This page was originally published 1999.  Current site

* Locusts

Why does a freelance advertising copywriter show up when you search for locust or cicada?

In 1996, when Brood II of the 17-year cicada was due to emerge in the Southern New York area, I figured I'd ride on the tremendous publicity they'd generate. So I mailed the promotional piece shown here. Rotten weather. What next, locusts?

  • NY Barely Escapes Record Hurricane Season!
  • It's the Blizzard of '96!!
  • What's for Mother's Day? More Snow!
  • Record 99 degrees. What next, locusts?

Unfortunately, while the cicadas loved upstate New York in June, and were seen on Staten Island, too, they didn't take Manhattan -- extinct here, as you may know (I didn't).

ABC's Charles Gibson reported his NJ lawn was covered with cicadas, but the envisioned evening panic on Letterman and Conan never happened, and almost nobody in the NYC metro area even knew what they were -- nor cared. It demonstrated the value of coordinating advertising with other marketing efforts. PR and publicity people, my advertising hat's off to you!

Anyway, if you missed the big buzzers of '96, you don't necessarily have to wait 14 more years -- some broods have shorter cycles, and different broods' periods overlap, so check out a different part of the Northeast (the Deja News search engine might help).

And thanks to personnel at University of Michigan, Cornell Cooperative Extension and various other netizens for information on location, timing and a lot more details than I could ever have used.

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