Can a Fortune Cookie Help You Win $1.4 Billion?

Powerball Jackpot of Over $1 Billion

The Powerball jackpot continues to grow, with the current total estimated at $1.4 Billion, a number that’s hard for most people to even imagine. Powerball drawings are available in 44 states, and you can buy a ticket for as little as $2. How should you pick your numbers? The video below shows at least one method that we’ve discussed here before -playing the lucky numbers from your fortune cookie.

There are many ways to pick numbers. One theory is that random chance is your best bet. An opposing theory, proposed by people such as multi-jackpot winner Richard Lustig, is that you should play the same numbers every week, even if they seem to be losing ones.

Seven-time Lottery Winner Shares Secret to Winning Powerball

The idea that if you play the same numbers week after week, they are more likely to come up may sound reasonable, but this may be a case of the so-called Gamber’s Fallacy -the idea that past outcomes influence future events. For example, if you flip a coin 10 times and it comes up heads the first 9 times, the odds remain 50-50 that it will be tails on the final toss -assuming that it’s not a trick coin!

Since there’s no hard evidence to support any theory for winning the lottery, you are free to come up with numbers however you prefer. If you believe in fate, you may find that a lucky fortune cookie is the secret to winning. The video below was shot when the Powerball jackpot was “only” $500 million.


Finding Wisdom in a Fortune Cookie

Can wisdom really be found in an ordinary fortune cookie? This is a matter of opinion, but according to at least one study, more than 50% of the population finds the messages symbolic. While some people would prefer to find lucky numbers in their fortune cookie that accurately predict the next Lotto drawing, it’s also possible to find other meanings in them. As Mark Kennedy reports in, a young woman named Rachael Weaver recently opened a fortune cookie that led her to rediscover the place of her birth. Rachael’s fortune read “Traveling to the East will bring you a great reward.” While this message might sound vague and irrelevant to most people, it was very relevant to Rachael, who was born in Vietnam. Shortly after reading this, she and her adaptive mother decided to take a trip to Saigon that turned out to be extremely rewarding. Among other things, they visited the orphanage where she was born. She attributes this trip with expanding her view of the world and gaining a more positive and realistic idea about her native country.

For the full story, see: Kennedy: Finding Truth in a Fortune Cookie

This may not prove that fortune cookies have mystical powers. It could be that Rachael was just ready to rediscover her roots. It does bring up the possibility, though, that the universe is always sending out messages to us. If this is the case, you’re just as likely to find them in a fortune cookie as anywhere else.



What to do if You Win the Lottery

Every so often, an especially large jackpot gets lots of attention. Right now, there’s a $500 million Powerball drawing that has been building for some time. In other blog posts, we’ve looked at ways people have successfully picked lucky numbers. Winners have relied on everything from random chance to the numbers found in their fortune cookies. Now let’s look at some helpful tips about what you should do if you win a big jackpot, or at Time magazine puts it:

What to do if you Win the $500 Million Powerball

While it might seem that winning a huge fortune has no downside, many past winners have faced a surprising number of mishaps, from losing their winning tickets to spending the winnings in a few short months. Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you’re lucky enough to have such a problem.

  • Sign the ticket and lock it up in a safe place until you claim it.
  • Don’t tell the world. Posting it on social media may attract thieves and scammers to your door.
  • Contact your lottery office as soon as possible for practical instructions on how to proceed.
  • Hire a lawyer who specializes in financial matters.
  • Invest the majority of the winnings in secure investments and live off dividends and interest.
  • Be generous but sensible. You may find that long lost relatives suddenly want to bond with you.
  • Enjoy yourself but don’t go overboard. You can only live in so many mansions or drive so many luxury cars. Have fun but live modestly and your money will last a lot longer.

Creative Marketing Trends of 2015

As 2016 begins, it can be fruitful to look at some of the top marketing and advertising trends of 2015. Some of the most creative trends of last year are likely to continue into this year and beyond. recently released a list of the year’s most creative trends.

