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Paul (from Idea Sandbox)

Hey... You are one of MY favorite bloggers, too!

I agree... where Andy commented on what surprise ain't - that was helpful.

Thanks for telling your story and for participating in the tour!

Katie Konrath

To get everyone started and demonstrate what I'm looking for:

One of my favorite surprises was a billboard for a local auto repair shop. Normally billboards are very unremarkable, so I was really surprised when I looked up at this billboard to see a full-sized rear end of a car sticking out of it! (With 4-way lights flashing as well!)

The slogan on the billboard... "Uh dad, about the car..."

Michael Wolfe

I was recently surprised by an online ordering experience. I had reason to take a chance and purchase a rare SCSI card from an unknown vendor. Usually when this happens you expect very little interaction from the company that may or may not be fronted in the US. On this occasion, not only was there a great purchasing and shipping experience, but where there was an issue with the card, it was handled very quickly with an RMA by one individual that took care of the whole thing, tech support, RMA, everything! It was very professional and well done for a random experience I would highly recommend shopping at pc-pitstop.com. Mark made it a very surprising chance encounter for something that is usually a risk and big disappointment.

Mykl Roventine

Sounds like a great book! Much needed subject-matter as well. Sadly, most companies that surprise me lately do so in a negative way. As in, "I can't believe they spent money on such a horrible idea" or "Wow, they really don't understand social media." So I had to dig a little for an uplifting surprise story.

I was pleasantly surprised by Caribou Coffee's recent "Monday Happens" campaign. They offer $1 medium coffee each Monday. Aside from being effective in getting me and my coworkers to buy more coffee that day, the ongoing nature of the offer allows customers the opportunity to spread the word further every week. They don't require any coupons or sign-ups to participate either. Again, this may be more of a commentary about the state of traditional marketing today, but when a company offers something that's smart AND simple I take notice.

Mike Ritter

My local Wal-Mart, really!

We'v had a Super Center in Nacogdoches, Texas for years. It was sadly cluttered and worn out. The remodel took a couple of months and has been nice. I'm no Wal-Mart fan, but they nicely reorganized aisles, signage, and display to effectively accommodate traffic and draw customers to the area they are looking for.

Noteworthy are their LED freezers, paint section, and consolidated checkout lanes.

Biggest perk: aisles that fit customers three wide! I can stroll side-by-side with my friends and not dodge carts!

Bill Perry

I was pleasantly surprised once by Intel, of all companies. Back in 1995, I called Intel via some obscure number I'd found. I was interested in microprocessor design at the time, and just asked their literature department how much the technical books were for the Pentium Processor.

The gentleman I talked to asked for my address and said he's send me some literature to help me on my "quest".

I expected to receive something like a pamphlet or brochure telling me prices of books and stuff.

This guy actually sent me the 3-volume set of books I had been asking about, for FREE!

His letter said "This is to help you figure out what you need to know. I hope it helps".

I'm not sure if this is normal procedure for that sort of thing, but I was very surprised in a good way.

To think, if this IS the normal way these things happen, that says a lot about a company, because they pleased a potential customer without even really trying!

Jay H. Heyman

I was recently surprised that Seth Godin thought a billboard I had done for one of my clients, Dallas Dallas BBQ, was the best billboard in New York.
This may not be what you had in mind, but hey, I'm telling everyone!

Christina Stallings

California Pizza Kitchen recently surprised me with a GREAT marketing piece. After finishing my meal, they gave me a coupon called the "don't open it coupon!". You cannot use it that day, you have to return at a later date and ask the manager to open it, and you have a chance to win 5K. I think this is genious! I'm working on a way to translate this to drive traffic to our exhibit hall.

So theres my POW. As a fan of yours and self-described sponge, this complimentary book would be going to an appreciative girl!

I'm just sayin . . .

Paul (from Idea Sandbox)

You know... I don't get surprised *that* often... One of the best surprise experiences I've ever had was a dinner at a "fancy" restaurant in Seattle.

The restaurant, Canlis, has the reputation of being the place you go to do a wedding proposal or 50th wedding anniversary. (That's unfortunate, because the prices aren't that expensive).

From the moment we arrived in a cab - until the moment we pulled out of the restaurant driveway at the end of the meal - we had an awesome experience.

I wrote about it here...


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  • Katie Konrath loves fresh ideas.

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