There exists a special type of person who, when faced with utter disaster, can grasp it, run with it, and turn it to their advantage in a way that completely blows your mind.
I’ll come to the pure poetry and beauty of the “Satanic Activity” story that has just been reported in a moment. First, here another example.
Telco unable to bill
This opening example concerns a specific telecommunications company who shall remain nameless. It dates back to a time when text messaging was first rolling out – yes, I know, ancient history these days, but stick with me here. Like most organizations they had huge monolithic IT silos that performed a specific function. For example, a billing system that could capture user activity, calculate everything, and issue bills. They also had what is commonly known as a provisioning system. This granted access to their network and tracked usage.
The idea was this. As users did stuff such as making calls, the provisioning system generated an “event”, a packet of data that contained the details. A vast stream of these events flow into the billing system where it recognises each and bills users appropriately. Needless to say, it’s complicated, but if the business is to operate efficiently, it is all very necessary.
At the time of the emergence of text messaging, our nameless telecommunications organization faced a bit of a disaster. Their provisioning system was set to generate text message events. Unfortunately somebody had screwed up, the billing system had not been modified to capture and correctly process these new event types. The estimate to get that done was at least six months.
They desperately needed to go to market as soon as possible and be one of the first with text messaging. Being in early meant lots of new customers. Waiting six months would give their competitors a big advantage. It was a huge disaster.
The solution came from their marketing department, and it truly was a bold beautiful move. You just might remember who this was when I tell you this next bit.
They decided to launch an immediate marketing campaign and tell everybody about their problem like this – Sign up to us as Your Telco provider Today and we will give you free unlimited text messages for the next six months.
There, encapsulated within that story, is an illustration of the power of marketing genius.
OK, on to the story that blew me away when I became aware of it the other day
Last April a North Carolina based restaurant named “Luna Rotisserie and Taproom” had some diners arrive. This was right in the middle of the COVID restrictions and so this happened (as reported within Indy Week on Nov 4th) …
“We had some folks that came in intentionally to harass us,” Luna owner Shawn Stokes told the INDY over the phone. “It was pretty clear that they had come in with the intent of making a scene. It was during the first mask mandate, before the vaccines, and the staff just wasn’t having any of it. We have outdoor seating as well and they were insisting on eating indoors, even though the weather was fine outside. It was clear that they were there for the sole purpose of making a point that we were somehow infringing upon their freedoms.”
These people then later posted the following rather bizarre review on Google … (Yes, that’s a link to the actual Google review. Please be better than them and don’t be the jerk who harasses the reviewer, this is not an invite for a pile-on) …
This place is full of satanic activity. As free breathing humans, we were discriminated against, the wait staff refused to serve our laughing, smiling faces. I cannot believe the treatment we received here, as if we were “below” them. If you like freedom, go elsewhere!!
As a restaurant owner, what the heck do you do when faced with a review like that?
Most might simply roll their eyes and move on. Not Luna owner Shawn Stokes, this is what happened …
“When I saw the [review] that said, ‘There’s a lot of satanic activity going on here’ it was just a gem that I couldn’t pass up,” Stokes says. “The world must see this and how ridiculous it is.”
… so he turned the entire review into a T-shirt.
At first it was just for staff and friends, but then one of the employees tweeted it out last month …
Net effect – it went viral (note the 9.1K likes on that tweet), and so everybody now wants one.
Hot damn, that is beautiful and delicious. This is truly marketing genius.
I can happily, without being asked, and without being paid to do so, give them lots more free advertising.
With many very positive reviews it looks like a really good place to go, and hey, with all that “Satanic Activity”, it will also be a safe space to be in.
As a bonus I also note that they have one of the most affordable menus in the city, especially when you consider all of their commitments to sustainability, such as living wages, benefits, antibiotic-free meats, compostable carry out containers, etc