Talk about being “in the zone”.
The final episode of Mad Men (Season 1) shows Don Draper coining the word Carousel for the gizmo that holds the slides on Kodak’s slide projector. And creating the Kodak Moment campaign to sell memories instead of hardware.
Which got me thinking about what could top this bit of genius marketing.
It would have to be getting people to pay for something they don’t use.
Two examples come to mind: Propane and Cellphone Plans.
I was at a friends home the other night and he was using his BBQ. I noticed that he had one of those recycleable propane tanks that you return when it gets low and exchange it for a new, filled up, tank. I hadn’t thought about that product before because I take my propane tank to a local station where they just top up my own tank when it gets low.
A little thought will reveal the brillance of the recycleable tank, which is that you are always paying for propane you don’t use. Since nobody can take the chance that they will run out of propane in the middle of their BBQ, that tank gets returned long before it’s empty. In my own case I only pay for the propane that actually ‘tops up’ my tank.
OK, that’s a bit of a rip-off, but we’re not talking big bucks and it’s hard to get mad at the guys who sell propane.
Cellphone Carriers are another story altogether. We hate these guys before the opening credits even come up.
They do the same thing as the propane guys, but it happens with bigger bucks and it’s every month. Plus, did I mention their service sucks.
When you sign up for a cellphone ‘plan’ you have to pick your ‘number of minutes’. Same idea, pay for something you don’t use. Because they charge confiscatory prices if you go over your limit, you are forced to buy more minutes than you think you might ever use.
And in the immortal words of Adam Carolla, ‘They don’t even give you a reach-around’.
Turns out a Verizon Moment is one of those minutes you pay for, but don’t use.
Don Draper would be in awe.