I’m fascinated how popular brands/products have recently used “scarcity” to gain tons (and I mean tons) of free media coverage.

At first it was a shortage of pork, then Twinkies, and now… Velveeta.

Really? Does the media expect us to believe that there could possibly be a shortage of Velveeta… right before the Super Bowl?

No More Pork?

I’ll admit it, I fell for the pork shortage and went out and stocked the freezer. That was a year ago and I’m still waiting to see prices go up. Of course I’ve got plenty should it actually happen. The media coverage on it was astounding! It was on every newscast and newspaper for weeks.

Saying Goodbye to the Twinkie.

Then it was the Twinkie. I hate to date myself, but I did grow up in a time when the Twinkie was a snack staple.  Since I’ve had kids, it’s not something we’ve kept stocked in the pantry (there was that “new” push on healthy eating when my kids were young) but nevertheless, when I heard they would be a thing of the past, I did get nostalgic.

When we heard through the media that Hostess was going under, you couldn’t find a Twinkie on store shelves. People were even paying exorbitant amounts on eBay for that coveted last box.

The demise of the Twinkie was big news for weeks. Then, lo and behold, with perhaps some divine intervention, the Twinkie came back to us! And with all of the press it received, probably more popular than ever!

A Velveeta Shortage?

Now it’s Velveeta. I’ve watched for two days on every morning and evening newscast about the impending Velveeta shortage. Interestingly, this “big news” comes right before the Super Bowl, probably one of the most popular nacho-eating days of the year.

What I find interesting is that the main ingredients of Velveeta are (as listed on their box): “milk, water, milkfat, whey, milk protein concentrate, whey protein concentrate, sodium phosphate.”

Is there a milk, water, whey, or salt shortage? That would be a big story!

The Moral of the Story…

Once again, we’ve been taken-in by a brilliant marketing mind whom has convinced the media to share the story of the decline or demise of a popular item.

I’m sure Velveeta sales have skyrocketed this week and people are stockpiling, especially for the big game.

What’s the PR lesson here? Use scarcity when pitching the media. What soon to be “extinct” business concept, idea, profession, product or food can you use to gain coverage for your business?