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EASY TO SWALLOW

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Your fortune cookie may soon sway you to do more than contemplate your "lucky numbers."

Buzzmarketing has bought the advertising rights to the nearly 7 million messages produced weekly by two East Coast fortune-cookie manufacturers, according to Mark Hughes, Buzz marketing CEO. And now, the Media, Pa.-based shop is touting the fortunes as untapped ad space. If it is successful, slogans might soon replace lucky numbers on fortunes' flip sides.

According to Hughes, nearly 96 percent of all fortunes are read, and about 67 percent are read aloud. The ads would aim to give purpose to post-meal conversations, particularly for the dinner-and-a-movie crowd.

Hughes, who declined comment on which fortune-cookie manufacturers he is working with, said he is close to selling the idea to a beverage company. Two movie studios are also on his short list.

"This gets people talking," Hughes said. "Someone might say, 'Oh, the new Tom Cruise movie is coming out. Did you see Minority Report?' "

Hughes came up with the idea in 2001 while he was a vp of marketing at eBay's Half.com, looking to get his brand noticed on a tight marketing budget. During a quiet Chinese dinner, he realized little could compete with his fortune cookie, and in September, he founded Buzzmarketing.