• In April 2012, the Coca-Cola Company put a special Coke machine in Singapore. It looked like a regular Coke machine, but it had the words “Hug Me” written on it in large letters. Anyone who hugged the machine got a reward: a free cold Coca-Cola. Leonardo O’Grady, ASEAN IMC Director, The Coca-Cola Company, said, “Happiness is contagious. The Coca-Cola Hug Machine is a simple idea to spread some happiness. Our strategy is to deliver doses of happiness in an unexpected, innovative way to engage not only the people present, but the audience at large. Whether you were hugging the machine or experiencing the event online, our goal was the same — to put a smile on your face and share that emotional connection. Reactions were amazing … people really had fun with it and at one point we had four to five people hugging the machine at the same time as well as each other! In fact, there was a long line of people looking to give hugs — it was really heartwarming.” Of course, this is good advertising. Louise Kuegler, Regional Business Director at Ogilvy & Mather Asia Pacific, said, “We’re excited to work with The Coca-Cola Company in delivering what is really a very simple idea. All you need to do is give the Coca-Cola Hug Machine a hug and it will love you back, by giving you a free Coke. Something simple and engaging, that lifts people’s spirits and brings a smile to their face.”
• Magician Herrmann the Great had a knack for publicity. Once, in full view of two police officers, he clumsily picked a handkerchief from the pocket of one of two men. The police officers immediately intervened, and the second man looked in his pockets and discovered that his watch was missing. The police officers asked Herrmann the Great if he had the watch, but he replied that they should look in their pockets. They did, and they discovered both the watch and the handkerchief. By this time, the two men had recognized Herrmann the Great, and they thought the joke was funny. However, the police officers were not amused, and they took the magician to the police station, where they lectured him about respecting the dignity of the police. Of course, the whole affair was written up in the newspapers — exactly as Herrmann the Great had wanted.
• Stan Freberg once parodied soap operas with a skit titled “John and Marsha.” The skit consisted only of the words “John” and “Marsha.” Marsha would say, “John.” John would then say “Marsha.” As they said the words, they went through all of the emotions seen on soap operas — love, passion, anger, etc. To advertise the skit, which appeared on a comedy album, Capitol Records printed bumper stickers. Restaurant owners took the bumper stickers, cut them in half, and put “John” on the door to the men’s restroom and “Marsha” on the door to the women’s restroom. By the way, one of Mr. Freberg’s advertisements claimed, “Nine out of ten doctors recommend Chun King chow mein.” The advertisement showed ten doctors, nine of whom were Oriental.
• Financial writer Andrew Tobias is often frugal. For example, he buys cheap vodka, and then pours it into bottles bearing the label of an expensive brand. According to Mr. Tobias, “When it comes to mixed drinks, vodka is vodka.” By the way, Mr. Tobias knew Bill Clinton before he became President. As a joke, Mr. Tobias once tapped Mr. Clinton on the shoulder and asked, “Now, Bill, forgive me — but where is Arkansas again?” Mr. Clinton didn’t laugh.
• Noël Coward had just finished having a drink with a VIP when a newspaper reporter spotted him. The reporter asked, “Was it just a friendly drink?” Mr. Coward replied, “My dear boy, have you ever heard of people taking unfriendly drinks?” By the way, Mr. Coward once wrote a letter to Lawrence of Arabia — Aircraftsman T.E. Shaw, No. 338171. Mr. Coward began the letter, “Dear 338171, May I call you 338?”
• Filmmaker John Waters once went to the supermarket to buy water, an act that seemed suspicious to a lower-class woman, who wondered why on earth anyone would buy water. She asked Mr. Waters, “What is that sh*t anyway?” He replied, “Perrier. It’s good for hangovers.” Hearing that, she smiled, revealing a toothless mouth, and said, “I’ll have to get me some.”
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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