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Newsletter #950: The “Extreme Offers” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Word of mouth is inspired by the unexpected, unusual, and extreme that gets people to notice your normal stuff too. This is what makes your business stand out from your competitors — and sometimes it’s weird.

Here are some ways companies are doing it:

1. Beer for bags
2. Departure roulette
3. Racecar bundles
4. Check it out: Merge

1. Beer for bags

For five days, Crumpler’s Soho store only accepted one currency for their bags: Beer. For instance, two cases of Pacifico and a bag of limes could get you a messenger bag, plus an invite for two to the after party (which Crumpler admitted was a pretty good deal, if you do the math). And after the five days was up, they threw a big party with all of the beer they collected for everyone who bought a bag and their guests.

The lesson: Imagine the word of mouth spread by these transactions. Crumpler’s customers are talking to their friends about going to the party, they’re talking to people at the convenience store when they buy the beer, and they’re talking to each other at the actual event.

Learn more: Crumpler

2. Departure roulette

If someone in an airport told you they would pay for your flight to a mystery destination if you immediately dropped your plans and boarded, would you do it? That’s the question Heineken posed to travellers at JFK with a billboard and a giant button. Once willing travellers pushed the button, the billboard revealed their destination. Now, that’s extreme. Everyone who pushed the button now has a once-in-a-lifetime story to tell about when Heineken changed their plans. (And the crowd of people who watched them do it have a remarkable story too.)

The lesson: Maybe you can’t send someone to Cypress or Laos on a whim. But daring your customers to try new things is a great way to create an exciting experience they’ll tell a friend about.

Learn more: Adweek

3. Racecar bundles

To promote their new racing videogame, Grid 2 offered a pre-order bundle: Buy the actual racecar from the game and get the videogame and a PS3 to play it on, too. It’s a $186,000 racecar, so the chances of anyone actually buying it are slim. But even if no one buys the car, it’s still gotten people’s attention in a market saturated by racing games.

The lesson: Maybe you can’t pull off selling your customers a racecar, but you can still offer them something out of the norm — something that sets your stuff apart from your competitors.

Learn more: PSFK

4. Check it out: Merge

Swiss photographer Gus Petro shows what it would look like to combine the density of New York City with the emptiness of the Grand Canyon in his photo series, Merge.

Check it out: Gus Petro

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