Steve Irwin (The Crocodile Hunter) ...an Absolutely Brilliant Marketer!
By Eric Graham
daughters and I loved watching The Crocodile Hunter. Steve's Passion
and enthusiasm for wildlife conservation were unmatched. But in addition
to being a masterful entertainer and educator. Steve Irwin was also
a brilliant marketer.
Instinctively he knew that to spread his message of conservation, he
needed to first grab his audience by the eyeballs and get their attention.
A skilled showman and communicator, he could make the
most mundane animals appear deadly and interesting. Captivating his
audience by building suspense and tension that kept them riveted to
With his hyper-animated presentation, colorful language (he introduced
the world to his very Aussie catch phrase Crikey) and unwaveringly
khaki wardrobe he created a consistent and memorable personal brand.
He was his own, walking talking USP (unique selling proposition.)
While many wanabes and knock-offs tried to copy his adventurous style
and antics none of them ever came close to matching his level of success.
He was truly one of a kind.
The Crocodile Hunter was also a master at generating publicity and
working the media. Probably the greatest ambassador to the world Australia
has ever had. Steve Irwin regularly made the rounds on every major television
show imaginable, from small local news stations to Letterman, Leno,
Larry King and Oprah. He was a walking, talking news hook. A publicists
Even when his actions stirred up controversy (who can forget the image
of him feeding a croc with his newborn baby in his arms...) his ratings
and popularity only improved.
And if viral marketing is your thing, Steve was one of greats! The
viral buzz his TV antics created around water coolers world wide was
simply astounding. His exploits spread via word of mouth like wildfire
as folks energetically recreated, described and relived the close
calls Steve had on the previous nights show.
In fact in a recent blog post Michel Fortin identified three essential
response-boosting ingredients for effective viral marketing. Curiosity,
scarcity and controversy. (Steve was an absolute master of all three.)
• Curiosity? What's more curious
than a man kissing a 14 foot crocodile on the head and saying, isn't
she a beauty?
• Scarcity? There was (and will always be) just
one Crocodile Hunter.
• Controversy? Steve certainly had a knack for
stirring up and leaving controversy in his larger-than-life wake.
And boy could he work the backend! His spinnoff products are almost
From toys and games to books and movies, Steve Irwin exploited the
Crocidile Hunter brand to the fullest. He almost single
handedly built the entire Animal Planet network on his coattails.
His face, logo and even his catch phrase Crikey found their
way onto every imaginable product from lunch boxes to clothing lines.
And the amazing part is... he funneled the vast majority of the profit
windfall his Croc Hunter brand generated into his beloved Australia
Zoo and into other wildlife conservation based programs.
But in spite of the many powerful marketing lessons that can be learned
by studying the life of Steve Irwin, I think the most important lesson
we can learn from him is about PASSION.
This was the true secret to Steve Irwin's success. I've rarely seen
anyone with more raw passion and enthusiasm for his mission in life.
His passion for life, his family, and the wildlife he spent (and gave)
his life educating the world about, was evident in everything he did.
And... What Steve can teach us about passion is not just a lesson to
apply to your marketing, but one to apply to your own life.
Live with passion.
Live with passion for what you do and communicate that passion to others.
That's the key to real and lasting success.
If you're not passionate about what you are currently doing for a living...
Find something you are passionate about, and do it to the fullest.
As Steve has shown us... Life is short. And the end can come at any
moment. But a 44 year life of passion and adventure is far more rewarding
than 100 years of quiet desperation.
Steve Irwin lived his life to the fullest. He spent his days doing
exactly what he loved and he transferred that love and passion to millions
Rest in peace Steve. You'll be sorely missed mate…
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| Some other articles by Eric Graham|