Wednesday, July 01, 2009

This is a Lot of Work for a Free T-Shirt

You know how when a band gets big, the people who followed their earlier tours get all bent out of shape, saying things like, "Oh, you don't have the bootleg video of the Portland show? I was there, man! You guys aren't real fans!" That's how I feel now as one of my favorite groups hits the road for the third year in a row. I covered their previous two tours and met up with them when they were down here in O-town on what they called a "working weekend." (Drawing pictures in a public park downtown is hardly working.) I've had the opportunity to work with them professionally and they are a fun bunch who don't give you a lot pf pushback. Or maybe they're just so good with their people skills that when they give you pushback you don't even realize it.

I'm talking, of course, about the mentally challenged children of Plaid, a not-for-profit ministry in downtown Danbury, Connecticut. Led by a former punk rocker who had a vision of providing shelter and guidance to wayward urchins who'd been turned out on the streets, Plaid seeks to bring hope and healing to a hurting world. And I believe that children are our future.

This time, the Plaidiators will focus on the central states, taking in Detroit, Milwaukee, Chicago, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, Branson, Memphis, Jackson and New Orleans. I will follow with interest the Branson portion of their journey, as I have experience in that region, experience I don't like to talk about unless there is someone standing nearby ready to sedate me.

And this time, the Plaid Summer Tour is different. They have sponsors now. They even got their vehicle supplied by Ford. This time instead of a giant church van, they'll travel in a Ford Flex. That's really cool. And sponsorship means the swag will be better for the bloggers who took the time to write about the trip.

It's a mobile exercise in new biz development. This is no cold call journey. The Plaid people have it all planned out: seeing new places, maybe landing a client or two, meeting the friends from Twitter and blogs they've never actually met in person. If they're swinging through your town, you'd be well-advised to buy them a beer and hang out. Until they start kissing your cheek and rubbing your leg. Then it's time to go because the weird stuff is about to happen.

Follow along starting July 20th.

I'm ready for my swag now.

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