It’s no secret that my wife, Stephanie, is a huge fan of The Amazing Race, she’s watched every episode since the very beginning and it’s because of her that I sit and watch it too. If you haven’t seen the show, it’s basically a bunch of teams of two racing around the world, having to conquer various challenges and obstacles along the way. Each episode is a different leg of the race with a pit stop at the end for the teams to rest at before moving on. The last person to check in to the pit stop may or may not be eliminated. It’s quite fun to watch and like all good television, you build an emotional love/hate relationship/interest with the characters of the show. This emotional interest in the competitors and the different cities and challenges the teams face keeps you coming back to see what will happen next time. The man behind The Amazing Race is Phil Keoghan, and he’s the guy at the end of each episode standing at the entrance to the pit stop telling each team what place they’ve finished in and if they are the last team, whether or not they’ve been eliminated from the race.
I had the great privilege to meet Phil in person at the 2014 NAB Show, and while I haven’t met many celebrities in person, my personal rule has always been to just let them be. I’ve always figured that they always have people coming up to them and asking them for an autograph or a picture that I choose to leave them alone. I’ve always supposed that if I ever became a celebrity (not that it will happen), that I’d want some privacy and space too. So when my good friend Mike DesRoches asked Jaclynne Gentry (a good friend and co-worker) and me if we wanted to meet Phil and his wife Louise, I was a bit apprehensive at first. That feeling quickly went away the moment we were introduced to them. Phil and Louise were really nice to talk to and they were really engaging. You see, the other thing that I normally feel about meeting celebrities is that unless you’re of any significance yourself, they kind of look past you in conversation. But this didn’t happen with Phil and Louise, in fact it was quite the opposite. We had a whole conversation about Steve Austin, The Six Million Dollar Man! And during the whole time we chatted about that and other things, I never got the sense that they were looking past us and wanting to leave. They even asked if we wanted to sit with them at the event we were all attending, but we graciously declined, knowing that there were others that they needed to meet and sit with.
It was really refreshing to experience meeting some famous people that care more about the person than the title the person held, or whether or not that person could help them with a future project of theirs. What Phil and Louise did, just by being nice and approachable, was build a loyal fan. I’ll continue to watch The Amazing Race with Stephanie as I always do, but now even if the team I’m rooting for loses, I’ll still have a reason to watch. I’ll watch because it’s Phil Keoghan’s show. And I’ll be watching all of his other productions too, like Le Ride, which is about his journey retracing the 1928 Tour de France. The experience meeting Phil and Louise is a lesson and reminder for brands and people alike, that you make an impression on everyone you meet, make sure it’s genuine and a good one and you’ll build loyal fans wherever you go.