How to make a fan out of a fan; creative marketing ideas

WUF fan

Imagine being in 28 degrees Celsius / 82 degrees Fahrenheit weather and it’s only 8 am.  Your shirt is already sticking to your back and you can feel the sweat sliding down your spine like some amusement park ride gone wild.  As you make your way to the first day of a business conference you feel yourself already wilting.

This is how I was feeling on my first day of the recent United Nations World Urban Forum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where I was presenting a workshop on cultural intelligence.

Then I picked up my  conference package and found this curious cardboard thing inside (see picture above).  It didn’t take long before I noticed many conference attendees fanning themselves with it.

Clever! This was a company that knew its market, knew that many of us would be unaccustomed to the heat and would be needing some help.  We literally waved this company’s website in front of folks’ noses.  And what a welcome wave it was.

Permission marketing at its most literal.

Not so clever! When you actually go to the website listed on the fan you get an ‘under construction’ message, or at least that’s what I’m guessing, not being able to read Portuguese.

Result? Strike out.  A clever opportunity missed.  The idea didn’t ‘ship’ as Seth Godin would say– it met resistance and died.  The resistance in this case being the malfunctioning website.

Lesson? Creativity’s a great thing.   Just make sure you have your palm trees in a row as well, or in this case, a website that works.

WUF fan me using

Here’s me pretending to be back in Brazil, using the fan.  I used Photo Booth’s beach effect to make it look like I’m there.


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