Sunday, January 6, 2013

Building A Media Brand By Age 8

My son turns eight years old on Monday and he already has a media resume longer than half the people that come to me looking for representation to the news media. But before you think I am some stage mom who pimps his kid to the media, let me just say I have never scheduled a media appearance for him. He just seems to gravitate to the media and likes to perform for an audience.

His latest conquest was his biggest. He was interviewed by the CBS news television affiliate for New York, which also reaches into neighboring states, New Jersey and Connecticut.

We were attending the New York Boat Show at the Javits Center this past Saturday. We’d never been to it. When my son suggested we go, after seeing it advertised on TV, I took him and my daughter, who turns five next week.

We are not the profile of the ideal consumer that the show desires. I know of boats from what I have seen watching the Titanic movie and from childhood rides aboard the Staten Island Ferry. Oh, wait, there is also a few trips on the Circle Line, a sightseeing trip around Manhattan. There is also that three-hour tour that landed a bunch of misfits on Gilligan’s Island. On the other hand, after attending the show I realized I may harbor a secret desire to own a boat.

But it is my son who sees himself as a skipper of a vessel. We learned the age to drive a boat in NY State is 14 – provided you go through a licensing course first. I don’t dare tell him that the state would let him pilot a boat right now if a licensed adult was on board with him. He would then push me to get trained so I can let him ride the high seas – or at least navigate the Long Island Sound.

As we walked towards the entrance of the show a camera crew, led by an attractive reporter, approached us, asking if we can be interviewed. I said “sure” and immediately my son performed like a trained circus act, only he has never been coached. It just comes naturally to him. He thrives on the attention.

After he was asked a few questions the mic was turned towards my daughter. The reporter had to crouch down on her knees to get down to where the littlest voice emanated from. Then the newswoman asked me to say a few words but I wanted my kids to enjoy the spotlight, and not have me take any of their screen time, so I declined.

We went home to see if we made the cut. She must have interviewed a dozen or more people. I was delighted to see my son lead the story off with a 10-second quote about how he likes the boat his summer camp uses. Then they cut to the boats at the show, and then they went back to him, where he delivered an answer to the question: Do you want a boat for your birthday? He said, with a mischievous smile, “No, Dad won’t buy me one.” Now I am known as the cheapest father!

However, not all was fun and games. My daughter stormed past the TV set, in a waterfall of uncontrollable tears. She was sobbing for having been excluded from the story. How does one console his princess that she was not going to be a TV star?

I had watched again, to see that there was a few seconds of coverage showing the three of us walking into the show. I told her lots of people saw how cute she is. She still wasn’t convinced. I had to resort to making a commitment I never like to make.

I explained to her what I do for a living and told her I would try to get her interviewed by someone in the news media. She may be a non-paying client, but it is one promise I will need to keep!

As for my son, who also was interviewed by the Journal News (the Westchester paper) and other publications, he watched the story over and over. Maybe I can show him how to write a letter to the editor next. He may not stop until he becomes a journalist, author, or… yachtsman.

Here is the clip:  

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2013 ©

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