The Year in Creative: 24 Trends that Drove Some of the Best Advertising of 2015

Some of the most notable items on this list -ones that are likely to continue well into the future- include:

  • Livestreaming -With the introduction of Periscope and Meerkat, more brands are likely to take advantage of the benefits of livestreaming. This can be done to introduce new products and broadcast live events from around the world. Companies such as Red Bull, Target and Taco Bell have already used this strategy.
  • Hi Tech Marketing -Including robots and outdoor billboards that change as viewers watch them. Virtual Reality (VR) is also mentioned. Although this technology has been around for a while, it might be on the verge of becoming mainstream. Brands such as Volvo, Mountain Dew and Infiniti experimented with it last year. Drones, which were used in ads by several car and athletic shoe companies, also fall into the high tech category.
  • Creative and Bizarre Marketing Campaigns -some campaigns that fall under the category or performance art or guerrilla marketing include a giant polar bear that frightened people in London as well as a campaign by Suntory Whiskey that employed artistically designed ice cubes.
  • Powerful Women Featured -Female athletes such as Ronda Rousey and Serena Williams helped to guide advertisers into featuring strong women in their ads.

These are only a few examples taken from the article. In general, we can expect marketing in 2016 to be highly influenced by technology. In addition, businesses will continue to search for creative marketing solutions to help combat consumers’ fatigue and tendency to tune out traditional ads.

Advantages of Fortune Cookie Advertising in 2016

As the New Year gets underway, many businesses are looking towards new and non-traditional advertising methods. There are several reasons for this. People have learned to tune out traditional advertising. This is equally true of TV commercials and internet ads. When was the last time you actually paid attention to a pop-up ad? More likely, you quickly clicked on the X to close it. The same is true for banner ads, pay-per-click ads and hyped up sales letters that arrive in your email every day.

Principles such as guerrilla marketing and non-traditional advertising have been around since long before the internet. They rely on capturing people’s attention in new and unexpected ways. This might involve street theater, writing on walls or sidewalks or creating some kind of daredevil stunt. This type of action, however, has unpredictable results and can seldom be used on a regular basis.

Fortune cookie advertising is an innovative option that can be done in a more systematic way. In this way, it’s similar to traditional print or internet ads. However, it has several distinct advantages.

  • Studies show that fortune cookies have a better than 99% open rate. This far exceeds email, direct mail or any other type of conventional advertising.
  • Fortune cookies, by their very nature, bring out the magical, mystical or superstitious (however you want to look at it) beliefs in people. 57% of those surveyed find the messages “symbolic.” This can lead to action. An example would be playing the “lucky numbers” found in fortune cookies. Yet many other advertising possibilities exist as well.
  • Fortune cookies provoke a social response. Because they are often interesting or funny, people often share them with others. This includes people sitting at the dinner table, but it also includes smart phones and social media. Nowadays someone can snap a picture of their fortune and send it across the internet in seconds.

These are some of the reasons that fortune cookie advertising is something that more businesses are likely to try in 2016.

Justin Bieber and Guerrilla Marketing

Sometimes the line between guerrilla marketing and vandalism or otherwise breaking the law can be a little fuzzy. The whole principle of guerrilla marketing, of course, is to shock people and get them to pay attention to the message. This may include performance art, daredevil stunts or writing on walls or sidewalks. Pop star Justin Bieber was recently associated with a guerrilla marketing stunt that provoked the ire of authorities and even local residents.

Justin Bieber’s Graffiti Advertising Hits Sour Note With San Francisco Residents

Justin Bieber -or the public relations firm that represents him- wrote several words on San Francisco sidewalks: “Justin Bieber,” “Purpose,” “Nov 13.” This refers to the name and release date of the pop star’s latest album. Apparently many people saw this as simply annoying graffiti rather than a clever marketing campaign. The campaign may also face legal consequences. San Francisco City Attorney is trying to track down the culprits and issue a fine.

From a marketing point of view, this type of action is interesting. It may even be worth it in the long run for Bieber and his publicists -a little bad press and even a fine may be a small price to pay if it means more people talking about his album and more sales. This is part of the calculations that go into many guerrilla or non-traditional marketing campaigns.

