A Boring Everyday Tool Can Start a Story

By Judi Friedman June 21, 2012

Judi Friedman

The other day, a friend of mine sent me an email with lots of pictures of shopping bags. Yes, shopping bags; a boring, everyday tool. I was really intrigued, not because I’m really into shopping bags, but because the shopping bags were really interesting. I studied each picture (a lot of pictures holds my attention longer than a lot of words), thinking about how clever they were.

Since I’m always thinking about what gets a person interested in something enough to tell their friends, when I saw this I immediately thought ‘Wow! How many conversations could these bags start? How many conversations have these already started?’ I found myself wishing I had a few, just to walk down the street to be noticed. It would be especially fun to have this one:

There is a ‘fine line’ lesson here. You want people to be so intrigued by what you’re doing that they want to talk to you. You don’t want to do something so interesting that all they want to talk about is what you’ve done instead of why you’ve done it.

In other words, don’t let the action eclipse the story. For Word of Mouth Marketing, we might do something to get someone’s attention, but it’s always in the service of telling the story.

Much like these bags. I might want to use a really cool shopping bag as a tool, but only if it starts an interesting conversation about the product inside.


OMG, those bags are amazing! But I think you’re right–it has to be related to the product or it’s just another visually interesting thing in a sea of visually interesting images. I’m thinking of the bags I see teenage girls getting when they shop at Aberchrombi & Fitch (sp?) or Hollister. Beautiful boy torsos on full display, though I don’t have any idea what they’ve got to do with girl clothing. Nor can I tell the difference between the stores….

Comment by Vicky Alvear Shecter on June 21, 2012 at 2:13 pm

This is an awesome blog…..very insightful. Sparking conversations should be the main main focus of any company trying to sell any product, service or idea.

The shopping bags remind me of really cool mind bending things like you would find on thecoolhunter.com.

Comment by Brandon Smith on June 25, 2012 at 10:57 am