By: Lynn R. Godwin
If there’s a single lesson that life teaches us, it’s that wishing doesn’t make it so.
Say it ain’t so Lev. Say it ain’t so. Folks need to wish for things. Without wishes, what would marketers do? We need wishes (along with needs and wants) to fulfil. Wishes keep us all in business. It’s November (in case you hadn’t noticed). November means Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving means eating turkey and giving thanks. What is the most important part of any turkey? It is, of course, the wishbone. I’m giving thanks for turkey and wishes. It’s all connected my friends, all connected.
Now, I am often asked…wait. Wait. I am sometimes asked….err. Wait. Okay. At some point in time, I’m pretty certain that I have been asked by someone about what my favorite product might be. I’m a marketing guy. Logical question to ask me, right? Now, you’re curious. You want to know too, don’t you? What is my favorite product? (You are asking this question with what I can only imagine is bated breath.) You guessed it, the Lucky Break Wishbone.
A Very Brief History of the Lucky Break Wishbone (and My Love for It)
To begin with, the first lesson here is to read. A lot. Everything. One never knows when or where one will find inspiration and useful information. I found inspiration back in the days of yesteryear. Back in 2009. I was perusing Inc. magazine when I happened across an article entitled Don’t You Wish You’d Thought of That? No? The article featured 30 unusual businesses. Many of these seemed like proverbial train-wrecks in the making. A few, however, stood out to me. The one product that piqued my interest the most was, obviously, the Lucky Break Wishbone.
Even though I first heard of the product in 2009, it was actually launched way back in 2004 (Matlick, 2006). The genesis was, of course, Thanksgiving dinner. The inventor, Ken Ahroni, witnessed a disagreement as to who (or is it whom) got to break the freshly eaten turkey’s wishbone (and make a wish). He decided that a fake, synthetic wishbone might just be his ticket to business success (and, of course, fewer familial fights). Lesson two, therefore, is that problems, often as not, give rise to opportunities. Recognize problems. Accept them. Adapt. Look for solutions. Find the benefit (or benefits).
Ah, and what a benefit. Seriously. I’m being serious here. Such a fake bone would allow any number of Thanksgiving-dinner-eaters to engage in wishbone breaking and wish making. Admittedly, these wishes would probably never come true. Let me remind you all, however, that such an outcome would likely be the same were one to use a real wishbone. Score. Not only would a Lucky Break Wishbone look similar to a real wishbone, but the performance (of said-same product) would be identical to the real thing. (Of course, if you wished to have a broken fake wishbone, you actually would be in luck. The fake bone would, in point of fact, be superior and your wish would be granted.)
In any event, family peace could be restored by the product. Tradition could be maintained and facilitated. Society, and America, would benefit as turkey consumption might remain a peaceful pursuit. Money could be made. And, let’s not forget, a few lives (of turkeys and/or squabbling would-be bone breakers) might even be saved. Who knows? Lesson three, therefore, is try to do some societal good in your life. (Okay, I admit it’s a stretch to say that plastic wishbones are a societal good. But, who’s to say that fights have not been averted. Perhaps breaking plastic wishbones into pieces is what we all need to give peace a chance. Or, is it to give pieces a chance? Don’t judge.)
Conclusion – Talking Turkey
That’s it. I said it would be brief. But, there always has to be a conclusion, right? What’s the main lesson we have learned here again? Maybe it’s not to wish for your dreams to come true. Maybe it is to make them come true. Maybe it is to make your own success. Maybe, it is simply that we all need to dare to dream. Dream big. Dream small. Dream about plastic turkey wishbones.
Pretty deep, eh? Okay, not so deep. Marketing is, after all, a simple philosophy of business. What are people’s needs and wants? How do we meet them? You are a people…er…I mean person. What are your needs and wants? What are your problems and issues? Others may have the same needs, wants, and problems. What problems do you see in your life and in the world? Those problems may just be your opportunities. They may represent your chance to make a difference in the world. They may be your chance to launch a successful product or a successful career. Will you be able to match the success and impact of fake plastic turkey wishbones? I’m going out on a limb here. I’m betting you can…and will. So, next time something goes wrong in your life, it may just be opportunity knocking.
