Virgil Winston: Marketing Guru

Last week I made my annual trip to Ottawa to MC the Zamboni* Race Finals. You wouldn’t know it to look at them, but Zamboni racers are real athletes. Much like pro bowlers or professional poker players, Zamboni racers are not always given the credit they deserve. In fact, I once watched a particularly skilled driver maneuver through a field of eight Zambonis while eating an entire box of Krispy Kremes with one hand and drinking a big gulp with the other. It was quite something to see him win the title—his knees steering him to victory. Alas, this year’s race wasn’t quite as eventful. At least I left Canada with a case of maple syrup and an offer to judge next year’s Miss Zamboni contest.
The truly interesting part of the trip took place at the airport lounge during a particularly long layover. My fellow travelers and I had a rousing discussion about airplane movies, specifically the phenomenon of crying while watching them. Between the three of us, we had cried during Spiderman II, Rush Hour, Jersey Girl, Shrek, Legally Blonde and Invincible. I’m not sure who admitted to it first, but we quickly realized that movie watching while flying almost always leads to tears. Before you unfairly conclude that my fellow travelers were women or really “in touch with their feelings” types, both men were lawyers—clearly sensitivity was not an issue. Since the tear inducing movies in question weren’t particularly sad and included comedies, action-adventure, sci-fi and some downright bad and even boring flicks, we couldn’t figure out what all the boo-hooing was about. What was it about movie watching at 35,000 feet that reduced grown men to blubbering idiots? Was it the altitude? Was it the solitary nature of travel or the omnipresent fear that the plane could suddenly fall out of the sky, taking us with it? We puzzled over it for hours but were never able to solve the riddle.

The one thing we did agree on was that, especially when traveling with colleagues, clients or one’s boss, avoiding the in-flight flick was a must. Fortunately Rush Imprint has some offerings to help you pass the time and save your dignity. For brainiacs and math majors there’s the Touch Screen Travel Sudoku Game. Its compact unit combines the challenge of this popular puzzle game with touch-screen technology. It features a compact stylus storage compartment, count-up timer, a blue backlight and different skill levels to keep players of all levels challenged. For those who like a little variety, the Magnetic 7-in-1 Travel Game Set is the perfect choice. The magnetic set includes Backgammon, Checkers, Chess, Chinese Checkers, Ludo, Solitaire, & Tic-Tac-Toe. Game pieces store in the convenient hidden side compartment. Both games have room for your logo, making them great gifts for colleagues, clients and bosses who travel a lot but don’t want to get caught weeping during The First Wives Club.

I’m off to the Bi-Annual West Coast Marketing Mentors Meeting in Modesto. Remember, “grown men might cry but at least their mascara doesn’t run.