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Newsletter #955: The “Necessary Evils” 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.]

Your customers may be cool with your “no shoes, no shirt, no service” rule, but sometimes you have to enforce less popular ones (like “cash only” or regulatory laws). They’re the necessary evils that you have to follow to keep business going, but they don’t have to suck.

Here’s how some folks are pulling off the inconvenient stuff in likeable ways:

1. ATM fees
2. Marijuana laws
3. YouTube pre-rolls
4. Check it out: GIF Dance Party

1. ATM fees

It’s pretty inconvenient when a bar only accepts cash. It’s an even bigger inconvenience when their in-house ATM charges nearly three dollars in fees. So how does the Boiler Room in Chicago offset the bummer? If you bring the bartender the receipt from your ATM transaction, you get a shot of Jameson for your trouble — and their customers love it. Maybe The Boiler Room can’t help the ATM fees and the cash-only rules, but they can help their customers have a better experience anyway.

The lesson: What are you doing to make it right when your customers have to deal with inconveniences?

2. Marijuana laws

Hempfest is probably the last place many folks would like to talk to a police officer — unless they’re handing out Doritos. Surprisingly, when the Seattle PD did it, it wasn’t a trap, it was a way for the police department to get out the word on the marijuana laws in the newly legalized state. By placing a sticker on each bag of Doritos, the police department brought the message home in the most empathetic (and chill) way possible — not only preventing leaflet litter, but also building rapport with the community. Plus, these helpful bags of Doritos were so cool that some folks are selling them on eBay.

The lesson: Showing your audience you get them goes a long way. If police can make marijuana laws cool — you can help make your rules more tolerable too.

Learn more: Brandchannel

3. YouTube pre-rolls

We all do it: Hover over the “Skip Ad” button on the YouTube pre-roll until it counts down the three seconds to click it. It’s annoying, but these ads help keep YouTube complimentary (and sometimes they can be used for good). For example, the Australian Federal Police used that unavoidable three seconds of attention to ask the audience for help finding a missing person. Instead of a button for “Skip Ad,” viewers could answer “Have you seen this person?” with “Yes, I have” or “No, I have not” in the pre-roll to their video.

The lesson: What is your audience doing every day already that you could make better or turn into something more useful?

Learn more: Adverblog

4. Check it out: GIF Dance Party

You pick the music, the dance floor, and the dancers at this party.

Check it out: GIF Dance Party

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