancy. This had to be ready before the Today Show segment aired in two or three weeks. So we thought we were safe.
Until one week later, my Blackberry started to ring while I was in the shower at 7am. And since I was mid-shampoo (or mid-condition), I couldn’t answer. But as soon as I got out, I saw that the missed call was from NBC in NY (yes, I’m a publicist and I recognize media outlet phone numbers). So I called back in my towel and found out that – great news—The Racktrap segment was scheduled for later that morning, and wasn’t it fabulous that they were moving the date up by a week! I was so shocked and thrilled that I almost dropped my towel. But I kept my cool long enough to realize that our website wasn’t live yet. And THAT was more of a problem than me potentially flashing my neighborhood.
So somehow, I tracked down our web designer and told them the site had to go live immediately, warts and all. And so, at exactly 9:45am, The Racktrap site launched.
With the clock ticking down to the segment, I also had to locate my partners and let them know that we were about to go live. Karen was in Florida and Marla was in California. Then, I had to send out emails to everyone I could think of and tell them to watch or TIVO the Today Show. And call my parents, since they are still using technology from 1975. And post on Facebook.
At exactly 10:10am, Kathie Lee and Hoda introduced us to the women of America. Still in my towel, I sat and watched, transfixed, as The Racktrap appeared on TV, in the French manicured hand of Kathy Lee Gifford, chryoned across the bottom of the screen next to the Today and NBC logos, as real as any weather or traffic update. And just like that, there was no turning back.
Ironically, the Glamour story ran online the same day and the reader response was great, with people commenting on what a great idea it was. My favorite comment was from a man who worked at Starbucks and was tired of women from the gym handing him dirty, sweaty money. He wished all women would use The Racktrap. Smart barrista!
Two samples mailed out, two stories generated. It was time to finally get out of my towel and get dressed. There was follow up work to be done. Now that we had real live orders, it was time to order some inventory!
Jackie Saril is the Co-Creator of The Racktrap and Co-Founder of Squeakywheel Promotions, a boutique public relations agency. Formerly a media executive with 20 years of experience in sales and marketing for cable networks including Comedy Central, VH1, TV Guide Channel and Spice (yes, that Spice channel), Jackie is happy to be her own favorite boss.