Total Gibberish and the Geniuses that Use It

26 11 2007

street selling

There is a guy who sells food for a diner down the street from our offices. I say it in these vague terms because I have absolutely no idea what this guy is selling. I know he is out there, day and night, yelling about the special deals the shop has that day. But what he is yelling…it’s not words.

It’s not another language either. It’s total and complete gibberish, a la Don Vito of Viva la Bam fame, or recently that guy on (edit: Mr. Wise) I Love New York 2 who cannot speak english.

But yet somehow…it just works. People actually take samples off the platter he shoves in your face, samples which look a little bit like 2 week old bagel bites covered with cheese sauce. He hands flyers out by the dozen, while others struggle to get a few tourists to take their pieces of paper.

And he has become an icon around here. In doing a bit of research for this post, I asked around the office, and EVERYONE knew who I was talking about with little or no explanation. Try describing a popular ad placed in the middle of prime time television. Some people know it, but even fewer will know what product it is for. That placement cost millions. This guy, for minimum wage (probably) stands outside a small diner and yells words that are literally not understandable. And people love him.

Does it sell more food? I’m really not sure. But they have created a buzz-worthy character with little to no spending. They could have wasted all their money on a stupid billboard or an ad in the paper. Heck, they could have really beat their marketing campaign to death and posted ads inside the Subway.

But they didn’t, and it’s been a real success. To top it off, their ‘advertisement’ is totally interactive. Not sure he will answer my questions in a real language, but I’m willing to give it a try. That’s marketing genius, brought to you by your local hole in the wall.

image via Flickr member Goran Anicic

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One response

16 12 2007
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