Your Worst Event Idea — Contest!

Elizabeth Bluemle -- July 25th, 2013

A friend of mine once worked for an advertising firm that was brainstorming names for a new breakfast cereal. The committee sat around a big table, throwing out suggestions fast and furious. Every idea, no matter how terrible, was recorded on a list and kept on file. Ten years later, my friend still had this list, and shared it with me: ten pages of possibilities for a new kind of oatmeal. My favorite entry was something called Hot Cooked Goo Crunch. Hot Cooked Goo Crunch! Did the whole room of ad execs just lose it when someone excitedly called that out? Did the person taking notes think twice about including it? (Honestly, I would pay to see a box of Hot Cooked Goo Crunch sitting on a supermarket shelf next to Grape Nuts, GoLean, and Rice Krispies.)

We booksellers are always striving to come up with creative event ideas to draw in customers. We’ve had Phantom Tollbooth “square” meals, Harry Potter Potions and Herbology and Divinations classes, and Hunger Games skills contests. In staff meetings, we’ll often brainstorm possibilities. Not all ideas are winners; some are downright painful, and others are just silly — which made me think of Hot Cooked Goo Crunch and some very bad ideas for events inspired by popular books. For instance, I don’t think any bookstore would want to hold a How to Eat Fried Worms speed-eating contest. Or a Running With Scissors race.

Readers, what terrible events can you dream up, inspired by a favorite and/or popular book?

There will be prizes for the funniest entries — advance reading copies for the two runners-up and an autographed copy of something fabulous (recipient gets to choose from the Flying Pig’s sizeable collection of signed books) for the grand prize winner.

Keep your ideas coming: winners will be announced in Shelftalker on Friday, August 2.