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Re: The SECRET to success, is to master the...
I just remembered another experience of mine where I had created, what I thought, was a New Idea in "Portable Alarm Systems". I saw an ad in the local paper that told about an "Inventor's Class" starting up.
I thought this might give me a chance to "Rap" with fellow "Product Creators" so I could "educate" myself on what's involved with applying for a Patent.
What I discovered was.....a bunch of people "Scared-To-Death" of their "Idea" being stolen so......they really didn't let out much, if any, info about what their Product was.
Yes.....I gained knowledge on how the "Patent" process works but....I'll never forget the "FEAR" these folks had.
In fact.....because I'm an "outspoken" person.....many times I suggested; "Why not GO FOR THE GUSTO!......get YOUR Product onto the Market Firsto! Be the "Firstest with the Mostest!"
Well.....a guy in the class had a "meeting" with SEARS and.....though he was EXTREMELY Careful about showing his "Tool".....he HAD to SHOW it! With, the result being that.....even though he spent about $20,000 in Lawyer's Fees and other stuff......SEARS.....STILL ripped him off and came out with a similar product....."daring" him to come after them!"....which he did.
He filed suit and.....TEN YEARS LATER.....he won a judgement which covered most of his attorney fees plus.....maybe an extra 100k. Whoopee Fizz!
Then.....when I had my Burglar Alarm biz I met the owner of a Plastic Molding biz who had me install an Alarm System for his plant.....both Fire and Burglary. And.....one day, as I was walking thru his warehouse I noticed a whole stack of boxes in a corner of the bldg.
I asked him what these were and he told me someone had paid him to make 250,000 of them and proceeded to run out of money to promote them. So, the owner told me if I had an idea on how to market them...he'd pay me 25cents each (250,000 x .25 = $62,500) which in 1975 was BIG BUCKOREENOS!
So....I went to a buddy (from college) who specialized in making "Product Commercials" and had him make 3 commercials for me.
Ohh....the product was a Plastic Bar about 3ft wide with Paddles at each end....with a long rubber band attached at the middle and a rubber ball at the end of the rubber band. The idea was to.....get the rubber ball going back and forth between the paddles.
My "TV Commercial" buddy even had his 10yr old son get practiced enough so he could really....bounce the ball.....paddle to paddle.....even, behind his back. He made a SUPER Commercial AND.....because his son was IN it.....he told me he'd forego Billing until after we had sold a bunch.
I then took the TV Commercial to my contacts at Walgreen's Drugs (I had installed MY Alarms in MANY of their stores so I had GOOD "contacts" there. I even got the great grandson "CORKY" to not only pay me to install an Alarm System in his LakeFront Home but to also install Alarms in all of his Fast Food locations (Corkie's Burgers)
So.....we "loaded up the Walgreen Stores with Boxes of the Product" and proceeded to run the commercials.
Amazingly.....consumers were watching the commercials AND.....going into the Walgreen Stores to BUY the product....which was priced at $2.99!
When I heard the sales results after the first week.....I was Blown Away. I phoned the MFG and HE was very excited. Same with 2nd, 3rd and 4th week!
THEN....everything came to a screaching HALT! One of the Walgreen Marketing executives had come back from a visit in the UK and found that the Name of the product....."TEENY BOPPER"....STAMPED on all 250,00 was a "DOWNER" in England! It was "associated with" "bummer kids"!
Not that ALL "Marketing"stuff is tried and tested in the UK first but.....in the case of THIS product...it was.
So.....my contact at Walgreens phoned me to come in the next morn.... whereupon I was told they have to "Suspend" marketing!.....due to the "bad Image" of the word "Teeny-Bopper" in the UK and....it would only be a short span until this word became a "Bummer" in the US....and it could "harm" Walgreens Image!....of being a "Wholesome, FAMILY Oriented" biz!
Well.....I was able to cover most of my costs in putting this together and..... what I learned from this was......1) Ya never know unless ya try and 2) STUFF can happen from out of nowhere that you were NOT considering!
So.....when THIS kinda "stuff" happens.....you just "lower yer head and CHARGE FORWARD....with the belief that....HEY! This one didn't come out as you had planned BUT.....I ain't giving up on TRYING!"
Thanks for letting me pull off an old experience from my "Memory-Hooks"!
Don Alm.....looong time Entroopeneer
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