By Roy H. Williams
I’m obsessed with an outlandish flower peddler that I like to call Johnny Flowers. He’s the reason I drive through the town’s most miserable, congested intersection on my way home from work each day. If there are rules to selling flowers...Johnny doesn’t follow them.
Traffic comes to a halt and there he is, waving a red rose like a magic wand and dancing around like a fairy in front of your car. He blows kisses to the ladies, pouts and professes his love for them. Guys always laugh at the “rewards” he insists will come their way if, and only if, they buy their lady friends one of his magical flowers.
Dressed in torn black jeans and a Harley Davidson tee, Johnny doesn’t exactly match my vision of Cupid. But I’ve seen him introduce lonely, single guys in trucks to college girls in convertibles. No one was slapped and I’m pretty sure I saw phone numbers being exchanged.
Yes, this guy is a borderline freak. But he’s selling a whole lot of roses.
I don’t notice the other flower peddlers in Austin for the same reason that I don’t notice most ads. They bore me. I don’t care that you’re having a sale this week any more than I care how long you’ve been in business. Your address and phone number are of no consequence to me when you’ve failed to interest me in your product. You can yack all you want. I’m not listening.
But I sit through four red lights so I can see Johnny Flowers. And I’ll listen to every word of an ad that says something I’ve never heard said before. I’m talking about getting the attention of your customer. Sure, you might feel a little silly using words like “hot diggity dog,” “bingo,” and “cockamamie,” in your advertising, but sometimes, when it’s backed by the right message, silly sells a lot of flowers.
Did you read Roy’s recent memo on Broca’s Area of the brain? Broca snags those rare little gems like “finger-lickin’ good” out of the mind-numbing banter we hear each day. The key to snagging Broca is to remember that he likes to be surprised. Are you doing it?
Johnny Flowers’ unabashed money-making techniques are starting to catch on. Yesterday, Johnny had company. I watched as a homeless man meandered among the cars carrying a sign that read, “Why lie? Need beer.”
I’m not too sure what to say about that one...but I did see four people give him cash.