Bridge Firm Recovery October 2018

Cover story, continued ...

THE PINK JELLY BEAN

WHERE’S MY HAIRY TOE?

The woman was never seen again. Her neighbors, having heard the commotion the night before, found only a single large footprint outside her house in the morning.

If you’re looking for some suspense with a happy ending, your own version of The Pink Jelly Bean is your safest bet. Here’s an example: There was a dark forest into which no one ventured alone. In the forest was a shack, the spooky setting of numerous gory tales. On stormy nights, it was said that the shack came alive. One night, brave travelers came across the shack and decided to stay for the night just as a storm was brewing. Suddenly, a gust of wind blasted the door open and flashes of lightning lit up the shack to reveal something in the middle of the shuttered living room:

This story is perfect for youngsters under the age of 10, especially if you’re still gauging their fright level. Long, long ago, an old woman was tending to her garden when she discovered a hairy toe. She had not had a fruitful harvest that year, so when she returned to her cottage, she reluctantly ate the toe and settled into a quiet evening at home. But she kept hearing a low voice moaning, “Where’s my h-a-i-r-r-r-y t-o-e-e-e?”With every repetition, the voice increased in intensity. Mysterious thumps, groans, and demands for the toe echoed throughout the house all night. Just as she was falling asleep, her front door flew open, and there stood a giant demanding his hairy toe be given back. The old woman, fed up with the begging nonsense, screamed, “I ate your hairy toe!” Calmly, the giant responded, “I know.”

It was a peculiar print — it only had four toes!

TIP: Draw out this story by describing what the woman sees and hears all night, and play around with different voices for the giant.

… a pink jelly bean!

TIP: The goal is to stretch this story out for as long as you can before the final reveal. Add more doors, characters, and creepy objects — whatever it takes to build the suspense.

Marketing Horror Stories A Lesson in What Not to Do

KFC AND HOOVER CAN’T DO MATH A shocking number of companies hold giveaway promotions without calculating exactly howmuch they will cost. Here are a few examples. • Back when“Oprah”was the biggest show on television, KFC ran an ad offering a free two-piece chickenmeal with two sides and a biscuit for anyone who went to their website and downloaded a coupon. Over 10.5 million coupons were downloaded, and KFC had to give away $42 million in free food. • In the 1990s, Hoover Company in the United Kingdomoffered two round-trip plane tickets with the purchase of a vacuum. Unfortunately, even in the‘90s, most vacuums were still cheaper than plane tickets, and Hoover lost 50 million pounds in what remains the biggest promotional disaster ever. CARTOON NETWORK CAUSES A BOMB SCARE Guerrilla marketing can create valuable word of mouth— think about the success of the movie“IT”last year. The marketing for the film included simple red balloons tied to stormdrains. But Cartoon Network didn’t have quite the same luck in 2007 when they tried to promote their show“Aqua Teen Hunger Force.”When the network put electronic devices featuring a character from the show all over Boston, city residents thought the strange contraptions looked like bombs and called the police. This triggered a terrorist scare that ultimately cost the general manager of Cartoon Network his job.

Every marketing professional wants their campaign to be memorable. They want consumers to take notice—or take the bait —andmake their company a big profit. But sometimes, things don’t go exactly as planned. The campaigns below certainly won the attention of consumers, but in each case, what started out as a marketing dreamquickly turned into a nightmare. FIAT’S DIRECT MAIL DISASTER In 1992, women across Spain received anonymous letters inviting them to go on a“little adventure.”The letters stated,“We met again on the street yesterday, and I noticed how you glanced interestedly inmy direction.” Fearing a stalker, many women locked themselves in their homes. A few days later, another letter arrived, revealing the identity of the“secret admirer” as the new Fiat Cinquecento. Yes, the creepy letters were part of a marketing campaign by the Italian car company. Fiat apologized and ended the campaign after criticism from consumer protection groups, Social Minister Cristina Alberdi, and the 50,000 women who received the letters.

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