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In the past, I noticed a lot of television commercials about this Growing up Gotti television program, and wondered to myself how John Gotti got so popular to begin with?

After all, he was a dirty criminal, and aren't we supposed to hate those?

Today I want to go over how John Gotti was so successful driving media attention, for good and bad, and gaining the hearts and/or minds of the American public.

John Gotti was the head of the Gambino crime family from 1986 until April 2, 1992 when he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Despite what evil he committed in his life, John Gotti captured the affectionate attention of the media, and everyday people like you, and me.

"John Gotti was someone the press loved, and he loved them back. Some would say it was the press that made him seem as powerful as he was, but quite frankly, at one point he was" (AskMen, 2008).

A good rule of thumb is if you are gaining media attention, you are gaining people's attention as well. So how did he do it? Let's go through the marketing numbers:

  1. John Gotti was a celebrity. He epitomized the latent voluminousness of other modern celebrities with his $5,000-$10,000 Brioni suits, and daily haircuts. He always appeared "camera ready" and it's a good thing because the camera (whether FBI or general media) was always on him.
  2. John Gotti loved attention. He never shied away from the media or the public's attention. An interview with "mob rat" Salvatore Gravano yielded that Gotti would welcome stares from his public, and interviews from the press.
  3. John Gotti was the expert. The public loves experts at the top of their field, athletes at the top of their league and models at the top of fashion. John Gotti was THE gangster. It was the perception and the reality. If you wanted to see a real gangster, he was the guy.
  4. John Gotti was hansom. The man had a good build, nice smile and certainly looked every bit of a modern mobster with his Italian face and gray highlighted hair.

So, if you want to start marketing like John Gotti, here are my recommendations:

  1. Capture the media's attention. John Gotti got their attention through always being in court, and then beating the case thereby being affectionately named, "The Teflon Don." Create something substantial, and then send out those press releases.
  2. Personify your niche industry. Eminem probably wouldn't have gotten far if he only wore suits. Don;t focus on what you think people want to see, be completely obvious and produce your brand around people expect to see.
  3. Be the best at what you do. When you sit down or stand up to do anything, say to yourself that you are the best and people should be honored to be around you. John Gotti knew he was the best mobster, and embraced that fact. If you are a professor, hit those publications; if you are a lawyer, take on those those tough jury's; and if you are a marketer, hit the damn library because our profession seems to hate research.
  4. Take care of yourself. How many fat cooks do you see on television? If anything, you'd expect that overweight cooks would be an industry standard, but it's not. Why? People want attractive things to look at. Spend some more money on your wardrobe, get your haircut more frequently, take a jog 4 times a week and for God's sakes brush your teeth.

I dominated a crowd of 200 people speaking about a topic I barley had any experience on whereas the guy speaking before me, and holding a Doctorate in that industry, put people to sleep. Why? I simply convinced myself before going on that I was the best. Also, I typified the industry of marketing with a nice haircut and a modern $2,000 suit. The other guy was wearing a polo shirt, spoke like he was unsure of himself, and kept naming the books he read which came off as if he was qualifying himself.

Be the best, invest your money in it, and drip confidence like John Gotti and you too will capture the public eye.

Don't compete — DOMINATE.


Matt Steffen

"Don't compete -- DOMINATE!"

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Matt Steffen was Listed by Forbes as the #1 Marketing Consultant Who Avoids the B.S.