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About David Reich




September 10, 2004

A Softer Sell

Is your pitch too promotional? Find a newsworthy trend that makes your product part of the story...  Perfect Pitch…

There’s nothing inherently wrong with pitching a cool product, since media love gadgets. But sometimes a journalist wants a trend to go along with the gadget so the story doesn’t look like an ad. Here’s how David Reich, president of Reich Communications in New York, retooled his pitch to meet a TV reporter’s requirements.

Background: Reich was pushing a product called Pac Back, a backpack-like device that allows parents to carry unwieldy child car seats on their backs. (It was invented by the owner of a luggage manufacturer who saw his daughter struggle to transport her child’s car seat.) Reich figured it had a good chance of succeeding as a stand-alone pitch.

“Now with the new security at airports, friends and family can’t go with you to the airport gate, so it’s even harder to carry child seats,” he explains. With a travel-season angle in mind for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, Reich pitched the product to a producer contact at WCBS-TV in New York.

“She said it was too commercial and self-serving,” Reich relates. However, the producer was intrigued enough to keep a dialogue going about the pitch, if Reich could come up with an angle that wasn’t so product-specific.

Reich called a contact at the New York office of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and found an expert on car-seat safety. The expert told him that 60 percent of parents don’t install car seats properly. Bingo! He had a safety angle that would allow for a broader pitch.

“I came back to her with a complete segment package on child car seat safety,” Reich explains. “I said that I could bring in an expert who could show viewers how to properly use car seats, and we also got two children to use for the live in-studio demo. Once the producer had a segment that she felt was truly informational rather than promotional, she agreed to end the segment with a brief aside about a neat new product that allows parents to carry the car seats hands-free.”

Reich says the news program’s host actually tried on the Pac Back and noted that it was comfortable to wear. As a bonus, the station also provided a link on its Web site to Pac Back’s own site.




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