Test Drive: Star treatment

Written by Rick Spence

Kato Kaelin. Lorenzo Lamas. The Barbi twins.

A new website,, provides you with an opportunity to put these and other C-list celebrities on your business team. For US$39.95, they’ll call anyone you wish with a short message of your devising. While the service is geared mainly to birthday and “get-well” greetings, PROFIT saw it as a fabulous marketing tool. Imagine having former Blue Jays hurler Tom Candiotti call new prospects to pitch a meeting, or getting a call from Survivor’s Richard Hatch thanking you for your business.

Intrigued, PROFIT went to the website, filled in an order form and left a credit-card number, thereby enlisting Lou Ferrigno to call Teresa Cascioli, president and CEO of Lakeport Brewing Corp. in Hamilton, Ont. We wanted to thank her in style for joining a panel session at our October conference for Canada’s Top 100 Women Business Owners.

Ferrigno called at noon the next day, but, sadly, the original Incredible Hulk and former Mr. Universe didn’t pump much iron into the call. He said, “Hello, my name is Lou Ferrigno,” read out PROFIT’s 30-word message, said, “Bye” and hung up. Cascioli tried to engage him in conversation, but the Hulk had left the building.

Was she as impressed as we’d hoped? “There was no personality in it at all,” says Cascioli. “I really do appreciate the gesture, but there has to be some ad-libbing on the star’s part. It’s almost insulting when they just hang up.”

Luckily, Cascioli was ready for it: asks users to tell their target the call is coming. Cascioli also has a good sense of fun, something that aids any marketing stunt.

© 2003 Rick Spence

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