POW! Surprise Marketing – Push or Pull

pow andy nulman

I have now completed reading The Book About Surprise Marketing by Andy Nulman.  The official title is POW! Right Between The Eyes!, which is also the title of his blog.  It is a stimulating and provocative book, as indeed might be expected, and I would thoroughly recommend it.  Click here to order it.  Pow! Right Between the Eyes: Profiting from the Power of Surprise

A big part of creating surprises is being creative and this book is full of ideas.  Nulman also recommends two other books as further resources that you may wish to check out.

Of course surprise is not just a question of creativity.  Nulman provides a short list of four key things to keep in mind when creating a surprise. In each case, he has a number of real life examples to illustrate what he means:

Everyone’s a kid in Disneyland
Under the skin we are all the same.
Balls beat brains; balls beat budgets
You don’t need money, just chutzpah.
Little things mean a lot
Provided you choose the right ‘little’ with creativity.
Sometimes there is no reason.
Enough said

I was also struck by his phrase that post-dictability is one of the keys to create a satisfying surprise.  In other words after the event, looking back at the moment of surprise, you can sense it was almost predictable.

As I said, it is a thought-provoking book.  Andy Nulman delivers a lot of value.  However I was struck by his logo / image as it appears at the start of this post.  Old-fashioned push marketing is losing place to pull marketing as the Internet changes the balance between buyers and sellers.  Certainly surprise is not something that prospects or clients ask for, indeed how could they.  It is almost a more traditional way of going about things.  Will surprises be as well accepted now as they were say 15 years ago before we all became empowered by the Internet.   I would be interested to see your comments on this.

Crikey! Right Between The Eyes

I was delighted to receive a pre-publication copy of Andy Nulman’s book, Pow! Right Between the Eyes: Profiting from the Power of Surprise.  The covering letter addressed me as a journalist, perhaps to ingratiate themselves with me but that’s fine.  I’m well into the book and it’s a good read and very thought-provoking.

Some may wonder why I’ve used the word Crikey! rather than POW! in the title of this post.  Since a search for POW Surprise in Google already puts this blog as #1 currently, I hesitated to divert attention from the master.  Crikey is a word that has come onto my radar screen after many years’ absence and I think it’s a very fine word.  You can check an earlier post if you want more elucidation.

As for Andy Nulman, I’m delighted he’s adopting the Chris Anderson approach of blogging about upcoming books.  It’s an excellent way of doing things.  In a recent post, he mentions that the 800ceoread blog will be featuring a series of videos about the book.  It’s a great way of getting the flavor of the book.  Here’s the first video, POW! | Round 1.  Check it out, you’ll enjoy it.

POW! – Surprise Or Entertainment

POW! Did that get your attention? Was it the POW or the exclamation mark. Apparently comic book legend Stan Lee, one of the forces behind Spider-Man and the X-Men, is helping to develop a new superhero property, “Legion of 5.” His company POW! Entertainment has teamed up with Utah investment firm Brighton Partners and Vancouver-based producer Rainmaker Entertainment to turn the concept into a series of computer-animated films. Plans call for Rainmaker to create the look of the characters as well as develop and produce the feature-length computer-animated film properties. Separately, Stan Lee has already got three projects on the go at Disney, which houses POW!

Using that exclamation point to draw attention is a decidedly human approach. Andy Nulman has adopted the same device twice in his blog, Pow! Right Between The Eyes! He’s a strong proponent of the power of surprise in getting attention. However both Stan Lee and Andy Nulman may not realize that we live in a Google world. Many people find their way around almost entirely by Googling where they want to go. Unfortunately Google entirely disregards that exclamation mark. Here’s what they say on the Use of punctuation in Search.

Google doesn’t recognize special characters such as exclamation points, question marks, or the @ sign. These types of characters are so common that including them in a search would greatly slow the delivery of the search results.


Both Stan Lee and Andy Nulman probably knew that, since their domain names are missing the exclamation mark as well. They’re not the first to be faced with that dilemma. The most well-known example is Yahoo!. Their domain is of course www.yahoo.com

So is that game over for the exclamation mark as we all go relentlessly into an increasingly cyber-world. Not quite, since Yahoo! is trying to gain some respect for that punctuation mark. Here’s how.

The exclamation point (!) is a feature unique to Yahoo! Search. It means “take me there!”

If you search with a “!” added at the end of your favorite Yahoo! feature or service , you’ll bypass search results and go directly to the main page of that service on Yahoo!. This is a new way to navigate throughout the Yahoo! Network.

All we can say is ‘Good Luck!

Reference: SWOT That Company (Yahoo!) Name