Tuesday, December 09, 2008

December 9, 2008 Bonus Blog Post
Last week Carole forwarded an email she thought I might find interesting. I read it and it has been on my mind ever since. In fact, I mentioned this anectdote to Seth and crew at the Booth. Here is the part that really got to me:

It's 1843. A mysterious entrepreneur hosts a Grand Buffalo Hunt in Hoboken, New Jersey. He anonymously advertises it as a free event open to the public. Thousands of people take the ferries across the river to witness the "wild sport of the Western Prairies," which turns out to be a playful hoax. The buffalo aren't hunted, are actually frightened by the crowds and eventually stampede off. They are later rounded up safely. The crowds give three cheers for the nameless person behind the entertainment. They go home happy.

Question: Who was the entrepreneur who orchestrated this free event? More importantly, how did he profit from it?

The Grand Buffalo Hunt was originated by P.T. Barnum. He had bought a herd of skinny buffalo months before, hired a man to nourish them back to health and then quietly announced a free "buffalo hunt" to the public.

The public did not know Barnum was behind the event. Barnum knew that their curiosity would add more interest. The public also did not know that Barnum rented the ferries for the day of the hunt. So every time someone got on board to go across the river, Barnum made money. He also profited from all the drinks sold at the show. In short, Barnum gave people a fun excursion for the day, charged nothing for it, but secretly made money from the sale of items people needed to get to the event: a ride, food and drink.

Weeks later Barnum announced that he was the entrepreneur behind the then famous hoax. People laughed and said "Barnum humbugged us again!" As a result, Barnum got even more publicity for his name and his businesses.

Article: "Hidden Selling: A Secret Way to Make Money" – By Joe Vitale

How to Make Money Off Of Free Emails:
So, I had Carole order me Joe’s book: “There’s A Customer Born Every Minute,” which features P.T. Barnum’s amazing 10 Rings of Power for creating fame, fortune and a business empire today—guaranteed!” Mr. Vitale made $30 off of his free email. Ha.

Hmmmmmm. I wonder how this kind of promotional thinking could be harnessed today?

"You guys nailed the Mickey Free Story. The concept, the execution, the art and layout! And so cool to invent a new America story form and extend an original art form. Bob gets to finally do his Manga shot in the dark. But what you have accomplished is that you have created a new medium—the American True West Manga!"
—Geoff Stevens

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