Tag Archives: ideas

Pinball Wizard

Creature pin

I love pinball machines and that’s partly because they remind me of those halcyon days of my youth – inexorably linked to car culture – of carefree days (and nights) cruising to games arcades, milk bars and making a play for pinball wizardry.

Apart from the nostalgia trip, they’re also works of engineering, design and art crammed into a wooden cabinet.  If you don’t know what I mean, get a load of one some day and take note of the artwork, the design, the colour, the screen-printing (yes, screen-printing; heard of that?), the lights, the sounds, the themes and of course the design of the game play.  Way more character than a PlayStation, but I digress.

Most of all though, I simply love the challenge of playing them because no two games are ever the same (ever).  That got me thinking about the insight to be drawn from pinball, applied to marketing and business planning (particularly in the context of a more strategic, longer run view).

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Unhealthy perfection

One summer when I was a young, wide-eyed lad, I recall a promotion that McDonalds ran where young, wide (and not-so-wide) eyed lads could win a free poster of the World Series Cricket teams.  You didn’t have to buy anything to get the prize (even though you would anyway, so marketing objective one achieved for Maccas).  All you had to do was say the Big Mac “Two all beef patties…” jingle.

The catch was that you had to do it in 4 seconds or less.

Wanting that poster and knowing what I had to do to get it, I practiced that line over and over (marketing objective two achieved) until I could nail it in under 4 seconds, visited Maccas and claimed my poster.

That was my first ever (memorable) exposure to a sales promotion.  Looking back, it was also a point where I could identify such a thing as an unhealthy obsession with perfection.
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“Won’t bind your legs”

ActionJeans_ChuckNorris
Have you ever had one of those days where you learned absolutely nothing, gained no knowledge at all?  It feels empty and incomplete.

A day without gaining any knowledge at all is a day wasted, no matter what else happens, because knowledge is currency and one day you might need to draw on it.

Whether it’s trivial or mountain-shifting, edifying or entertaining, there’s always something new to be discovered. Learning a single piece of something can also start you on a trail of discovery that can uncover a whole series of thoughts, ideas and insights, which in-itself is always exciting.
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