Tom Ruwitch

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Pedestrian Bridge Marketing Failure

By Tom Ruwitch

The following story discusses one company’s marketing failure related to the pedestrian bridge collapse in Florida. I hesitated before sharing this story. I didn’t want to make light of the tragedy or dishonor the six people who died in Florida. I’ve chosen to proceed with the email because I think it contains a valuable marketing…

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Dude Checks Gas Leak With Match

By Tom Ruwitch

I ran across an article the other day about a dumb dude in Michigan who smelled gas coming from his newly installed water heater. He checked for the leak by lighting a match. He shoulda died, but he got off easy… …with singed eyebrows. Mixing fire and gas leak — that wasn’t his first mistake. …

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Ketchup and Hardcore Porn

By Tom Ruwitch

Did you hear the one about the ketchup bottle and the hardcore pornography site? Whoh! Settle down now. It’s not what you think. This is a G-rated story that is super-pertinent for anyone marketing a business. Turns out that the good folks at Heinz sold ketchup bottles in Germany that promoted a contest website. But…

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Foot Powder Elected

By Tom Ruwitch

This is the story of how a bottle of foot powder was elected Mayor of a town in Ecuador. I’m not kidding. During the 1967 mayoral election in Picoazà (population 4,000), a foot powder company launched an ad campaign with this slogan: “Vote for any candidate, but if you want well-being and hygiene, vote for…

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Toilet Instructions

By Tom Ruwitch

I recently spent a couple of weeks in New Zealand. Beautiful country. One of the most memorable things I saw there: Signs illustrating the right way to pooh. This is not B.S. These signs were as common as fart jokes in a boys locker room. On the right… a drawing of a person sitting on…

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Groundhog Day

By Tom Ruwitch

I hope you had a joyous Groundhog Day! (It was last Tuesday, in case you missed it). Truth be told, I can live without the holiday. But I love the movie. Weatherman Phil Connor (Bill Murray) wakes each morning in Punxsutawney, PA for a Groundhog Day do-over.  On each of these days, Phil runs into an…

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Leonardo’s Perfection Problem

By Tom Ruwitch

In Monday’s email, I recommended the new biography Leonardo DaVinci (by Walter Isaacson). Great read. Lots of interesting stories. Many business lessons.  Here’s one:  In 1480, monks hired Leo to create a painting of the Adoration of the Magi. Leo started the project, but he stopped before finishing. Leo imagined the perfect painting, but he couldn’t achieve that perfection.…

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Dump the Grammar Guide

By Tom Ruwitch

Back in high school I had a basketball coach who didn’t win any spelling bees or grammar contests. Once, after we failed to run the play he called during practice, he stormed onto the court, screaming: “Jeez, yous guys! Don’t you know the American language!?” Smart-ass kids that we were, we used to mock Coach…

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Fastest Surgeon

By Tom Ruwitch

I’m not a surgeon. And I don’t play one on TV. But I know this much: If you’re operating on ONE patient, and THREE people die, you’ve botched the job. That really happened — to Dr. Robert Liston, who was famous in the 19th century for being the fastest surgeon around. In those days, before…

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Bubblegum Broccoli

By Tom Ruwitch

Here’s what McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson said when describing bubblegum-flavored broccoli that the company developed a few years ago: “It wasn’t all that.” Huh!? Put yourself in the shoes of those poor kids who tasted this Frankenstein “food.” Imagine what you might have said if you sampled the stuff.  It’s gotta be more (lots more) than, “It wasn’t…

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