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this week's Marketing
Can smart marketing save lives,
improve well-being and even move
the dial of history?
In 1774, King Frederick II of
Prussia was desperate to help
his people survive a famine.
He'd long been convinced that
the potato promised a reliable
source of nutrition when other
crops failed. Previously he'd
introduced the potato into his
soldiers' diet and passed more
than a dozen laws encouraging
its cultivation, with little
Native to South America, the
potato was shunned in Europe as
a bland, foreign foodstuff
barely fit for pigs or dogs. It
was even considered diabolical,
since it grew underground,
Frederick first tried
threatening more severe
consequences for peasants who
refused to plant potatoes. Then
he switched tactics. He posted
guards around the royal potato
garden, yet instructed the
guards to ignore any locals
Figuring that anything worth
guarding must be valuable,
people raided the king's garden
at night and planted the royal
crop in their own fields. Thanks
to this persuasive move,
Frederick's subjects emerged
better fed than surrounding
populations and Prussia remained
the dominant power in the
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