Picture this…

You’re in Portugal. On the Algarve. You’re lazily exploring a traditional local market. There are a few bargains and a lot of “designer gear” of iffy provenance. You see daily essentials you might expect to find more readily in a supermarket (bargain toe nail clippers, anyone?), as well as a big slice of local colour. For all that, you might buy something, you might not. Who knows?

There’s a stall ahead manned by a somewhat squat, sweaty, moustachioed, swarthy looking gentlemen. He’s selling ladies underwear no less. There he is, thong in hand and held up high, calling “Tiny knickers – Tiny knickers!”, to the young ladies ahead of you.

Upon nearing the stall, the man notices you approaching. The thong is quickly discarded, and a revised undergarment is being paraded around, flaunted at full volume, “BIG knickers! – BIIIIIIIIG knickers! Buy them here!”. A thousand eyes look your way, most of which are accompanied by a rather large smirk. You scuttle off.

True story, and one my mother-in-law enjoys telling, despite the somewhat size-ist connotations! Oh how I laughed when she told me..
I don’t know if a purchase was made or not, doubtful I would think, given her obvious embarrassment at the time. But it did make me think that despite the rather clumsy execution it was a micro-level example of great marketing.

The aforementioned swarthy gent was simply adhering to one of the oldest marketing rules : identify your potential customers, choose the correct product/service for them, tailor the messaging, clear call to action.

I guess the part he missed off was ‘try not to offend anyone’!

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