WASHINGTON (ABC7) — Ever heard of DCBlackTours.com? CNN viewers across the country now have, thanks to a genius marketing play from the tour company.
During CNN's coverage of James Comey's hearing on Capitol Hill Thursday, Don Folden stood behind an on-location news set holding a sign promoting the company. The sign was clear and people noticed.
“That was a once in a lifetime moment because the world had their eyes watching," said Folden, who launched the business last November. “That was my guerrilla warfare marketing move, that’s what I call it.”
"Immerse yourself in the past on this 3-hour guided evening tour through Washington, D.C.," the tour company's website, which redirects to a page under Capital Buddy Tours, states. "Discover the rich Black history of the nation’s capital."
Folden says business has been slow, and with his budget he has to depend on creativity for advertising. He always keeps his sign in the back of his van looking for the next opportunity. So when he saw CNN broadcasting outside the Capitol he immediately stood in front of the cameras.
“I’m not afraid of the camera, no I’m not,” Folden said.
Calls started coming in right away. Folden said he booked seven tours already, but he's also fielded negative emails with viewers telling him it was a cheap ploy.
"The haters, they not gonna support me anyway, so it doesn’t matter," he said.
Folden has been the underdog before. He lost to Marion Barry in the 1994 mayoral primary, but now he's hoping his creative marketing play will turn his new business around.
Tickets for the tours are $40 for seniors, $49 for children and $59 for adult between $40-$59, according to the site.
The site says they offer "The Best Night Tour in DC".
"You’ll see the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in Southeast, Washington, D.C. and the site where the 'Mayor for Life' Marion Barry died, and you’ll see the 2nd best view of the city at the Panorama Room," The site explains. "You’ll see the site of the community of Good Hope and the first church in the area Allen Chapel AME. You’ll see the site of the Pearl Affair of 1848 and the site of the Snow Riots of 1835. Of course you will visit the MLK and the Lincoln Memorial, and you will visit the Cemetery up in Georgetown where runaway slaves actually hid on the Underground Railroad as well as Howard University. Not only will you see the site of Camp Barker where the greater U St. started from but you’ll learn about Gov. Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback who is responsible for developing the U St. corridor."
Nothing like a little free advertising.