How the Internet Can Sell Snow and A Good Story

For anybody not already familiar with this story: Mary Walker is an advertising copywriter from Colorado who recently sold three bags of snow on Ebay to a family in Connecticut for $102. The story has captured the imagination of the world’s media and shown how the Internet has created a global marketplace for products and services.

You are no longer limited to your geographical area and, because of the Longtail, selling niche products can be very profitable. Even the most random products, such as nature’s elements, have an expanded marketplace as there will always be somebody out there who wants to buy.

The Ebay listing received nearly 10,000 hits and Mary was surprised by the global interest, “There were emails from Nigeria, and Germany, from normally snowy places in the US, like Utah, Minnesota and the Upper-Peninsula of Michigan.” She received offers from Africa, New Zealandand Australia, and thousands of messages.

What contributed to the sale was the story created around it. Mary was supposedly a poor woman imprisoned in her own home by relentless snow storms, desperate to raise enough cash to afford a snow blower.

The story appealed to Chris Hansen, the fireman who bought the snow for his three children to give them at least a partially white Christmas. Chris said, “There she was, snowbound and bored, and she turned it around and gave the whole world a laugh. I can get behind something like that.” Chris even increased the price he paid to $200 so that poor Mary could afford her snow blower.

In true marketing tradition, Frontier Airlines leapt onto the story for some cheap publicity by flying the Mary and her husband for free so they could deliver the snow in person.

Being able to sell snow on Ebay shows that there’s no better way of selling than by telling a story and no better way of spreading that story than by broadcasting it over the internet.

5 Comments. Leave new

Behold the power of story!

Combine a meaningful story with the Internet and look what can happen.

I really appreciate your post on this. Very helpful.

Thanks for enlarging the conversation.

Keep creating…great stories,
Mike

Thanks for leaving a comment Mike.

Great insight, Mike! Couldn’t have said it better myself. Wish I had. Rats!

As the copywriter in question, I pay homage to the Perfect Storm of a well-timed auction, a bit of tongue in cheek writing, an ebay enthusiastic fireman with a sense of humor and great kids, and a world of gloom and doom in need of clean comic relief (no porn, murder or mayhem in our weather).

I also contribute part of this snow phenomenon to the international fascination with weather…the great unifier. No matter who you are, where you are, weather is the perfect ice-breaker…so to speak.

Behind the media story are hundreds of other stories. I’ve been deluged with emails from all over the world…and am grateful for each one. I guess one simple story triggers another…that’s what people relate to. I never called myself a story teller…until now. Thanks again, Mike.

–Mary Walker, Snow Peddler

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment Mary. I hope you’ve now been able to escape from your home with the aid of your new snow blower.

Matt,
I meant to thank YOU and Mike! I’m sooooo sorry! Great insight…missed by so many who somehow really thought I was trying to get rich selling snow. No snow blower yet. Jim’s decided a warmer climate is a better idea.

Thanks again,

Mary

Leave a Reply