Saturday and Moxie

In a land built on “the pitch,” not the baseball kind, but the one that marketing is known for, having your elevator speech ready to go is essential. Given that this is Moxie weekend in Lisbon Falls, the epicenter of Moxie’s universe, feel free to use some of these tips to frame your parade-viewing and other conversations while taking in the town’s sights and sounds. Before long, people will start coming to you as their resident “Moxie expert.”

Be on the lookout for the Moxie Horsemobile.

What is Moxie?
Moxie is an iconic soft drink. Invented by Augustin Thompson, a Maine native, who was living in Lowell, Mass. at the time, Moxie is the oldest, commercially-bottled soft drink in the U.S., being marketed and sold since 1884.

I’ve written two books about Moxie. There are a host of stories, some true, and some somewhat apocryphal.

For instance, back in 1982, the late Frank Anicetti, owner of Kennebec Fruit Co. (aka, the Moxie Store) sent out 13 post cards for a book signing he was hosting for Frank Potter. Potter, who at that time had written some of the quintessential books about Moxie, including The Moxie Mystique, managed to draw a a crowd that Anicetti claims (in an interview I did with him in 2008) was close to 500 people. While the actual number’s never been confirmed, it was a sizable turnout. The next year, Lisbon’s summer festival, Frontier Days, became the Moxie Festival and we’ve been at it in Lisbon Falls now for 35 years.

Where does Moxie get its distincty-different taste?
Moxie’s distinctive taste comes from Gentian Root, a medicinal herb.

Prior to the Food and Drug Act, which limited claims made about products, Moxie, then marketed as a “nerve food” was said to cure anything from blindness and paralysis, to the “loss of manhood,” making it America’s first Viagra.

Back to the marketing of Moxie, the brand’s chief spokesman during the 1950s was Red Sox star and Hall of Famer, Ted Williams, a huge fan of the soft drink. Maybe It was Moxie that helped Williams hit .406 in 1941, making him the last MLB hitter to bat over .400. That was 76 years ago!

I believe that Moxie’s staying power is first and foremost the result of one Frank Archer, a marketing genius. There are a host of items that collector’s treasure, developed by Archer, to market Moxie. Things like thermometers, a Moxie board game, the various signs featuring the “Moxie Boy,” and others.

While some of Moxie’s 20th century ambassadors like Archer, Williams, Potter, and Anicetti have passed from the stage, Moxie continues to confound critics. The brand, now back in New England where it belongs, has taken to social media and the digital landscape in marketing its magic to a whole new generation. You’ll see plenty of the younger set in Lisbon Falls today, interspersed with those of us who have known about Moxie’s magic for decades.

Enjoy the festival and parade!!

Priming the Pump

[Note: Various reports and articles indicate that by 2020, as much as 50 percent of the U.S. workforce will be comprised of freelance workers. I’m already there.–jb]

I’ve been at this free agent game long enough that I should know the routine this time of year. It’s prospecting time. Almost all of my activities are devoted to getting new things into the JBE pipeline. Continue reading

Know Your (Moxie) Audience

If you’re sick of me talking about Moxie, just plug your ears and go, “la-la-la-la-la.” It’s been awhile (two months) since I mentioned New England’s most iconic drink, and Maine’s official state soft drink.

Moxie as a subject has been a gift that’s given much more than I anticipated back in 2008 when I got the idea to pursue this intriguing subject. It seemed like a great follow-up to baseball. At the time, however, I never thought I’d sell out two printings and then, have Down East Books commission me to write a second book about this distinctly-different beverage. I certainly didn’t think I’d still be talking/writing about it five years later. Continue reading

Leaving it up to others

Yesterday, I spent time networking and reconnecting with old friends, new friends, and others, at the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce’s Business to Business Showcase. As usual, Kim Lindlof and her team put together a well-organized and worthwhile event.

I’ve been attending these annual business networking soirees since 2007, just after I began working for the Central/Western Maine Workforce Investment Board. What I’ve always enjoyed about them and why they provide value for the businesses, organizations and others that attend, is that they gather together key people from the community that you need to know if you are going to be working Waterville.

My role at the Showcase was a bit different this year.  I’m now operating in a diminished capacity with my employer of nearly six years, after having my hours reduced from 40 to 20. Knowing about the Showcase now for a few weeks, I timed my “soft” launch of my website for the JBE to coincide with the event, knowing I’d have a chance to network, talk a bit about the situation with the LWIB, but more important, I had my new business cards with me, and I had a chance to work the room for the JBE, articulating what I’m about and what I’m able to provide, and a little bit about my personal brand. Continue reading