Indienomics

free markets, free culture

The next Big Idea — the insaner, the better

with 5 comments

What’s a meta for?

Metaphor has scandalized philosophers, including both scholastics and semiotics, because it seems to be wrong: It asserts an identity between two different things. And it is wrongest when it is most beautiful.

– Walker Percy, The Message in the Bottle

Like the artist with collage, the author who arranges a metaphor has to ask — will it blend? That is, will the two disparate concepts come together and create a metaphor of new meaning?

Shakespeare says the world’s a stage. Life, to Forrest Gump, is a box of chocolates. A dream deferred, says Langston Hughes, is a raisin in the sun.

Creating and marketing nonsensical products

Big Think Strategy — a book from marketing maven Berndt Schmitt — continues this line of reasoning. What are the seemingly unrelated ideas we can pull together to inject new life and meaning to a brand?

Schmitt likes to rip up magazines to mix the metaphors.

The Big Idea is a card game you can play for the same effect:

big-idea

Game theory + chaos theory = idea generation

The deck of cards features nouns and adjectives. Mix and match the cards, then try to market and pitch the resulting wacky products — Erotic Chowder, Mentholated Shampoo.

Sumana H. — intrepid marketer when she wants to be, and a previous interviewee — brought my attention to this game, by way of her pitched ads for these nonsensical products:

  • Edible High-Priority Chowder, to cure anxiety of choice at the salad bar
  • Herbal Natural Chainsaw, strong enough for a logger but made for a hippie
  • Networked Beer, to ensure you never feel like you’re drinking alone [Ed. note: Isn’t that what meetups are for?]

Cheapass Games, the cheeky manufacturers of this boardgame, challenge your marketing wits: “Do you think you’re the marketing whiz who can talk the public into a Perforated Kilt? Then you’re ready to play The Big Idea!”

[Note: Cheapass Games is an indie-nomics enterprise on its own, noting that most games are overpriced and generic. Dice, pencils, plastic parts — “these generic bits and pieces can account for as much as 75% of a game’s production cost, and that cost gets handed to you.”]

Not just a game: wacky product/service combos in real life

These (seemingly) nonsensical products — and services — are the wave of the entrepreneurial future folks! Just scroll through the list at Springwise.com, a running tally of new business ideas just ridiculous enough to work.

Like this, my current favorite — a mashup of current obsessions:

kogibbq

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Written by @hellopanelo

March 27, 2009 at 12:33 pm

5 Responses

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  1. i can’t believe you are comparing a Forrest Gumpism to “As You Like It” and “A Raisin in the Sun”

    alexis

    March 28, 2009 at 1:32 pm

  2. goldstein! drop the populist hang-ups and accept my high/low culture

    sharon

    March 28, 2009 at 1:59 pm

  3. Since when does snob=populist?

    Alexis

    March 29, 2009 at 8:31 am

  4. why didn’t i read this entry before scarfing down a kimchi bulgogi hot dog at new york hot dog and coffee??
    http://www.yelp.com/biz/new-york-hot-dog-and-coffee-new-york

    it would’ve given me something else to chew on besides a rather poorly executed culinary mash-up.

    carol

    March 31, 2009 at 12:10 am

  5. Nice blog. Thanks for sharing.
    For more info to Facial Care India — http://suppliers.exportmart.com/Ra-Vino-Industries/Product/Facial-Care/

    sarahashlin

    November 9, 2011 at 8:19 am


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