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Six More Crazy Stories

Many people requested more examples of companies driving their competition crazy. I found six more for you.

1. When Security Pacific Bank merged with Bank of America many Security Pacific branches were closed. First Interstate Bank rented trucks and parked them in the lots of the branches that were closing. Then First Interstate employees in those trucks then helped people open new accounts as there were leaving the banks.

2. In 1986 British Airways ran a promotion to give away 5,200 seats for travel on June 10th. Virgin Atlantic Airways ran ads that said, “ It has always been Virgin's policy to encourage you to fly to London for as little as possible. So on June 10 we encourage you to fly British Airways.” The British Airways promotion generated a lot of news coverage, but most of the news coverage also included a mention Virgin's funny ad. It cost British Airways a lot more than Virgin to get this coverage.

3. A research company surveyed 750 white-collar worker around the United States. The research showed that 81 percent of the people believed that casual dress improved morale; 47 percent believed that it increased productivity; 46 percent said they considered casual dress as a attraction to work for a company that permitted it, and only 4 percent thought a casual-dress standard would have a negative impact. When Levi Strauss found out about the study, it let thousands of publications know about it. The company also even put in a toll-free hotline to help companies implement a casual dress standard. Guess who was sure to benefit from greater knowledge of this study? Levi Strauss, of course, because of its Dockers line of clothing.

4. A Goodyear store in Chattanooga, Tennessee faced a predicament: it wanted to put up two Goodyear signs. However, the local law stipulated a one-sign limit. Undaunted, the store manager spelled out Goodyear in marigolds in a flower bed. The city inspector considered this a violation, but the public supported the store, so the city government backed off.

5. An electrician with only one truck was constantly razzed by his competition because his company was so small. To fake them out, he finally painted three different truck numbers on the right, left, and rear of the truck.

6. International Harvester couldn't get steel to its factory in Melrose Park, Illinois because of a truckdriver's union strike. The company couldn't use non-union labor because of snipers on the freeway. Finally, the company rented school buses and dressed drivers as nuns, loaded the buses with steel, and made the deliveries. No one would shoot at school buses driven by nuns, right?

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By Guy Kawasaki

About the Author: Guy Kawasaki

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Guy Kawasaki is a managing director of Garage Technology Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm and a columnist for Previously, he was an Apple Fellow at Apple Computer, Inc. where he was one of the individuals responsible for the success of the Macintosh computer. Guy is the author of eight books including The Art of the Start, Rules for Revolutionaries, How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, Selling the Dream, and The Macintosh Way. He has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.
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