sly : marketing


I have been experimenting, writing my first ebook for the Kindle. I’m combining suspense and marketing, and writing a short novel, to help people understand the power of storytelling. It’s a novel for marketers. I started writing while I was in Denmark during Easter. The first draft will be finished next week.

I watched a Hippopotamus watch me

I love animals, and even though I don’t like to see animals in captivity, I have to admit that I visit a zoo every time I get the chance. I want to be close to animals where ever I am. So, I waited for my family to get in the car, and we drove for an hour to Givskud Zoo.

I’m not sure why, but this is probably the most exciting time I have had inside a zoo – ever. I walked among monkeys, I drove among giraffes and lions, and I watched elephants play with a ball. I watched a huge hippopotamus watching me. It was not like I was in Africa, even though I tried to fly away, just for a few minutes.


It felt like the sun was poking me in my eyes. I had to turn away. I couldn’t see my daughter anywhere. I called her name. I called her name again. And, then I realized that my son had vanished as well. He was just standing there, right next to me. I remembered that I gave them money to buy some ice cream. I walked away from the hippopotamus, and away from the sun, looking for two kids buying ice cream.

A different approach to charity

They didn’t buy ice cream. Not yet. My daughter was holding a hammer. My son was holding a hammer. They were hammering something on a huge poster of a hippopotamus. I walked closer, and read the sign. It said that we should nail coins to the poster, to help the hippopotamus foundation. I smiled as my kids were trying their best to get the coins to stick. I love different. I ended up giving them more coins.

Hammer and Quarter

My daughter nailed it every time. I love storytelling, and to me, giving money to charity is always a pleasure, but it’s so much easier if they add a story and an activity to it. Hammering coins to a large poster of a hippopotamus was a lot of fun.Β The activity helped us become a part of the story, the sad story of the few hippopotamuses left in the world.

Brutalis and the Huge Dent

My son was ready to buy ice cream. He was shouting his sister’s name, and asking her to come. She started running, but I stopped. I was fascinated by the story of Brutalis, a very aggressive hippopotamus. Brutalis tore up the feeding trough from the stable floor and trashed it with his horn.


I was reading the sign. Looking at the huge dent. Thinking about Brutalis, while the sun kept poking me in the eyes. I couldn’t hear my kids yell, so, my daughter ended up poking me in the side. We want ice cream dad, now, she said. I was fascinated by the story, and how they told the story. They used the evidence, and pictures of Brutalis. And even though Brutalis is not among us anymore, the story will always be remembered.

Update: I received a comment from Wayne that he was confused when I mentioned a hippo, and it was a picture of a rhino. After reading Wayne’s comment, I discovered that I have actually been talking about both a hippo and a rhino, but since I had already written the story, I want to keep it that way. If it was a hippo or a rhino is not the point of the story, but it made me smile and I’m really sorry for the confusion (I’m Norwegian, that’s the only excuse I have).

21 responses to “HiPPo”

  1. Jack says:

    I always love going to the zoo with my kids. They think that they are too big for it now, but I would go in a heartbeat because like you said it is just amazing to see the animals.

    I am excited for you and your Kindle story. It sounds like it is going to be very good.

  2. Bill Dorman says:

    It’s been a long time since I have been to the zoo; is your climate conducive to Hippo’s being able to adapt?

    Interesting story; no pizza at the park?

    • I have no idea. But they should be able to adapt, because they were in the park, along with all sorts of other animals. I was thinking about the climate just before I entered the park, because it was rather cold. The second time we drove through the savanna, it looked like the Giraffes were inside. So they might keep them inside when it’s too cold?

      I didn’t find any pizza at the park, and I was looking all over for it. Well, I found pizza, but not vegetarian pizza πŸ™‚

  3. Sergio Felix says:

    Great story Jens,

    Loved the idea about contributing to the hippo foundation with that poster and the coins, seemed like fun.

    I also love going to zoos, I even had this weird idea of becoming a biologist when I was a kid.

    When I found out all the animals I was going to research in town were farm animals I completely changed my mind.


    PS. I bet that marketing novel is going to rock!

