you know, one my marketing mantras is that we must shock Broca’s area
of the brain to stand out and burn ourselves into editors’, agents’,
and readers’ minds. We must be different. We must be unique in
everything we do. Because if we can’t get past Broca’s area, we won’t
get our ideas and branding to the prefrontal cortex, the seat of
emotion, planning, and judgment—the area where people choose to take
action. We will be ignored. (Click here to get the triple-scoop info on
At ICRS (the International
Christian Retailer’s Show) Broca’s area of my brain was by-passed at
warp speed. By what you ask? A product that created instant word of
mouth. What did the manufacturer do to create this word of mouth? What
was at the heart of its marketing brilliance?
The most powerful marketing in
the world cannot help promote a product no one will talk about. This
company started with the product itself, making it something that will
stick in people’s brains (and possibly stomachs—but more on that in a
moment) for a long, long time.
When a friend told me about it,
I wasted no time in passing on news of the revolutionary product to the
next person I met. We couldn’t believe it. We had to see it with our
own eyes. This is, of course, the goal of all marketing. Get buzz
going. Get that video to go viral. Get everyone telling everyone else
about your product.
The product that captured my
attention and stood out among all the other offerings at ICRS? Those of
you who attended the show have already guessed: the Chessus!
Chessus is a grill that toasts a picture of Jesus into your bread. No,
I’m not kidding, and it’s too late to buy the Chessus, toast Jesus’s
face into your favorite multigrain slice of bread, sell it for
gazillions on eBay, and enter it into the “Jesus appearing in a spread
of guacamole” hall of fame.
The marketing lesson is, of
course, that it’s possible to shock Broca in a way that might create a
great deal of buzz, but not buzz you necessarily want.
the other hand, I might be
wrong about the Chessus. Some people might think it’s a great gift. And
what have I done with this column? I’ve advertised the Chessus at no
cost to the manufacturer, and I’m guessing a few of you will now tell
your friends about it. Some of them might actually purchase the Chessus
in hopes of making a smashing impression at a White Elephant gift
exchange this Christmas.
(If you’re the creator of the
Chessus, I’m sorry, I mean you no personal harm. But while I have had
my head bitten off by various bosses over the years, and a few times
I’ve lost my temper and bitten off the heads of others, somehow I can’t
picture myself biting off Jesus’s head.)
Next month: Signing
books at ICRS and how to do it correctly, there and anywhere else.