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Make a mountain out of a dunghill

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in Leaders & Managers

What if someone said he’d rather eat manure than do business with you? On the air. Would you flip?

Not Gary Hirshberg, who calls himself the CE-Yo of organic dairy Stonyfield Farm. Years ago, he faced that very situation.

One day, Andy, co-host of a radio program in Boston, asked his other co-host, Joe, what he was eating. “Yogurt,” Joe said, and urged his friend to try the Stonyfield brand.

“I’d rather eat camel manure,” Andy replied.

That’s all it took. Hirshberg called a private zoo and arranged to pick up some camel manure. The next morning, he and his wife traveled to Boston with a quart of yogurt and a container of manure.

The couple walked in on Andy, who sniffed spoonfuls of manure and tasted the yogurt with loud chewing sounds. After a silence, Andy said, “OK, I admit it. This yogurt does taste better than camel manure.”

The playful little caper got Hirshberg months of free, on-air publicity.

—Adapted from Stirring It Up, Gary Hirshberg, Hyperion.

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