    • Hi Sergio,

      I thought a lot about working with animals as well. But I didn’t have any ideas what type of job I would have. I just wanted to be close to animals πŸ™‚

      – I hope you’re right about my marketing novel πŸ™‚

  4. Wayne says:

    Hi! I’m confused: do you mean rhinoceroses (they’re the ones with the horns and armor plating) instead of hippopotamuses?

    • Hi Wayne,

      I understand why you’re confused πŸ™‚

      I believe there are both hippos and rhinos at the zoo, but I was telling the story as there were only hippos. Sorry about that. The point of the story remains the same, but some words should have been changed πŸ™‚

  5. alex says:

    hi mate am new to your site but just wanted to sy that the idea of contributing to the hippo foundation with that poster and the coins is a great idea, i love animals and i think we all shoud think a bait amore about how our actions are affecting them in their enviroment

    • Hi Alex,

      Thanks a lot for visiting my blog.

      It’s awesome that you love animals, that’s the same as me. I’m doing everything I can to be around animals every single day πŸ™‚

  6. Harleena Singh says:

    Loved the story Jens!

    It reminded me of the time when my kids were that young and a visit to the zoo was something we all looked forward to, because all of us are animal lovers. And spending hours at the zoo, and having a nice day out was always on weekends for us. But yes, now that they are grown up, all such things take a back seat as they have other things to keep them entertained πŸ™‚

    I loved what your kids did and it brought a smile to my face just thinking that they thought of charity even at that age, which speaks a great deal about the values you must have instilled into them when they were young.

    Thanks for sharing and yes, a rhino or a hippo is not the point here, rather the joy of giving that your kids did. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Harleena,

      I love visiting the zoo. And I remember that one of the first things I did when I visited San Francisco a long time ago, was to visit the zoo. My wife thought I was nuts. She wanted to visit everything else – but we ended up having a fantastic vacation πŸ™‚

  7. Adrienne says:

    I haven’t been to the zoo in years Jens. I always did enjoy it though because the animals are so cool to watch. There are so many different kind so it’s really neat to watch them all play and stare at us like we’re nuts.

    I noticed that this photo was of the rhino’s but it’s your story so you tell it like you want. We enjoyed it and that’s all that matters I suppose.


    • Yes, I got confused about the difference between a rhino and a hippo, but in the end I got some help to figure out what I did wrong. I decided not to change the post, but to just add an update. I love to make mistakes like this. I learn a lot from them, and now I will never ever mix a hippo and a rhino again πŸ™‚

  8. Jeevanjacobjohn says:

    It is indeed a sad truth that many animal species are in the verge of extinction (and we have to blame it all on ourselves). It is also sad that we are keeping many animals in captivity (which is bad for the animal). The last time I went to a zoo was about an year ago (I remember asking the Dolphin announcer lady about Dolphins being drugged to keep their stress levels down, but for some reason her answer sounded suspicious to me – From my Environment class in school, I had learned that dolphins are given drugs to keep their stress levels low, they get stressed by all the sounds of machines and humans – and those drugs are really bad for the dolphins in long term). Anyways, that’s just something that comes to my mind when I think of animals – It is indeed very sad truth that our environment is slowly falling apart.

    Now to the nailing part, I really liked that idea (it is indeed unique way of collecting money to save those hippos).

    Anyways, thank you for sharing your wonderful experience, Jens! I always admire you for relating your experiences back to marketing!

    Jeevan Jacob John

    • Wow, I had no idea that dolphins are given drugs to keep their stress levels down. That’s bad, really bad. I love animals, and I really don’t want to see any in captivity. The only reason why I visit them in captivity, is that it’s the only way I can see them (I know I can probably do it in a different way as well, but it’s a lot more expensive and I don’t have the time or money to do it).

  9. Ammara Wasim says:

    Sounding awesome. Thanks for sharing your experience. I really enjoy to read this. Keep sharing.

  10. Joseph Hipolito says:

    I”ve never seen an Hippo in my whole life, because of being busy I can enjoy my single..

  11. Andreas Pazer says:

    I always love going to the zoo with my kids. They think that they are too big for it now, but I would go in a heartbeat because like you said it is just amazing to see the animals.

    I am excited for you and your Kindle story. It sounds like it is going to be very good.

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