Dan Galbraith, Sections EditorMONTEREY, Calif. — Fresh produce conventions don’t exactly have a reputation for providing the kind of laughs you might expect from the likes of the “Blue Collar Comedy Tour.”
But those attending the Produce Marketing Association's Foodservice Conference and Expo who appreciate the funny side of marketing got a belly full of chuckles — along with valuable information that could translate into greater fresh produce profits — during Josh Linkner’s speech the morning of July 27.
Linkner, the chief executive officer and managing partner of Detroit Venture Partners, cleverly wove together the threads of humor and marketing strategy tips that have made companies like his profitable even in a down economy.
Among highlights from Linkner’s speech: an illustration of his point via a YouTube video commercial by start-up company dollarshaveclub.com. The low-budget, high-yielding spoof (Warning: strong language) is closing in on 11 million views on YouTube and very well could make “Blue Collar” comedian Ron White laugh hard enough to spill his drink.
While Linkner didn’t condone the use of curse words in fresh produce advertising campaigns like the online shave company did, he did say produce companies needed to consider off-the-wall ideas to succeed.
Linkner also encouraged ways to build creativity, including thinking like a child and asking the question “Why?” down five different layers to get to the root of what’s important to growing business.
Then, of course, he illustrated digging down as a child would do it through the “five whys” using a video featuring stand-up comedian Louis CK (Warning: strong language).
PMA Foodservice attendees also couldn’t possibly forget chef Chris Hanmer’s challenge to bacon — something on the order of “Bring it on, bacon!” — during the July 27 “Innovating Your Customer Experience: Satisfying Your Customer’s Hunger for Fresh Ideas” lunch.
Hanmer, chef/owner of CH Patisserie, Sioux Falls, S.D., had waited and listened patiently while one of the competitors in the friendly chefs competition, Tony Baker, bragged how his Classic Italian Stuffed Artichokes couldn’t be beaten in the contest, partly because of the invincible weapon of bacon.