• Bodine Johnson

Make $1 out of $0.50

How do you do it? How do you make the big, impossible dreams happen with a non existent budget?

I finally dropped the video for Juicy Fruit this week. The song had been released in 2015 and I immediately knew it would be a classic. I had BIG dreams for it too. After spending the second half of my Junkanoo Carnival Music Master's prize money on production, I didn't think about how to promote. Luckily, the buzz I generated from the competition made it easier to get it on air.

I had a big vision for the video: The Bahamas National Youth Choir in full regalia dancing the song in a big market scene, branded companies in the Farmer's Market scene with uniform, custom made signs, a view overlooking the ocean, aerial shots, costumes for ERRYBAWDY! As one can imagine, it would have been expensive! The cost to shoot and edit the footage alone was $4K. Let's not begin to talk about models, rental fees, props and costumes. The cost of those things would have taken the budget closer to $8K with an overall cost to market it coming in at $2K.

From start to finish, producing this video and marketing it at a basic level would cost more than $10K. I barely had the startup capital that I had used to pay for production of the song.

Later, I sat with the brand manager of a beer company who was preparing to launch a new line of beer with a fruity taste. He wanted to invest $1.5K in the video but in exchange he'd need the product to appear 6 times. Now, while that may sound good, I turned it down. The responsibility to promote the video and by extension the company's product would remain mine, so while $1.5K seemed like a good offer, it was really lazy marketing on the company's part. They did not agree to use the song in a campaign, they did not agree to include radio ads or newspaper ads in the package... nothing. To me, and what I know to be an amazing product (my video) this offer was more trouble than it was worth.

How would I earn the money I spent in production back? I generated income for the piece by leasing it to a television show and an entrepreneur in the fruit business. This was smart, but paid mere pennies on the dollar considering the Bahamian market. I needed to get the video out. The return on investment eas slow. I had decided to allocate a small portion of the performances at which I performed this song to the Juicy Fruit sales ledger. Technically, each performance of the song was a sale.

Four years later, I made a decision to take a portion of the profits from a project my company had completed to produce the video. The profits had already been allocated to the video and promotions budget for 2nd quarter 2019. After so much time, I'd realized that I had the right idea of writing and having the song produced, but I boo booed by not budgeting for marketing and promotion. That would not happen again.

To make the video viable and feasible, I scaled it ALL the way back! I offered free placement to some entrepreneurs who were looking for creative ways to market their businesses. Doongalik, who is dedicated to the arts and culture of The Bahamas partnered with me and donated the venue for this purpose.

Friends and family members came to model and act. We came to an agreement on what we both expected in exchange. I did mine and my sister's makeup and took pieces from my closet for the shoot. I shopped the sales rack for other pieces for my sisters. Nothing was over $20.00 each.

Instead of hiring a caterer, I did what was in the spirit of the song and visited Farmer's markets with a view to spend no more than $250.00 on props; fruit and vegetables, tarts and refreshments.

At the end of the day, even with having to shoot the music video TWICE because the first time, the hard drive crashed, Juicy Fruit was born. The project was under budget, and as part of a three-phase marketing plan for the relaunch of my brand, it really is doing well on the promotional end. It's been shared a few hundred times. It's been seen a combined total of 12K times. The hashtag #JuicyFruit and #JuicySummer has been shared and it's been picked up by Caribbean blogs the world over. PLUS, I've booked a job from it. That means the video has within a week, almost paid for itself and we're just getting started.

How do you make $1 out of $0.50? Have a great product. Spend $0.25 on creating the product and $0.25 on marketing it, but most importantly, the product has to be exceptional for what you're producting it at and worth the 100% markup you plan on selling it at. Don't over-extend yourself and rely on the kindness of friends and team members who see the vision.

Most importantly, if you only have $0.50 seek an investor, solicit partnerships with those with similar interests and of course, be wise about how you balance them.

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