Seinfeld on Marketing: The laws of B.O.

Hello one and all. Call your friends and neighbors because it’s time once again for Seinfeld on Marketing.

In this episode, Jerry and Elaine just picked up their car from the valet service at a restaurant and are heading home:

JERRY: Boy, do you smell something?

ELAINE: Do I smell something? What am I, hard of smelling? Of course I smell something.

JERRY: What is it?

ELAINE: I think it’s B.O.!

JERRY: What?

ELAINE: It’s B.O. The valet must have had B.O.

JERRY: It can’t be. Nobody has B.O. like this.

ELAINE: Jerry. It’s B-O!

JERRY: But the whole car smells.

ELAINE: So?

JERRY: So when somebody has B.O., the “O” usually stays with the “B”. Once the “B” leaves, the “O” goes with it.


It’s a well known law in “smell-ology” – the “O” typically follows the “B” like stink on a monkey. It’s hard to change the “O” without first changing the “B” – it’s just the way it works. It’s true in marketing as well:

  • Cancellations typically follow a breach in trust.

  • Dialogue usually follows a tribe gathered around a remarkable product, service or idea.

  • Silence usually follows an ill-conceived mass marketing plan.


The idea is not to try and change the outcome of the “O” while using the same “B.” The idea is to synchronize the intended “O” with the correct “B.”

A quick story…
Many, many moons ago I worked for a company that sold light bulbs over the telephone. I literally had a phone book and a telephone and my days were spent trying to interrupt people to get them to buy some light bulbs.

As you can imagine, it was a complete disaster. Looking back I see that now, but at the time I really felt like I could change the “O” of impending fate that almost all the other great telephone light bulb salesmen that came before me faced. Okay, so there’s no such thing as a great telephone light bulb salesmen, but I thought I could be “the one” – a Neo of sorts for the light bulb community. But my “O” of failure followed my “B” of trying to sell light bulbs on the telephone just like everyone else.

Sure, some get lucky. A few people in Vegas get an “O” of 100% return or more on their “B.” But Vegas wouldn’t exist if most of the “O’s” of money separation didn’t follow most “B’s” of opening your wallet in a Casino.

So before you begin your next marketing campaign, start that new product line or create that blog, ask yourself what “O” you want and match it with the “B” that is most likely to get you that result.

[SEINFELD SIDENOTE: If you have $200,000 burning a hole in your pocket, consider buying this Porsche 911 on Ebay that was once owned by Jerry Seinfeld.]

Happy Friday all!

This post is part of a weekly series, Seinfeld on Marketing.

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One Response

  1. […] – bookmarked by 6 members originally found by jelette on 2008-12-09 Seinfeld on Marketing: The laws of B.O. https://ubereye.wordpress.com/2008/07/18/seinfeld-on-marketing-the-laws-of-bo/ – bookmarked by 6 […]

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