This weekend, I my son and his friend introduced me to the world of guerrilla drive-ins and macguffins.
The guerrilla drive-in is a movie shown in secret outdoor locations. The one in our area shows movies like “Ghostbusters”, “Back to the Future”, etc from the seat of a 1977 BMW motorcycle sidecar, typically shown on sheets or a few pieces of plywood. The “projectionist” attempts to show the films at locations that mirror some aspect of the film. As an example, “Ghostbusters” was shown at Fort Mifflin where there have been stories of hauntings, and “Back to the Future” was shown over an old parking garage with a view of a clock tower (which figures in the movie). At the Back to the Future showing, about a hundred people showed up, along with a Delorean collector who showed off his car.
To know where the movies are being shown, you have to find the macguffin, listen for a secret code, take your picture with the macguffin and e-mail the photo and the code to the organizer. You then get on an e-mail list describing dates, times, locations and movie titles of upcoming events. The macguffin is nothing more than a radio transmitter (in an attractive organge box adorned with a sticker of Che Guevara wearing 3D glasses) which is hidden in an undisclosed part of town. While there are hints if you scour the web, people typically find out where the macguffin is from friends who have been to one of the movies. (In our case, John’s friend’s brother.)
Yesterday, we went macguffin hunting. We found the location, sat in the car, tuned our station to 1700AM and listened for the code. After a few minutes, we got the code, then went into the store, found the macguffin and took our pictures with it. As a bonus, we found a guy named “Zeke” and got pictures taken with him. (I’m told that the bonus is you get a “Z” in front of your member number.)
My son and his friend fired off their e-mails with photos and code and hope to hear from the organizer soon.
Now, the movies that are shown are not hard to find, and watching them on in sixteen millimeter on a sheet isn’t the greatest technology. But the way in which you find out about the events, the method by which they’re staged and the mock-secret way of discovering the macguffin give the shows a sense of community and a sense of fun. The movie is not the entertainment, becoming part of, and engaging in the community is the entertainment.
Last week, I met up with a client I had known for many years. We talked a little business, then he began to chide me for not keeping in touch. I realized that he wasn’t as interested in the business aspects as the personal aspects. I had gotten too high falutin’, had become all business and had forgotten to pay attention to the friends I’ve made along the way. I lost my macguffin.
I know business is serious stuff, dealing with serious issues. But I also know that we sell to people. And people have emotions and they respond to joy, fear, anger. I also know that people want to be happy and they to find ways they can engage in activities which make them laugh. When was the last time you made a customer laugh? When was the last time you created a marketing campaign that got prospects excited? Listen. You sell the same thing as everyone else. Perhaps the way to appeal to your market is to engage them in a way no one else has as of yet. Create a macguffin, make the experience of buying insurance better than root canal, do something different that people will smile when they remember it. Regardless, just keep in mind what Maya Angelou says: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”