Light Beer?

There’s a factory across the street from Gorky Park in central Moscow. A man stands near the front door of the plant, selling dead light bulbs from his cart.

You read that right. He sells burned out bulbs.

The factory operates 24/7 and the light bulbs burn nonstop. So when they expire, a maintenance crew replaces old lightbulbs with new ones.

Stay with me here.

Light bulbs are expensive and hard to find in Russia. So, factory workers remove the fresh bulbs at work and take them home. They come back in the morning with their dead bulbs and screw them in the factory sockets. Then, the maintenance crew dutifully replaces the dead bulbs and sells them to the man with the cart. And round and round it goes.

Russia has discovered capitalism!

Here’s my take. It goes to show that if your product solves a real need, customers will find you. If it doesn’t, you’re doomed. Even the best marketing campaign won’t sell a weak product. Or not for long.

It’s amazing how many products get launched that that nobody asked for, nobody needs and few will buy. CNN+ was a recent disaster. Then there’s the launch of the Coke-owned Dasani water. It was originally advertised as bottled ‘spunk’, oblivious that the term is slang for semen.

The latest candidate for a quick kill is Beercoal from Miller Lite; charcoal briquettes that are infused with beer. Four-pound bags of Beercoal sell for $12, more than double the cost of regular charcoal. Miller’s sales pitch says “now you can wrap your burgers in a smokey beer blanket.”

Who thought this was a good idea? Can’t I just drink the beer?

Sorry, that’s a hard pass.

Beau Phillips is President of Rainmaker Media. 
He’s a creative marketing consultant, strategist and speaker.
Reach him at 203-256-9347 

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