Friday, June 28th 2019

Jun 28, 2019

Ideas Can Come from Anywhere

Jessica Darke, Producer

At Arcana Academy, everyone is encouraged to submit ideas when the opportunity arises to name a new product, pitch a concept, or develop a creative campaign. While not everyone at that Agency has the word creative in their title, everyone is invited to contribute.

We glean inspiration from the following three individuals who all rose from the bottom through handwork, innovation, and a fearless determination to birth their idea into the world.

1. Richard Montanez, inventor of Flamin' Hot Cheetos

In 1976, Richard Montanez, a janitor at a Frito-Lay factory, noticed there were only bland flavors of Frito-Lay products. Instinctively, he knew that the Latino audience would be more inclined to purchase a spicy flavored snack vs. a bland flavored snack. He thought, what if Cheetos had a Chile seasoning on them, something like the flavor of elotes, Mexican street corn.

Montanez smuggled home some unseasoned Cheetos so he and his wife could prepare the snack as they would a traditional Mexican dish. He made his own bags, ironed them shut, and brought the snacks back to Frito-Lay where he taste-tested them with his co-workers. They were a huge hit.

With the success of the taste testing on his tongue, Montanez called the CEO and asked for a meeting. The CEO said “who are you?” and then, “sure.” Montanez went to work learning as much as he could about how to present a marketing idea. He bought himself a cheap tie and made more sample product. The pitch meeting went well and Montanez rose to become Vice President of Product Innovation.

2. Wallace “Wally” Amos, inventor of Famous Amos Cookies

A once mailroom attendant at the William Morris Agency, Wallace Amos, moved up to become the first African American talent agent. Amos's signature move with clients was to bake and send them chocolate chip cookies.

In 1975, thanks to a loan from Marin Gaye and Helen Reddy, Amos launched his first “Famous Amos” store selling the iconic prepackaged cookies.

From there, the boxed cookies spread to grocery stores across the country.

3. Estee Lauder, founder of Estee Lauder Cosmetics

Estee Lauder started making her own beauty products as a teenager by working in the garage with her chemist uncle. At this time, it was rare for a woman to go to university or have a career. She started to sell these products, what she called “jars of hope”to local salons.

Lauder pioneered the free gift with purchase and it was through this just try it, attitude that she gained popularity in her neighborhood and later in Saks Fifth Avenue.

“I didn't get here by dreaming or thinking about it. I got here by doing it,” famously quipped Estee Lauder. She is now one of the biggest names in cosmetics.

The next time you're making your signature salad dressing for the company potluck, up the ante and design your own package, name the dressing, and dress the CEO's salad yourself.

Caveat: We may not always agree or endorse the opinions expressed on our blog. If something on our blog is polarizing, even if the management of Arcana Academy disagrees with it, we might leave it up. Then again we might not. We'll see how we feel.