Not national light bulb day
When you open a retail store in the midst of a pandemic, I feel it is important that you make very creative yet cost effective marketing decisions.
Everyone has heard of the countless "national days" like cheese lover's day, winter dry skin relief day, even squirrel appreciation day (yes, that is a real day). I started thinking what type of day could we as the Toledo Lamp Company celebrate and promote that would benefit our business. Well, duh, we sell light bulbs, so there has to be a national light bulb day. I did the best research I could to discover that there was not a national light bulb day. I immediately think, well I will start one, it can't be that hard, you pick a day , give it a name and poof, magically you now have your very own national...whatever...day.
What day would we pick? Being the guy that wants things to happen now, and it is early February, I wanted it to be soon, there's rent to pay you know! The gears in my head are turning, how about something involving Thomas Edison, google here I come... Bingo, Edison's birthday is right around the corner, Feb. 11. That's perfect timing, to honor the man who although did not actually and technically invent the light bulb, he is regarded as perfecting the procedure for the commercialization of the modern light bulb (or something similar to that) and so that's good enough for me to call him the genius he was and as long as I sell Edison bulbs, I'm going to run with it, it all makes sense to me.
Now I do understand the smallest possible amount of things to do with trademarks and licenses and so on, things that legally you can't or shouldn't do, so from the beginning of this crazy bald scheme of mine, I would not call it National Light Bulb Day for fear of getting some awful cease and desist letter in the mail. I settled for The great American Light Bulb Day, which might have even been risky but it was a chance I was willing to take.
No promotion is going to work if you don't promote it, so off to the Facebook and Instagram I go and start talking up the Great American Light Bulb day and because it's going to be on the 11th, we will offer 11% off Edison light bulbs. So far so good!
Then to my surprise, one of our faithful followers messages me that there is a way you can register for your own nation day and they send me a link to the website that offers this service.
I am very excited, I was seeing our 15 minutes of fame playing out in front of me, if this actually becomes a national day and is promoted around the country. I of course would be trying my hardest to attach the Toledo Lamp Company name to it everywhere I could. I go to the website, I read all the fine print (I thought) I fill out an application, include how we want to honor Edison and his great invention, submit it for review and wait for them to contact me to approve the request. Tick Tock pitter pater, now we wait...DING, "you've got mail" .. Yeah, do you believe it, we are approved, how thrilling right? Little ol' Toledo Lamp Company could forever be associated with a national day! Oh but wait, read on crazy bald guy there is more fine print, now they want their payment, yes, payment. No where in what I had read before did I see anything about a payment, let alone $495.00. I slowly read that part out loud again in sort of a slow motion "Oh Fudge, but I didn't say fudge manner" ...Heavy sigh, dream crushed. I should have known that anything that sounds to good to be true...is. Oh well, that type of promo money for something very abstract is not going to come out of this tiny pa and pa start up shops budget. We have a long list of wants and needs before we spend money on a "day".
I joked that I might start a GoFundMe, maybe that's not a bad idea though, maybe some devoted TLC fan would do that, maybe there is a devoted TLC fan who wants to make a anonymous (or not) donation to a good cause. Regardless...
in 2022, on the 175 anniversary of the great Thomas Alva Edison's birth, we will again be celebrating bigger and better at the Toledo Lamp Company, another sale and who knows, maybe even cake!