How to Increase Tourism with a Lava Lamp

How do you get people to visit a small town in the middle of no where? In Soap Lake, WA they had a brillant idea…a lava lamp. The city council agreed to spend $100,000 to put up a 50 plus foot lava lamp in the middle of the city. It would definitely boost interest in tourists who could also come to bathe in the mineral dense lake once believed by Native Americans to have healing powers. The Target Corporation donated the $2 million lava lamp to the city and it arrived in 2005. However, due to several challenges, the city has been unable to erect the lamp. This is bold marketing and I hope they are able to make it a reality because it will put Soap Lake on the map.

Giant Lava Lamp Site
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Kwik-E-Marts Now Open

To promote the Simpsons’ Movie, a dozen 7-Eleven stores have temporarily turned into the fictional chain of Kwik-E-Marts from the Simpsons’s show by changing their signs and uniforms. 7-Elevens everywhere will also be selling previously fictional foods like Buzz Cola and Krusty O’s cereal which have been flying off the shelves. This is one of the most creative movie promotions I have ever heard of and it’s generating great buzz. I first heard of it from one co-worker who said, “did you know they opened a Kwik-E-Mart down the street?” and another co-worker proudly displays his Buzz Cola and Krusty O’s cereal at his cubicle. The campaign has started many conversations around the Simpsons and that is exactly what the marketing team wants.


Secret Menu Items

Many restaurants have secret off the menu items that can only be ordered by customers in the “loop”.

At Jamba Juice you can order the following smoothies: Strawberry Shortcake, Gummy Bear ,Peanut Butter and Jelly, Starburst, Fruity Pebbles, Push-pops, and Skittles.

At IN-N-OUT Burger they have Double Meat, Protein Style (lettuce wrap instead of bun), 3X3, and 4X4 on their “secret” online menu.

According to, Starbucks policy requires baristas to make any crazy concoction you can think of no matter what!

This topic is discussed in the latest great episode of Podtini, Matt and Don discuss how this innovative and inexpensive marketing activity can create exclusivity and generate great word of mouth.

Categories Marketing Tactics

Starburys Change the Game

How can marketers make the world a better place? One possibility is to market products that change or improve lives. The Starbury line of basketball shoes, endorsed by NBA player Stephan Marbury are $14.98 a pair, a significantly lower price point than competitors like Nike whose prices range from $80-$200. The objective of this pricing strategy is to help low income kids afford a pair of relatively nice basketball shoes, when the current market did not provide an option. For kids who live in tough circumstances, it has given them something to be happy about. It has also challenged the social norm of purchasing expensive material items to validate self worth. Even billionaire Mark Cuban sports the Starbury’s and loves them. This is the type of significant work that can give us marketers a great sense of purpose and I applaud Stephan Marbury and the business leaders who made it happen.

Stephan Marbury Interview Video

Dell's Idea Storm

It looks like Dell is following the democratization of ideas enabled by the web. Dell is taking advantage of “crowd sourcing” with it’s new Idea Storm website, which solicits ideas and recommendations from anyone to improve their products.

I can think of two reasons why this is cool marketing. First it tells consumers that they care about what they think. If a lot of customers are unhappy about “Dell Hell”, they have shown they will act on such feedback. Secondly it is free market research. It is very costly to conduct surveys and focus groups are mostly ineffective. Idea Storm generates feedback at a fraction of the cost from willing participants who want to help Dell make better products that fit their needs. I suspect more companies will be creating their own “Idea Storm” sites.