The Fortune Cookie Principle

The Fortune Cookie Principle: The 20 Keys to a Great Brand Story and why your business needs one

This is the second book by Australian author Bernadette Jiwa, who has written several bestseller Amazon books on creative marketing, including Make Your Idea Matter. In The Fortune Cookie Principle, she discusses the importance of telling a compelling story in order to brand your business. The book gives examples of both large and small businesses that have successfully implemented this principle. She also provides questions that you should ask yourself about your own business.

The book really has nothing to do with fortune cookies or fortune cookie marketing; the idea is that you can create your own fortune by branding yourself in a unique way that tells an original story. While the idea of branding yourself by telling a story is not exactly new (sort of ironically, given the topic), it is explained in a clear and interesting way. By discussing how businesses have made effective use of this principle, someone with a business, or even an idea for a business, can be inspired to take it to the next level.

To get an idea where Jiwa is coming from, you may want to watch this TedX talk she gave on The Secret to Spreading Ideas:

Funny Fortune Cookies

If you’ve seen your share of fortune cookies, you may have noticed that most of the fortunes are fairly boring and predictable -something along the lines of “You will journey far and achieve great success,” or something similarly banal. Fortune cookies may also contain lucky numbers, that could  be the key to a real fortune if you play them in the lottery and the stars are aligned for you on that day.

Once in a while, however, someone actually writes fortunes that are clever or funny. The humor may be intentional or not. Either way, a more original or unexpected fortune can make the conclusion of your meal a little more interesting. Someone recently identified the funniest fortune cookie sayings. A few examples:

You will be hungry again in one hour.

You will read this and say “Geez! I could come up with better fortunes than that!”

When you squeeze an orange, orange juice comes out -because that’s what’s inside.

Be kind to pigeons. A statue will some day be made of you.

You may not think that these are the funniest or wittiest saying you’ve ever heard. But some of these ironic and self-mocking fortunes suggest that the old fashioned fortune cookie may finally be due for an upgrade.

How Fortune Cookies Can Sell Gum

Every type of advertising has certain advantages that can be utilized by businesses. If you’re selling physical products, or anything where appearance is crucial (for example, art, jewelry, fashion or furniture), social media sites like Pinterest are ideal for you. LinkedIn is more suited for business-to-business marketing. What about fortune cookie marketing? As we’ve noted elsewhere on this blog, fortune cookies go hand-in-hand with lucky numbers, so marketing a lottery or contest of any type is a natural way to use this type of marketing. Yet there are other possibilities as well. The chewing gum Orbit once did a fortune cookie campaign with fortunes that read:

He who chews Orbit after every meal, healthy teeth will have.”

What’s clever about this is that the campaign ties in the context of people looking at their fortunes -they’ve just finished eating a meal- and reminds them of the benefits of dental health. The same basic idea could be used to sell mouthwash, breath mints or antacid, though the restaurants probably wouldn’t appreciate the implications of the last one!

The point is that there are many creative ways to tie an advertising campaign to a particular idea, subject or environment. If you’re seeking an effective way to reach a targeted audience, you just have to think of a way that a certain marketing campaign can connect with these people in a way that makes sense to them. This might involve email marketing, Facebook ads, print media…or fortune cookie advertising.

True Detective or Fortune Cookie?

Seth Meyers Compares True Detective Quotes to Fortune Cookies
Late Night With Seth Meyers hosted a funny game show where contestants had to decide if a certain quote was from the show True Detective or a fortune cookie. Meyers was making fun of some of the show’s writing, which, it turns out, can be a little trite and cliched. Here are a few of the lines that were given as examples:

  • “Loyalty is important and usually painful.”
  • “Better to walk before they make you run.”
  • “Never do anything out of hunger, not even eating.”

True Detective, of course, is a popular HBO series that stars (for Season 2) Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn and Rachel McAdams. Originally touted as an edgy alternative to standards cop shows, critics have more recently noted some of the conventionality and even banality in its writing. You may have your own opinion of True Detective, but you can still appreciate the humor in comparing its lines to fortune cookies.

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