Let’s be honest here, the Lucky Break Wishbone is a somewhat silly product. It’s kind of useless (practically speaking). It’s a novelty item. It’s as low-tech as you can get. Demand is seasonal. There’s no way it should be a success. And yet, a success it was. A success it is. If Ken Ahroni can succeed with his dream, surely you can succeed with your dream (or dreams). What’s stopping you? Seriously, always ask yourself this question: is my dream as obtainable as the manufacture and sale of fake turkey wishbones? I’m guessing it probably is. Follow that yellow brick road my friends.
And there’s another final lesson. (I can have more than one final lesson. There’s no rule against it.) Be optimistic. Always have hope. As we go through life, we all face challenges. We all face failure. Disappointment. When times get rough, look to the Lucky Break Wishbone. Wishes do sometimes come true. Ken Ahroni’s did. That’s something to be thankful for. Anyway, keep after those dreams. Give thanks for those dreams. And, as Commander Peter Quncy Taggart would opine, “never give up, never surrender.”
Free For a Limited Time Only
Now, I wouldn’t be worth my salt as a marketing guy if I didn’t use the word FREE somewhere. So, here I go. Free, for a limited time only. Stop by the Cameron School of Business office for your very own authentic Lucky Break Wishbone (courtesy of yours truly). Limit one per customer. (You are on the honor system here.) Numbers are limited and when they are gone, they are gone. Don’t wait. Get your FREE Lucky Break Wishbone while supplies last!!!
What do I do with it, you ask? Well, you can use it for its intended purpose. Break it. Make a wish. Or, you can put it in your pocket or keep it on your desk. Look at it and remind yourself to dare to dream. Look at it to remind yourself to be optimistic. Look at it to remind yourself that you better go to the store and get that Thanksgiving turkey as soon as possible due to supply chain issues. Come on. Hurry up and visit the supermarket. If you don’t hurry, a plastic wishbone may be all the wishbone you have this year for Thanksgiving.
Obligatory Final Quote Designed to Make the Author Appear Smart and Well Read
First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.
–Epictetus (probably not talking about the idea of manufacturing plastic turkey wishbones, but…if he were alive today…who knows?)
Obligatory Final Quote of a Seasonal Nature Involving Someone Who Just Consumed Turkey
God bless us, everyone.
Okay, I know this is from A Christmas Carol. I know that it involves Christmas and not Thanksgiving (hence the title of the story). I also know that the Cratchits had just eaten a turkey (courtesy of Mr. Scrooge). I like to think that Tiny Tim had just made a wish after breaking that fictional turkey’s wishbone. And Tiny Tim’s wish was, of course, that God should bless us…everyone. Anyway, that’s my rationale and I’m sticking to it. Besides, for a marketer, Christmas season starts in late September anyway. With that in mind, the quote is fairly used.
Obligatory Product Warnings, Cautions, and Disclaimers
A Lucky Break Wishbone is not a toy. Not for human consumption (it’s a piece of plastic, okay). Use only for intended purpose. May be sharp when broken. Don’t poke yourself. Not responsible for misuse. Not for children under some age. (Did I mention that it is not a toy? I think I did.) Free for a limited time only. Once we are out, we are out. Made from quality free-range plastic. Cruelty free. Gluten free. Non-GMO. Vegan. No preservatives. Low sodium. Low fat. Cholesterol free. If used for its intended purpose, wishes are not guaranteed to come true. (This is especially true if you wish you had not broken it in order to have a wish.) No returns. No refunds. No exchanges. Not for re-sale. Not labeled for individual sale. Shipping not included. Not a real bone. No other warrantees expressed or implied. Probably not dishwasher safe. Hand wash with soap and water. Remember, it will break if you try to pull it apart. That’s the point. Your mileage may vary. Happy Thanksgiving not guaranteed, but recommended.
Final Meta-Marketing Note
You can also read this blog post and think about it from a meta standpoint. Look how easily a marketer can manipulate you into doing something (going to the Cameron School Office) by offering you a cheap piece of plastic that you, probably, neither need nor want. Score. Marketing, 1…everyone else, 0. Food for thought. And, of course, by food for thought I am not recommending that you consume the fake plastic wishbone. Don’t do it.
Don’t You Wish You’d Thought of That? No? (2009). Inc, 31(3), 106-107.
Matlick, J. (2006). Starting Own Company Made One Man’s Wishes Come True. Puget Sound Business Journal, November 12. https://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/stories/2006/11/13/smallb1.html