This is the PULL THE DOOR sign from the local Pain Quotidien organic bakery and cafe.
Even though an illiterate person has at least a fifty fifty chance of getting through this door on the first try, the sign on the door serves a valuable purpose. It tells a story about the attitude of management, a story that fits the worldview of many that would choose to come.
a few people have written to point out that on p. 68 I make a reference to MS and dopamine.
I’m going to go through my archives for the source, but it appears as though I got the ailment wrong. My apologies to anyone who has a friend (or is personally) suffering with MS. I’m sorry if I caused any concern or false hope.
Thanks for writing and I’ll have this confirmed or changed for the next printing.
Same Store Sells Winning Lotto Ticket for Third Time
ST. LOUIS — A south St. Louis QuikTrip store is proving lucky for Missouri Lotto players.
For the third time, the store at 8205 Gravois has sold a winning Lotto jackpot ticket, the Missouri Lottery said Monday. The most recent winning ticket sold for the April 9 Lotto drawing matched winning numbers 13, 14, 15, 17, 39 and 42, and is worth $1.3 million.
“This is one lucky location,” said Gary Gonder, spokesman for the Missouri Lottery.
Of course, in order to believe this lie, you’ve got to have a worldview that says that there’s some sort of skill or some sort of actual, real luck involved in winning the lottery. If you’ve got this worldview, then the story is perfect. Get in line, buddy.
Next thing you know, Gary Gonder will start telling us that people with certain Zodiac signs are likely to do better at video poker machines.
Not just organic, but “all natural” and not tested on animals and certified “cruelty free” by PETA. Did I mention that there’s a native American on the box?
This is brilliant niche storytelling. There’s a percentage of smokers who are able to get by the internal inconsistency (I won’t say oxymoron because the word police say I’m misusing the term) of the term “organic cigarettes” and love the story. No, the Marlboro man isn’t going to switch. But there’s no way this little company would ever get him to switch… not enough money, not enough time.
But for smokers with the worldview that they want to be careful what they smoke, that they want a gourmet product, this is a great flash of insight.
No, I’d never be a tobacco marketer. I won’t even do speaking gigs for them. But once a little company has decided to take that moral leap, the idea of upselling affluent smokers with this story is both hysterically funny and apparently quite effective.
“It tasted like a canned seafood candy bar, so odd and unappealing…”
That’s part of today’s New York Times review of Koi, a new restaurant in Manhattan.
Koi has the story down pat. The supermodels at the bar, the imposing maitre d at the front desk, the celebrity heritage from LA and the fusion Japanese menu. It lets the diner lie to himself about how special he is to be permitted to eat here.
It doesn’t matter. Not one bit. If the food is this bad, people won’t come back.
And that’s what a lot of people miss about marketing and lying. Your story is worthless if it’s not authentic. Your story won’t spread if the facts don’t back it up.
And that’s because citizens demand that they lie. And we’re getting what we deserve.
I listened to a debate on the radio yesterday between David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative UnionandRalph Neas, president of People for the American Way. It was about the upcoming US Senate vote about filibusters. Ostensibly, this was a thoughtful, public-radio exposition of the facts and thoughts behind each side of the debate. It was nothing of the sort.
BRILLIANT That’s the only word to describe David’s approach. He told a story about fairness. He used phrases like, “up or down vote” and “nominees who have been held hostage for four years” and “what’s in the Constitution.” He spoke calmly and reasonably and never wavered from the story he wanted to tell. If you were inclined to believe his story, it was easy to believe. More important, it was easy to spread.
INCOMPETENT Ralph Neas approached it like a Moot Court debater. He talked about how Robert Byrd’s previous motions (fifteen years ago) were fundamentally different. Who exactly cares about Robert Byrd? He talked about how the Republicans had filibustered forty (forty!) years ago with Abe Fortas. Ralph may very well have been right about the facts, but it doesn’t matter, does it?
[When marketers talk about politics (and when politicians talk about marketing) it almost always ends up as a degraded conversation because people get emotional over their points of view. That’s not what I’m talking about here. What I’m talking about is the consistent bungling of the Democratic Party as they fail to tell stories that people want to hear.]
John Kerry lost to an unpopular incumbent seeking reelection for just one reason: he insisted on focusing on facts, on issues, on position papers and on nuance. He acted like an intellectual bully, refusing to worry about the story he told. George W. Bush, on the other hand, was absolutely masterful in the way he told a story that a portion of the electorate wanted to hear.
It may be, that like me, you wish that all issues were decided on facts and reliable data. They never are. We’re people, not machines, and we believe stories, not facts.
Ralph Neas doesn’t appear to understand this. If I had been him, I would have repeated the mantra, Antonin Scalia over and over again. I would have talked about what will happen if the court has three more Scalia’s on it. I’d tell that story calmly and carefully and repeatedly. Not everyone dislikes Scalia. That’s okay. You’re never going to persuade everyone of anything. What you can do, though, is persuade the persuadable, persuade the people who are choosing to listen and are open to believing the story you want to tell.