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March 20, 2006


Kevin Behringer

So true!

How much of traditional advertising falls into this category? The view that, "We are going to do this ad because we've always done it that way."

It'd be like your son taking the Thermos and not catching any spiders because he didn't know what they looked like.

So many people see advertising (and marketing and sales and many business functions) as a means AND an end. Not, "Send a letter to get this message out," but, "Send a letter because we should send a letter!"

And then they wonder why people aren't beating down their door to give them money!

Chris Brogan...

You know what's funny? I went another way with what the lesson learned would be. I took Themos advertising to be more the Mash-Up mindset: use something in an unintended way. I thought of it as a way to let the hive do the marketing for you, as occasionally happens.

Take the Sony PSP. The #1 thing that gives the PSP buzz isn't what Sony does with it: it's what modders and hackers can get it to do. If you were Sony, wouldn't you open things up and say, "Come develop your head off, guys! Here's the API."

Lego did it with Mindstorms.

Funny how folks can see things differently, eh?

--Chris of [chrisbrogan.com]


Lisa: By your logic I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.
Homer: Oh, how does it work?
Lisa: It doesn't work.
Homer: Uh-huh.
Lisa: It's just a stupid rock.
Homer: Uh-huh.
Lisa: But I don't see any tigers around, do you?
[Homer thinks of this, then pulls out some money]
Homer: Lisa, I want to buy your rock.

Daniel Rudd

Finally, the thermos evolves into it's full potential!

In my mind, my son sleeping without fearful dreams outweighs the value of a beverage holding its temperature by far.

Who knows what accomplishments will follow this step in creative problem solving.

Every child's room should be stocked with a spider catcher.

You could probably have talked your son out of his plan, and explained what a thermos really does.

But then he wouldn't have slept so well.

Sometimes the world changes faster than your clients' perception of it--making it hard to let go of traditional forms and methods.

I believe that there is value in allowing a client the room to hold on to their "thermos advertising" even if you know it isn't effective in a practical sense.

The time for coffee in the thermos will come soon enough (far too soon in the non-metaphorical sense).


"No, last night I had a scary dream about spiders. So tonight, I'm going to wake up, and catch them in it.'

He slept all night with the thermos under his arm. Ready.


Sounds like it worked to me, even if it is a placebo effect. Your son didn't need anything to catch real spiders, he just needed something to catch the ones in his dreams. Native Americans had dreamcatchers for that, he used a thermos. Smart kid.

I'm with Chris, I thought about how people may use your product for unintended uses. Now, how do you capitalize on THAT? Do you? Should you? (ah crap, a moral question)


In a weird way, you're all right - and I saw all the placebo benefits, too. Thing is, the placebos are fine (good, even) when we're talking about keeping a kid from having scary dreams. Heck, I'll be the one making sure there's a thermos by his bed tonight. And if we're talking about unintended uses for a product, I'm in total agreement there, too. One word: Flickr. But when we're talking about a client, or an agency, creating stuff that has little, or no chance at all of accomplishing the goal, it falls into the Lisa/Homer conversation. And it happens all the time.


Yikes. why am I here, and why am commenting.

I don't buy the advertising analogy.

In your sons world, he had the perfect tool. Regardless of your perceptions.

Now I'd be up for a debate as to why you think his choice of tools would fail his purposes. But I'll leave the advertising analogy alone.

Rick Dias

As the Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Thermos L.L.C. I just had to read this post...I was pleased to see that it was not an indictment of our 2005 advertising campaign! Interesting comments.


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