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Newsletter #987: The “That’s Just Crazy” 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.]

Average ideas and products don’t start average conversations. They start less-than-average conversations. Having a great idea is the bare minimum.

It takes really creative, really weird, and really crazy ideas to start the big conversations. Here’s how three companies are doing just that:

1. Parachute delivered-sandwiches
2. Cans of fresh air
3. Yule log footage, director’s cut
4. Check it out: Adding Monsters to Thrift Store Paintings

1. Parachute delivered-sandwiches

Jafflechutes is a pop-up shop in Melbourne that sends grilled cheese sandwiches (“jaffles,” as they’re called in Australia) to customers from the seventh story of a building via parachute. The parachutes are not just a fun way to get sandwiches to their customers, it also makes it more affordable to have a shop in an area where ground-level retail space is too expensive. Customers pay via PayPal and stand on an X on the street to catch their sandwich as it floats down to them.

The lesson: Instead of thinking of their business’ location as an obstacle, they thought of it as a way to get more attention for their product without spending a lot of money.

Learn more: Lost in E Minor

2. Cans of fresh air

A recycling entrepreneur in China drew attention to the country’s over-polluted air by selling cans of “Fresh Air” in urban areas full of smog. And although there’s nothing in these cans, he sold over eight million in ten days with the proceeds going to charities in poorer parts of China. More importantly, it brought attention to a serious issue and created a conversation piece for people to talk about China’s smog problem.

The lesson: A physical reminder — especially if it’s a crazy one — makes it easier for your customers to start conversations.

Learn more: Reuters

3. Yule log footage, director’s cut

For the holiday season last year, Netflix put out a special twist on the traditional “Fireplace for Your Home” footage (you know, the one where it makes your TV look like a fireplace). They released a trailer and behind-the-scenes footage for the fireplace video. It was completely ridiculous and tongue-in-cheek, but people actually watched it, shared it, and talked about it (probably more than those who watched the actual “Fireplace for Your Home” video).

The lesson: Make the most of the content you have. Sometimes it’s the silly, side-stuff you do that your customers will pass along.

Learn more: Adweek

4. Check it out: Adding Monsters to Thrift Store Paintings

You know those discarded paintings of generic landscapes you usually find at antique shops and yard sales? A couple of artists are making them a bit more interesting by blending in monsters to make it look like they were in the original artwork.

Check it out: Twisted Sifter

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  1. tvjames May 10, 2014 at 6:59 pm #

    That sounds familiar. :)

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