|Will Keith Kellogg|
You never know where a spark is lying dormant just waiting for the right moment to kindle up and blaze. That is exactly what happened in this case. According to people who knew Will Kellogg, it was not very likely he would be a successful person at all, let alone a entrepreneurial genius...eventually one of the wealthiest men of the century!
There are fascinating details behind the scenes of Kellogg's fame and fortune. He left school at age 14 and began his working career selling brooms with his father, which lasted only a few years. He was not the best broom salesman. He joined his brother John Harvey Kellogg who ran the Battle Creek Sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan. He performed odd jobs, a few basic management functions and personal chores. The most excitement of his day was when he had the opportunity to chase down a patient trying to escape! Of course, the best time of the day for him was working in the kitchen helping with the food preparation. The rest of that part of the story is history at its finest! Not bad for a kid who quit school in the sixth grade!
What does all of that have to do with a wink on Wednesday?
While the product sold itself in taste, there was a lot of competition going on at the time. Even his brother became a competitor! That's when Will Kellogg's brain seized the moment! Advertising was a relatively new phenomenon. After all communications were still in their infancy.
In one of Kellogg’s first ads, he began, “This announcement violates all the rules of good advertising.” Why? Because readers were not able to by his product from any grocers at the time; none of them carried the product. Instead, Kellogg gave out coupons for free samples and asked people to urge their grocers to carry the product so they could redeem their coupons.Of course, he still promoted the great taste of the cereal and the fact it was nutritious. Will also began to market his product as the 'original' corn flake, especially in the wake of his brother's increasing competition. By 1906, his ads ran in 17 magazines, which equates to six million readers and he had shipped out over 180,000 cases of cereal.
When skeptics told Kellogg that his product would never become national until he conquered the New York market, Kellogg decided to make that his next challenge. He launched an ad that read, “Wednesday is ‘Wink Day’ in New York,” promising every housewife in the city who winked at her grocer on Wednesday that she would receive a free box of corn flakes. “This advertising will arouse the curiosity of the entire city,” he thought to himself. He sent New York grocers word of his promotion, warning them, “Don’t give out samples before then. If anybody winks on Monday or Tuesday, tell them to wink on Wednesday.” Kellogg’s promotion worked. The Wink Day campaign pushed Kellogg’s sales up from two carloads a month to over 30!While focusing on Will Kellogg's 'Wink on Wednesday' campaign, don't lose sight of the times. For a woman to wink at another man, especially if she were married, was not the sign of a true lady but a signal of different intentions. Can you imagine if one of the grocers had not received the message about the ad? Should several women enter his store at the same time and start winking, oh, dear, what would the man have thought?
And life goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times...