Thomas J. Madden, Chairman and CEO, Transmedia Group
Why do we keep circumcising our businesses? Can’t we come up with more creative, imaginative ways to open our stores, restaurants, factories? I know I sure can.
Once I had the secret Krispy Kreme recipe arrive at one of their new stores in an Armored Brinks Truck. I had armed guards carry it into its new home in Palm Beach County. Another time, I gave out thousands of toothbrushes in front of the new Laugh Factory on 42nd St. and 8th Ave in Manhattan. There were inscribed with “Fight Glum Disease.”
Now back to that tired old ribbon cutting.
“Okay George you hold that end. Alice you hold the other end. Dave and Liz, you two come here, hold the big scissors like this and when I say three, you cut.
Have you ever seen anything more insipid, more boring, and uneventful than a ribbon cutting? It’s like holding up a big sign saying . . . SORRY FOLKS, WE’RE NOT THAT IMAGINATIVE!
Ribbons started appearing way back at weddings signifying a bond between a bride and a groom. How the scissors got in there I’m not sure, but cutting the ribbon is supposed to be a sign of a fresh start. Yea, sure.
Lately with so many Chambers of Commerce mass producing them, they’ve become commonplace and stale.
Business ribbon-cutting ceremonies started around the end of the 19th century with the opening of railroads, then more prominently with openings like Disneyland Monorail (1959) and the World Trade Center (1973). Like a couple beginning a new life together, the ribbon cutting shows a business is ready for romance and marrying off its products to eligible customers.
Unfortunately today it signals how UNIMAGINATIVE we are with such a conventional send off. Now folks, come in and sample our restaurant’s UNIMAGINATIVE menu. Shop in our unimaginative store. Try our UNIMAGIATIVE products.To make it more exciting you’d have to have somebody like Trump cutting the ribbon. Now that would be a circumcision with sizzle. Or better yet, bring on Stormy Daniels, who could make it a bris to brag about. Not even hush-man Cohen or a tabloid tote’n Pecker could put that buxom genie back in the bottle.
Still every Chamber of Commerce is ever ready with their giant spools of ribbon and oversize scissors, dying to sever your ribbon. Yes, they’ll troop out in a moment’s notice to cut a ribbon in front of a porta john if need be, anything, as long as you pay the dues. And they’ll publish it in that chamber of ribbon-cutting horrors, the chamber newsletter.
So I say keep the bris, cut out the ribbon cuttings. They’re an embarrassment to business and especially to PR people with an ounce of imagination. They just don’t cut it anymore.
Next week, I’ll tell you how I made a Kosher Deli in Queens NY world famous by staging a rally by grandmothers fighting for chicken soup.