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James Bond, Bananas & Marketing

James Bond, Bananas & Marketing

April 02, 2014

Bet you never wondered how James Bond peels a banana. But you should. And here’s why.

I've figured out how he would do it if he had the chance.

The way Bond would peel a banana is really cool. It’s unusual. And it’s the kind of counterintuitive thinking that - if used in your marketing - can give you a leg up on the competition.

The man with the golden gun likes his martinis shaken not stirred, favors dark tailored suits, and has his own method of peeling a banana.  I'm going to take a risk and perform in a surprising video for you - watch as I, Double-O Goldman, demonstrate. 

This is counterintuitive – it’s not what you would expect.

I got this idea after watching a simple 56-second YouTube video on how to peel a banana like a monkey. That video got over 5.8 million views!   

The heart of this succcess is based on the "3 Cs": Counterintuitivity, Creativity, and Crashing through the risk barrier. 

Consider that the comic known only as Gallagher rose to  fame and fortune with an out-of-the box marketing routine smashing watermelons with a sledgehammer. And Carmen Miranda branded herself by wearing fruit on her head. I also chose an unconventional tool — bananas, in this case — to stand out.    

At some point, if you want to really get your name out there, you must be willing to take a risk. The chance of failure and being vulnerable keeps most companies from really breaking the barrier. If you state the obvious, you lose the attention of your audience. Because counterintuitive counts. Being the marketing guru who shows you how James Bond peels a banana is better than being just another marketing guy talking about a product. Sure, there are more and more videos appearing every day. But which ones draw the huge numbers of viewers? Those that challenge the norm.

Boring doesn’t cut it anymore. Think about Andrew Wendling, a San Francisco-based art director and designer, who answered the ongoing request “Can you make the logo bigger?” with his own tongue-in-cheek campaign making part of famous logos much, much, much larger. The results were extreme, over-the-top, colorful, and entertaining, too. They made a splash all over social media.  Not by shifting the rules of design, but by taking a risk and making a stand. Be vulnerable... take a risk.

The Counterintuitive Approach

America wants to be entertained and educated. In business, we want a new approach that goes against the grain.  We want “Edutainment,” which teaches us something, is fun to watch, and stimulates both sides of of the brain. How many millions of children learned from Sesame Street?  The producers took learning out of the classroom and onto the street, with Oscar the Grouch, Cookie Monster, and Big Bird conveying information instead of teachers.  It was a counterintuitive approach to learning -- and it worked in a major way.

In business, one counterintuitive approach goes against the adage “The customer is always right.” Nope. The customer is NOT always right.  Consider the woman who returned so many pairs of shoes to Nordstrom’s that she received an email letting her know that if she didn’t stop returning shoes, they couldn’t keep her as a customer.   

And there’s the story of the woman who flew Southwest Airlines and  became known as “the Pen Pal,” because after every flight she would write a complaint letter to the airline. She’d complain about the no-meal policy, the boarding process, the flight attendants’ uniforms, and so on. The customer service representatives tried their best to appease her, until they finally passed her latest letter to the CEO of Southwest Airlines.  He had no trouble writing a speedy reply: “We will miss you.”  

Here's a great way to use counter-intuitive thinking in a contest. Most businesses try to show gorgeous product. But after you've seen a few options, everything starts to look the same. With our client Butler Floor and Carpet, instead of running a beautiful floor contest, we took the opposite approach with an “Ugliest Floor” contest. It rocked the house with tons of hits and likes. Think about what you can do that's the opposite of the marketing norm.

So How Do You Do It?

Don't fall into what businesses are notorious for: the same old thing, the same old way, over and over again. Yes, you want to make sure what you do is intelligent and doesn’t offend people. But you also want to be fresh and interesting.

Using the 3 C’s — Counterintuitivity, Creativity and Crashing through the risk barrier  — can pay off. You’ll be different. You’ll stand out. And your potential customers will remember you... just like you’ll remember how James Bond would peel a banana. So ask yourself:

  1. What can we do that is counterintuitive?
  2. Where can we add creativity to our communication?
  3. How can we be just a little bit vulnerable?

Taking you from where you are to where you want to go,

Jon