Tuesday, May 1, 2007


So my wife was helping out with a Congregation Adas Emuno fundraiser, and one of the organizers of the event, Robin Cramer, gives her some samples of this new treat called ChipPOPpitty, made by Robin's brother along with Richard LaMotta, the creator of the Chipwich. ChipPOPpitty consists of bite-sized chocolate-chip cookies "triple dipped" in chocolate, so it's like the cookie is inside the chip instead of the chip being inside the cookie. Or rather, the cookie is inside the chip in addition to the chip being inside the cookie, which makes it a self-reflexive or recursive cookie, doesn't it?

I don't know, but I can tell you these things are really, really tasty. I never thought I'd be recommending food items in this blog, but in this case I'll make an exception. For what it's worth, they claim that the product has no trans fat, is 60% cocoa, and is high in flavanoid antioxidants. All I can say is that if you like chocolate, you'll really enjoy this.

But, you probably will have a hard time finding it right now, because it's not being mass marketed and distributed, and that's actually quite interesting. Instead, this product is being introduced by way of "guerilla marketing," an approach that Richard LaMotta pioneered. Here's an excerpt from Richard's story as it's told on their website:

When he learned that distributing Chipwich® through supermarkets would cost $50 million, Richard was a little bit discouraged – being short about $49.999 million.

Then he had an idea –

Sell Chipwich® from every street corner! He spruced up the image of the street cart making it cleaner, spiffier and brighter.

The first rollout was 50 carts.

Lines formed. The Chipwiches were selling out – often within one hour.

Within two years, major supermarket chains were selling Chipwich®

He recruited, trained and managed 2700 students to operate Chipwich pushcarts, and in the process pioneered the use of guerilla marketing to launch and distribute Chipwich® on streets, in stadiums, at carnivals and campuses across the U.S.

22 years later, over 1 billion Chipwiches have been sold worldwide. Chipwich® has attracted more than $50 million in free advertising and Richard has appeared on countless radio and TV talk shows. Chipwich® is now run by a major food company and Richard will forever be known as “Mr. Chipwich.”

Those of us in the New York Metropolitan Area know all about the Chipwich carts, but to be perfectly honest, I had no idea that I was being subjected to guerilla marketing at the time. I just thought (doing my best Homer Simpson impression), "ummmmm, Chipwich..."

Now, LaMotta and his partners are recruiting young people for MyStudentBiz, where high school and college students, 14 years old and up, can earn money and gain business and entrepreneurial experience by selling ChipPOPpitty (which is really, really good) and other products to stores (not door to door, more like getting it for them wholesale). They seem to have a genuine interest in working with young people and providing an educational experience as well as an employment opportunity. Rather than supermarkets , they list a variety of alternative potential outlets such as

Antique shop, Appliance store, Arcade, Art gallery, Art/music school, Arts & crafts store, Auto dealer, Auto parts store, Bagel shop, Bakery ,Bank/financial services, Barber shop, Beauty/hair/nail salon, Bodega, Book store, Bowling alley, Bridal shop, Candy store, Car wash, Carpet store, Cell phone store, Chamber of commerce, Children's clothing store, Chiropractor's office, Coffee shop, Computer store, Convenience store, Cooking store, Delicatessen, Dentist's office, Diner, Drugstore/pharmacy, Dry cleaner, Electronics store, Firehouse, Fitness/health club, Florist/plant store, Furniture store, Gas station, Gift store, Golf driving range, Greeting card store, Gymnastics center, Handbag shop, Hardware store, Home decorating store, Hotel/inn/B&B, Ice cream shop, Ice skating rink, Insurance broker's office, Internet café, Jeweler, Karate school, Kennel, Kitchen remodeling store, Lamp/lighting store, Laundromat, Learning center, Leather goods store, Lingerie shop, Local law firm, Local library, Locksmith, Luggage store, Lumber store, Maternity store, Mattress store, Men"s clothing store, Mortgage broker"s office, Movie theater, Music store, Musical instruments store, Newsstand, Nursery/garden store, Office building, Office supplies store, Optician/eyeglass shop, Paint store, Party supplies store, Pet grooming salon, Pet store, Physical therapy clinic, Physician's office, Pizzeria, Police station, Post office, Printing/photocopy store, Pub, Quick oil change center, Real estate broker"s office, Restaurant, Roller skating rink, Sewing/fabric store, Shoe repair shop, Shoe store, Ski & snowboard shop, Spa/massage center, Sporting goods store, Stationery store, Tanning salon, Thrift/consignment shop, Tire dealer, Tool rental store, Toy store, Travel agency, Trophy/awards store, Tuxedo rental store, Vacuum cleaner store, VFW/Elks Club, Video rental store, Vitamin/health food store, Window treatment store, Wine/liquor store, Women"s clothing store, Yarn shop, Yoga/pilates studio

And they also say that they will help independent small entrepreneurs to get their products out to a market, so it's not just a way to sell Richard LaMotta's creations.

If you are interested in any aspect of this marketing strategy, I recommend taking a look at the MyStudentBiz website. Whatever your take may be on this approach, and I know that people's opinions vary radically on topics such as this one, I would say that what we are seeing here is a reflection of the relatively new electronic/digital mode of operation that involves working from the bottom up rather than the top down, and coordinating activities in new and different ways (not to mention the fact that the self-reflexive/recursive quality of the cookie also reflects our new electronic/digital/postmodern culture). For more about the larger technocultural environment, here's some recommended reading:

Douglas Rushkoff's Screenagers: Lessons In Chaos From Digital Kids

Howard Rheingold's Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution

No comments: