Published on Wednesday, 18 December 2013 00:00
The “Air de Montcuq” proves that packaging is indeed a very powerful marketing tool, even when it is a can full of nothing. French student Antoine Deblay figured that out over the summer and has been racking in huge profits from the absurd product that he came up with. The “Air de Montcuq” which costs € 5.5 (SGD$9.50) inclusive of shipping is basically a tin can that Deblay sealed with air from his hometown – Montcuq.
The 22-year-old started a project on the French crowdfunding site kisskissbankbank.com which is something like Kickstarter.com. Deblay did not really expect much response, but to his surprise and everyone else's, the idea ended up raising over $1,000. The money raised was just enough for him to set up a website and pay for packaging.
When the French media got wind of the novelty item, they started extensively reporting about it which led to a voluminous deluge of orders. Deblay was overwhelmed with orders, especially when 1,000 orders poured in just within three weeks.
“Of course I knew it was going to sell, but not so much in so little time,” he said.
The huge demand for the Air de Montcuq definitely has more to do with its marketing strategy than the actual product which is the air contained inside itself. The description on the can's label reads: “Air de Montcuq is 100 percent organic, it immerses you in the depths of the city to refresh your ideas. Ideal when you are in need of creative inspiration. Attention, irreplaceable content, consumable once. Do not leave it open.”
The can is wrapped with a white label that features a very simplistic design of Montcuq's skyline. It also has a sticker pasted on the top guaranteeing it to be a product of France.
Deblay assures his customers that he respects the air on his website, “In order not to empty Montcuq’s air, we limit our harvest to 10 liters of air a week.” This does not mean that air quality is compromised though. “A slightly sunny and clear weather provides the purest Montcuq air. The boxes are filled outside the old town, with a charging time of 3:30 minimum,” the website mentions.
Deblay points out another rational besides the clever packaging which had thousands clamoring to get their hands on a can. Apparently in France, Montcuq is often mispronounced as “moncul” which translates to “my ass”. So Air de Montcuq would translate to “Air of My Ass”, which is both gross and hilarious at the same time.
If you want to get yourself a can of this Ass Air, you better hurry and place your order now as this product will stop production soon. Air de Montcuq is only a summer project for Deblay so he won't be selling it for long. Even a warning on the website reads: “We reached the maximum quantity of air sampling.”