MARKETING AND SALES STRATEGIES

55,000 free hotdogs and a dozen free videos

There's been some debate recently about totally free content vs. gate content. On one side are people like me who say put your stuff out for free (my ebook The New Rules of Viral Marketing that has been downloaded around a quarter of a million times in 2008). On the other side are people like Bob Bly who believe that gated content (such as white papers that require an email address to download) is the way to go. Many people suggest a combination.

Last week I was in New York spending time with my publisher at Wiley. After work, we went to see Canadian indie band Wolf Parade. But in order to get into the proper mood for the show, we first hightailed it up to Rudy's Bar & Grill in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City.

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Rudy's serves free hotdogs. A lot of free hotdogs. In fact last year they gave away 55,000 free hotdogs. They also sell a hell of a lot of (cheap) beer. The place was packed when we were there.

I was wondering as I ate my second dog and drained my third pint if we’d have been there without the free hotdogs? And I wondered if I’d be seeing Wolf Parade without checking out their music for free on MySpace first?

Here's an Editorial Review for Rudy's Bar and Grill – by Rose Martelli

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The Scene
Rudy's is one of the last bars in Manhattan where suits, slackers and lifetime ne'er-do-wells commingle in a laid-back, beer-laden haze. It's always loud and crowded, even when the backyard "garden" is open. And when you're ready to date out of your comfy little social circle, slap on your sluttiest lipstick or your spiffiest blue jeans and head here. Chances are you'll cozy up in one of Rudy's little red banquettes with someone new before long.

The Draw
Heated on one of those fast-food rotisseries and served with a plain white bun and a little mustard, the full-sized hot dogs are always free and always available--so long as "the hot dog guy" is behind the bar. The blackboard lists about 12 brews on tap, from Bud to Checker Cab Blonde Ale; Rudy's Red, the house brew, is dirt cheap but rather weak.

Wolf Parade at Terminal 5 on July 31, 2008
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David Meerman Scott

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