Stepping outside your product comfort zone

Have you ever been suprised by a company’s promotional product offerings? I found myself pleasantly shocked yesterday when I saw the Public Radio Tattoos offered by the This American Life online store. When you think of National Public Radio and it’s offerings, I rarely think of tattoos but instead except something like the fundraiser-drives that offer CDs and tote bags. I would have never thought to offer Sailor Jerry-inspired temporary tattoos, but then again, I’m not This American Life host, Ira Glass.

According to their website, Glass suggested the idea of temporary tattoos only to have colleagues think it was a crazy idea. 70,000 temporary tattoos later, his far-fetched idea has proven a success.

So why did these custom temporary tattoos cause such a stir? Perhaps it has something to do with a survey Harris Interactive did that last year that found 1 in 5 U.S. adults sports a tattoo; being inked is now considered in vogue. With reports that radio is struggling to stay relevant, I can only imagine the drive to connect with a younger audience that may only know to tune into Top 40 stations. These promotional tattoos may seem silly but just take a look on their page to see the spectrum of age groups that have happily applied their temporary tattoo. It’s a fresh, fun idea that gives the recipients instant gratification, and even if the tattoos is left unapplied it can easily hang around a desk monitor as a constant reminder of public radio offerings. If you’d like to know more about the temporary tats, This American Life did their blog post on them here.

What do you think about stepping outside of your product comfort zone: do the rewards outweigh the risks?

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