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September 16, 2006

Flip-Flops, Mystery, and Marketing

Last year, Reef (a San Diego-based surfer wear brand) introduced a new flip-flop sandal. Ain’t nothing remarkable about that. But flip the flip-flop over and BAM!!!—something worth remarking about. A church key bottle opener! Yep, these flip-flops can flip the top off bottles.


According to a recent Adweek article (sub. req'd.), the church key-equipped “Fanning Sandal” has become Reef’s top selling shoe. Curiously, and smartly, Reef has abstained from mentioning the free prize* of the Fanning Sandal in marketing materials, except for a brief mention on its website.

The lesson for us marketers is that mystery lends itself to intrigue. Mystery lends itself to storytelling. And mystery lends itself to word-of-mouth marketing from all us Jane and Joe Schmos.

* In the marketing world, a 'Free Prize' is the added bonus of a product/service which give us something to talk about. For example, the Chrysler Sebring comes with cup holders that keep drinks hot or cold. These temperature controlled cup holders are not the first reason someone would buy a Sebring, but they are probably the first reason why someone tells others about their new Sebring. Dig? Credit Seth Godin for the "Free Prize" concept.


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Brilliant mate! I think I need some for summer.

I'm about halfway through Seth's book and it really does get the ideas flowing. Highly recommended to anyone considering getting it.

Hi, flip flops are really good choice for summer.

Flip flops are the current trend setters in the field of footwear.They look simple and beautiful when compared to


Flip flops are super fly! They are good. I love flip flops. They're really the best thing ever. Very neat.

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