This Car Wash is Free – The Power of the Narrative

My friend Harish shared with me a powerful observation this evening. It took me a while to get it but the more I thought about it, I felt that it was a great example of the power of the narrative.

Harish was at a car wash where they made an “amazing” offer – “Buy two car washes and this one is free.

The keywords there were – “this one is free.”

Everybody loves an instant deal. They didn’t say the third car was was free. They said “this” car wash was free. Harish told that almost everyone who the offer was presented to – signed up.

Thinking about it further, it is easy to justify the deal to themselves and everyone else. If you were one of them, you can easily tell your friend – “Hey, do you know something. I got my car wash free today.” It’s not the same as telling – “You know something.. I am going to get my third car wash for free.” You rarely can celebrate a future success. “This” car wash free will give you a reason to celebrate now.

Harish and I talked about the deal a little bit. Honestly the deal is the same as one of the following:

1. Buy two, get one free (You see this in Borders bookstore very often)
2. Buy two car washes and the third car wash is free.
3. Get three car washes for the price of two.
4. Car Wash – 33% off
5. Ask about our loyalty program. You can start earning free car washes with just two car washes

None of them will come close to:

“Buy two car washes and this one is free.”

As you can see, all offers are equal – but the offer with the best narrative wins!

Photo Courtesy: Ryan Hadley on Flickr