In the early 1980’s, an entertainment agency was finalizing the details of a soon-to-be-released movie. The agency approached the M&M’s division of Mars, Inc. and asked if their small candies could be featured in the upcoming sci-fi thriller.
The team at Mars decided they didn’t see the benefit of having its product associated with a movie about an alien and refused the offer.
So the entertainment agency went to the next company on their list. Only this time, they didn’t ask ahead of time.
After the movie was made, but before it was released, they showed Hershey’s the footage and asked if Hershey’s wanted to do a joint promotion. Hershey’s Vice President, Jack Dowd, liked what he saw and spent a million dollars on the project.
When the movie hit theaters, it was a massive hit and, for the first time in history, Reese’s sales numbers passed those of M&M’s.
Reese’s became commonly sold in theaters and sales went up by 65 percent.
The movie was the epic blockbuster E.T. The executives at Mars must regret to this day rejecting the opportunity to be featured as the alien’s snack of choice.
They failed to take action on a small risk and it will likely haunt them for as long as their company exists.
On the other hand, Hershey’s reaped the benefit of the increased awareness and amplified it even more with a strategic promotional campaign.
Of course, there could be many good reasons for a brand to steer clear of a product placement, but an organization should not avoid risks simply because they are creatively unfamiliar or irregularly complicated.
A true leader will not be quickly pleased with maintaining the status quo. It would be foolish to reject new opportunities and avoid wise and strategically-informed change.
In the book of Proverbs, wisdom is pleading with those who will listen, “For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them.” (v.32)
The wise king is telling the reader that rejecting sound truth while taking no action is a recipe for destruction.
But the king is not saying leaders must live a life of overwhelming stress and heavy doubt. Quite the opposite is true. He gives the cure for such in the very next verse.
“But whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.” (v.33) Wisdom is speaking and telling us to listen to it.
And what happens if we listen to Wisdom?
We will “dwell secure and be at ease without dread of disaster.”
Notice that “ease without dread” is probably the same desired outcome of the fool in the verse 32. But he chose the path of rejecting wisdom and lazy complacency.
The wise king is teaching the upside down business idea: A wise leader avoids dread by actively pursuing wisdom.
The fool dreads taking action. The wise leader seeks wisdom, then acts.
One will come to ruin. The other will be secure.