What a little white truck on the North Shore, taught me about marketing.

Giovanni’s is not the best shrimp, it’s the best story.

I arrived in Hawaii with the clothes on my back, a duffle full of snorkel gear, and a thirst for adventure. Me and two best friends, my brother, and my cousin, had flown to Hawaii with no plans but this: Live life to the fullest. I had asked a lot of friends on Twitter and Facebook who knew the islands what we should do. They each gave a great personal list of hikes, beaches and food. So much food. But one name that kept popping up was Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck. Everyone said we just had to go there.

One day wandering along the North Shore highway, we saw it, the great white shrimp truck of legend, Giovanni’s. Unfortunately we already had plans to enjoy a Sunset at Sunset beach so we promised the little truck we would return. Two days later we did. The menu is simple. It is almost required that first timers get the Shrimp Scampi. We got our plates and sat at one of the picnic tables. Before us sat our 12 dozen jumbo shrimp marinated in olive oil, fresh chopped garlic, and lemon butter, served with two scopes of rice all drizzled with a garlic lemon butter and caramelized chunks of tasty garlic.

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Feast your eyes, then your mouth. Photo by Joshua Dance

We savored the smell and the sight, then we dug in. Fun fact, shrimp have a shell that does not taste good. I learned that first bite. After that setback, I quickly got the hang of the scampi. Peel shrimp, eat shrimp, lick fingers repeat. Intersperse with liberal mouthfulls of garlic rice. The only thing we regretted was not having brought a Sharpie marker with us to sign the van.

However, as we looked back on our experience in Hawaii, we decided that the best shrimp we ate was actually from the Kahuku Grill. We went there 3 times for dinner. But when I tell my friends about the trip and share with them the must see sights of the North Shore, I will tell my friends they have to go to Kahuku Grill, AND Giovanni’s. Why?

Giovanni’s is about the experience. Sitting at a slightly dirty picnic table, under awesome trees, seeing the sights and smells of Hawaii. It feels surreal. It’s an adventure, something you tell your friends about.

Seth Godin wrote a book called Purple Cow, in which he discusses… well… cows. Imagine you see a cow in a field. You are probably not going to tell your friend all about how you saw a cow. Now imagine that instead, you see a real honest to goodness purple cow. Of course you would tell your friends, snap an Instagram, and maybe even throw it on SnapChat. Why? Because it is remarkable. In the Purple Cow, Seth tells us “companies that produce remarkable products and target people who are likely to spread word of mouth about the product are more successful”. This is true in so many ways with Giovanni’s. How often do you come across a dingy, white van, covered in people’s names, that dispenses delicious shrimp? Not that often. It is remarkable, and different, and something to tell your friends about. I never saw a single “ad” for Giovanni’s. But I literally flew halfway across the world to go there, because many of my peers, my friends, my people, told me about the remarkable experience I could experience there. If you have a business, the easiest way to succed is to have a remarkable product. Give people a story to talk about, and they will. For example, this blogger went so far as to recreate the exact Giovanni’s recipe. And she hates shrimp!

So if you ever find yourself wandering the Kamehameha Highway, stop at Kahuku Grill for their “WORLD FAMOUS” COCONUT MACADAMIA NUT SHRIMP and Guacamole Burger.

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If you blink you could miss it.

But also make sure you stop at the little white van, with the cheap picnic tables, and take in the sights and tastes of Hawaii. You won’t regret it.

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Code, design, cook. Make stuff. Cookies. @BYU grad.

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