A few months ago, I had the pleasure of spending a few days with a client, Carl Hixon. Carl is the proprietor of Georgio’s Pizza in Pensacola, Florida. Every morning, he picked me up at his oceanfront condo and we went to work. One morning was different than the rest. When I walked out to hop in his truck, I couldn’t help but notice a very large white shopping bag on the roof of his Honda. It had an unmistakable Georgio’s logo on it. It looked like Carl had set it on the roof and forgot it.
In reality it was a ploy. Carl and I really hit it off because his mind is mischievous, like mine. Upon close examination and explanation, Carl peeled the bag off the roof. It was custom-made from extra heavy vinyl and metal wire reinforcing corners. It had a solid bottom and four 50-pound grip magnets. Drain holes in the bottom made it waterproof. It was very well constructed and looked hurricane proof. As we made our 10-minute drive to the restaurant, we became the center of attention for dozens of fellow commuters. They honked, waved, pointed, shouted, waved their hands and made signals to alert us to the fact that we had a bag on the roof of the truck. I couldn’t believe the attention we received. We smiled, waved back and even stopped and thanked them for bringing it to our attention.
In retrospect, I think it would be very memorable if, when we were alerted that the bag was on the roof, we had regular paper shopping bags — logo printed on — to give to the folks we ran across. In the bag would be a menu, bounce-back certificate, refrigerator magnet and other goodies.
I’ve mentioned this idea to a select group of friends, and they are probably going to give it a whirl. In an ocean of horses, the lone zebra stands out. What a way to put a smile on everyone’s face.
If you’d like his spin on how it has worked out for him, Carl has agreed to let Pizza Today print his e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. ?
Big Dave Ostrander owned a highly successful independent pizzeria before becoming a consultant, speaker and internationally sought-after trainer. He is a monthly contributor to Pizza Today and leads seminars on operational topics for the family of Pizza Expo tradeshows.