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I filed a patent for boxer shorts with openings on both sides after a vexing experience when I wore them with the sealed side in the front. This is a story how I sold it to the manufacturer and how they marketed it!
It all started one evening when I went to the Rest Room to relieve my bladder pressure. I opened my fly and inserted my hand to pull out my peter. But I couldn’t find the front opening of my boxer shorts. I probed and searched to the left and to the right, up and down. It was all sealed. I then lowered my pants to find that I had worn the boxers the wrong way. I pulled them down in a hurry but not before a few drops spilled out. I was really fuming and my ears had turned red and hot!
I thought about it that night. I came to the conclusion that the product was ill designed. It must have opening on both sides to prevent such a calamity. Yes. That’s an idea. It would make a more user friendly product. It would have a big market potential! It’s my intellectual property. I thought of it. I must patent it. So I wrote out a patent and filed it.
The next day I searched the website of the boxer shorts manufacturer, and found the email ID and the phone number of the person in charge of their new products department. To my surprise it was a lady; Ms. Rebecca. I rang her up. “Can I speak to Ms. Rebecca?” I asked.
“This is she. What can I do for you, Sir?”
“I am referring the boxer shorts which are manufactured by your company. It has a design defect and it has caused me mental agony and physical discomfort.” I complained.
“Just what went wrong?” she asked.
“I was pressed into the Rest Room and I am a bit embarrassed to tell you that I couldn’t find the opening in the shorts which caused me mental injury.” I uttered somewhat hesitantly not knowing how exactly to put it to a lady.“Please don’t be embarrassed to talk to me. I am a mother of two teenagers. I deal with all problems of men’s underwear, and I am used to talk frankly with men about them. So please elaborate what has bothered you.” Rebecca was candid about her.
“As you know, God has made man with the organ on the front side. So when he wants to relieve the urinary pressure, he needs to bring it out of the shorts from the front. Your shorts have the opening only on one side and so if the sealed side is in the front, the man could get frustrated in doing the chore. This is what happened to me and I felt harassed.” I tried to explain my plight.
“Are you blaming us for sexual harassment?” Rebecca asked jokingly.
“You could say that!” I realized that she has given a new meaning to the term and this could blow it out of proportion.
“But how can you blame it on us? You wore the shorts the wrong way. Don’t you wear your pants with the fly in the front?” Rebecca became defensive.
“The trousers have a button or a clip which opens it fully in the front, so you can’t wear it the other way. But your boxers are fully stitched with elastic in them. They don’t open up like pants. That makes it easy to wear them either way.” I made out my case.
“I think you are the only freak who wears them the wrong way. I don’t think anyone will take your claim seriously. So forget it.” Said Rebecca.
“I have the solution for the problem. I have filed a patent for a design of boxers with openings on both sides which can be worn any which way. I would like you to buy the patent for me to drop the charges.” I came to the business agenda.
“That’s rubbish. There are no boxers with opening on both sides. Most people will be confused as to what is the function of the slit on the back side.” Observed Rebecca.
I thought for a moment. She has got imagination, I mused. “OK. I will make a revised offer. I would be satisfied if you forward the idea to your CEO for consideration on its merit. If it is an idea which can be marketed for a profit and it fits into your product line, you can buy my patent. Give it a fair chance. I want to give you the first refusal before going to your competitors. I may also file a case against your company.” I replied.
“Don’t threaten us. We will not be intimidated. But we are a fair company. Please send me a short note and I will forward it to our CEO.” Rebecca now wanted to end the conversation.
I began to think how to write the short note. I wanted it to catch his attention. I wrote the headline:
Here’s a pair of boxer shorts which will end your sexual frustration!
You can wear it either way and you still have an opening in the front!
I added the details of the patent and emailed it to Rebecca. She in turn forwarded it to her CEO with her own two words about how worthless it is.
But the CEO saw the potential in the idea and sent the email to Mark, the account executive of their Ad Agency. Mark thought differently, but he put it to his creative team. They found it exciting and wrote the headlines:
No more Sexual Harassment!
The 2-way, no fumbling, user friendly
New ‘Duo Door’ boxer shorts for you!
They built the advertising campaign on this theme and presented it to the CEO and the marketing team of the company. It was approved. The company bought my patent with a life time supply of Duo Door boxers for me! My distasteful event made me a packet of money!
The ‘Duo Door’ boxers were a hit and the startling campaign was talked about in business schools! But the competition was not shattered. They came out with ‘Four Door’ boxers with openings on the sides as well! Their headline advertising campaign talked of:
Most Sensuous Boxers of all!
New Advances in the IN Technology.
The ‘Four Door’ Sensation!
The truth is that the advertising nerds can sell you anything. They can sell you four when you need only one!
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Dilip S Dahanukar