Selling Storms, Hurricane Sandy and The Commercialization of Natural Disasters…

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Have you ever wondered why hurricanes are given names? What about nicknames? We have hurricane Sandy threatening the entire eastern seaboard, and terrifying news media promoting it as Frankenstorm or Monster Mash, the combination of a northern cold front, full moon high tide, and a storm that claimed 43 lives already.

I was in Costco on friday and they must have sold millions of flashlights, batteries and water. I decided to try to hunt down a battery powered radio, but guess what… no one seems to have them… Which is bizarre, because even airlines are promoting all fees waived deals, and escape the storm low ticket fares. My mother helping them out encouraging me and my wife to headtail on a red-eye to beautiful Denver. Yet, no one seems to sell battery powered radios any more. What is even more surprising is that the front page of the newspaper and all newsmedia seemed to tell everyone to have a 3 day supply of water, canned food, flashlights, batteries and A Battery Powered Radio.

On my hunt, I tried a pharmacy, a grocery store, costco, two local convenience stores, and a hardware store… many had Hurricane Sandy tables in the front when you walked in with candles, flashlights, batteries, but no Radios….

Has smart phones and other new technology made small electronics for emergencies obsolete, or am I the only person on the planet who doesn’t have a battery powered radio in my house? I eventually found one by digging deep in the aisles of a CVS, saving me the long trip to radio shack.

With fear being one of the strongest motivators of action, and the clear commercialization of natural disasters, it amazes me how many small opportunities are being ignored. let me be clear, I am all for exploiting opportunity, because a better way to describe it is meeting market demand, and creating value solving and bringing consumers peace of mind.

I think I need to get into the battery powered radio business and perhaps installing backup generators in hotels that power rooms. I called a local hotel to ask if they have a backup generator and they said, only for the common areas. I understand the cost effectiveness of this, but don’t you think they could have sold out for a week or two of a down season like halloween and made much more than the cost if they just powered their rooms, and let the local media know. I bet one well place media story about how the local Sheraton had emergency backup power in their rooms would have generated tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands from this storm alone, and many others throughout the season… I know I would have made a reservation considering I am two blocks from the Jersey Shore, and fully expect to lose power…

Good Luck preparing for the storm, and lets hope its just a bunch of sell out media outlets, selling storms instead of a terrifying storm that has already cost me a few hundred bucks in preparation.

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About David Melamed

David Melamed is the Founder of Tenfold Traffic, a search and content marketing agency with over $15,000,000 of paid search experience and battle tested results in content development, premium content promotion and distribution, Link Profile Analysis, Multinational/Multilingual PPC and SEO, and Direct Response Copywriting.

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