sly : marketing

He Was Grasping For Air

Ten minutes past. I was late, it was raining. I walked faster than usual, via a shortcut through the woods while listening to the song Billionaire By Travie McCoy.

I was soaked, cold and hungry.

Just as I was listening to the chorus for the 10th time or so, the “Oh every time I close my eyes I see my name in shining lights. A different city every night. Oh I swear the world better prepare for when I’m a billionaire.” My thoughts, the fantasy I was living, my newfound ideas, the rythm inside of me, everything – it was disturbed by a vibrating phone.

Sh! I wanted to hide.

But then, as soon as I grabbed it, as soon as I put my left hand inside my pocket, I realized that I didn’t want to, but I had to, I was too curious not to.

Answering the phone when there’s no caller id is a lot more exciting. Or at least it used to be, nowadays it’s all the same.

His voice was kinda static and blurry, with a dialect I couldn’t recognize. He compensated by talking slowly. It was the perfect voice accompanied by the rain.

Hey Jens. Every single person calling me knows my first name. They know everything about me. The more they know, the more lost I feel.

He told me that he wanted to send me a newspaper, for free, not just today, but every single day for the next two months.

He told me that I was lucky. I felt lucky.

I was one of the few people he would call. It felt like a promise.

He was silent. I was silent.

But it lasted only for a moment. Then.

Um. Do you know what?

The newspaper is free because we’re celebrating our 150th anniversary. Isn’t that awesome? I could almost see his grin, and he could probably almost see mine.

While he continued to talk, I had a smile on my face, thinking about what I believe to be the two most powerful words in marketing. He had used both of them during the conversation.

The first word is Free. He offered me the newspaper for free. Most people say yes when they are offered something for free. When they do, they can test and review the product, and then, if they enjoy it, they’ll eventually end up paying for it.

The second word is Because. Most people say yes when they are offered something for free, but they need an explanation, they need to know why it’s free. Nothing is just free, there’s a reason why it’s free. Every product needs a story, it’s free because…?

Another minute.

He was silent. I was silent.

The sound. It was like he was grasping for air.

He didn’t get the reponse he was waiting for, and finally he stopped.

He ended the conversation with “have a great summer.” I made a silent nod, then, before I could reach the iPhone, another voice called out to me…

Ah, it was Mr. McCoy.

“Oh every time I close my eyes I see my name in shining lights. A different city every night. oh I swear the world better prepare for when I’m a billionaire.”

My thoughts, the fantasy I was living, my newfound ideas, the rythm inside of me, everything – it was back.



4 responses to “He Was Grasping For Air”

  1. Witto says:

    Hey Jens,
    Just dropping by to say you're a great storyteller. It's always interesting to see how you weave the marketing message of your piece into the story that you are telling at the time. It makes it all the more memorable.

  2. Hey Witto,

    Thanks a lot. I really appreciate your comments.

  3. FLMarky says:

    Fun posting – a bit of fantasy mixed with a bit of factual info.
    Suggestion: RE-read your posting BEFORE you hit the “PUBLISH” button.
    You’ll find some things that you’ll want to change, making YOUR posting more accurate and seem a bit more authoritative.

    Some of the website advice you state here is the exact same advice I gave to a friend of mine regarding HIS website. Sometimes they listen. Sometimes…
    Well, all we can do is all we can do, right?

  4. You're absolutely right. I should re-read probably every article I write, but that's what happens when I suffer from the ticking clock syndrome 🙂

    Thanks a lot for your comment.

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