I have a simple question to ask all of you: “When did fortune cookies become lame?”
Remember the anticipation of cracking open a fortune cookie to reveal some life-changing wisdom? Perhaps the fortune cookie delivered an answer to some question that had been pressing you for a while?
In the last 10 years I've noticed a huge shift in the quality of those little white strips of paper stuffed inside our fortune cookies. The messaging has gone south.
Much like branding, advertising and marketing for a business, fortune cookies have lost their messaging. Fortune cookies are no longer manufactured by a company with a brilliant writer, and a staff dedicated to entertaining those who read them. Instead, their messaging has been diluted by having too many hands in the fortune cookie batter.
Good messaging and memorable branding takes consistency. If you have more than one message it automatically creates confusing, mixed messages to the consumer, and your brand will suffer.
So let's look at some consistent messaging that has stood the test of time. Ready to play along at home? Oh, and make sure you’re answering out loud.
If you had hemorrhoids, what’s the one product you'd pick to treat them? There, you already said it, Preparation H. Now, what's Preparation H’s nearest competitor? Not as easy to grab that one out of thin air is it? Let’s move on to the lightning round! When did you last see an ad for Preparation H? Can't remember, right? I know! It's probably been years. You see, the messaging was so spot on, so focused, and so consistent that you'd pick Preparation H over any other brand.
So what do fortune cookies have to do with this? Fortune cookies used to have one focus and one message: life-changing advice. Now however, you get riddles, you get lotto numbers, imponderables, and a sentence that has nothing to do with anything. Perhaps a dose of Prep H will shrink the swollen pool of bad writers and allow fortune cookies to once again deliver the life-affirming messaging we once knew. If these “fortune” messages get any worse I may start calling them "unfortunate cookies". Either way, the day this new era of “unfortunate cookies” are gone, people will remember the time before fortune cookies started delivering the Wong message.