Virgil Winston: Marketing Guru

When I grow bored of reading the dictionary and playing Scrabble online, I turn to craigslist to help me while away the early morning hours of sleeplessness. If you are one of the few who don’t already know about craigslist, or CL as regular users refer to the high-tech version of the classified ads, a guy named Craig started it in 1993 as a series of emails sent to friends about local events in the San Francisco Bay Area. It soon became an online service and has since expanded to include most major cities in the U.S. and beyond. Not only can you buy, barter and sell practically anything from real estate to a pile of dirt on CL, you can also find a hiking buddy, meet a mate or a date, locate the perfect apartment or simply rant about your annoying roommate, traffic or the guy in the next cubicle who clips his nails during lunch. The romantic in me loves “Missed Connections,” where shy coffee drinkers try to connect with the cute barista whom they are certain made eye contact with them over a double espresso earlier that day. It is fun to imagine an old couple telling their wide eyed grandchildren about a guy named Craig who reunited them after a lost cell phone number threatened to part them forever, but the curmudgeon in me knows that it’s unlikely the buffed man in the red Nikes a reticent librarian saw poring over organic produce at the farmers market on Saturday will ever actually read the posting begging him to stop by the Main Branch and check out a book on pesticide-free tomatoes she is holding for him behind the counter…just in case.

Since I found my missed connection long ago, I use CL for more practical endeavors, like searching for rare promotional products. Just last week I discovered a lanyard said to be worn by Ronald Reagan when he attended a Screen Actors Guild meeting in the 1930’s. One of my favorite finds was a button purportedly worn by during the women’s suffrage movement by Susan B. Anthony. Even though you can find almost anything on CL, you probably want to stay away from the vintage stuff when looking for promotional items on which to affix your new logo. Sure finding cheap goods on CL is tempting, but you can still save a bundle on brand new magnets, lanyards and key chains at Rush Imprint.

Well, I’m looking for a T-shirt with a Mr. Bubble logo to complete my collection of soap related promotional tees and I have to post ads in every city in North America. Until next time, remember, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure and if it’s not in the city dump, you’ll probably find it on craigslist.”