It's amazing how much time, money, and energy is spent trying to set things apart from other similar things. Two weeks away from the routine of home life gave me lots of time to think and it was the humble yet exalted chocolate chip cookie that, like a speck of dust to airborne ice crystals, provided the nucleus for the random thoughts in my head. Today's snowflake of a post is the end result. (have you noticed that no 2 posts are the same?)
I've been staying at the Courtyard Marriott in Quebec City and while it's a fine hotel there are many others world-wide with different names that are almost identical. To set themselves apart the Marriott people have come up with a couple of clever touches that don't cost them a lot but make a big difference to the weary traveller. At 5 o'clock they set out a large tray of individually wrapped yet homemade-ish chocolate chip cookies. I, like a trained rat, found myself hovering around the goodies every day and would've pushed a lever with my nose to get one if I had to.
(the daily turn down service was appreciated but I could have done without the coddled egg on my pillow....what's up with that??!!??)
Invariably I'd just be coming back from a recording session where the other musicians and I had been feverishly trying to put our own distinctive touches to a piece that's been recorded dozens of times if not more. The little cookie gesture was most appreciated as was the quirky and suggestive brand name: Otis Spunkmeyer. http://www.spunkmeyer.com/
Yes indeed, somebody....probably many people, had decided that this was the best possible name for their delicious wares. Focus groups, in-house committees, high powered marketing consultants etc. were undoubtedly all involved despite the quaint tale of Kimberly, the 12 year old daughter of the founder Ken Rawlings coming up with the sperm related name on her own.
Says CEO John Schiavo: "Of course we wouldn't leave such a key decision to a kid. Well known northeastern brands like Freihoffer's or Entenmann's have names that bespeak time honoured European quality and generations old recipes, hard working immigrants who turned a dream into some cookies and in turn into a s**tload of cash! We took that idea and went it one better with the not-so-subtle semen tie in. The very stuff of life associated with our cookies....you can't beat it!!"
It's the small details that often make the biggest difference. They often go unnoticed but end up influencing our decisions in ways that we're not even aware of. Next time you're at a Marriott make sure to grab one or two of the free Spunkmeyers but be warned...the name starts to work on you and sooner or later, alone in your hotel room, you'll start hearing the sweet siren song of the complimentary hand lotion in the bathroom....or so I've been told.